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The importance of ensuring healthier vision

Health Conditions | Jul 15, 2015

Vision is crucial to your health at every age, but eyes especially change as you age. It is important to regularly schedule eye examinations and relay any abnormalities or concerns to your health care professional. While Medicare Part A and Part B may not cover routine checkups, there are certain circumstances when it will help supplement costs.

Cataracts are a cloudy development located on the lens of the eyeball that can obstruct an individual's vision. The American Optometric Association notes that they typically form after a person reaches the age of 55.

Oftentimes cataracts are a result of aging eyes and the changes that the lens experiences. Other responsible factors include diabetes, certain medications, smoking, alcohol, ultraviolet radiation and a lack of proper nutrition.

The handling of cataracts is dependent upon the severity of the condition. You should be tested to measure the severity of your cataracts if you are diagnosed with them. If they do not alter your vision, simply monitoring them on a regular basis is necessary. If your eyesight is only impaired minimally, corrective lenses may be the only required treatment. If surgery is in the cards, Medicare Interactive relays that the procedure would be covered through Medicare Part B. Additionally, if an individual has diabetes, annual eye exams are also covered as a preventive measure. A 20 percent co-payment is expected.

There are two different types of cataract surgery according to the American Optemetric Association. Small incision cataract surgery is performed by making a small cut in the side of the cornea and inserting a small probe. This instrument sends out ultrasound waves which break up the cataract and allow it to be extracted. The second procedure, Extracapsular surgery, requires a larger incision and removes the entire lens core.

Loss of vision and nerve tissue is often the result of glaucoma. Various types of glaucoma are often related to an increase of the pressure in the eye which can result in damage to the optic nerve. The American Optometric Association reported that glaucoma is the second most common cause of blindness in the U.S.

Individuals over the age of 60 are at a higher risk for developing this disease. If your family has a history of glaucoma, the likelihood of you having the condition grows. Additionally, African Americans also have a higher probability of having glaucoma.

Medicare Part B will cover routine eye glaucoma tests once a year if you are considered to be at a higher risk for glaucoma. Again, a 20 percent co-payment is required. Early detection is crucial for lessening the chance of vision loss.

Supplementing routine checkups
Some Medicare Advantage Plans will cover routine eye exams if you do not have a situation that qualifies you for routine checkups, according to eMedicare Supplements. Also speak with your eye doctor about potential discounts if you need glasses. Members of AARP or AAA may receive discounts on products.

Routine exams are important - especially as your vision changes. Speak with your provider and Medicare about options available to you.