Getting an eye exam is an essential part of maintaining eye health. But many people are hesitant to get one because they worry about how much it will cost without insurance.
The average cost of an eye exam without insurance can vary greatly depending on the type of exam you need, the provider’s location, and your vision needs. Generally though, a regular eye exam costs up to $250 without insurance coverage.
Additional charges may apply if further in-depth testing is needed, such as for conditions like glaucoma or cataracts. In these cases, the cost of an eye exam can get up to $400 or more without insurance.
Below, we outline the cost of an eye exam in more detail and how much you can expect to pay at certain places.
What Does An Eye Exam Cost Without Insurance?
The cost of an eye exam without insurance depends on the retailer and the type of exam. Here are some of the most popular retailers and their associated exam costs:
At Costco, an eye exam without insurance typically costs around $70. This cost is usually offset by the money saved on frames and contact lenses purchased at their stores.
For those needing a comprehensive eye exam, a complete eye health assessment, including refraction, could cost up to $200 without insurance.
Walmart Vision Center
At Walmart Vision Center, an eye exam without insurance typically runs around $75+.
Premium services such as a retinal imaging scan or glaucoma testing can cost extra.
Also, those needing contact lenses may be subject to additional fees.
A basic eye exam at Target Optical without insurance costs around $70.
If you need specialized services such as retinal imaging or contact lens fitting, those prices can go up to $120.
Depending on the type of lenses you choose, glasses, or contacts, prices for products range from about $150 for basic frames up to $600 for designer frames.
An eye exam with Lenscrafters typically costs between $65 and $75 without insurance. This cost covers a comprehensive eye exam, including a thorough health analysis of your eyes and an assessment of your vision correction needs.
In addition, Lenscrafters also provides services such as contact lens fittings and eyeglass frame selections for an additional charge.
Depending on the location, Lenscrafters may offer special discounts or promotions for exams that are not covered by insurance. Ask the store manager or optometrist about any current discounts at your appointment.
America’s Best Contacts & Eyeglasses
America’s best is one of the cheapest sources for eye exams and glasses. To get an eye exam without insurance at America’s Best, you may pay as little as $59 in some states. It is always best to check the local store for prices since the cost varies by location.
This cost typically covers two pairs of eyeglasses with single-vision lenses and standard frames. If you need a contact lens fitting, the cost of an eye exam may be higher.
For those looking to purchase glasses without insurance but still get a good deal, America’s Best offers an Eyecare Club membership for $99 that includes two pairs of glasses from select frame collections, two eye exams, discounts on extra pairs of glasses, and additional savings on contacts.
Sam’s Club offers the lowest prices on eye exams and eyeglasses with no insurance. An eye exam at Sam’s Club costs $45, while a contact lens fitting is an additional $30.
You can also get a complete pair of glasses for as little as $50 – plus discounts if you purchase multiple pairs.
Sam’s Club also offers an Eyecare Program membership for $65, including three eye exams and discounts on lenses, frames, and contact lenses.
** Prices of the above with insurance: it is free or much lower than stated above.
Other Costs To Note When Getting An Eye Exam
Several other costs may affect the cost of an eye exam without insurance. They include:
Contact Lens Exam
One of the costs to consider is a contact lens fitting and evaluation. If you plan on wearing contacts, your eye doctor will likely include this as part of the exam cost if it’s not explicitly listed.
Depending on the establishment and type of contact lenses prescribed, the fee may rise to $250.
In some cases, you may require special testing, which may include but is not limited to: visual field screening, corneal topography, or retinal imaging.
These tests cost up to $100 per test.
This fee is for the doctor’s time refracting (measuring) your vision during the exam. It is generally included in the fee for the eye exam. In some cases, however, it can be an additional cost of up to $45.
Additional fees will likely be associated with their services and products if you need glasses or contact lenses after your appointment. These costs vary greatly and depend on the type of frames and lenses you select.
Another cost to consider is the cost of prescription glasses. Generally, you can expect to pay up to $500, depending on the lenses and frames chosen. Some frames, such as designer frames, can be more expensive.
At-Home Vision Tests
Some online companies offer vision tests that you can do from home for around $50 to $60. These are not comprehensive eye exams and should not replace regular visits to an optometrist or ophthalmologist. However, they may provide a good starting point to determine if you need to schedule an appointment with an eye professional.
Sometimes, people may opt for LASIK surgery instead of glasses or contact lenses. This is a serious procedure and should only be done under the care of an eye doctor.
The cost of LASIK surgery can vary drastically, depending on the provider and the type of procedure. Some estimates suggest that it can cost up to $4,500 for both eyes.
A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens in the eye. Cataract surgery is also a serious medical procedure, costing anywhere from $3,500 to $7,000 per eye. Sometimes, the charges may go up to $10,000 or more.
If you’re struggling to afford your eye exam or accompanying surgery, insurance is the answer. We understand that for the most part, the prices are inaccessible if you’re not currently earning an income, and aim to solve this problem.
At Enhance Health, we help you access information about your options no matter what you earn.
5 Factors That Affect The Cost Of An Eye Exam
Many factors affect the cost of an eye exam including the following:
Your location is an integral factor in determining the cost of an eye exam. Major metropolitan areas tend to have more expensive exams than more rural locations. This is because the cost of living and doing business in large metropolitan areas is much higher than in rural areas.
New Vs Returning Patient
If you are a new patient, the eye exam cost will usually be higher than for a returning patient. This is because more diagnostic tests may need to be performed during the initial visit. For example, a dilation test might be recommended for new patients but not necessary for returning patients.
Type Of Exam
The type of eye exam you choose will also affect the cost. A basic eye exam usually costs less than a comprehensive one. This may only include tests like visual acuity measurement and a refraction assessment to determine your eyeglass prescription.
A comprehensive exam will include additional tests, such as a dilation test to check for eye diseases or conditions like glaucoma.
The age of the patient also affects the cost of an eye exam. Children typically pay less than adults as their exams may require fewer tests and procedures. This is because children’s eyes are usually in better health than adults, so their exams tend to be less complicated and time-consuming.
Type Of Clinic
The type of clinic you visit may also affect the cost of an eye exam. For example, a private optometrist’s office usually charges more for an eye exam than a chain store or online retailer. This is because independent clinics tend to have higher overhead costs and more specialized services.
Why Are Eye Exams Important?
Below are some benefits of getting regular eye exams:
The most obvious benefit of an eye exam is that it can identify your sight problems and address issues preventing you from seeing clearly.
Regular eye exams can help ensure you have the best possible vision and reduce any symptoms of eyestrain or fatigue.
Early Detection Of Eye Conditions
Eye exams can detect more than just vision problems. They can also identify early signs of eye conditions like glaucoma, cataracts, and age-related macular degeneration.
Early detection typically makes treatment much easier and more effective.
Protection From Injury Or Disease
Routine eye exams can help protect your eyes from injury or disease. Your eye doctor can suggest ways to reduce the risk of developing certain conditions, such as wearing protective eyewear when doing activities involving objects flying in your face, like playing sports or using power tools.
Overall Good Health
Eye exams can provide early warning signs for systemic illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure, and autoimmune diseases. When these conditions are identified early, managing and reducing the risk of serious health complications can be easier.
How Often Should I Have An Eye Exam?
It is generally recommended that adults have an eye exam at least once every two years or more frequently, depending on age and health history.
You should visit your eye doctor annually to get the best vision possible if you wear glasses or contacts.
Do I Need An Eye Exam If I Don’t Wear Glasses?
Yes, even if you don’t need corrective eyewear, it is important to get regular eye exams. Your eye doctor can detect early signs of serious conditions and ensure your eyes are healthy.
Getting an eye exam without insurance is a costly affair. At Enhance Health, we can help you find the most affordable health insurance plan for your needs. With the right coverage, you can get eye exams and other necessary treatments to maintain good vision and overall health.
Contact us today to find health insurance that suits your needs and your budget.