Written by Cmdr. Paul Fawcett
The type of TRICARE benefit that you receive for vision coverage depends on your age, what type of beneficiary you are and what TRICARE plan you are enrolled in. This article will help you navigate what vision benefits you are entitled to.
Active Duty Members
Active duty military members are required to have eye exams to remain fully fit for duty. If you are enrolled at a military treatment facility (MTF) you’ll have your exam there. If you aren’t enrolled to an MTF you will be referred to an optometrist on the TRICARE Network. After your appointment it’s important that you ensure that the results of your eye exam are sent to your medical record custodian so that they can be added to your military medical record.
If your optometrist determines that you need eyeglasses, you are entitled to one standard issue pair of eyeglasses, one issue pair of sunglasses, and one pair of glasses of your choice. If you are being seen at an MTF, glasses can be ordered for you and issued to you there. If you are being seen at a civilian optometrist you can order your eyeglasses from the Naval Ophthalmic Support and Training Activity (NOSTRA) once you have your prescription. Visiting the NOSTRA website will provide you with instructions regarding how to order eyeglasses.
Active Duty Family Members
Children enrolled to TRICARE are eligible for well-child eye exams every two years between the ages of two and six. There is no cost for well-child eye exams regardless of the program the dependent child is enrolled to.
Adult dependents and children over the age of six enrolled to TRICARE are entitled to one routine eye exam per year. You can get these exams at a TRICARE networked optometrist, or at an MTF if you are enrolled there. TRICARE will only pay for glasses or contacts to treat certain eye conditions. You can visit the TRICARE eyeglass and contact page for more information on what’s covered.
Reserve Members and Families
Reserve members who purchase TRICARE Reserve select receive one routine eye exam per year as active duty family members do. Reserve members on active duty 30 days or less receive eye exams for fitness for duty status and may qualify for government issued eyeglasses. Reservists on active duty over 30 days receive the same benefits as active duty counterparts.
Retired military members and their Families
Retired service members and their families enrolled to TRICARE Prime and TRICARE Prime Young Adult are entitled to one routine eye exam every two years. If you are enrolled to any other program such as TRICARE Standard or TRICARE for Life, eye exams are not a covered benefit for you. If you are a retired member you can order your eyeglasses from NOSTRA.
For more information about the TRICARE vision program visit the TRICARE home page.
If you have problems or concerns you can call the CG Health Benefits Assistance line at 1-800-9-HBA-HBA or email us at CGHBA@uscg.mil