Financial Assistance/Help

The Cornea Research Foundation of America does not have a program to provide financial assistance to those either seeking treatment for vision conditions or those who need financial assistance due to loss of employment  associated with vision problems.

Our Foundation raises funds to advance medical treatments and techniques to treat those with complex cornea diagnoses. We also provide education on the latest developments to ophthalmologists (eye surgeons), optometrists (first line of care with vision), and the public through a variety of educational programs.

Below is a list of resources that may help with a variety of vision problems, from basic exam and glasses assistance to help with surgical treatments, etc. CRFA has compiled this listing through extensive internet research and is not connected to any of these programs. Please connect with any you feel may be able to assist with your individual needs.

Seniors Eye Care Program - EyeCare America (American Academy of Ophthalmology)

EyeCare America offers medical eye exams, often at no out-of-pocket cost to eligible individuals. Learn more here.

HealthWell Foundation

This Foundation helps to reduce financial barriers to care for underinsured patients with chronic or life-altering diseases. They assist with prescription copays, health insurance premiums, deductibles and coinsurance, pediatric treatment costs and travel costs. Provided criteria is met, they provide assistance to treat a variety of treatments which may change at any time. Learn more here.

My Good Days Organization

Good Days exists to pay the prohibitively costly insurance co-pays of life-extending and life-saving treatments for people otherwise unable to afford those treatments. Further, to offer patients and families additional financial help, emotional support, and guidance to the best available information and support for each specific disease state. They offer assistance for macular or retinal disease. Learn more here.

Lions Club International

Lions Clubs sometimes provide financial assistance for glasses, surgery and more to those in their community. They may be also available to direct you to other local resources. Find your local Lions group here.

Mission Cataract USA

Mission Cataract USA offers free cataract surgery to people of all ages who have no means to pay. Participation of doctors and clinics can be found here.


NeedyMeds is a nonprofit resource dedicated to helping people locate assistance programs to help them afford medications and other healthcare costs. Learn more here.

Partnership for Prescription Assistance

The Partnership for Prescription Assistance helps qualifying patients without prescription drug coverage get the medicines they need for free or at a discounted cost. Learn more here.

New Eyes for the Needy

New Eyes is a nonprofit resource dedicated to improving the vision of the poor. They purchase new prescription eyeglasses through a voucher program for children and adults in the U.S. who cannot afford them otherwise. Learn more here.

Operation Sight

Operation Sight, a program by the ASCRS Foundation (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery), provides free, humanitarian cataract surgery to those most in need, both in the United States and developing countries around the world. Learn more here.

VSP Eyes of Hope Gift Certificate Program

This program provides eye care for children in the form of basic exams and glasses free of charge to qualifying families. Learn more here.


InfantSEE optometrists provide a no-cost comprehensive eye and vision assessment for infants within the first year of life regardless of a family’s income or access to insurance coverage. Learn more here.

American Glaucoma Society Cares Program

AGS Cares helps provide surgical glaucoma care at no cost to uninsured patients who qualify. The care is provided by members of a national network of volunteers. Learn more here.


If you meet certain eligibility requirements, you may quality for Medicaid. Medicaid helps with medical costs for some people with limited income and resources. Medicaid also offers benefits not normally covered by Medicare, like nursing home care and personal care services. Learn more here.


Medicare is the federal health insurance program for people who are 65 or older or certain younger people with disabilities. Learn more here.

If you currently do not have insurance, you can search the marketplace here.

How to Qualify for Social Security Disability Benefits with Vision Loss

If you suffer from vision loss to a level so severe that it affects your ability work, you might be able to be approved for Social Security Disability benefits. Sometimes vision loss is caused by an accident, but often, it is caused by a medical condition. Pursuing a claim for disability benefits can be challenging, so you need to make sure you have documentation that supports your claim.

If your vision loss keeps you from being able to earn a living for at least one year, you should apply for disability benefits from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA uses a medical guide, which is called the Blue Book, to determine if an individual is eligible to receive Social Security Disability benefits. You will need to meet the medical criteria of a listing to have your claim for benefits approved.

How Does Vision Loss Qualify For Disability?

There are listings pertaining to vision loss in the Blue Book. To meet the medical criteria to be approved based on the Blue Book listing, you must meet the criteria for one of the three vision loss listings, as shown below:

- Listing 2.02 – This pertains to a loss of central visual acuity, which involves vision loss in the central field of vision. You cannot have vision any better than 20/200 in your better eye.

- Listing 2.03 – This listing involves a contraction of the visual field in the best eye, which means those who have a shrinking vision field could qualify with this listing. Specific testing will be conducted by your physician so he or she can measure your vision field and make note of what you can see when you focus on a fixed point. Your visual field and the visual distance from all directions must be recorded. If your field is narrow, not exceeding 20 to 30 degrees, you can be approved for disability benefits.

- Listing 2.04 – This listing pertains to loss of visual efficiency or visual impairment. It involves unfocused or blurry vision or a complete absence of vision. To qualify using this listing, you will need to have vision that is no better than 20/200 in your better eye even when you are wearing corrective lenses.

These listings are rather precise, and when you have undergone the required testing and it meets the requirements, you have established yourself as meeting the requirements to be approved for disability benefits based on vision loss. Luckily, the Blue Book is available online. Review each listing with your optometrist to see if you qualify. Your doctor can help make sure specific tests are done and you have the correct documentation to support your claim.

Applying for Disability Benefits

If vision loss keeps you from working to earn a living and you are ready to apply for Social Security Disability benefits, you can apply a variety of ways. You can start your claim online. Here a family member or friend can assist you in completing the application. You can also apply by calling 1-800-772-1213 and talking with a representative, or by scheduling an appointment at your local SSA office. This way you can meet with an SSA representative face-to-face to get the application underway. Many claim are denied initially for lack of evidence and documentation, so be sure to have as much support for your claim as possible.


Helpful Resources:


Listing 2.02: - 2_02

Listing 2.03: - 2_03

Listing 2.04: - 2_04

Documentation needed to apply:

Online Application:

SSA Offices: