Getting back sight is a precious gift

According to the American Foundation for the Blind (2015), 23.7 million Americans are living with vision loss, and 35 percent of those individuals are considered poor or nearly poor.

Prevent Blindness America (PBA) reports the annual economic burden of eye disease and vision loss is $139 billion (2013).

Low-vision devices are magnifying tools prescribed by an eye doctor that help people with vision loss see better.

These devices can be costly, and Medicare does not cover this expense.

The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low-Vision Devices Act of 2017, H.R. 2050, calls for a national study to determine the fiscal impact to Medicare by providing coverage for low-vision devices.

PBA (2013) reports $6,680 is spent each year by each low-vision individual for eye care. If Medicare covers the cost of these devices, low-vision individuals will be able to remain independent and enjoy a better quality of life.

Working for a local ophthalmic practice as an RN, I have witnessed the frustration patients experience as they come to terms with the fact they can’t afford their low-vision device.

As a patient advocate, I support H.R. 2050 and a patient’s right to affordable medical care and devices.

Apryl McElheny