Glaucoma is a very common eye condition, especially for older adults. When left untreated, glaucoma can do serious damage to your vision, so it’s important to get screened regularly so you can catch it early. January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, which makes it the perfect time to get screened. Medicare offers regular glaucoma screenings for older adults.

What is Glaucoma? 

Glaucoma is an eye condition that can be very dangerous when left untreated. Glaucoma happens when fluid builds up in your eye, putting pressure on the optic nerve. Our eyes are supposed to drain regularly, but over time, they may start to clog. You can also develop narrow-angle glaucoma if the structure of your eye prevents fluids from draining properly. With this type of glaucoma, you would likely see symptoms much sooner than with primary glaucoma.

Many glaucoma cases do not have symptoms at first, which is why screenings are so important. Over time, you might start to notice blind spots on either side of your vision as the pressure starts to build on your optic nerve. It’s very important to get treatment for glaucoma before this point. If you have narrow-angle glaucoma, you might get a sudden pain in your eyes and forehead as well as blurred vision, nausea, and ‘halos’ in your field of vision. If this happens, you should seek medical treatment right away, as it is an emergency and can cause blindness.

Medicare and Glaucoma Screening

Medicare Part B does not cover most vision services. This is because you can purchase a broader vision plan through Medicare Advantage. However, Medicare Part B does cover yearly glaucoma screenings for those who are at high risk for the condition. You’re considered to be high risk if you have a family history of glaucoma, have diabetes, are African American and over the age of 50, or are Hispanic American and over the age of 65. Medicare will also cover a vision test if you are having vision problems that could be linked to glaucoma or another serious eye condition. If your current Medicare plan does not cover regular eye screenings for you, consider investing in a Medicare Advantage plan that has vision coverage.

How Can I Prevent Glaucoma? 

Glaucoma often runs in families. If you have a family history of glaucoma, it’s important to start screenings early, so you can get appropriate treatment if it does develop. If you have early-stage glaucoma, your doctor may prescribe eye drops to prevent the condition from progressing. It’s important to take these eye drops regularly. You also may be able to prevent pressure from building up on the eye with regular moderate exercise. You should also wear eye protection whenever necessary, as eye injuries can cause glaucoma.

Although glaucoma is a serious condition, it can be successfully treated when caught early. Medicare offers regular screenings for high-risk patients. To learn more about your Medicare options, talk to Time for 65’s licensed partnered agents today. fill out this form or give us a call to see how we can help.