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How To Save Money On Dental Care, Eyeglasses & Hearing Aids

Eye Exams And Eyeglasses

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For help with eye exams, eye glass prescriptions and/or eyeglasses, check:

People age 65 and over:

  • If you have not seen an eye doctor in 3 years and do not belong to an HMO or have eye-care covearge through the Veterans Administration:  EyeCare America patients can receive an eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diganosed during the initial exam. For information, see: offsite link
  • If you have or are at risk for glaucoma or diabetes can get a free eye examination and an initial treatment for glaucoma through the EyeCare America Program. The program is for citizens and legal aliens See: offsite link or Tel.: 800.222.3937.

Clinics: Almost all optometry schools offer free or very discounted visual care by students whose work is closely supervised by professors. To locate an optometry school in your area, see the website of the Association of Schools and Colleges of Optometry: offsite link.  Click on "About ASCO", then on "Member Schools and Colleges." . Before you go to a clinic, call to get details about available coverage and eligibility requirements.

People Who Receive Medicare: Traditional Medcare only covers eye care in certain nonroutine circumstances.However, there are Mediare Advantage plans that offer vision benefits. To check for a plan in your area, go to Medicare's website: offsite link

If the above don't work for you, keep in mind that stores such as CVS, Dollar Stores, Eckard's, Rite-Aid, Sears, Target, Wahlgreen's, and WalMart sell off-the-rack, ready-to-wear glasses in a wide variety of strengths, for reading and driving. Their prices are much cheaper ($10 to $20 a pair vs. $120 and up at optician stores). Some Dollar Stores even sell glasses for only $1. The American Academy of Ophthalmology finds that: "Ready-to-wear reading glasses are effective, safe and economical. Self-selection and over-the-counter purchase of these glasses appears to be medically acceptable, cost-effective and in the best overall interest of the public." Keep in mind that while these glasses work well for people with simple prescriptions -- or who only seek "spares" for contact lenses they usually wear -- they aren't adequate for people with astigmatism; people who need different strength prescriptions in each eye; or people whose eyes are very close together or far apart.

You can also search online for discounted eye glasses. (By law, your eye doctor must give you a copy of your prescriptions). While you cannot try on a pair of glasses purchased on line, there are some sites that will allow you to upload a photograph of your face to get an idea of how the glasses would look. To assure a proper fit of both the glasses and lenses, consider purchasing the frame on line and the lens from a brick and mortar retailer.

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