How to Get Help for the Elderly in Paying for Glasses

As we get older, we sometimes face increasing costs for the eyeglasses we must wear. This is because the lenses we need as we age are often thicker. Bifocals may even become necessary for the very first time in our lives. Many elderly individuals who are no longer capable of working find it hard to be able to afford a new pair of glasses. Fortunately, financial assistance is available.

Review your insurance. Some Medicare plans, including the Medicare plus Choice program with a managed care plan, will pay for one pair of glasses each year. The only way to get this help, however, is to go to the HMO provider listed in the handbook you received when you signed up.

Contact your local Lion's Club (see Resources). This organization has a program that collects used eyeglasses, as well as another program that provides assistance for the purchase of new eyeglasses. Elderly individuals must apply for help at their local Lion's Club branch and bring a copy of their eyeglass prescription as well as a quote for the cost of the eyeglasses.

Contact your local church's benevolence fund. Most churches have this fund to help congregants and noncongregants alike in times of financial need. Since your eyeglasses are an essential item, you will most likely qualify for help. Bring proof of the cost of the glasses and any other documents the church requires, such as proof of income.

Call New Eyes for the Needy at 973-376-4903 to find a local office you can visit to apply for free prescription glasses. New Eyes for the Needy provides glasses for elderly individuals who meet their low-income criteria. Once approved, they'll issue a voucher that you can take to any of their participating eye doctors or eye glass retailers.


  • If your income is low enough, you can apply for Medicaid. Medicaid pays the entire cost of your glasses.