Eye Exams Cost With and Without Insurance in 2024?

Ashley Brooks
Ashley Brooks1 Jan 2024
9 Different Types of Eye Exams
Cost of A Routine Vision Test at Different Retailers
Additional Costs When Getting an Eye Exam
Factors that Influence the Cost of Eye Exams
Are there programs that allow for savings or discounted rates on eye exams?
Different Types of Vision Insurance & Coverage Policy for Eye Exams
Eye Exam Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Bottom Line

The cost of an eye exam can range between $50 to $250. The average cost is about but is about $95. An eye exam’s price depends on whether you are a new or returning patient, your location, and whether you go to a retail vision provider or local private optometrist. Eye exams are often more affordable at major retailers than local optometrists when paying out-of-pocket. 

Without insurance, paying out-of-pocket for an eye exam and eyeglasses can be costly, especially when you still have to pay out-of-pocket for your other preventative care.  Mira provides at-home eye exam test for prescription renewal at $20 copay. Membership starts at $45 per month.. Sign up to start saving!

9 Different Types of Eye Exams

1.Routine Vision Test (Refraction Test) - Most common

  • Purpose: Determines the eyeglass or contact lens prescription needed for clear vision.
  • Process: Involves reading a series of letters on a distance chart, usually with one eye covered at a time. An instrument called a phoropter may be used to determine the combination of lenses that provides the clearest vision.
  • Cost: $50 to $250.

2. Comprehensive Eye Exam - Second most common

  • Purpose: Evaluate overall eye health, check for potential eye diseases, and determine vision prescription.
  • Process: Combines the routine vision test with various other examinations, including a pupil dilation to examine the retina and optic nerve for signs of disease.
  • Cost: Ranges from $110 to $200.

3. Contact Lens Exam

  • Purpose: Determines the size and type of contact lenses that fit best.
  • Process: After a routine vision test, the eye's surface is measured to ensure a proper contact lens fit. This may involve a keratometer or corneal typographer.
  • Cost: Typically, the average cost of a contact lens exam ranges between $120-$250, and contact lens fittings without insurance can start as low as $100.

4. Pediatric Eye Exam

  • Purpose: Checks for vision issues in children, ensuring proper eye development and function.
  • Process: Includes tests appropriate for the child's age, such as picture charts for very young children who might not yet know the alphabet.
  • Cost: $50 to $200.

5. Glaucoma Test (Tonometry)

  • Purpose: Measures the pressure inside the eye to assess the risk or presence of glaucoma.
  • Process: A numbing drop is applied, and a small amount of pressure is gently applied to the eye with a tool or instrument. Some methods may involve a puff of air directed onto the eye.
  • Cost: $98.

6. Dilated Fundus Examination

  • Purpose: Examines the retina, optic nerve, and blood vessels for abnormalities or diseases.
  • Process: After dilating the pupils with special drops, a magnifying tool and a light are used to inspect the back of the eye.

7. Visual Field Test (Perimetry)

  • Purpose: Assesses peripheral (side) vision, typically used to diagnose or monitor glaucoma.
  • Process: While looking straight ahead, light spots appear in the peripheral vision, and the patient presses a button whenever a spot is noticed.

8. Color Blindness Test

  • Purpose: Checks for color vision deficiencies.
  • Process: Involves identifying numbers or patterns hidden within dot patterns of different colors.

9. OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography)

  • Purpose: Produces detailed cross-sectional images of the retina to identify swelling, inflammation, or other abnormalities.
  • Process: Uses light waves to take cross-section pictures of the retina.

Cost of A Routine Vision Test at Different Retailers

The cost of an eye exam is often less expensive at major retailers than at a local optometrist. You can expect to pay between $50 to $100 when visiting a retailer, compared to nearly $200 when opting for a private physician’s office.  Below are the average costs of eye exams at vision centers and retailers across the country:

RetailerAverage Eye Exam Cost
Walmart Vision Center$75+
Lenscrafters$73+ varying depending on location
America’s Best$59 or free when buying two pairs of eyeglasses
Sam’s Club$45+

Additional Costs

According to the CDC, about 93 million adults in the United States are at high risk for severe vision loss, but only about half have visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months. For adults ages 40 years and older, the estimated economic impact of major vision problems is over $145 billion. Below are the average costs for standard additional vision services. 

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Ashley Brooks

Ashley Brooks works in Healthcare Consulting and graduates with her MPH in September of 2022 from George Washington University, but graduated with her B.S. in Health Science from James Madison University in 2019. Ashley has been with Mira since June of 2021 and shares the passion for creating affordable healthcare coverage for all!

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