New Vision for a New Year

In

How’s your vision?

With a brand-new year stretching out in front of each of us, it’s a great time to take stock of where we are and create a new vision for where we want to be in all areas of our lives. That includes our physical health, and two of our most essential and complex organs — our eyes.

January is Glaucoma Awareness month. Glaucoma is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States. Anyone can get glaucoma, but those at higher risk include:

> Everyone over age 60, especially Hispanics/Latinos

> African Americans over age 40

> People with a family history of glaucoma

> Individuals with diabetes

> Anyone who has suffered trauma to the eye

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that can cause vision loss and blindness by damaging the optic nerve — a nerve at the back of your eye which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain.

There are usually no early warning signs or symptoms for glaucoma. That’s why more than half the people that have it don’t even know they do.

A comprehensive dilated eye exam is the only way to be certain. The exam is simple and painless — your doctor will give you some eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil and then check your eyes for glaucoma and any other eye issues. A visual field test may also be used to check your side vision.

There’s no cure for glaucoma, but early detection is key. Treatment can often stop the damage and protect your vision. Options include medicines (usually eye drops), laser treatment, and surgery.

Living with Glaucoma

It is estimated over 3 million people in the US have glaucoma. U2 lead singer, Bono’s signature look includes wearing tinted sunglasses. What you might not know is why he wears them: because over 20 years ago Bono was diagnosed with glaucoma.

In October 1998, 77 year-old John Glenn became the oldest human to ever travel in space, as a payload specialist aboard the space shuttle Discovery. Glenn made the trip and saw the earth from Space one last time thanks to an early diagnosis of, and treatment for, glaucoma. Comedienne and television personality Whoopi Goldberg lives with angle-closure glaucoma, and world renown singer Andrea Bocelli has enjoyed a successful career despite losing his eyesight at the age of 12 due to congenital glaucoma.

Schedule an Appointment

Regular eye exams are a good idea to make sure that no problems are developing with your vision and that you have the appropriate eyeglasses or contact lenses as your eyes change. Florida Blue Medicare Advantage plans covers more vision services than Original Medicare. Routine eye exams, lenses, frames and contact lenses are all covered as part of your plan. In some cases, you may have a copay or an allowance.

Questions to Consider

Quantitative tests will reveal data about your eyes, but it’s also important for you to tell your physician about how your sight is or isn’t impacting your everyday life. Questions to consider before your appointment include:

> Have you noticed any changes in your vision?

> Do you have trouble driving or walking at night?

> Are everyday tasks like choosing clothes, making phone calls or taking medications becoming more difficult?

> Have you noticed any new blurred or distorted areas in your vision, or effects from glare?

> Has the width of your clear vision changed at all?

If you fall into any of the groups at risk for glaucoma, or have been struggling with loss of vision or eye issues, make time today to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor. We all want to maintain good vision as we move forward in life, and we can all take proactive steps to ensure good eye health.


This story was created in partnership with Florida Blue.

Florida Blue Medicare Advantage members:
Your in-network vision partner is iCare Health Services.

Visit myicarehealth.com to find an iCare provider or network ophthalmologist or look up your member vision benefits.

> Select Find a Provider in the upper right corner.

> Click the Search by Health Plan tab and choose Florida Blue as the Health Plan.

> Select Optometry and enter your ZIP code. Click Search. You’ll see a list of nearby providers that you can print.

Or call iCare Health Solutions at 1-855-373-7627 (TTY users call 1-800-955-8770), Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

There is a $0 copay for a glaucoma screening from an iCare provider or in-network ophthalmologist when you’re at risk of developing glaucoma.

All benefits are not available on all plans. Florida Blue is a PPO and RPPO plan with a Medicare contract. Florida Blue Medicare is an HMO plan with a Medicare contract. Enrollment in Florida Blue or Florida Blue Medicare depends on contract renewal. Health coverage is offered by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., DBA Florida Blue. HMO coverage is offered by Florida Blue Medicare, Inc., DBA Florida Blue Medicare. These companies are affiliates of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., and Independent Licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. We comply with applicable Federal civil rights laws and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex. For more information visit floridablue.com/ndnotice. © 2022 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, Inc., DBA Florida Blue. All rights reserved.

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