Ophthalmologist: A medical doctor specializing in eye and vision care. An ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat eye disease, perform eye surgery and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses to correct vision problems. Some Eye M.D.s specialize in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. This person is called a subspecialist–whose area of expertise may include glaucoma, retina, cornea, neurology or plastic surgery.
Optometrist: A healthcare professional who provides primary vision care ranging from sight testing and correction to the diagnosis, treatment, and management of vision changes. An optometrist is usually not a medical doctor. They are licensed to practice optometry, which primarily involves performing eye exams and vision tests, prescribing and dispensing corrective lenses, detecting certain eye abnormalities, and prescribing medications for certain eye diseases.
Optician: A technician trained to design, verify and fit eyeglass lenses and frames, contact lenses, and other corrective devices. They use prescriptions supplied by ophthalmologists or optometrists, but do not test vision or write prescriptions for visual correction. Opticians are not permitted to diagnose or treat eye diseases.
Paying for Eye Care
Medicare does not normally cover routine vision services, such as eyeglasses and eye exams. Medicare may cover some vision costs if associated with another covered expense (that is, vision costs associated with eye problems resulting from an illness or injury). For example, 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.
NJ Medicaid/Family Care will cover a vision exam and eyeglasses but you will need to use an approved Medicaid provider. Contact your Medicaid managed care organization for information.
EyeCare America is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. Their mission is to preserve sight by raising awareness about eye disease and providing access to medical eye care. People who are age 65 or older and who have not seen an Eye M.D. in three or more years may be eligible to receive a comprehensive, medical eye exam and up to one year of care at no out-of-pocket cost for any disease diagnosed during the initial exam. Volunteer ophthalmologists will waive co-payments, accepting Medicare and/or other insurance reimbursement as payment in full. Patients without insurance receive this care at no charge.
EyeCare America does not provide eyeglass prescriptions, eyeglass/refraction exams (the prescription part of exam) or cover the cost of glasses. If you are concerned about the cost of these items, please discuss this with the doctor BEFORE the examination. 1-877-887-6327 (8-noon, pacific time)
Area Eye Care Providers
21 South Finley Ave, Basking Ridge, NJ
169 Mine Brook Rd, Bernardsville, NJ 07924
1107 Valley Rd, Stirling, NJ 07980
Low Vision Resources
Disability Rights New Jersey – Resource List for low-vision aids including agencies that offer magnifying aids.
The Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) – offers independent living training for people who are blind or visually impaired to regain the skills of daily living.
All About Vision is an online service which provides consumers with an unbiased source of information on eye health, visual impairment and vision correction.
Lighting can make a big difference in how well you see. Be sure to use appropriate lighting in every room and on every stairway. Higher wattage task lighting can make it easier to do reading and other close work.
Be sure to have enough night lights to safely guide your way to the bathroom during the night.
If you need glasses, use them! Don’t let “Pride goeth before the fall.”
To make life easier for you and your loved ones, Ridge Oak Senior Housing has made additional facilities and community social services available.