VA Eyeglasses and Hearing Aids

Eyeglasses and vision care can be very expensive.  Thankfully veterans who meet specific VA criteria have access to vision and hearing exams in addition to free eyeglasses and hearing aids. This benefit can save hundreds.

Veterans with any compensable service-connected disability, former POWs, Purple heart recipients, and certain housebound veterans are among those who qualify.

[I was recently reminded that the fashion options for VA glasses leave a lot to be desired. But, what do you want for free :-)]

Click here to view the entire list of veterans who are eligible for VA Eyeglasses and Hearing Aids.

(Also found on Page 128 of The Military Advantage book)

About the Author

Terry Howell
Before becoming the Managing Editor for, Terry served 20 years in the U.S. Coast Guard as an Aviation Electrician’s Mate and aircrewman. In his final role in the Coast Guard, Terry served as a Career Development Advisor, where he provided career, finance, education, and benefits counseling to servicemembers and their families. Since retiring from the Coast Guard, Terry has authored the book, The Military Advantage, managed the content for TurboTap, the DoD's online transition program and VAforVets, the VA's transition assistance website. Terry earned both his Bachelor's and MBA at Corban University using Military Tuition Assistance and his GI Bill benefits to help cover the cost.

    Check again. VA has a pretty good selection of civilian style eye glass frames.

    • tdhowell

      You are right, I just ordered my own, the selection was pretty good.

  • Rhenr002

    What is considered a compensable service-connected disability?

    • Guestdog534

      Anything compensated is found on this list:…. Look at all the schedule of ratings links. Since it says compensable, I am assuming they mean one that receives a 10-100% rating(s) for a least 1 condition.

  • Kermit

    I was able to pick the frame of my choice @ both the Palo-Alto VA in CA. and the muskogee VA in OLKA. and I must say they were both modern frames and very stylish

  • Rgregg719

    The VA Optical Clinic has great choices of frames. Further, the folks that run the clinic are very friendly and helpful. All I can say is thanks for all you do! RJG

  • Michael Sanders

    Well, as a military retiree I am eligible for one free pair of glasses per year so got a copy of my prescription and went to the nearest military post (Hill AFB) and presented it at the medical clinic. There were some nice looking frames on display. The enlisted airman behind the desk took the prescription, handed me a pair of frames to try on, said, Yeah, those will do and wrote something on a form. He then told me to come back in a couple of weeks. When I went back I couldn’t believe the glasses. Ugly doesn’t describe them. So much for free eyewear.

  • Marcus Ferrell

    My life is worth more than a pair of glasses. What do I want for “free”?? How much is my life worth for Yedom?OUR fre

  • Marcus Ferrell

    What do I want for free? What is the freedom I defended worth to you??

  • 101vet john

    As a 100% disabled vet I have obtained both glasses and hearing aids from VA. The hearing aids were a pain, not worth the time or trouble. I hope civilians get better ones. I have had excellent eye care (It’s more than just glasses) and have gotten good, acceptable looking frames for the glasses for years. If you expect Italian designer frames you need to look elsewhere. For those of us who are less ostentatious and more appreciative what they offer is fine.
    Oh, yeah, and I got good dental care as well, but it is all dependent upon which VA Health Care System you utilize. Avoid El PAso at all costs.

    • Ramon

      John, I’m a VN vet who needs hearing aids but do not qualify through the VA. Have you tried the new hearing aids for over the ear with the in the ear receiver? You should check it out.
      My first exeperience with hearng aids was horrible, because they were inside the ear. I used them just a few days and donated them. At that time, years ago, I was able to purchased them.
      Recently I tried the over the ear type and they are wonderful, unfortunedly after the trial, I was not able to buy them, I cannot afford the cost now or ever, since I’m dissable and medicare doesn’t cover hearing aids. Try them and let us know what happens. If you qualify throught the VA, you are entitled to hearing aids every two years.

  • 101vet john

    I am going to post one more time here. What you get is not “free”. You paid for it, and you are now disabled or you would not get it.
    I recall being told, upon entering service, that we would be receiving life-long heath care as veterans. I guess it got too expensive to pay that and all the social programs for people who never do anything for themselves, let alone for anyone else. So which one did they do away with?
    And it will keep being that way.

    • SGT. Mark Earnhart

      I fully agree. I thik there is way too many people out thre that are able to work but somehow get on welfare and get all the medical, dental, and eye care they want for onehundred percent free and us wartime veterans get nothing for free. I think if a man or woman goes into war for there cuntries freedom, that upon returning from said war that they should never, ever, have to pay for any medical, dental, ore eye care again as long as they shall live. I pesonaly fought in an overseas war and made it back alive. I got an honorable discharge from service and then became disabled and now I can not afford to pay for half of the medical I need. It is an outrage to see people on welfare getting better care than us veterans.

  • Jbdrad32

    Thanks to the VA, I have free glasses for years. This year I had surgery on both my eyes to replace the lenses. If I had to pay for the 2 operations the cost would have been $8,000. Thank you VA.

  • Jimgusto

    I just went for my eye exam day before yesterday. And I figured they’d bring out the same tired collection of 1980’s glasses frames. But I was pleasantly surprised at the selection they had this time. I guess they were tired of hearing about how old-fashioned their glasses looked. If you need bi-focals, but don’t like the visible line across the glass…sorry, but its all you’ll be able to get at the VA. But if you ask them, they’ll provide you with your eye-glasses prescription, and you can take that to any eye-glasses outlet and get the kind without thelines…if you dont mind paying for them. But you’ll still be saving money by not having to have that optometrist appointment there.

    • Gary H

      If you want progressive lens and transition lens you have to tell the examiner that is what you would like. If you don’t all they will give you is the lined bifocals and clear lens.

  • omhus

    I have a 10% compensable service connected disability. Even though my disability isnt eye related (Mental Health) can I still get an exam and frames for free? (without paying a $50.00 deductable?)

  • VN Vet

    I am a V.N. vet and I receive very little,no dental and no glasses.I do receive many letters of( denial,denial denial,denial) for service connected.I have had hart bypass,my hand shake so bad I cannot even fill out the forms to make a claim.But I am thank full for the good care I do receive from the Local VA.It is the people at the letter receiving end that rubber stamp everything denied and file it in the dead files.

  • Steven Beckett

    By reading these letters it has become very obvious to me that the veterans of this country are unhappy in general with their medical care and compensation payments. Time to write your congressman and representatives. If they can’t help you then vote them out. It may be a slow process but it’s all we have. If it takes 3 years for an appeal to be resolved then that’s 3 years to send letters and stay on their butts until election day. Then send them packing!

  • john dike

    I was at the VA in Augusta for an eye exam. I am 80% service connected and when I asked the examiner about possibility of getting an appointment to get glasses, I was told would probably be an 8 month wait, and I was basically encouraged to seek assistance elsewhere.

    • laura

      Depends on where you are at.

    • David Smith

      That’s balonney. Report the stupid person who discourged you. Write to your senator also.

    • Tom

      Here in Maryland its a really short wait for an exam. I am 90%, basically the same as you benefit wise but I got an appointment 2 weeks later. Problem is that was over 2 months ago and I am still waiting for my glasses. Not complaining about the benefit and really appreciative. I just wonder why with such a limited selection it takes so long.

  • Jeff

    So, This may be a reach, My Dad served in WWII (11th Airborne)and has passed. He spent the last few weeks of his life at the VA Hospital in Queens, NY. The service and care was top A#1 Quality. My mom who is now 84 needs a hearing aid. Can anyone point me to the best contact to see if there is a way she can get a hearing aid as a vets spouse?

    • L_B

      I was told today at Tripler Audiologist that a spouse can get the govt rate which would be $400.00 top of the line hearing aids if you are standard Tricare for Life. Just make an appt with her primary doctor for a referral to a military audiologist.

    • RM Faust

      Contact local “Disabled American Veterans”. They will guide you with ease..

  • Alline anderson

    How can a Veteran’s spouse get a pair of eye glass’s with there Tricare Prime Ins? Or a hearing aid. My husband is a 100% disabled Veteran a Viet Nam Veteran.

  • Starbuck

    Saved $300 on eyeglasses, wanted the lens to darken in the sun and paid a few dollars for that, otherwise totally free. I have a service connected disability. They have me scheduled every 6 months to monitor my eyes in case of cataracts. If you live in NY or Calif or large city you probably have a lot of people apply8ng for help and you are going to wait.

    • REDDOGG47


  • skwidd

    America’s Best is the place to go if you do not have a service related eye deficiency.

  • William

    Yes you can. It does depend on your income though.

  • shawn

    I do not have a disability, am just a regular ole veteran…can I get glasses from va

  • First CAV7

    Will the VA provide contact lenses. I am 60% with 2 Purple Hearts

    • laura

      Yes, they gave me mine

      • Gary H

        What VA do you go to. I use the one in KCMO and they said they don’t do contact lenses.

    • Gary H

      NO they will not to contacts. I wish they did.

  • Scott

    Thank you VA in Columbia, MO for fixing my blindness in one eye due to cataracts despite my age of 39 at the time. I woke up one morning last March to find I was blind in my left eye and went to the VA 3 days later in panic mode as I have no other access to health, dental, and vision care. The young eye surgeons did an excellent job, but it’s only a mono-focal implant where I can’t read, have trouble keeping the 2 eyes focused in sync, and I desperately need new glasses that run over $300 a pair on the local economy. I’m chronically unemployed, broke, have all my belongings stuffed in car, homeless, and couch surfing to avoid the freezing weather. It’s frustrating to not have access to career opportunity after having served overseas and graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Business Admin from a high ranking AACSB business school in the University of Missouri system. Instead of developing professionally and personally, I simply hoping I can get a public housing unit due to my service connected knee disability. Despite staying drug and alcohol free, but gay dandy veteran, I had expected and worked hard towards more success than this when I reached 40 years old, but little is making good logical sense in the 2000’s.

  • Gary

    VA rules have changed. You can get glasses without being 10 percent Service Connected. If you were turned down previously, better try again.

  • mike

    I don’t understand, I just drove 2.5 hours for a VA eye exam and was told I needed reading glasses. I was then told to go to the dollar store and buy some??????

  • Doug

    Very cheap eye glasses with lenses:

  • Doug

    I receive compensation from the VA. I had an initial eye exam in May of 2012. The VA then provided me eyeglasses with progressive lenses. I am quite satisfied. I was surprised to receive a letter from the VA, in February of 2013, stating I was to get another eye exam. The exam has been scheduled with Humana Veterans Healthcare Services, and I’ll see a private Doctor this month of March. One of the VA forms I received states specifically “You are not eligible for eyeglasses from the VA You will need to purchase eyeglasses at your own expense”. Anyone know if a “Directive” from the VA has changed, or has this been the standard in the past?

  • David Smith

    She has to apply for surviving spouse benefits. Or you can just sit on your hands and do nothing!

  • This would’ve been completely convenient if it were only applicable to all veterans. I don’t get the point of being picky here.

  • Mike Asbell

    The VA sucks. They make you go through so many loops when you’ve got a medical record from the service that they won’t even look at. I received injuries while I was in. I’ve been retired 15 years now and everything I go for is service connected but the VA refuses to accept it and in turn they make me pay every time I walk in the door plus they take money from my retirement. The VA sucks, just plain and simple. Don’t forget that the VA Doctors are Private sector rejects.

    • Mike Asbell,

      Don’t get me wrong, but after 15 years you feel you should just be able to walk in, get serviced without any proof at all that what your complaining about is service connected????? Seems you don’t understand how the VA works. Hell Mike, since you don’t feel the VA needs proof, just go to any Civilian Hospital and tell them you were hurt on the job, and see if they need proof of your claim.

  • Eldon Martin

    I’m a non service connected vet with a 70% disability and was getting a check for 340.00 dollars until I got married again and than whoosh it was gone. Tell me this what part of me serving did my now wife have to with my service to this country? I was the one in the service not her.

    • Eldon Martin,

      You’ve lost me. Because you got married again, the VA is charging you $340.00 dollars, or giving it to one of your wifes. Again, you’ve lost me.

  • vaissick

    VA is a government organization. Government paid doctors, nurses and everyone. That differs from ObamaCare where doctors, nurses and hospitals will NOT be staffed with government employees. That’s why ObamaCare is not socialism. VA is socialism. The reason for our dissatisfaction is that the government, VA included and very specifically, is inept. Until many of us write our Congressmen to complain, nothing will be done. If you have written your Congressman, great. If you have not written your Congressmen, just sit back and keep complaining as that will have no effect whatsoever. Always remember that VA employees are human and make mistakes. But always remember that they are government employees paid by your tax dollars and because of your service. Everything you buy has a tax on it and many times that is a federal tax. If they give you lip, go to their supervisor. Do not be a doormat.

    • MIke S.

      Although I”ve not received any govt. check since I got out of the Army, I have good friends who are employed by the federal, state, or local govts—and I can say that although I’ve only been employed in the private sector, I consider those govt. employees to be more honest, harder working, less greedy, and generally less sleazy than almost all private sector workers. The just want to do their job, do it well, and try to help whatever sector of society is in their purview, and that certainly includes the VA workers I’ve come across too. While you are correct that Obamacare has nothing to do with socialism, and that the VAMC’s are indeed socialized medical care, you should also be aware that several surveys/studies show that the VA provides the best and most efficient medical care of any group or institution in this country, and that the U.S. is one of the ONLY developed countries in the world without national medical care—a key indicator of civilized society. If military defense is important, why is not health care in the same category?

    • Eunis

      No Obama care will result in all employees being government employees and the lies and waste and abuse and lack of accountability will be available to all of us, not just our honored veterans!

  • Steve B

    Has anyone applied for service related hearing loss and were able to recieve hearing aids through the VA? Thanks for any info. Steve B

    • I am currently fight for SC hearing loss due to the large amount of exsplosions i was around as a Combat Enginner. They are giving me hearing aids without the rating because i had a large buren of proof including the military hearing exams upon entry and discharge that showed severe hearing loss and i had a hearing doctor do hearing test before i went in and when i got out on top of the VA’s test. its taken me 4 years but that may be because the Houston TX VA is a joke. I had a doctor say that all my problems (shoulder range of motion at less than 90% of normal, and a completel torn ligiment in my knee) were all caused by stress of being in the service. I had to gget a senator involved and the VA lied to him about my treatment so he handed the investigation the the House Sub Commitie on Veterans health care. you just have to keep fighting until thy give in.

    • Terry W

      I went the cleveland va,very nice staff,and hearing aids top notch,phonek audeo 90 .I have 30 percent dis,through the navy.Again,staff at cleveland audi dept,top notch

    • Newt Coady

      I received 10% dissabilty due to Tenitus (ringing in the ears) and minor hearing loss due to exposure to shelling on my Destroyer during Vietnam deployments. VA provided hearing aids which worked well. Good luck.

    • Alton Jones

      Yes, I have received 3 sets of hearing aids out of Indianapolis IN with no problems getting them. I had to go back for adjustments. I am in San Antonio Texas and am having a problem for a second pair of glasses . I need a prescription for sunglasses for photophobia and am serviced for photophobia.

    • Gary

      Yes. You have to have a hearing test issued by the VA to determine your loss.

    • dave holmes

      I applied and since I was in AMTRacs, they ruled the noise associated with them contributed to my hearing loss and now have a set of free hearing aids.

  • Carlos Matador

    I am 60% service connected and receive virtually 100% of my healthcare from the VA. I received glasses (no-line bifocals) and Siemens hearing aids from the VA. The eyeglass selection rivals ANY I have seen commercially available. The availability of Doctors or PAs is/has been an on-going problem in the 3 VA centers I have used over the past 25 years.

  • Johnny M

    My Dad also had 3 of the 4 types of symptoms caused by agent orange he passed away in Sep 9, 2012 I’m his only child it hurts because he was 63 . Love him so much because I can’t call or talk to him anymore. I’m also a veteran that served in the Navy for 11 years. To all the vets that have served I appreciate all of you.

    • Gary R Et

      GOD Bless you ,comfort you in your sorrow for the loss of your DAD. Thank YOU for your service Johnny…..

  • Ramon

    I’m in need of hearing aids. Served during the Vietnam era in artillery. I don’t qualify for either dissability or because my income is above the VA threshold. I read that there are over one million hearing aids in someone’s drawer.

    The inside the ear aids are made custom made, but the new over the ears type can fit anyone. I wonder if there is a way for people who doesn’t wear their aids can donate them or sell them to someone who have the needs.

    • Josh

      Ramon, I would re-apply. Your paycheck isn’t a determination of if you get disability compensation. Don’t apply for the healthcare portion, just compensation for your hearing loss. If approved, even 0% you should be able to get hearing aids. I hope that helps.

  • Ramon

    I’m on non-service related dissability and have Medicare while on dissability. Can veteran with medicare sign up with Tricare, does anyone know if Tricare covers hearing aids?

  • OEF

    the hearing aids at the Loma Linda VA in Cali are state of the art and very high quality. Don’t know what the others are talking about???

  • 8milereb

    As an overseas DAV will FMP pay for my eye exams?

  • Matthew Coles

    If you need hearing aids, probably the most important thing to determine your success with hearing aids is going to be the provider that you choose. Even more important than the exact hearing aid you choose is the hearing provider you choose, and for a number of reasons. It has been said that a good hearing aid dispenser working with an entry level hearing aid can get you better results than a poor hearing aid dispenser working on an excellent hearing aid- and we are inclined to agree. The most important part of getting hearing aids is the hearing provider you choose, and how well accustomed they are to the hearing aid they recommend and the hearing aid that will work best for you. There is so much to watch out for when choosing a hearing provider. Follow these tips to make sure you choose wisely.

  • Ramon

    I was wondering if anyone has received over the ear in the canal hearing aids from the VA and is not using them for x reasons. I’m in desperate need of hearing aids and it be wonderful to purchase a pair from a vet that is not using them. If you are happy with them, share your experience. Thanls

  • Ramon

    Is interesting how many people in different websites don’t know about the VA hospital care benefits for veterans. Everyone thinks that all Veterans qualify for the services. By the stories written here and My own experience the select group that qualifies is small in comparison to all of the veterans that are out there. I’m a Vietnam era veteran and do not qualify because I did not served in Vietnam and my income is above their threshold. Yet I hardly able to pay my bills.

  • Jack

    I noticed a question by a fellow vet concerning hearing aids. I have received free hearing aids from the VA.
    I am a Vietnam vet, with two tours, I scheduled an appointment with the VA in Denver for testing, and was rated as having a 30% disability due to my hearing loss.
    The VA scheduled a second visit, at which time I was fitted for 2 in the ear hearing aids that allowed the greatest volume increase possible. I received them from my local Colorado Springs facility 4 weeks later. They aren’t pretty but I didn’t care.
    Since I have been reading lips for 30 years it was heaven sent. You can’t use them for phone calls, but I can set them to drown out background noise so I can have conversations.



  • Joe H

    I retired in 1994 with a P3 hearing profile. After purchasing my own hearing aids for 15 years, and being told I could benefit from a coclear implant, I went to the Temple TX VA for another opinion. The service received was EXCELLENT!. I have state of the art hearing aids ($6,000/pr), batteries, dehydrator, and bluetooth adapter at no charge. When and if hearing degrades to need of implant, can get through VA. I have had run-ins with front line Primary Care physicians at VA, but once I got past them, the specialists have been great. Maybe I’m just lucky, but I can’t trash all of them.

  • T L Cook

    I go to the VA in San Antonio and could not be more satisfied with every aspect of the system there. I recently had an eye examination and was fitted for eyeglasses and they are most satisfactory. I see things I haven’t seen in years. Thank you VA. T L Cook from TX

  • jerald mcwilson

    need t order glasses and send them 3336 spring way pgh pa 15201 from the va hosp Oakland 15213 please

  • el Bo

    1. My Eddie Bauer frames from Loma Linda VA Hosp. are great. Eye exam contracted out to a local opto (I have transpo issues). Frame selection very limited tho.

    2. The VA/USMIL could do a much better job of informing separating service members of their eligibility for medical care. I didn’t find out I was eligible til after i called the crisis line: “If you served in the active military service and were separated under any condition other than dishonorable, you may qualify for VA health care benefits. ”

    3. My VA medical care is outstranding. Thank god for them or i couldn’t afford my meds.

    4. Getting assistance from your congressional rep is a must when you get the okey-doke from VA orgs like compensation. Congress i paid by us- don;t be shy. Launching a congressional investigation is what your letter does. And it sure lights a fire under any underperforming gov agency’s ass.