what determines the cost of an eye exam without insurance?
The cost of an eye exam without the help of insurance will vary based on a number of factors. what type of provider you visit, what type of glasses you’d like, and even where you live can affect the price of your visit.
type of eye care provider
There are three main types of eye care providers that people consider when scheduling an eye exam.
retail stores: your costs, goals, sam’s clubs, walmarts and more. These stores do not specialize in eye care, but often have connected optical departments that offer eye exams.
Due to their agreements with big names in retail, these departments tend to represent the most affordable option for an eye exam. Sam’s Club leads the pack with exams costing around $45-$50, while you can expect to pay around $70 or more at most other retail contenders.
optical chains: Unlike retail stores, optical chains do specialize in eyes: their sole purpose is to manage eye care and sell eyeglasses. As the “chain” in the name indicates, they have multiple locations across the country.
not all optical chains work the same way. An optometrist at an optical chain location might work completely independently of the retail arm, essentially located next door to it, or might have a close business association with the eyewear store.
warby parker is an exception: we handle nearly every aspect of the eye care experience, from conducting your exam (or putting you in touch with a qualified ophthalmologist) to designing, manufacturing and selling eye care products. our exclusive eyeglass frames. Instead of relying on middlemen or a bunch of other eyewear companies, we are with patients every step of the way and have over 100 physical stores across the country.
Eye exams at optical chains tend to cost the same as eye exams at retail stores. some may also offer combo deals on exams that include the purchase of eyeglass frames and lenses.
These offers will definitely lower the cost of your exam, but since the price of frames can exceed hundreds of dollars, you’ll want to consider your total bill before committing. For our part, Warby Parker’s commitment to affordable eyewear means our frames start at $95 each, including prescription lenses.
Independent Eye Doctors: Clinics run by an independent optometrist or ophthalmologist (or a group of them) charge around $200 for a new patient eye exam.
However, if you become a regular patient, the cost of your eye exam will likely drop to the $100-$150 range.
The reasons for these numbers can vary and often depend on factors such as access to certain technologies or machines, the doctor’s specialties, the size of the practice, and how insurance works.
type of eye exam
Averages above apply to a standard comprehensive eye exam. That means the optometrist will assess the health of your eyes, test your vision, and see how your eyes refract light to prescribe the correct type of corrective lenses.
Some clinics will charge an additional fee for dilation of the pupils, if needed, or for retinal imaging that makes dilation unnecessary. retinal imaging fees will generally set you back around $30.
Also, if you want to wear contacts in addition to or instead of your glasses, the price of your eye exam will most likely go up. There’s usually an additional charge (we’re talking $100-$250 or so) for a contact lens exam and fitting.
If your eyes require even more specialized care (say the optometrist finds evidence of a condition like glaucoma, for example), then you may receive recommendations for additional tests, treatment options, or a referral to an ophthalmologist, the costs of which could very well exceed the averages quoted here.
Yes, where you live does have an effect on the cost of your eye exam. exams are much more expensive in coastal and/or metropolitan centers. Generally, the larger your city, the higher your bill.
If you’re looking for an affordable option in your area for an exam, check out warby parker locations near you.
how much does an eye exam cost with insurance?
If you have vision insurance, your eye exam will cost you much less out of pocket. It’s common to have a copay (think $10-$40 on average) for a comprehensive eye exam, and that’s if your insurance doesn’t fully cover it.
But having vision insurance also means paying monthly premiums, which can add up to $150 to $200 a year, depending on your plan. Many plans will help you pay for prescription glasses, and that bonus makes the insurance worth it for people who plan to buy new glasses and/or contacts each year.
Most health care plans don’t have an integrated vision component and won’t cover your routine eye exams if you’re an adult. (If you’re still technically a teen, you might be in luck: The Affordable Care Act requires all federally approved health insurance plans to include pediatric vision coverage for people under the age of 19.)
If you want vision insurance, you’ll probably need to sign up for a separate plan that’s separate from your medical health plan.
Cost shouldn’t get in the way of your vision care
taking care of your eyes and your vision is very important. no one should have to give up eye care due to lack of funds.
Fortunately, there are resources available for those who can’t afford an out-of-pocket eye exam: The National Vision Institute has a list of programs that can reduce or eliminate the cost of prescription eyeglasses and exams. warby parker exams are also priced below the approximate national average, starting at $85.
Your eyes deserve first class treatment that also respects your budget. Now that you know the average cost of an eye exam, we hope you feel empowered to choose the right optometrist for you, and if you need guidance, we know a couple.