Low Vision and Your Options

Older woman and child reading a book

What is low vision?

Low vision is a significant loss of vision but not total blindness. Low vision makes it hard to do everyday activities like reading, driving, and recognizing people’s faces.

What causes low vision?

Many eye conditions cause low vision, including: age-related macular degeneration (AMD), glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, and eye and brain injuries. Low vision is more common in older adults since many of the eye conditions that can cause low vision are age-related.

How is low vision detected?

Qualified eye care providers perform low vision evaluations, which determines the distance and clarity of vision, the size of readable print, the existence of blind spots or tunnel vision, depth perception, and eye-hand coordination.

How is low vision treated?

Low vision is usually permanent and isn’t fixed (though may be improved) with glasses, contact lenses, or other standard treatments like medicine or surgery. A qualified eye care provider can prescribe low vision devices to improve levels of sight, reduce problems of glare, or increase contrast perception. These devices include high power spectacles, magnifiers and telescopes. Providers can also train and instruct members on how to maximize their vision.

How can I receive low vision benefits?

After pre-authorization by Blue Cross Blue Shield FEP Vision, covered low vision services (both in- and out-of-network) will include one comprehensive low vision evaluation every five years, with a maximum charge of $300; maximum low vision aid allowance of $600 with a lifetime maximum of $1,200 for items such as high-power spectacles, magnifiers, and telescopes; and follow-up care – four visits in any five-year period, with a maximum charge of $100 each visit. Participating providers will obtain the necessary pre-authorization for these services. Digital devices such as iPads, cell phones, etc. are not covered.


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To enroll, you will be taken to the BENEFEDS website.

BENEFEDS is the government-authorized and OPM-sponsored enrollment portal that eligible participants use to enroll in and manage their FEDVIP coverage. BENEFEDS also manages the billing systems and customer service functions necessary for the collection of FEDVIP premiums.