How Much Does an Eye Exam Cost?

Our eye is one of the most important parts of our body. It lets us see the beauty of the world we are living in. Without it, we will only see nothing but darkness. That is why people do regular check-ups for their eyes to avoid complications in the future.

Even if you can still see clearly, you should still get a regular eye checkup. You should at least have a checkup every one to two years, according to the American Optometric Association.  Eye exams are not available only to people who have problems with their vision, as this is also for the people with 20/20 vision. This checks for any illnesses or diseases that could lead to blindness if neglected. If you are planning to have one, you might be asking “how much does an eye exam cost?”

Average Cost of Eye Exam

An eye exam is good not only for people that require glasses or contact lenses, it is also good for determining if you have glaucoma, cataracts, and degeneration of your macula. If these diseases are left untreated, it will cause blindness to your eye. For ages 6 up to 60 years old, it is required to have an exam every 2 years. For people aged 61 years or more, the frequency of an eye exam should increase to once every year. The reason is to maintain the wellness of your eye.

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Typically, an eye exam is not that expensive when it comes to medical services. But knowing the price of an eye exam will help you to prepare for the costs.

Depending on what clinic you are availing and the location that you are availing it in, the average cost of eye exam would run around $114. The price is for people who are not covered by a health insurance. If you are covered by vision insurance, you will have to pay expenses for the copays, usually around $5 up to $35. If you are lucky, some vision insurances cover the full cost of your eye exam annually.

The cost of an eye exam is way lower if you have insurance. You can have your own plan for only $10 up to $25 per month.  If you only have a little budget, there are large retailers that have optical departments that offer eye exam for a low price. These large retailers include Walmart, Costco, and Target. Walmart eye exam price would run around $50.

There is also a test that will determine what prescription you will need. It is called refraction. Some clinics have a separate charge for refraction. Typically it would run around $15 up to $40. Most of the times, vision insurance doesn’t cover refraction.

Extra Costs

After the eye exam, the doctor will then give you recommendations. If you need corrections with your vision, you might need to buy eyeglasses or contact lenses. If the doctor finds more serious conditions in your eye after the exam, such as a developing cataract, you will be required to do additional visits. Usually, people who are under 50 years old have low risks in developing such serious conditions.

Remember that most glasses or contact lenses are only valid for 12 months. If you have purchased one, you will have to return to your doctor after 12 months to get an update for your lenses.

Ways to Save Money

If you noticed, Walmart eye exam price is way cheaper than eye clinics. So if you want to save money, you can avail it at Walmart. But not all places have a Walmart, so if you still want to save money, there are discounted or even free eye exams that are available from different foundations. If you want to know what programs give discounts on an eye exam, you can visit National Eye Institute for the list.


Now that you have an idea on how much does an eye exam cost, knowing about its inclusions could also help you whenever you want to take an eye exam.

Whenever you take an eye exam, the first thing the doctor would do is to take your medical history. The doctor will ask you about the history of your family up to the current issue of your eye. There are a lot of tests included in an eye exam. One of it is the eye muscle test. It involves making you track the light all over their optical field. The reason for this is to determine if your eyes are still properly responding and if they are still in unison. Another test would be the visual acuity test. This involves making you read names, numbers, or letters on a chart that has a distance of around 20 feet from you. Another test is the color vision test. This test involves asking if you can see patterns in a page full of colored dots. Lastly, there is a visual field test. This test checks your peripheral vision.

There should also be a refraction assessment in the exam. In this test, the doctor will let you try a different prescription. If your family has a history of glaucoma, the exam should include eye pressure. In order for the doctor to see deep into your cornea, he or she will use a special eye drop to dilate your eye.

If you want to compare different costs from different clinics, you should pick the clinic that includes:

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  • Review of any history of eye problems from your family and you.
  • Uses the eye chart as evaluation of your distant and near vision.
  • The occurrence of nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or presbyopia should also be evaluated.
  • Determining if you need advanced lenses or bifocals.
  • Your eye coordination should also be evaluated.
  • Eye pressure test.
  • Examination of your optic nerve.
  • Interior eyes examination.

When you are looking for a clinic, be sure to ask if the price they gave you include those tests stated above. You may find some clinics that charge less, but most of them will charge you an extra if you want to avail some of those tests.

Different Price Range

Just like any other medical tests, eye doctors or also known as ophthalmologists, will charge you differently. You might avail some clinics that charge for as low as $50 for an eye exam. You might also find one that charges $300 or more. Typically, people who live in large metropolitan areas may pay more than those living in rural places.

Optometrist or Ophthalmologists

Aside from an Ophthalmologist, you can also avail an eye exam from an Optometrist. Their difference is that ophthalmologists are medical doctors that can prescribe contact lenses and eyeglasses. They could also treat eye medical conditions using surgery. While an optometrist offers the same service as the other one but they normally don’t perform surgeries.

Normally, ophthalmologist cost more than the optometrist. So to save yourself some money, avail the service from an ophthalmologist if you want them to deal with serious illnesses on your eyes. If you only want to do a regular eye exam, visit an optometrist.

Both of them are different opticians. But they are professionals that are trained specifically on ensuring the welfare and health of your eyes.

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