Eye Exams for Seniors
Affordable vision care for the elderly
Your eye health is important, regardless of what age you are, but it’s especially important to keep up with regular eye exams when you’ve reached the age of 60+. Patients with existing health or eye conditions can benefit from having their eyes examined to prevent future problems or worsening vision. At all of our Heartland Vision locations, an optometrist (not a technician) performs comprehensive eye exams for seniors.
Call one of our stores to schedule an exam or book an appointment online:
How much does an eye exam cost for seniors?
The cost of an eye exam can vary based on your insurance coverage. If you’re a senior with vision insurance, your plan most likely covers most or all of a yearly eye exam. At Heartland Vision, our eye specialists accept most vision plans. If you’d like us to check your benefits and explain what’s covered, we can do that too, free of charge. CareCredit is also an available option for eye exams.
If you do not have insurance coverage, an eye exam costs $45 at all Heartland Vision locations (terms and conditions apply to promotional eye exam pricing).
Does Medicare cover senior eye exams?
Unfortunately, Medicare generally does not cover annual eye exams, but you might be covered if you meet the criteria for diabetes, glaucoma or AMD.
Heartland Vision’s senior discount
At every Heartland Vision location, seniors receive 20% off most products and services. (Discount does not apply to contact lenses and already-discounted items, and may not be combined with insurance).
Also available are our quarterly deals & discounts on eyewear products including glasses, frames, lenses and more. View our current promotions, or contact Heartland Vision for exclusive in-store offers. Terms and conditions apply.
How often should seniors have eye exams?
Individuals over the age of 60 are recommended by the American Optometric Association (AOA) to have a comprehensive (dilated) eye exam once a year. Also, notify your eye doctor immediately if you experience any eye discomfort or changes in your vision.
The best way to catch small eye problems before they turn into bigger (or permanent) issues, is with routine eye exams. Eye exams and retinal imaging can also identify issues with your overall health such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
How vision changes with age
It’s common to experience different eye conditions and diseases as you age. Fortunately, if treated early enough, many of them can be prevented/corrected.
Age-related vision problems:
Dimmed vision is a common age-related change. It may require you to use brighter light to perform tasks you always have, like reading or close-up work.
Dry eye is common for adults over 65 and can develop if your eyes aren’t producing enough tears. This can cause discomfort and blurred vision from lack of quality tear film.
Presbyopia happens from your eye lens losing elasticity over time. This makes it harder to focus on close-up things as you age.
Age-related eye diseases:
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) begins with blurred central vision and is the #1 cause of vision loss in adults 50+. Risk is higher for adults over 60, smokers, Caucasians, and people with a family history of AMD.
Cataracts are caused by protein buildup, UV exposure, or aging, and they appear as cloudy areas in the lens. They are most common among older adults and cause blurred vision, reduced and/or increased sensitivity to light and color, double vision and poor night vision. Cataracts are correctable through surgical removal that can restore the vision.
Diabetic retinopathy is caused by damaged blood vessels in the retina. At first, there may be no symptoms or mild vision problems, but it can progress to blindness. The longer you live with diabetes, the more it can progress. Routine diabetic eye care is essential for Type 1 and Type 2 diabetic patients of all ages.
Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which is vital for good vision. Deterioration of the optic nerve can create blind spots in your field of vision. It can be caused by high pressure in your eye and is the leading cause of blindness in people over 60 since it is irreversible.
Schedule an eye exam with an optometrist to learn more about age-related eye conditions and their risks.
What can an optometrist do?
The best way to protect your vision is to see an optometrist and keep up with routine eye exams that screen for age-related eye conditions. This is a good way to notice subtle or no symptom vision changes before they get to an advanced stage.
Treatment & referrals
An optometrist who works in vision care for seniors can:
- Diagnose and treat glaucoma with prescribed medication
- Order lab tests for diagnosis or treatment of eye disease
- Prescribe glasses or contact lenses
- Provide vision therapy
If you are diagnosed with a serious/advanced eye disease, an optometrist will refer you to a specialist (ophthalmologist) depending on the needed treatment.
Your optometrist may recommend low-vision treatment options to help you with your vision impairment. These devices and products include:
- Magnifiers (hand-held, wearable, or stand)
- Miniature telescopes
- Text-to-speech readers
- Video magnifiers that enlarge, brighten, or increase the contrast in video displays
- Your optometrist can give you options for a variety of adaptive technologies and products capable of helping seniors maintain independence with vision loss.
You may also be referred to low-vision rehabilitation services. These specialized low-vision professionals work with older adults to maintain or improve quality of life with impaired vision.