January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month

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:

Thank you for partnering with Medicare to promote increased awareness of glaucoma and Medicare’s covered glaucoma screening benefit.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.