Routine eye care services, such as regular eye exams, are excluded from Medicare coverage. However, Medicare does cover certain eye care services if you have a chronic eye condition, such as cataracts or glaucoma. Medicare covers:

  • Surgical procedures to help repair the function of the eye due to chronic eye conditions. For example, Medicare will cover surgery to remove a cataract and replace your eye’s lens with a fabricated intraocular lens.
  • Eyeglasses or contacts if you had an intraocular lens placed in your eye after cataract surgery. In this case, Medicare will cover a standard pair of untinted prescription eyeglasses or contacts if you need them. If it is medically necessary, Medicare may pay for customized eyeglasses or contact lenses.
  • An eye exam to diagnose potential vision problems. If you are having vision problems that may indicate a serious eye condition, Medicare will cover an exam. Your exam is covered even if it turns out you do not have a vision problem.

Medicare only covers routine eye care in the following circumstances:

  • If you have diabetes, Medicare covers an annual eye exam by a state-authorized eye doctor to check for diabetes-related vision problems.
  • If you are at high risk for glaucoma, Medicare covers an annual eye exam by a state-authorized eye doctor. You are considered to be at high risk if you:
    • Have diabetes
    • Have a family history of glaucoma
    • Are African American and age 50+
    • Or, are Hispanic American and age 65+