Does Medicare Cover Vision?
Updated: May 22, 2019
Routine eye exams are not covered by Medicare. You'll need separate vision insurance if you're looking for coverage for your prescription eyeglasses or for contact lenses, with one exception: Medicare pays for corrective lenses following cataract surgery where an intraocular lens is implanted.
There are, however, certain types of eye care that Medicare will cover. Medicare covers glaucoma tests, macular degeneration, and a yearly eye exam for diabetics.
Medicare: Glaucoma Tests
If you are at high risk of glaucoma, Medicare Part B covers an annual glaucoma test. To qualify as "at risk", one of the following factors must apply:
currently have diabetes
have a family history of glaucoma
are African American and at least 50 years old
are Hispanic and at least 65 years old
Medicare: Macular Degeneration
Patients with age-related macular degeneration may have certain diagnostic tests and eye treatments covered.
Medicare: Yearly Eye Exam
If you have diabetes, Medicare Part B will cover an annual exam for diabetic retinopathy.
With each of these services, Medicare Part B will cover 80% of the cost of the service (after you've reached your Part B deductible) and you'll be responsible for the remaining 20%. Depending on which Medicare Supplement plan you have, the Part B deductible and remaining 20% may also be covered entirely. Medicare.gov is a great resource for determining if Medicare covers specific procedures and types of care.
If you are looking for routine vision care, it is recommended that you enroll in a stand-alone vision plan.