What Does Vision Insurance Actually Cover?

Wrestling with questions about what vision insurance covers—and whether it’s worth it?

We’ve got you covered.



If your vision has always been a perfect 20/20 and you could pass any eye test without blinking—congratulations, you’re a statistical minority. According to the National Eye Institute, two of every three Americans are affected by vision problems.

Because of the widespread nature of eye problems—and the high likelihood of eyesight weakening over time—if you don’t have a vision insurance plan, it’s worth looking into.

While coverage particulars vary from plan to plan, vision packages generally cover:

  • Routine eye exams
  • Glasses or contacts every 12-24 months
  • Polycarbonate (impact-resistant) contact lenses for children
  • Discounts on uncovered products
  • Discounts on LASIK surgery with specified surgeons

If you frequently visit your eye doctor for checkups, buy glasses or contacts often, or are looking into corrective surgery, invest in vision insurance to curb your costs.

However, it’s important to note what vision insurance doesn’t typically cover: namely, medical services. If you get an eye infection, scratch your cornea, or receive a diagnosis of glaucoma, for example, any medical care would have to be covered by your health insurance and not vision insurance.

Whether you have coverage or not, professionals highly recommend making regular visits to your eye doctor. If you’re experiencing eyesight problems or decreasing vision clarity, the sooner you take corrective measures, the better. It is much easier to correct faulty vision than to restore it. For people who wear glasses or contacts, regular checkups are important to make sure your prescription is accurate and up to date.

Eye checks also can be indicative of general health. For example, diabetes is often diagnosed through eye exams. Regular vision checkups can catch glaucoma at an early stage.

For more information on vision insurance, check out these tips for selecting the best benefits plan. If cost is of concern, check out these NEI-recommended programs to help offset potential financial burden of eye care.

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