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Senior with Reading Glasses

Senior Eye Concerns

EyeSearch is a Guide to Vision and the Eye, including information on glasses, contact lenses, eye diseases, eye surgery, laser surgery, including laser vision correction, and directories of eye specialists nationwide, including ophthalmologists, optometrists, opticians and low vision services

Financial Aid for Eye Care

EyeSearch Vision Insurance

More than one million cataract and lens implant surgeries are performed per year in the U.S. with successful restoration of vision in more than 95% of cases.

Types of Cataracts

Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide, but fortunately cataracts can most always be treated with modern surgical techniques.

Enlarged Cup

Glaucoma Diagram


Almost all patients with glaucoma have no symptoms until the late stages of the disease.  Thus glaucoma can only be detected by regular eye examinations, and it remains a leading cause of blindness in the U.S. because of its insidious nature.  However, most patients diagnosed with glaucoma can be treated with eyedrops alone to prevent vision loss.

Drusen and Distortion

MACULAR DEGENERATION is the leading cause of blindness in people over age 65.  It affects approximately 10% of senior adults, but fortunately the great majority of those with macular degeneration  have the milder form of the disease, which usually does not cause substantial loss of vision.

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 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.

The National Eye Institute (NEI), part of the National Institutes of Health, is the Federal Government's principal agency for conducting and supporting research on the prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of eye diseases and disorders of the visual system. Inclusion in this resource sheet does not imply endorsement by the National Eye Institute or by the National Institutes of Health.

The National Eye Care Project, coordinated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), provides free and low-cost eye exams for U.S. citizens 65 and older who have not had access to an ophthalmologist in the past three years. Telephone: 1-800-222-EYES

VISION USA, coordinated by the American Optometric Association (AOA), provides free eye care to uninsured, low-income workers and their families. Screening for the program takes place only during January of each year, with exams provided later in the year. Telephone: 1-800-766-4466

Lions Clubs International provides financial assistance to individuals for eye care through local clubs. There are Lions Clubs in most localities, 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

Celebrate Sight: Do You Know Your Glaucoma Risk? coordinated by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is a program offering free examinations and treatment for glaucoma to people who do not have medical insurance. Telephone: 1-800-391-EYES

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: [email protected]. Website: http://www.themedicineprogram.com .

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.

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.

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