Don’t Let Glaucoma Steal Your Eyesight. Get Tested.Posted by Medicare Made Clear
Glaucoma is a serious eye disease that can lead to gradual, irreversible vision loss. It’s also a leading cause of blindness.1
There are several types of glaucoma. Open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of the disease. It accounts for at least 90 percent of all glaucoma cases2 and affects about three million Americans3. Open-angle glaucoma is caused by clogged drainage canals, which increases eye pressure and eventual vision loss.
Typically, there may not be any warning signs or symptoms for open-angle glaucoma — at first. However, once the symptoms do become noticeable, the disease may be in its advanced stages. If the disease is allowed to progress, glaucoma may cause complete blindness.
Everyone is at risk for glaucoma. But you may be at greater risk if:
- You’re older than 60.
- You’re African-American.
- You’re Hispanic.
- You have certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure.
- Someone in your family has glaucoma.
Glaucoma: The Good News
There are tests that can help detect the signs of glaucoma in its earlier stages. That’s why it’s important to have a complete eye exam including eye dilation, every year or two, especially if you’re considered high risk. Generally, if glaucoma is discovered during an eye exam, your eye doctor can begin a treatment plan that may help save your remaining vision.
Original Medicare doesn’t cover routine eye exams. However, Medicare Part B does cover a dilated eye exam to test for glaucoma every two years — and once every 12 months for people at high risk. The exam must be done or supervised by a doctor who is legally allowed to do the test in your state. You pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount for the test. You may need to pay more if you have an office visit copay or if you haven’t yet met your Part B deductible for the year. Many Medicare Advantage and Medicare supplement insurance plans also offer this coverage. Read your specific plan benefits to learn what may be covered and the costs.
People who need assistance with eye care costs can contact EyeCare America, which provides no-cost or low-cost eye exams to eligible seniors. EyeCare America is a program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.
For more information, explore MedicareMadeClear.com or contact the Medicare helpline 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-MEDICARE (1-800-633-4227), TTY 1-877-486-2048.
Medicare Memo: The Eyes Have It: MedicareMadeClear.com
Medicare & You: Visit the official U.S. government site for Medicare.
Types of Glaucoma: Glaucoma Research Foundation
1 Learn About Glaucoma: Glaucoma Research Foundation, December 16, 2014
2, 3 Types of Glaucoma: Glaucoma Research Foundation, June 11, 2013