Do i need glasses? Optometrist reveals the cost of poor eyesight



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Our eyesight is so critical, but we often prioritize something other than an eye exam.

Although more than half of Australia’s population suffers from eye disease, just over 1 in 10 people have never had their eyes checked.

According to Peak Body Optometry Australia, 35% of people do not have regular eye checks.

Its recent Vision Index report, which surveyed 1,000 people across Australia, also found that 9% of those surveyed had not had their eyes checked in the past five years, while 12% had never had their eyes checked. have their eyes checked by an optometrist.

This is despite the fact that 54% of the population has at least one long-term eye health problem, including myopia, astigmatism and color blindness, according to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (AIHW).


“Living with untreated poor eyesight can dramatically affect your life physically, financially and emotionally,†says Karen Makin, Bupa Optical optometrist.

“For example, you may be less safe on the road, which can endanger you and other drivers and pedestrians, you may have a harder time focusing on the details at work, which can affect your career prospects and you may even find yourself more irritable due to fatigue.

“While coping strategies like squinting may seem like a decent stopgap, they can actually hurt your job and your physical safety,†she adds.

Ms Makin believes many Australians mistakenly think they will have their own eye exams out of pocket and need private health insurance to keep the cost down, but that is not necessarily true.


“While private health insurance can help you reduce your out-of-pocket expenses for glasses or contact lenses, it is not required for a Medicare eye exam, we charge bulk most eye tests for eligible Medicare cardholders, â€she explains.

But it’s not just the cost of an eye exam that Australians worry about, it’s also the associated costs – paying for glasses and contact lenses. And this is where private health insurance can come in handy.

Getting optical accessories is a great way to help manage the cost of eyeglasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses.

“The out-of-pocket expenses that some people pay when buying a new pair of glasses or contact lenses depend mainly on your health insurance policy and where you choose to buy them,†Ms. Makin says. .

“Complicated prescriptions and high fashion branded frames can be more expensive, but a good health insurance policy can make a big difference, even at the peak of options.”


To get the most out of your new glasses, Makin thinks it’s important to take your time when choosing new frames and to trust expert advice.

“The staff at optical stores are more than happy to have you try on as many pairs as you want, so take your time, ask for advice, and be sure to ask the store staff for advice. It is important that your new glasses allow you to feel both confident and focused! ” she says.

And for anyone wondering how long the glasses should last, Ms Makin says there is no one-size-fits-all answer, adding, “With the changes in your eyesight, the way you have treated your glasses and even changing fashion trends all play a role. A good place to start is to book an eye exam every two years, or as directed by your doctor or optometrist.

“During these eye tests, you will learn if your current prescription is still appropriate while also giving you the option of researching new frames if you are looking for a refresh.”

FAQ: Supplementary optical coverages Private health insurance

Can I take out optical health insurance without a waiting period?

No, wait times for extras like optical coverage are generally mandatory on all private health insurance policies. However, how long you have to wait before you can apply for eyeglasses, contact lenses, or eye exams depends on which health insurance fund you choose.

Does health insurance cover laser eye surgery?

Lasik surgery for vision correction is generally not covered by Medicare unless it is medically necessary. You may be able to use private health insurance to keep costs down, but that depends entirely on the insurer and the level of coverage you choose; basic, medium or higher hospital coverage.

What about serious eye problems?

For eye problems requiring surgery or eye diseases requiring hospital treatment, you will need to purchase a hospital health insurance policy that covers procedures such as cataract surgery.

Can I claim sunglasses on health insurance extras?

Prescription sunglasses are usually covered by optical insurance from private health funds. Depending on your level of coverage, you should receive full or partial reimbursement. However, non-prescription sunglasses are generally not covered.

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