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With a variety of instruments and lights, an eye exam evaluates your vision and checks your eyes for different diseases. Even if you have good vision and don’t think you need any eyewear, eye exams are important because they can help detect health problems. This includes diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, lupus, and various eye diseases such as glaucoma and macular degeneration.
A comprehensive eye exam can take anywhere between 30 minutes and an hour. It involves a series of tests that each examine different aspects of your vision and eye health:
Most optometrists and ophthalmologists recommend that you get a complete eye exam about once every two to three years. You may visit the eye doctor more often if you have particularly poor or worsening vision or an eye disease. Other factors such as your age, medical history, and whether or not you currently wear glasses or contacts may also influence how often you have your eyes examined.
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Eye exams vary in cost depending on where you get yours done. You may get your eye exam done at a retail vision provider for under $100, but independent eye doctors may charge you more.
If you have vision insurance, your vision care plan may cover some or all costs of your eye exam.
An eye exam without insurance at Costo may vary depending on the location, but it’s still considered low-cost compared to the price that private eye doctors may charge. But you can usually get an eye exam for around $70.
Costco also accepts most vision insurance coverage plans, which can help to cut the cost down even further. However, this can vary, because Costco optometry offices are all independent. Some Costco offices don’t take insurance at all.
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Target starts around $70. Target accepts many vision insurance plans that would ultimately make the price even cheaper.
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Walmart starts at $75. Walmart accepts most major insurance providers for eye exams and in-store purchases. Vision insurance can bring down the cost of your eye exam.
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Lenscrafters starts at $73. Lenscrafters accepts most major insurance providers.
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Visionworks starts at $75 but will vary based on the location you choose. Visionworks accepts most major insurance providers that can also help lower the fee.
At America’s Best, eye exams are free when you buy two pairs of glasses. If you don’t buy two pairs of glasses, the eye exam is still only $50. America’s Best also accepts most major insurance providers.
Traditional health insurance does not usually cover routine eye exams unless they’re considered “medical” exams. In this case, your health insurance might cover you if you have a medical eye problem. For example, while a routine vision exam may diagnose you with “nearsightedness,” a medical eye exam could give you a diagnosis like "conjunctivitis."
However, if your health insurance does not cover your regular eye exams, you can purchase additional vision insurance that can help. Depending on the insurance company and plan you choose, your vision insurance may cover some or all of your eye exam cost. The cost of your co-pay will also vary.
Yes, you can get a vision test without insurance, though eye exam prices will vary, and you will have to pay out of pocket for it — in addition to any eyeglass frames or contacts to correct any eye problems you may have.
If you do not have vision insurance to help cover your eye exam cost, you may choose to visit a larger retailer like Costco or Walmart that run optometric clinics with qualified eye doctors at lower costs. These retailers exist all across the United States.
Likewise, the National Eye Institute has a list of organizations that provide free eye exams, vision screenings, and, sometimes, free glasses (like EyeCare America and Lions Club International). Optometry Cares: The AOA Foundation also maintains a list of state-specific resources.
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“Frequently Asked Questions: America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses.” America's Best, www.americasbest.com/faq.
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