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Eye exams for eligible seniors for no out-of-pocket cost

senior woman receiving eye exam

Don't neglect your vision; learn if you are a candidate for free eye care from EyeCare America.

Who needs the most eye care? Seniors.

Why? Most people with serious eye diseases such as cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration (AMD) are seniors.

So what's the problem? The cost of eye care.

Many seniors neglect their eye care and vision problems because they have low or fixed incomes or inadequate vision insurance.

There is a solution: EyeCare America — a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Thanks to nearly 6,000 volunteer ophthalmologists, this program has been offering eye care to eligible older Americans for more than 30 years and has helped more than 1.8 million people, according to AAO.

Under this program, if you are a U.S. citizen or legal resident age 65 or older, have not seen an ophthalmologist in the last three years or more, and do not belong to an HMO or have veterans' vision care, you may be eligible for free eye care services.

If you are eligible for the program, you can schedule a free comprehensive eye exam with a participating ophthalmologist in your area.

If eye problems such as glaucoma, cataracts, AMD or diabetic retinopathy are found, you also can receive free eye care for the condition for up to one year.

The program does not cover the cost of eyeglasses, prescription drugs, hospital services or fees from other medical professionals.

Participating ophthalmologists will accept Medicare or other insurance as full payment, with no additional payment from you. If you don't have any insurance, the eye care is free.

The greatest benefit of the EyeCare America program is that it encourages financially disadvantaged seniors to take care of vision problems before they worsen.

Cataracts need to be monitored and eventually removed; glaucoma and ocular hypertension must be treated or monitored regularly. If not, these diseases often lead to low vision or blindness.

EyeCare America is co-sponsored by the Knights Templar Eye Foundation, with additional support provided by Alcon. To find out more about the program and to see if you are eligible, visit www.EyeCareAmerica.org.

READ NEXT: Veterans eye care and OneSight EssilorLuxottica Foundation

Liz Segre also contributed to this article.

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