Does Medicare Cover an Ophthalmologist?

Home » Resources » Does Medicare Cover an Ophthalmologist?

As we age, the chances of developing or discovering eye-related medical conditions like cataracts, dry eye syndrome, glaucoma or macular degeration increase significantly. This is why ongoing preventative care and screenings are incredibly important as we age, and access to quality health insurance is the cornerstone of this need. A lack of such to visit an eye doctor or ophthalmologist can be the difference between preventing partial or complete loss of vision.

Medicare Parts A and B, also known as Original Medicare, do not cover routine or elective vision care, including covered visits to your eye doctor. This excludes annual eye exams, contact lenses, corrective lenses, or glass frames.

Medicare Coverage for Ophthalmologist Visits

Ophthalmology, a medical field focused on eyes and vision, deals with diagnosing, treating, and preventing eye diseases. This covers routine eye checkups, prescribing glasses or contacts, and performing surgeries for conditions like glaucoma and cataracts.

Medicare usually doesn’t pay for regular eye checkups but may help if you have certain ongoing eye problems. Here’s what Medicare can cover:

  1. Surgeries: Medicare can pay for surgeries to fix chronic eye issues, such as removing cataracts or putting in artificial lenses.
  2. Glasses or contacts: If you get an artificial lens after cataract surgery, Medicare will cover basic glasses or contacts.
  3. Eye exams for diagnosis: If you’re having vision problems that might be serious, Medicare can pay for an eye exam, even if no specific problem is found.

Medicare also covers some routine eye care in certain cases:

  • If you have diabetes, Medicare will cover an eye exam once a year.
  • If you’re at high risk for glaucoma, Medicare will cover an annual eye exam. High-risk groups include people with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma, or certain age and ethnic groups.

Although Medicare doesn’t cover all regular eye checkups, it’s important for older adults to get their eyes checked regularly. Finding eye problems early can help prevent vision loss and improve life quality. Seniors should talk to their doctors to figure out how often they should get eye exams and what kind of exams are best for them.

Medicare Part B Coverage for Ophthalmologist Visits

Under Medicare Part B, coverage is provided for medically necessary services and preventive care, including visits to ophthalmologists. Ophthalmologists are specialized medical professionals who diagnose and treat various eye conditions, including vision impairments, eye diseases, and injuries. Medicare Part B generally covers the following services related to ophthalmology:

  • Routine Eye Exams: Medicare Part B typically covers annual or biennial routine eye exams to assess your overall eye health and detect any potential issues early on.
  • Diagnostic Tests: Medicare Part B provides coverage for diagnostic tests performed by ophthalmologists to evaluate and diagnose eye conditions or diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy.
  • Treatment and Surgical Procedures: Medicare Part B covers medically necessary treatments and surgical procedures performed by ophthalmologists, including cataract surgery, retinal laser treatments, and other vision-correcting procedures.
  • Prescription Eyewear: While Medicare Part B generally doesn’t cover the cost of prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, it may cover corrective lenses after cataract surgery or specific eye conditions. It’s important to review your specific Medicare plan for details on coverage for prescription eyewear.

Medicare Advantage Plans and Ophthalmologist Visits

In addition to Original Medicare (Part A and Part B), beneficiaries have the option to enroll in Medicare Advantage (Part C) plans offered by private insurance companies. These plans provide an alternative way to receive Medicare benefits and often include additional coverage beyond what’s provided by Original Medicare. Some Medicare Advantage plans may offer coverage for ophthalmologist visits that goes beyond the coverage provided by Medicare Part B alone. It’s essential to review the specific details of your Medicare Advantage plan to understand the extent of coverage for ophthalmology services.

Factors to Consider

While Medicare generally covers ophthalmologist visits and related services, there are some factors to consider:

  1. Medical Necessity: Medicare coverage for ophthalmologist visits requires that the services are deemed medically necessary. It’s important to consult with your ophthalmologist and Medicare plan to determine if your specific situation meets the criteria for coverage.
  2. Participating Providers: To receive Medicare coverage, it’s crucial to visit ophthalmologists who accept Medicare assignment. Non-participating providers may charge higher fees, leaving you responsible for any additional costs.
  3. Deductibles, Coinsurance, and Copayments: Medicare beneficiaries are responsible for certain out-of-pocket expenses, such as deductibles, coinsurance, and copayments. The specific amount depends on the Medicare plan you have chosen.


In conclusion, Medicare provides coverage for ophthalmologist visits under Medicare Part B, ensuring that beneficiaries have access to necessary eye care services. Ophthalmologist visits, including routine exams, diagnostic tests, treatments, and surgical procedures, are generally covered when deemed medically necessary. Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional coverage for ophthalmology services beyond what’s provided by Original Medicare. It’s important to review your specific Medicare plan and consult with your ophthalmologist to determine the extent of coverage for your individual needs.


  • Medicare Part B covers ophthalmologist visits, including routine eye exams, diagnostic tests, treatments, and surgical procedures when deemed medically necessary.
  • Medicare Advantage plans may offer additional coverage for ophthalmology services.
  • Factors to consider include medical necessity, visiting participating providers, and understanding out-of-pocket costs.

Helpful Resources:

  1. – Eye Care
  2. National Eye Institute – Medicare and Your Eyes
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology – Medicare Coverage for Eye Care

Insurance Facts

Join the 65+ million Americans
looking for insurance options

Description: Health insurance is a crucial form of coverage that helps protect you and your family from high medical costs. It provides financial support by covering medical expenses such as hospitalization, doctor visits, prescription drugs, and preventive care. Having health insurance ensures that you can access necessary healthcare services without facing significant financial burdens. Additionally, many countries mandate health insurance to ensure that their citizens receive essential medical care.

Description: Auto insurance is a legal requirement in most countries for anyone owning a vehicle. It offers financial protection in case of accidents, theft, or damage caused by your vehicle to others or their property. Different types of auto insurance, such as liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage, cater to various needs. It is crucial to have appropriate auto insurance to avoid potential financial losses and legal issues in the event of an accident.

Description: Life insurance is a policy that provides a lump sum payment to beneficiaries upon the insured’s death. It is an essential financial planning tool that offers peace of mind, knowing that your loved ones will have financial security and stability after you are gone. Life insurance can be used to cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, mortgage payments, and even provide income replacement for the family. The amount of coverage needed depends on individual circumstances, such as family size, outstanding debts, and future financial goals.

Description: Homeowners insurance is designed to protect your home and personal belongings against unexpected events like fire, theft, vandalism, or natural disasters. It provides coverage for both the physical structure of your home and your possessions inside it. Moreover, homeowners insurance often includes liability coverage, which protects you if someone is injured on your property. Lenders typically require homeowners insurance for anyone with a mortgage to safeguard their investment.

Description: Travel insurance offers coverage for unforeseen events that may occur during your travels, both domestically and internationally. It can include benefits such as trip cancellation/interruption, medical emergencies, lost luggage, travel delays, and emergency evacuation. Travel insurance is especially important when planning expensive trips, traveling to remote locations, or engaging in adventurous activities. It helps mitigate financial losses and provides assistance when facing unexpected challenges away from home.

Newsletter Sign-Up:

Stay in the Loop!

Receive important insurance information right in your inbox weekly!

Newsletter Form | Email Verication