Low Vision FAQs

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Low vision means having a visual impairment, not correctable by standard glasses, contact lenses, medicine, or surgery that interferes with the ability to perform everyday activities easily.
What causes low vision?

Low vision can result from a variety of diseases, disorders, and injuries that affect the eye. Many people with low vision have age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma, or diabetic retinopathy. Age-related macular degeneration accounts for almost 45 percent of all cases of low vision.

Millions of Americans have low vision. About 135 million people around the world have low vision.
What should a person do if he or she knows someone with low vision?

Urge that person to make an appointment with an eye care professional for an eye examination. Then help the person find out about low vision and vision rehabilitation services and encourage him or her to take advantage of all available resources.

Generally, you do not need a referral to be seen at our office, especially if you are insured by “Original” Medicare or a BlueCross BlueShield plan. However, you may call your insurance provider to be certain.

If you have “Original” Medicare, the out-of-pocket cost NOT covered will range from $75 to $150. We will collect for this non-covered charge on the day of your exam. We will submit a claim for all services. Original Medicare and Supplemental Insurance covers a portion of the evaluation but not 100%.

If you have a Blue Cross Blue Shield plan, we will submit the claim before collecting for co-pays or patient responsibility amounts.

For out-of-network services, a low vision evaluation may cost between $150 and $400.

The refraction is a critical part of a low vision evaluation and is performed with different equipment during the exam. The doctor carefully leads you this specialized refraction, which may take most of your examination time.

“Original” Medicare does NOT cover the refraction fee. You are responsible for the out-of-pocket cost of the refraction, which determines the need for a prescription and/or level of magnification.

The fee depends on the time and complexity of the refraction. Medicare has never paid for this part of an examination and most insurance/supplements do not cover this procedure. The refraction fee is an out-of-pocket expense and may range from $75 to $175, while $150 is a common amount.

Policies vary greatly, but generally Medicare will cover low vision examinations (except for the refraction fee) performed by eye care professionals.

Private health insurance may cover low vision examinations, but should check with the insurance carrier to be sure.