Medicare Your Coverage Options

Glaucoma: See a doctor if you experience loss of vision or have a family history

Written by Diane Archer

Almost one in 50 people over 40 are diagnosed with glaucoma. Glaucoma is a disease that hurts the eye’s optic nerve, leading to loss of vision or blindness. Early treatment, however, generally can prevent significant vision loss.

You should see a doctor if you think you may have glaucoma. People over 60 are at highest risk for glaucoma. African Americans over 40 are at risk as well, along with diabetics and people with a family history of glaucoma.

Although Medicare does not pay for standard vision tests, it does cover glaucoma screenings in some instances. Traditional Medicare covers 80 percent of the cost of a glaucoma test annually if you are at high-risk. Supplemental insurance, including Medicaid, should cover the remainder. In order to have coverage, you must visit a Medicare approved eye doctor. Medicare Advantage plans also cover the test if you see a network provider.

Your eye doctor can detect glaucoma through a comprehensive dilated eye exam. And, if you have glaucoma, it usually can be treated with medications, laser surgery or standard surgery. Unfortunately, lost vision cannot be restored.

You can read about other preventive services Medicare covers and that you might want to discuss with your doctor on Just Care.

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  • If you are in a high risk group, be sure that your doctor is NOT ordering a routine test for your condition. Have it done as a preventive screening instead. Billing codes make a difference in whether Medicare or Medicare Advantage programs will pay for the procedures.

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