Black InterestsHealth & Wellness

Making Eye Care More Accessible to Black Americans


In the realm of ophthalmology, the impact of race on eye care highlights the inequalities people of color experience—especially Black Americans. Compared to other racial groups, they’re more likely to lack access to proper care and are more at risk of developing eye-related conditions like vision loss and diabetic retinopathy.

Yet times are changing. Both public and private organizations across the US recognize these issues and are working to make things different. Now, there are many initiatives and movements that are changing the landscape for the better. Here are a few ways they’re making eye care more accessible for Black Americans:

Addressing racial bias in healthcare

Racial bias in healthcare is one of the main factors that prevent people of color from receiving adequate care. Reports find that more than 10% of Black adults are discriminated against when they try to get treatment. This issue makes a significant impact on individuals from the community seeking eye care, especially since Black Americans are more likely to develop certain eye conditions.

That’s why organizations like PolicyLink lobby for Black individuals to increase the quality of care that they receive through its Ambassadors for Health Equity initiative. These individuals give a voice to the African American population by bringing up their concerns in relation to racial bias in the healthcare system to bring around change from governing bodies, paving the way for Black Americans to seek quality eye care without being discriminated against.

Making healthcare more affordable

Aside from racial bias, other improvements in healthcare have been made to address better the needs of Black Americans—namely, making it more affordable. For one, insurance has become more accessible, with only 11% of Black people not having a plan. This means that these healthcare policies can cover consultations with ophthalmologists and even the cost of glasses. Some policies even foot the bill for corrective procedures, such as LASIK. Federal programs like Medicaid have also been a great help for Black individuals that cannot afford to get eye care as it covers a wide range of optical services and corrective eye wear, though the latter may vary by state.

Many Black-owned eye wear brands specializing in budget glasses have also come into the scene, ensuring that eye care becomes more accessible for all. REFRAMD accomplishes this with its custom eye wear designed to suit the wider nose bridges of Black wearers, as a pair will only cost you around $50.

Increasing online services

Online services have become an easy way for African Americans to seek out help when it comes to eye care. Firstly, the boom in telehealth use has made it more convenient and cost-effective to see an ophthalmologist. Black Americans can also use the chat function of platforms to eliminate racial bias from their consultations. LiveHealth and PlushCare are popular options for many individuals.

Getting eye wear has also been made easier by online platforms. One place Black Americans can easily shop for prescription sunglasses with a click of a button is FramesDirect, which also sells corrective lenses to aid in visual impairment. With customer service staff trained by professional opticians, one can easily get the correct prescription and style of eye wear they need, even if they’re shopping online—and with specs for any budget point, getting the right pair is no longer so inaccessible.

Boosting eye health awareness

The last way eye care has become more accessible is through awareness. A study on health literacy found that the more marginalized groups understood the dangers of bad eye health, the more racial equality was promoted in eye care.

African Americans are continuously being educated on the dangers of poor optical health and the different ways to solve them. Organizations such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People work with Black communities to help them navigate today’s healthcare system to get the best aid possible by providing resources on which professionals to seek out and how to get funding to make care more affordable.

Though Black Americans may currently face difficulties accessing eye care, multiple organizations are working to ensure it’s becoming more accessible. And while there is still a long way to go in terms of true equality, steady improvements have certainly been made.

Article written by Rose Henderson

Exclusively for Black Men In

Photo creditFreepik (Source:

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