Eye News Tampa Bay Financial aid for eye care, state and federal resources

Published on August 9th, 2012 | by ddeupree

Financial Aid For Eye Care

Many state and national resources regularly provide aid to people with vision problems. The National Eye Institute, which supports eye care research, does not help individuals pay for eye care. However, if you are in need of financial aid to assess or treat an eye problem, you might contact one or more of the following programs.

You may also contact a social worker at a local hospital or other community agency. Social workers often are knowledgeable about community resources that can help people facing financial and medical problems.

Eye Exams and Surgery

  • EyeCare America, a public service foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), provides free and low-cost eye exams for qualified U.S. citizens 65 and over who have not had access to an ophthalmologist in the past three years. Telephone: 1-800-222-EYES (3937). Website: http://eyecareamerica.org/eyecare/public.
  • Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. There are Lions Clubs in most local communities, and services vary from club to club. Check your telephone book for the telephone number and address of your local club. The telephone number for the national office is (630) 571-5466.
  • Mission Cataract USA, coordinated by the Volunteer Eye Surgeons’ Association, is a program providing free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no other means to pay. Surgeries are scheduled annually on one day, usually in May. Telephone: 1-800-343-7265.
  • Knights Templar Eye Foundation provides assistance for eye surgery for people who are unable to pay or receive adequate assistance from current government agencies or similar sources. Mailing address: 5097 North Elston Avenue, Suite 100, Chicago, IL 60630-2460. Telephone: (773) 205-3838. E-mail: ktef@knightstemplar.org. Website: http://www.knightstemplar.org/ktef/.


  • Sight for Students, a Vision Service Plan (VSP) program in partnership with The Entertainment Industry Foundation, provides eye exams and glasses to children 18 years and younger whose families cannot afford vision care. Telephone: 1-888-290-4964. Website: http://www.sightforstudents.org/.
  • New Eyes for the Needy provides vouchers for the purchase of new prescription eyeglasses. Mailing address: 549 Millburn Avenue, P.O. Box 332, Short Hills, NJ 07078-0332. Telephone: (973) 376-4903.

Prescription Drugs

  • The Medicine Program assists people to enroll in one or more of the many patient assistance programs that provide prescription medicine free-of-charge to those in need. Patients must meet the sponsor’s criteria. The program is conducted in cooperation with the patient’s doctor. Mailing Address: P.O. Box 4182, Poplar Bluff, MO 63902-4182. Telephone: (573) 996-7300. E-mail: help@themedicineprogram.com. Website: http://www.themedicineprogram.com.
  • HelpingPatients.org, a new interactive website offered by the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and 48 of its member companies. This site was designed to help patients find medication assistance programs for which they may qualify. Website: http://www.helpingpatients.org/.
  • State Pharmaceutical Assistance Programs, National Conference of State Legislatures provides general information on state drug assistance programs for low-income people. Website: http://www.ncsl.org/programs/health/drugaid.htm.

Government Programs

  • Medicare Glaucoma Benefit.¬†Glaucoma is a leading cause of vision loss. People at high risk for glaucoma include those with diabetes or a family history of glaucoma, or African Americans age 50 or older. Medicare will pay for an eye exam to check for glaucoma once every 12 months. Patients must pay 20 percent of the Medicare-approved amount after the yearly Part B deductible. Telephone: 1-800-633-4227. Website: http://www.medicare.gov. State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP)
  • For little or no cost, this insurance pays for doctor visits, prescription medicines, hospitalizations, and much more for children 18 years and younger. Most states also cover the cost of dental care, eye care, and medical equipment. Telephone: 1-877-543-7669. Insure Kids Now! Website: http://www.insurekidsnow.gov/states.htm.

Info provided by the National Eye Institute

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