Study suggests changing Medicare eye screenings to become cost-effective


January 10, 2012

Cases of blindess have been decreasing rapidly in the past decadeA new study conducted by scientists from the Public Health Research at NORC at the University of Chicago discovered that by replacing the vision acuity screening with dilated eye screenings to save money. Vision acuity screenings are required by all Medicare applicants within 12 months of their enrollment.

The researchers looked at 50,000 patients to determine that the dilated eye screening increased the quality of life for more people than the vision acuity screening, making it possibly unncessary. They did not include seniors who have diabetes or other eye-related diseases, as these types of screenings are imperative.

"Our research suggests that the current policy of visual acuity screening is a suboptimal use of resources and that replacing this policy with coverage of a dilated eye evaluation for all healthy patients entering Medicare would be highly cost-effective," the researchers conclude.

Seniors who do have vision problems may want to consider purchasing a medical alert system, as they are a greater risk for falling. This device can allow the senior to notify emergency services in the event of a fall or injury.