Veterans’ eye care services – almost 2 million in 2018

Here are links to see what you’re eligible for


shadow

All Veterans enrolled in VA health care are eligible for diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic eye care services and other health care services that include:

  • Vision Rehabilitation for visually impaired Veterans

Veterans in all enrollment Priority Groups may be eligible to receive eyeglasses and/or medically necessary contact lenses.

The need for an updated eyeglass prescription at VA expense will be determined by the VA eye care provider (optometrist or ophthalmologist) for eligible Veterans.

Click here for a detailed look at VA’s eye care services. 

  • VA eye care is the third busiest service in VHA, behind primary care and mental health.
  • Ophthalmology is the second busiest surgical service, behind general surgery, with over 76,000 cases in FY18.
  • The most common surgical procedure performed in VHA is cataract surgery.
  • Over 30,000 laser surgery procedures were performed in our clinics in FY18.
  • VA’s Ophthalmology workforce consists of over 1200 physicians located at 115 clinics.

Eye care services for over 1.81 million Veterans

In fiscal year 2018, VHA’s Office of Specialty Care Services provided Eye Care (Optometry and Ophthalmology) Services for a record number of over 1.81 million Veterans at about 381 VA medical facility sites located in urban, suburban, rural, and highly rural areas.

VA eye care providers (optometrists and ophthalmologists) prescribed nearly 1.7 million pairs of eyeglasses that were provided to Veterans by VA Prosthetic and Sensory Aids Services.

Cataract surgery is the most common operation in VA

Every VA Eye (Optometry and/or Ophthalmology) Clinic provides basic low vision rehabilitation care. More intensive vision rehabilitation services are available within the VA Blind Rehabilitation Services program.

VA eye care providers perform essential eye and vision examinations within the VA Polytrauma / Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) System of Care as well as provide brain injury vision rehabilitation services at select VA medical facilities.

Author

Hans Petersen

Hans Petersen is senior writer-editor for Digital Media, VHA Office of Communications. An Air Force Veteran, Hans also served two years in the Peace Corps and worked for 20 years in broadcasting before joining VA.

Comments

  1. Terrell Gibson    

    I called for an eye exam at the Jacksonville clinic in Feb, 2018, and was told the next open appointment was JULY 22. They did say I could be referred to a civilian optometrist. After over 40 phone calls with no referral, I finally got a referral to a civilian optician in November, 2018 but only after I contacted my Representative in Congress and his office called the VA head office in Gainesville.

  2. Edward Turner    

    How can I get lasik eye surgery? And is it covered by the VA ??

  3. john ambrose    

    …if you want more glasses, get your prescription, go to ZENNI.COM on the internet, the glasses are $6 a pair, I bought 6 pairs as spares……..you can have any style, or just a standard pair, go to that website they sell millions of pairs, they are great

    1. Naija music    

      This is really advanced.
      God bless you guys

  4. Deborah Pitre    

    Deborah Pitre
    My husband lost his left eye in VietNam, and he has a prosthetic eye since he was 21 years old, he gets annual eye exams and the Doctor is fantastic, he has told my husband that he needs to wear glasses at all times. I have asked if he could get 2 glasses a year because of his service condition but their hands are tied that is all they can allow. The glasses break very easily and he needs the glasses is there anyone we can contact to get him 2 glasses a year? He is 100% disabled from wounds in VietNam. Thank you for your attention in this matter

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Hi Deborah, VA covers the cost for eyeglasses, providing the Veteran meets at least one of the requirements listed here: https://www.va.gov/health-care/about-va-health-benefits/vision-care/. Ultimately, a patients primary care team at the facility is responsible for managing all aspects of their care, including making professional and medical assessment that a particular service is medically appropriate. One recommendation is to reach out to the patient advocates at the local VA facility. The patient advocates work directly with management and employees at the hospital to facilitate resolutions on behalf of Veterans. Do you know how to contact them? You can find their contact information on your VAMC’s web page in the left navigation under Patients & Visitors > Patient Information > Customer Service. http://www.va.gov/directory/guide/allstate_flsh.asp?isflash=&dum=ALL.

  5. Loretta Manning    

    How do you sign up for VA healthcare. I’m a Navy Vet. In 4yrs active duty and 4yrs inactive reserve. Thanks!

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      The very first step in obtaining access to your VA Health Benefits is to apply for enrollment. Visit https://www.vets.gov/healthcare/apply to apply online or call the Health Benefits Hotline:
      1-877-222-VETS(8387).

  6. Max ShaverJr    

    I believe your allowed one pair per year at no cost. Request a eye exam through your Primary Care .

  7. Mark Patrick Mosby    

    I would like to enroll in the eye program, please e-mail me or call me at (redacted) – cell.
    Mark P. Mosby

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      If you qualify for VA health care benefits, you are eligible for diagnostic, preventive and therapeutic eye care services at VA. To schedule an eye exam, talk to your VA primary care provider or contact your nearest VA medical center or clinic.

  8. robert hart    

    This sounds like a program with no plan.

  9. W.J. Elvin    

    There used be eye care at a clinic an hour away but for some time now it has been at the hospital three hours away, I am on oxygen and a companion tank last three hours at best, not reliable so I haven’t had an exam in years. Is there any hope of getting community care for glasses?

    1. Veterans Health Administration    

      Your provider may refer you to a community provider based on your specific needs and circumstances. Your VA provider will work with you to determine if you’re eligible so talk to them.

  10. James anderson    

    Been trying to get glasses prescription corrected for 3 yes in Brunswick ga clinic and always wrong or excuse to why it’s not right,also had blood work done by VA and private clinic same time and VA lied and said they found cocaine on blood which never done and private clinic found none a o they cut my med appts and meds off and I haven’t been back since it’s

  11. Gregory l Burr    

    I got a letter saying if my eye care was not service connected they would bill my insurance to the full extent of the coverage.Basically saying if I can receive eye care from a private physician.i should do so and let another veteran take my place.All due to the high demand.

  12. Terry L. Brown    

    How Often can I get a new pair of glasses through the VA.? I got a pair from y’all spring of 2017 and they are in bad shape. Thank you

    1. Rob Bolling    

      Two years. I had my initial eye appointment on 15 Feb 2017 and my next is on 7 Mar 2019.

  13. David Flaherty    

    I visit the canandaigua eye clinic called to find out were my glasses where, was told optican quit in stead of having me come in for another exam, they sent me two pair of glasses nieher were the right ones. retired from marine corp because of loss sight in left eye. Please help correct this problem. David M Flaherty (redacted).

Comments are closed.