California free glass and eye and vision care.

Free eye exams, contact lenses and low cost prescription glasses can be obtained from Medi-Cal Managed Care vision providers. The benefits are for income qualified families as noted below, and the services available are focused on ensuring optometric needs are met. The main reason that the program was created was to address the eye care needs of struggling families, including immigrants that are new to the state. The Medi-Cal service has the goal of providing free vision care to the low-income, working poor, and/or under-insured families throughout the state of California.

There are several conditions that need to be met and many different parts to the program. But at the the end of the day the Medi-Cal health care program is committed to helping the low income by preventing vision loss and enhancing eye care. They meet this goal through the provision of various health and vision care services to medically underserved Californians. Read other free glasses and eye care programs.


There are several conditions that need to be met. In order to be eligible for a free eye exam or prescription glasses through the Med-Cal, potential applicants and patients must need the following conditions.

  • The applicant already needs to be enrolled into the Med-Cal benefit program, and if they are, and meet other qualifications, vision benefits may be provided to them.
  • A routine eye exam will be available for participants once every 2 years. So they need to be underserved.
  • Med-Cal will provide for tests of the eyes and also see if the patine needs prescription glasses and/or contact lenses.
  • The applicants for any Med-Cal vision coverage must qualify as low-income. This condition is based on a sliding scale, which includes number of members in the household as well as their gross annual income.
  • Free prescription eye glasses are only given to people under the age of 21 as well as individuals in a nursing home, such as a senior citizen or someone with a disability.
  • The applicant can’t have any vision insurance, whether it is private or government insurance. Obamacare, or the ACA, may not exclude them if it doesn’t cover eye exams.





Other factors may also come into play. But the list above is what is generally required by the non-profit organizations.

Benefits of Medi-Cal vision care

If found to be qualified, then as per above, an eye test may be given once every 24 months. This can check for diseases as well as to see if the patient needs any corrective glasses or other improvements. Note that the state of California may provide free contact lens if the person can’t wear prescription glasses due to some other condition, such as an eye disease.

Free eyeglasses may be given as well. California will only offer this government benefit to individuals under the age of 21. This means that the most vulnerable, such as children or teenagers, often benefit. Medi-Cal may also provide support to those enrolless that live in a nursing home.

There may be other more extensive care given as well. The California Medi-Cal Managed Care may provide additional assistance to people with an injury or eye disease. As an example of what a provider may give, it can include artificial eye care or corrective equipment they need.

Medi-Cal may also provide free low-vision testing. If the low income family has an existing vision impairment that impacts their lifestyle, they may qualify for help. The impairment needs to impact their ability to work, care for family, and more. The condition also can’t be correctable by prescription glasses, susrgery, or medications. In these cases Medi-Cal may provide additional help.




Appointments are needed. As noted, care is only given to low income households that currently receive Medi-Cal. To find a participating Optometrist, contact your current insurance provider. Or the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) offers a referral service as well.

California Vision Project

Another option is the California Vision Project, or CVF. The organization is a non-profit, optometric focused charity designed to provide low-income, uninsured families as well as individuals with free comprehensive eye exams and prescription glasses. Each year as many as 3000 eligible individuals are matched to volunteer optometrists. CVF oversees this process. In order to be eligible, all of the following conditions need to be met.

  • The individual applying for CVF services can’t have any other private insurance or government assistance that already covers eye exams, including Medi Cal and Medicare.
  • It has been at least 2 years since the applicant’s last eye examination.
  • There is a nominal cost of $10 to apply, which is a non-refundable administrative fee. This is per person, and it needs to be paid with the application. Cash can be used, or the applicant can use a money order made payable to ”The California Vision Foundation”.
  • The applicant to the California Vision Project needs to have a low income and can’t otherwise pay for eye care.

More more information, or to apply, the California Vision Project can be reached at 800-877-5738 (English) or 909-483-7761 (Spanish). The website for more information is








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