Eye Tests

Author - Eileen Hao (Optometrist)  

6 Common Questions on Eye test with Medicare 

Regular eye tests with an optometrist can help make sure your eyes are in good health.  They can pick up problems with your eyes before you notice anything. You don’t need a doctor’s referral to see an optometrist for eye tests. Medicare subsidizes eye tests provided by optometrists for all Australian permanent residents. 

Below are some common questions people have regarding Medicare - 

1) How often am I covered for a free eye test?
Anyone with a current Medicare card can claim a rebate on a regular eye examination.  If you are under 65 years of age, this is now once every 3 years.
Over 65-year-olds can claim once a year. The cost of a full eye test without Medicare is $70*.
Sometimes, your private health fund (e.g. Bupa) may also cover the eye test cost. 

2) I have diabetes and my doctor has asked me to have my eyes tested with my optometrist twice a year.  Would my Medicare pay for this? 
Some people have an eye disease that requires ongoing management (such as glaucoma or diabetic eye disease). 
If so, you can be tested and claim a rebate more often, as required for your condition.
In general, Medicare covers an eye exam for medical reasons, such as in the case of injury or disease. 

3) Can I get my eyes tested for contact lenses with my Medicare card? 
Medicare includes contact lens items which covers prescription and fitting every 36 months for people with refractive error over a certain range. 

4) Would Medicare pay for my optical glasses? 
Generally, Original Medicare does not cover routine eyeglasses or contact lenses.
However, following cataract surgery that implants an intraocular lens, Medicare Part B helps pay for corrective lenses; one pair of eyeglasses or one set of contact lenses provided by an ophthalmologist. 

5) Does Medicare pay for eye doctor visits? 
Medicare Part B will cover an annual eye exam every 12 months if you have diabetes or are at high risk for glaucoma. 

6) Does Medicare cover eye surgery? 
Medicare generally does not pay for vision care, but it will cover certain medically necessary services, such as cataract surgery. 

If you are in doubt of what service you are eligible for with Medicare, please visit their local branches or the website of Australian Government Department of Human Services.  

By Eileen Hao

Optometrist at 1001 Optical 

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*Price subject to change.