Many people with vision problems in the military choose to purchase contact lens rather than use the military eyeglasses due to the convenience that they offer. Although military spectacles have come a long way from the thick plastic glasses that we saw in classic war movies, many soldiers still prefer to have a pair of subtle contacts rather than worrying about dropping their glasses or having them damaged in a combat zone. However, the modern combat environment necessitates a few considerations that should be kept in mind when deciding what contacts to get.
Soft contact lenses are by far the most popular contacts used by active duty military personnel. Although hard contacts provide clearer vision, they can be excruciating to wear in the dusty, dry deserts of the Middle East. This is a common problem when you regularly deal with sand storms and the dust stirred up from helicopters, and a single grain of sand can scratch a contact lens very easily. This is why many soldiers choose to stock up on daily disposable contact lenses for use in combat zones. If the contact gets damaged or becomes uncomfortable to wear it is a simple matter to replace it with a new one. It is also recommended that you carry your glasses with you at all times to provide an alternative option.
Although daily disposable contacts are significantly more expensive than the more common two week disposable contacts, military personnel can take advantage of numerous discounts to get a box of contact for less than the average consumer. Between these discounts and military health benefits the price difference is rarely a concern. The major drawback of using daily disposable contacts in a combat environment is the necessity of cleaning your hands before handling the lens. Having dirty hands can scratch the lens or get bacteria in your eye, so always carry a small container of sterilized hand sanitizer to wash your hands with before replacing your contacts. Taking a few seconds to clean your hands before handling the contacts can save you a week or longer spent recovering from a bad eye infection.
How Medicare Recipients Can Get Prescription Contact Lenses
Although Medicare can provide coverage to treat many injuries and diseases of the eye, contact lenses are not included on the list. Medicare Part A will cover hospital costs and emergency room visits for vision problems, and Medicare Part B will cover visit to an eye doctor for specific diseases, neither will take care of routine eye examinations nor the costs of purchasing contact lenses. To be more specific, your Medicare package generally only covers cataract surgery (and the necessary eyeglasses for recovery), regular glaucoma screening, and ocular prostheses. Although these services are vital for older citizens, it is truly unfortunate that the programs do not provide coverage for routine eye examinations and paying for the costs of corrective lenses at a time when most people will be forced to deal with failing vision and related problems.
However not all hope is lost, there are ways that you can get contact lenses if your only health insurance is through Medicare. The first option that you need to consider is purchasing a Medicare Supplement Insurance policy, also called a Medigap policy, to help address many of your more routine health concerns. Medigap policies are offered by private health insurance companies to fill in these gaps in the three existing Medicare policies. They normally cover your share of the costs associated with Medicare-covered services, such as co-payments and deductibles, and also offer benefits that Medicare A, B and D do not. Chief among those options, for our purposes, is that many Medigap policies will cover routine eye exams and prescription contact lenses. However, it is worth noting that you cannot purchase a Medigap policy if you are currently taking advantage of a Medicare Advantage Plan or are a Medicaid recipient.
If you are unable to get a Medigap policy you may still be able to get contact lenses, you will simply need to pay for them on your own. This may seem quite daunting at first, yet there are many places where you can buy discount contact lenses and related accessories (such as eye drops and cleaning solution) for much less than the average cost. Have your eye doctor write you a prescription for contacts and then use a price comparison website to research different retailers to find the best option. It is always a good idea to buy your contacts in bulk to save money on shipping and handling costs. This is not an ideal solution, but it will allow you to get contact lenses when you need them.