The Seniors EyeCare Program
As we get older, the risk of suffering from an eye disease and poor eyesight increases considerably. An estimated thirty-three percent of Americans have a vision problem by age 65, and many serious eye diseases cause no noticeable warning signs or pain. Left untreated, these can lead to permanent vision loss and even blindness.
It is the elderly who are most likely to suffer from cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration and unfortunately, they are also those most likely to be living on a fixed income with a tight budget. The Seniors EyeCare Program, formerly called the National Eye Care Project, was introduced to address this problem.
The program is sponsored by the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (Eyecare America), Knights Templar Foundation Inc and Alcon. It was started in 1986 and has to date helped more than a million seniors gain access to eye care.
Who is eligible?
Any US citizen or legal resident over the age of 65 who has not seen an ophthalmologist in the last 3 years and does not have an HMO or Veteranís vision care can call a toll-free number (1-800-222-EYES) to get the name of a volunteer ophthalmologist in their local area. Ophthalmologists who volunteer to be part of the program agree to accept Medicare and/or any other insurance as payment in full. Seniors who do not have any insurance coverage will be treated free of charge.
If you have not had an eye exam in at least a year and are at an increased risk for glaucoma, you may be eligible for a glaucoma eye exam through the Glaucoma Eye Care Program. (You can call the same toll-free number for information about this program.)
What does it cover?
Once you have been deemed eligible for the Seniors Eye Care Program, you can make an appointment for a free eye examination. The program also covers up to one year of treatment for any eye condition which the ophthalmologist may diagnose during that first visit. However, there are certain exclusions. The program will not pay for prescription drugs, hospital services, eyeglasses or treatment from any other medical professionals.
If you think you are eligible for this valuable program or you know someone who may be, the toll-free number to call for more information is:
Available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
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