The qualifications for free vision exams vary depending on the organization providing them. People at increased risk for eye diseases, elderly people, children and those who demonstrate financial need tend to be most eligible. EyeCare America and the American Optometric Association provide free vision exams to people who qualify.
Through EyeCare America, uninsured persons aged 65 and over who have not seen an eye doctor in three or more years can qualify for a free eye exam and up to one year of free care for any disease diagnosed during the exam. This same care is available to those who have Medicare or other insurance. Co-payments are waived, and the insurance coverage is accepted as full payment. If a person's age, race and family history show that they are an increased risk of glaucoma, and they have not received an eye exam in at least one year, they can qualify for a free glaucoma exam. A consultation with an EyeCare America representative is required to officially determine eligibility for any type of no-cost medical eye care.
American Optometric Association provides cost-free vision exams to low-income individuals through the VISION USA program. Uninsured individuals in need of eye exams can contact local social workers, case workers and charities to discuss getting a free eye exam through VISION USA. Thirty-nine states and the District of Columbia are participating in the VISION USA program, as of 2015.