Updated on 

October 26, 2021

Vision Center is funded by our readers. We may earn commissions if you purchase something via one of our links.

Cheap Eye Exams and Glasses

Eye Exam Cost With & Without Insurance

Regular eye exams are important to protect your eye health. Some issues don’t present any obvious symptoms, and require a careful analysis from a medical professional to recognize. Annual exams help diagnose and treat eye health issues and provide you with a pair of glasses or contact lenses to correct your vision.

Eye exams diagnose and correct problems with vision. Instead of dealing with eye strain, headaches, and trouble concentrating, an eye exam diagnoses the issue with your vision and provides you with prescription lenses to correct the problem, or recommends alternative treatments such as LASIK eye surgery.

Sometimes, insurance policies cover eye exams. They are considered preventative health care and require only a small co-pay from the insured. Some people need to purchase a supplemental vision insurance plan that offers coverage. But even if you do not have insurance coverage, or your plan does not cover eye exam costs, it’s still possible to undergo an exam without spending a lot of money.

An eye exam’s average cost is about $200, but you can find reputable vision health establishments that do it for much less.


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 supplemental vision insurance plan. The average cost of an eye exam is $200.

How to Find Cheap Eye Exams 

Many places offer low-cost and free eye exams. It’s a good idea to evaluate your options and determine which is right for you based on your vision health concerns more than simply finding the cheapest eye exam. Many 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 eye exams via video conferences for remote teleoptometry sessions.

1800 Contacts

This is an online eye exam and cheap contact lens exam offered to people who already have a prescription for contact lenses (not for first time customers). The exam is $20 and taken in the comfort of your own home. Ideally, you’ll have a regular comprehensive eye exam at your ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s office and use this free eye exam to ensure your prescription is up-to-date. The exam takes about 15 minutes and you get your results within hours.

Schedule an eye exam with 1800 Contacts 

1800 Contacts eye exams are available to people aged 18 to 55 who live in an eligible state. States that do not offer online eye exams from 1 800 Contacts include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Kansas
  • Louisiana
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • West Virginia

America’s Best

Americas Best offers eye exams for $45. This fee might be waived if you purchase two pairs of glasses from the company. Contact lens eye exams are a bit more expensive and cost $79. 

America’s Best also offers free contact lens exams for three years (up to 2 exams per year) for its Eyecare club members. The membership fee is $99. 

Schedule an eye exam with America's Best


Some Target locations offer eye exams for approximately $55 through their Target Optical service. This is a basic exam. You pay more if you need pupil dilation. An eye doctor conducts the exam and offers a prescription for corrective lenses if needed.

Schedule an eye exam with Target 


Costco eye exams are available for club members for approximately $80 for a glasses exam. Contact lens exams are approximately $150.

Visit Costco Optical 


The fee for a standard eye exam at Walmart Vision Center is $60. Walmart accepts some forms of insurance, which might reduce your exam cost or cover the cost of your glasses or contact lenses. 

Schedule an eye exam with Walmart 

Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club offers basic eye exams starting at $50 for members who need eyeglasses. Dilation and contact lens exams cost more at about $100. You might also pay more if you need contacts for astigmatism or other concerns that extend beyond a basic exam. You’ll also pay more if you are interested in purchasing progressive lenses or bifocals. 

Schedule an eye exam with Sam's Club 

EyeCare America

EyeCare America offers comprehensive exams for $89. Eyecare Club memberships cost $99 and offer up to two free exams per year for three years.

Learn More about EyeCare America


You can find cheap eye exams from Zocdoc, 1800 Contacts, America's Best, Target, Costco, Walmart, Sam's Club, and EyeCare America.

How Much Does a Cheap Eye Exam Cost?

Cheap eye exams vary in cost but are usually available for $100 or less. Cheap tends to equate to basic, so if you have serious vision health concerns, it’s best to seek a comprehensive and likely more expensive exam. Cheap eye exams are not recommended for people diagnosed with:

  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Serious vision health issues

Eye exams are important for protecting your vision and for early diagnosis of other health concerns. 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 for you, it’s best to establish a working relationship with a full-service eye health center and set up routine check-ups.

Cheap eye exams are ideal for people who are young, do not suspect any eye health issues, and want to measure their visual acuity.

Free Eyeglasses for Low Income 

You might qualify for a free eye exam or free prescription eyeglasses based on your income. 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 of age. You do not need insurance coverage to have your baby’s vision evaluated by InfantSEE.

Learn More about InfantSEE


Medicaid is a federal and state-funded health program that offers healthcare coverage to low-income individuals of all ages. Requirements for qualifying for Medicaid vary from state to state, so it’s important to check with programs 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, including vision care issues. The program pays for many services for eligible children, including vision dental care and routine eye exams.

Learn More about Medicaid Vision

Sight for Students

This is a program offered by Vision Service Plan (VSP). It includes free eye exams and free glasses to low-income children without medical or vision insurance. It’s a national program that has been operating since 1997.

Learn More about Sight for Students

New Eyes

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 to people globally. The program was founded in 1932 and has provided free eyeglasses for low-income people around the world.

Learn More about New Eyes


Cheap eye exams normally cost $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.

4 Cited Research Articles
  1. Vision and Hearing Screening Services for Children and Adolescents. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.medicaid.gov/medicaid/benefits/early-and-periodic-screening-diagnostic-and-treatment/vision-and-hearing-screening-services-children-and-adolescents/index.html
  2. Lundeen, Elizabeth A et al. “Disparities in Receipt of Eye Exams Among Medicare Part B Fee-for-Service Beneficiaries with Diabetes - United States, 2017.” MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report vol. 68,45 1020-1023. 15 Nov. 2019, doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6845a3
  3. Kimel, Linda S. “Lack of Follow-up Exams After Failed School Vision Screenings: An Investigation of Contributing Factors.” The Journal of School Nursing, vol. 22, no. 3, June 2006, pp. 156–162, doi:10.1177/10598405060220030601.
  4. Picone, G., Brown, D., Sloan, F. et al. Do Routine Eye Exams Improve Vision?. International Journal of Health Care Finance and Economics 4, 43–63 (2004). https://doi.org/10.1023/B:IHFE.0000019262.27436.3d
Melody Huang is an optometrist and freelance health writer. Through her writing, Dr. Huang enjoys educating patients on how to lead healthier and happier lives. She also has an interest in Eastern medicine practices and learning about integrative medicine. When she’s not working, Dr. Huang loves reviewing new skin care products, trying interesting food recipes, or hanging with her adopted cats.
Michael Bayba earned his B.A. in English and Linguistics from the University at Buffalo. Upon graduating, he began researching, writing, and editing full-time. His passion for promoting health and healing in communities around the world has led him to create evidence-based and research-backed content on vision and other health topics. His mission is to help individuals find quality and affordable treatment so they can live a healthy life.
Author: Michael Bayba  | UPDATED October 26, 2021
left pointing arrow icon
Medical reviewer: Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
left pointing arrow icon
Dr. Melody Huang, O.D.
The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.

All about Vision Center

Other Links

The information provided on VisionCenter.org should not be used in place of actual information provided by a doctor or a specialist.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram