Your coverage and rules for getting eye exams are different depending on who you are and which health plan option you are using. For the most specific information, please enter your profile at the top of the page.
Generally, TRICARE covers:
- Routine eye exams every year for active duty service members and active duty family members
- Routine eye exams every two years for all other beneficiaries enrolled in TRICARE Prime (e.g. retired service members, their families, etc.)
- Routine eye exams every year for diabetic patients enrolled in TRICARE Prime
- Eye exams under the well-child care benefit
- Ophthalmic services when needed
Routine Eye Exam
A routine eye exam is an assessment of your vision and the health of your eyes performed by either an optometrist or ophthalmologist. You will get a prescription for glasses or contact lenses if you need them. A routine eye exam is more than the simple vision screening test conducted by your primary care doctor using a standard eye chart.
What’s the difference between an optometrist and an ophthalmologist?
- An optometrist is a medical professional, but not a physician who went to medical school. They focus on regular vision services (eye exams, screenings, etc.) and prescribe eyeglasses and contact lenses.
- An ophthalmologist is a physician who went to medical school followed by an internship and residency. Like optometrists, they provide regular vision services, but ophthalmologists also provide medical and surgical services for your eyes.
Well-Child Eye Exams
Eye exams through TRICARE’s Well-child Care benefit are routine eye exams that may be given every two years between the ages of three and six that also include screening for amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eyes). These eye exams are provided by an optometrist or ophthalmologist.
Ophthalmic services include an eye exam and other specialized services to diagnose or treat a medical condition of the eye.