Regular eye exams are essential to maintain good eye health. However, the high cost often hinders access to eye exams for many individuals.
Certain vision problems may not exhibit evident symptoms. This means a medical professional must conduct a thorough analysis to identify or diagnose any potential issues.
An eye exam also helps determine whether you need glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.
Fortunately, many programs and organizations offer cheap or free eye exams. We'll cover some of the available options in this article.
How Much Does a Cheap Eye Exam Cost?
Cheap eye exams vary in cost but are usually available for $100 or less. However, cheap tends to equate to basic. If you have serious vision health concerns, seek a comprehensive eye exam.
Cheap eye exams are not recommended for people diagnosed with:
- Serious vision health issues
Eye exams protect your vision and diagnose other health concerns early. Some basic eye exams can detect problems with heart health, stroke risk, and diabetes-related vision problems.
However, if you believe these issues are a concern, setting up routine checkups at a full-service eye health center is best.
Cheap eye exams are ideal for young people with healthy eyes who want to measure visual acuity.
Where to Find Cheap Eye Exams
Many places offer low-cost and free eye exams. Most of these establishments are full-service and offer a full range of eyewear.
Some of the most popular eye health exams are available at:
Zocdoc helps you find nearby doctors in your network.
You can read reviews of eye doctors by real patients and book doctor appointments with a couple of clicks. You can even book an online eye exam with an eye doctor through remote teleoptometry sessions.
This is an online eye exam and a cheap contact lens exam. It's only available to people with a prescription for contact lenses (not for first-time customers).
The exam is $20 and can be taken in the comfort of your own home. Normally, you’ll have a regular comprehensive eye exam at your ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s office. However, you can receive an eye exam from 1800 Contacts remotely.
This eye exam ensures your prescription is up-to-date. The eye exam takes about 10 minutes, and you get your results within hours.
1800 Contacts eye exams are available to people aged 18 to 55 who live in an eligible state. States that don't offer online eye exams from 1800 Contacts include:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
At America's Best, you can get free eye exams if you purchase two pairs of glasses from the company. Contact lens eye exams are a bit more expensive and cost $99.
America’s Best also offers free exams for kids when you get 2 pairs of glasses for $79.95.
Some Target locations offer eye exams for approximately $55 through their Target Optical service.
Target Optical offers a basic exam. You pay more if you need pupil dilation. An eye doctor conducts the exam and prescribes corrective lenses if needed. You can learn more about Target Optical on their website or when you visit your local Target.
Costco Optical eye exams are available for club members for approximately $80 for a glasses exam. Contact lens exams are approximately $150.
The fee for a standard eye exam at Walmart Vision Center is $60. Walmart Vision Center accepts some forms of insurance, which might reduce the cost of your exam, glasses, and contacts.
Sam’s Club offers basic eye exams starting at $50 for members needing eye exams and glasses.
Dilation and contact lens exams cost more at about $100. You might also pay more if you need contacts for astigmatism or have other issues. You’ll also pay more if you purchase progressive lenses or bifocals.
EyeCare America offers a comprehensive eye exam for $89. Eyecare Club memberships cost $99 and offer up to two free annual exams for three years. People aged 65 and older and people at higher risk of glaucoma can also receive a free eye exam from them.
You can find cheap eye exams from Zocdoc, 1800 Contacts, America's Best, Target, Costco Optical, Walmart, Sam's Club, and EyeCare America.
Eye Exam Cost With & Without Insurance
Sometimes, insurance policies cover eye exams. They're considered preventative health care and require only a small co-pay from the insured. However, some people need to purchase a supplemental vision insurance plan that offers vision coverage.
Getting a regular eye exam is crucial to maintain optimal vision health. Many people don't have insurance coverage, or their plan doesn't have vision coverage, so they fail to receive regular eye exams. With cheap eye exams, it's still possible to undergo them without spending much money.
The average cost of an eye exam is about $200. However, a reputable vision center can offer low-cost or even free eye exams.
The cost of an eye exam depends on whether your insurance policy will cover them or not. Sometimes, it would require a small co-pay, and for others, they would need to purchase a supplemental vision insurance plan. The average cost of an eye exam is $200.
How Often Should I Receive Eye Exams?
The American Optometric Association (AOA) suggests receiving an eye exam at least once every two years. Getting a routine vision exam is part of eye care.
Children and people over 65 are recommended to receive an eye exam annually. However, this will vary depending on any present symptoms or conditions. Those with any symptoms of vision impairment may need to receive their eye exam more frequently.
Following these guidelines can help guarantee the best eye health for you and your family.
Free Eyeglasses for Low Income
You might qualify for a free eye exam or prescription eyeglasses based on your income limits. Some of the programs offering free and cheap eye exams and glasses for people without insurance include:
This is a national public health program.
It’s funded by charitable donations to the American Optometric Association (AOA) and staffed by volunteer optometrists.
The program provides a single free vision assessment for children under one year. You don't need insurance coverage to have an InfantSEE eye exam for your baby's vision evaluation.
Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) are federal and state-funded health programs offering healthcare coverage to low-income people.
Qualifications for Medicaid vary from state to state. Check with a representative in your state even if you think you do not qualify. Medicaid eligibility is less strict for people who are blind or have other disabilities.
Medicaid covers many preventative services, screenings, and treatments for health conditions. It includes an eye exam for vision care issues. The program pays for many services for eligible children, including vision and dental care and routine eye exams.
Sight for Students
This is a program offered by Vision Service Plan (VSP). It includes free eye exams and eyeglasses for low-income children without medical or vision insurance. It’s a national program that has been operating since 1997.
This is a non-profit volunteer optometry program that purchases glasses for low-income children.
The program also recycles glasses donated by the public and distributes them globally. The program was founded in 1932 and has provided free eyeglasses for low-income people worldwide.
The cost of a cheap eye exam normally costs $100 or less. Free eye exams, and even free eyeglasses, are also available for low-income earners without insurance. These include programs like InfantSEE, Medicaid, Sight for Students, and New Eyes.
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