Financial Aid for Eye Care
By the National Eye Institute
Eye Diseases and Disorders Series - LPR Staff Project - February 7, 2005
(This article is for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor for medical advice.)
The following is an abridgement of an article that was provided courtesy of the National Eye Institute. A complete, printed copy of this article, as well as a other free publications offered by the NEI, can be ordered via their NEI Publications Catalog.
Financial Aid for Eye Care
By the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health
Many state and national resources regularly provide aid to people with vision problems. The National Eye Institute, which supports eye research, does not help individuals pay for eye care. However, if you are in need of financial aid to assess or treat an eye problem, you might contact one or more of the following programs.
You may also contact a social worker at a local hospital or other community agency. Social workers often are knowledgeable about community resources that can help people facing financial and medical problems.
Eye Exams and Surgery
- EyeCare America, a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), provides free and low-cost eye exams for qualified U.S. citizens 65 and over who have not had access to an ophthalmologist in the past three years. Telephone: 1-800-222-EYES (3937). Website: http://eyecareamerica.org/eyecare/public.
- Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. There are Lions Clubs in most local communities, and services vary from club to club. Check your telephone book for the telephone number and address of your local club. The telephone number for the national office is (630) 571-5466.
- Mission Cataract USA, coordinated by the Volunteer Eye Surgeons' Association, is a program providing free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no other means to pay. Surgeries are scheduled annually on one day, usually in May. Telephone: 1-800-343-7265.
- Knights Templar Eye Foundation provides assistance for eye surgery for people who are unable to pay or receive adequate assistance from current government agencies or similar sources. Mailing address: 5097 North Elston Avenue, Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60630-2460. Telephone: (773) 205-3838. E-mail: email@example.com. Website: http://www.knightstemplar.org/ktef/.
- Sight for Students, a Vision Service Plan (VSP) program in partnership with The Entertainment Industry Foundation, provides eye exams and glasses to children 18 years and younger whose families cannot afford vision care. Telephone: 1-888-290-4964. Website: http://www.sightforstudents.org/.
- New Eyes for the Needy provides vouchers for the purchase of new prescription eyeglasses. Mailing address: 549 Millburn Avenue, P.O. Box 332, Short Hills, NJ 07078-0332. Telephone: (973) 376-4903.
- The Medicine Program assists people to enroll in one or more of the many patient assistance programs that provide prescription medicine free-of-charge to those in need. Patients must meet the sponsor's criteria. The program is conducted in cooperation with the patient's doctor. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4182, Poplar Bluff, MO 63902-4182. Telephone: (573) 996-7300. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: http://www.themedicineprogram.com.
- HelpingPatients.org, a new interactive website offered by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and 48 of its member companies. This site was designed to help patients find medication assistance programs for which they may qualify. Website: http://www.helpingpatients.org/.
- Medicare Benefit for Eye Exams
For People with Diabetes -- People with Medicare who have diabetes can get a dilated eye exam to check for diabetic eye disease. Your doctor will decide how often you need this exam.
For People at Risk for Glaucoma -- Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss. People at high risk for glaucoma include those with diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, or African Americans age 50 or older. Medicare will pay for an eye exam to check for glaucoma once every 12 months.
Patients must pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B deductible. Telephone: 1-800-633-4227. Website: http://www.medicare.gov.
- State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
For little or no cost, this insurance pays for doctor visits, prescription medicines, hospitalizations, and much more for children 18 years and younger. Most states also cover the cost of dental care, eye care, and medical equipment. Telephone: 1-877-543-7669. Insure Kids Now! Website: www.insurekidsnow.gov.
The National Eye Institute (NEI) conducts and supports research that leads to sight-saving treatments and plays a key role in reducing visual impairment and blindness. The NEI is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Inclusion on this page does not imply endorsement by the National Eye Institute or by the National Institutes of Health.
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