Free cataract surgery is available in much of the United States through a non-profit organization dedicated to helping those that can’t afford to pay for this on their own. Additionally, your local Lions Club may be a place you can turn to for help. A cataract is the clouding of the eye’s lens and is the most common cause of blindness. The condition can easily be treated with surgery which normally costs around $3,500. The procedure is usually handled on an outpatient basis. Cataract surgery involves having the lens removed and replaced with an artificial lens.
Mission Cataract USA
This organization was started in 1991 by a California doctor, performing 21 cataract surgeries in its first year alone. It has now grown into a coast to coast network operating in 16 states. To be eligible to receive help from Mission Cataract USA, you must experience a lack of vision caused by cataracts which affects your daily life. Your condition must not be able to be corrected by simply wearing glasses. You must have no access to Medicare, Medicaid, health insurance coverage or any other way to pay for surgery. If this describes you, check this listing of participating doctors and clinics that provide free surgery and apply with the location closest to you in your state. It is Mission Cataract USA’s overall goal to offer this service in all 50 states. If you are a medical professional interested in volunteering your services through the program, please fill out this contact form and a representative with Mission Cataract USA will contact you about adding your practice or clinic to its list of service providers.
Lions Clubs International
The Lions have an almost 100 year history of fighting blindness. They provide eye exams for kids and participate in eyeglass recycling efforts. They also provide financial assistance to people struggling with sight problems. Over the years, they have funded nearly 8 million cataract surgeries. If you are fighting blindness and need help, use this club locator and contact the club nearest you.
Free Eye Exams
While they do not offer free surgery, look into these programs if you are having vision problems and feel you would benefit from an eye exam. These programs provide free comprehensive eye assessments to low-income individuals that qualify for their services.
Eye Care America
The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology provides the Eye Care America program to several types of uninsured patients. Under the program, patients receive a comprehensive eye exam and follow-up eye care. The program does not cover the cost of surgery or provide eyeglasses. If you are 65 years old or older, uninsured and have not received an eye exam for three years, the program will see you at no charge. Seniors covered by Medicare can also work with the program and all co-pays associated with the service will be waived. For uninsured patients who have an increased risk of glaucoma and have not had an eye exam for one year, the program will provide a free glaucoma examination. Find out if you are eligible by completing the questionnaire on the Eye Care America website.
This service is provided by the American Optometric Association through the AOA Foundation’s Optometry Cares program. It offers free eye exams to low-income patients through volunteer optometrists participating in the program. In some states, eyeglasses can even be provided at little or no cost through Vision USA. Contact lens examinations and contacts are not offered under the program. To be eligible to receive a free eye exam, you must lack any government or private source of medical insurance. You must be considered low-income and receive less than the household income amounts shown on the Vision USA income chart. You must not have had an eye exam in the last two years. If you meet these requirements, find out how to apply for an eye exam on the organization’s website. To contact Vision USA, email firstname.lastname@example.org.