What is an Eye Exam?
An eye exam evaluates your vision and checks your eyes for different diseases. Even if you have good vision, eye exams are important because they can help detect health problems.
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:
This is a test to measure the sharpness of your vision. You must read lines of letters (that decrease in size) aloud on a chart projected onto the wall.
This is a test to check for blind spots in your peripheral vision.
This test observes your pupils to see how they react to light and close objects.
This test checks how your eyes work together. You cover one eye while focusing on a small object some distance away. An eye misalignment may be detected during a cover test.
Extraocular Muscle Function
In this test, you follow a target moving in different directions of their eyes. This test checks to see if you have normal eye movements.
This light test checks which lenses are appropriate if you need eyeglasses or contact lenses. The technician shines a light in your eyes while you look at a target. They observe the ways that the light reflects from their eyes.
Eye doctors recommend that you get a complete eye exam year or two. You may visit the eye doctor more often if you have poor vision or an eye disease.
How Much Does an Eye Exam Cost?
Eye exams vary in cost depending on where you get yours done. Large retail vision providers often charge $100 or less. 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.
Eye Exam Cost at Costco
An eye exam without insurance at Costo may vary depending on the location. No matter what, it is considered low-cost compared to private eye doctors.
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.
Eye Exam Cost at Target
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Target starts at around $70.
Target accepts many vision insurance plans that would ultimately make the price even cheaper.
Walmart Vision Center Eye Exam Cost
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.
Eye Exam Cost at Lenscrafters
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Lenscrafters starts at $73.
Lenscrafters accepts most major insurance providers.
Eye Exam Cost at Visionworks
The cost of an eye exam without insurance at Visionworks starts at $75. This may vary based on the location you choose.
Visionworks accepts most major insurance providers that can also help lower the fee.
America’s Best Eye Exam Cost
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.
How Much Does Insurance Cover in an Eye Exam?
Traditional health insurance usually does not cover eye exams unless they’re considered “medical” exams. Your health insurance might cover you if you have a medical eye problem.
For example, a routine vision exam may diagnose you with “nearsightedness.” A medical eye exam could give you a diagnosis like "conjunctivitis."
If your health insurance does not cover regular eye exams, you can purchase additional vision insurance that can help. Depending on the company and plan, your vision insurance may cover some or all of your eye exam. The cost of your co-pay will also vary.
Can You Get an Eye Exam Without Insurance?
Yes, you can get a vision test without insurance. Eye exam prices will vary, and you will have to pay out of pocket for it. You'll also have to pay for any glasses or contacts.
If you do not have vision insurance, you may choose to visit a larger retailer like Costco or Walmart. They 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 free glasses. Optometry Cares: The AOA Foundation also maintains a list of state-specific resources.
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