Medicare has designated January as National Glaucoma Awareness Month as a way to increase people’s awareness of glaucoma and Medicare’s covered glaucoma screening benefit. More than 2.2 million Americans age 40 and older have open angle glaucoma, the most common form of glaucoma, and at least half of them don’t even know they have it. Through early detection and treatment, blindness can be prevented.
As mentioned, Medicare provides coverage of an annual glaucoma screening for beneficiaries in at least one of the following high-risk groups:
- Individuals with diabetes mellitus
- Individuals with a family history of glaucoma
- African-Americans age 50 and older
- Hispanic-Americans age 65 and older.
Medicare’s coverage of glaucoma screening includes a dilated eye examination with an intraocular pressure (IOP) measurement and a direct ophthalmoscopy examination or a slit-lamp biomicroscopic examination.
What you can do to help spread the word to beneficiaries…
If you are a Medicare advocate or healthcare professional who provides care to seniors and others with Medicare, you can help protect the vision of your high-risk patients by educating them about their risk factors and reminding them of the importance of getting an annual glaucoma screening exam covered by Medicare.
For More Information:
- The CMS Glaucoma Screening Brochure
- The CMS Guide to Medicare Preventive Services (see Chapter 7)
- The MLN Preventive Services Educational Products Webpage
- The National Eye Institute
Thank you for partnering with Medicare to promote increased awareness of glaucoma and Medicare’s covered glaucoma screening benefit.