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Will Parkinson's Impact my Vision?

Some people with Parkinson's notice that as the disease progresses, their vision loses sharpness or becomes blurred, and they have trouble with dry eyes. Some vision difficulties are related to changes in the movement of the eyeball. These are motor symptoms, like other motor symptoms caused by loss of dopamine neurons. Difficulties related to the eyes and vision often progress alongside other PD symptoms. It may be helpful to see a neuro-ophthalmologist, a specialist either in ophthalmology or neurology, who has additional training in diagnosing and treating problems with the eyes and vision that are associated with PD and other neurological issues.

Traditional Medicare doesn't cover routine eye exams or prescription corrective lenses, but certain Medicare Advantage Plans (Part C) can include vision insurance. Check with your local insurance carrier and Medicare Advantage Plan to find out about their vision insurance coverage and what exactly will be included. Typically, these vision plans will cover an annual eye exam, fittings for contacts or glasses, and either contacts or prescription eyeglasses.

Medicare covers the following eye care services:

  • Cataract surgery or necessary surgery to repair the eye due to a chronic condition

  • A standard pair (custom pair is covered if deemed medically necessary) of eyeglasses or contacts after surgery.

  • Diagnostic eye exam in the event of vision problems

  • Annual eye exam if diabetes is diagnosed or there is a high risk of glaucoma

There are many vision insurance providers that offer coverage for routine eye care. Vision insurance can save you money on larger expenses, and you'll need to pay your monthly premium to maintain your coverage. Vision insurance is typically separate from standard health insurance plans.

The Seniors' Program through EyeCare America offers free and low-cost vision for eligible seniors. People who do not have coverage through the VA or an HMO, are 65 years and older, are US Citizens, and have not been to an ophthalmologist in three years can qualify for a medical eyes exam and one year of follow-up care.

Disclaimer:  The information contained in these Frequently Asked Questions have been sourced by reliable, research-based publications. It is to your discretion whether or not to incorporate the education and awareness as guidance into your wellness journey with Parkinson's. The Parkinson Association of Alabama cannot be held liable for the solutions you try, and you should always consult with medical experts before trying anything new or incorporating new matters into your overall wellness plan.

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