Having your eyes checked regularly is important, especially if you wear glasses or contact lenses.
I’ve been wearing glasses and contacts for years, so I know how pricey getting an eye examination can be. For this article, I contacted optometrist offices all over the country to get the best idea of where you can get a cheap eye exam.
Here’s a look at the best available prices (without insurance) for routine eye exams.
How Much Does a Cheap Eye Exam Cost?
On average, you can expect to pay around $80 for an eye exam without insurance.
If you’re being fitted for contacts or renewing your contact lens prescription, you could be looking at an additional fee ranging from $100 to $150.
The exact price of your eye exam will vary depending on where you live. I called optometrist offices in Lexington, Kentucky; Atlanta, Georgia; and Denver, Colorado, to get an idea of the average eye exam price at each store.
Here are the prices I found for a basic comprehensive eye exam in December 2021.
Lexington, KY Atlanta, GA Denver, CO Average
Sam's Club $70 $75 $65 $70
Costco $70 $90 $79 $79
Walmart $90 $89 $75 $85
Target Optical $85 $99 $79 $88
In addition to these stores, America’s Best offers a free eye exam when you buy two pairs of glasses, and 1-800-Contacts offers an online eye exam for $20.
Where To Get a Cheap Eye Exam
If you have insurance, the best place to get a cheap eye exam is at an optometrist office that accepts your insurance. If you’re paying out of pocket, you’ll want to find out which eye doctor near you offers the cheapest eye exam.
Let’s take a closer look at six of the most popular places to get a cheap eye exam:
1. America’s Best
America’s Best offers a free eye exam when you purchase any two pairs of glasses.
With this deal, you pay $69.95 for an eye exam and two pairs of glasses. The glasses you’ll be able to choose from are normally priced at $59.95 each. That means you’ll be saving $49.95 on the glasses, plus you’ll get a $50 eye exam for free!
If you don’t plan on buying your glasses from America’s Best, you can still get a cheap eye exam. Expect to pay about $50 for a comprehensive eye exam without insurance.
1-800-Contacts offers an online eye exam that you can take from home. It used to be free, but now it costs $20. I took the Express Exam when it was free, and I can verify that it’s legit! Unfortunately, the online eye exam is available only for contacts prescription renewals. Once you’ve received your prescription, you’ll be able to order contacts through 1-800-Contacts for the next year.
While the online eye exam is convenient and cheap, it isn’t a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. The doctor cannot check your eye health in-depth or diagnose medical problems. For more information about the 1-800-Contacts Express Exam and to see if you’re eligible, read our review.
3. Sam’s Club
If you’re looking to get a traditional comprehensive eye exam and you’re paying without insurance, Sam’s Club is one of the cheapest places to make your appointment. On average, a comprehensive eye exam at Sam’s Club will cost around $70.
While a Sam’s Club membership is required to purchase glasses or contacts from the store, you don’t have to be a member to see the in-store optometrist. To schedule an eye exam at Sam’s Club, find the nearest location and call to make an appointment.
For more information on Sam’s Club’s Optical Center, be sure to read our full review before you book.
Costco is another great option if you’re looking for a cheap eye exam. You can expect to pay about $79 for a comprehensive eye exam at Costco.
Like Sam’s Club, you don’t have to be a Costco member to schedule an eye exam at Costco Optical. If you plan on purchasing glasses or contacts from the warehouse, you will need a membership.
To schedule an appointment at your nearest Costco, use the store’s online store locator to find the phone number. Select the optical department and speak with the independent optometrist.
For more information on Costco Optical, check out our full review online.
Most Walmart stores have a vision center where you can get a comprehensive eye exam. On average, an eye exam at Walmart will cost about $85.
To schedule an eye exam at your local Walmart, use the store’s online locator to get the contact information for your nearest store. Be sure to ask exactly how much you can expect to pay for a comprehensive eye exam without insurance before you schedule an appointment.
Walmart also sells glasses and contacts, but once you’ve completed your exam you’ll be able to use the prescription to order from any retailer.
To learn more about getting eye exams and buying glasses or contacts from Walmart’s vision center, be sure to read our full review here.
6. Target Optical
If your local Target has an optical center, you can schedule an eye exam there. An eye exam at Target Optical costs around $88.
You can book an exam online by entering your ZIP code. Still, I recommend calling your nearest Target Optical center to get an exact price for the eye exam before scheduling.
Once you take an eye exam at Target, you’ll receive a printout of your current prescription. You can then choose to purchase glasses from Target or from another retailer.
To learn more about Target Optical before you decide to book, read our full review here.
The best way to make sure you’re saving the most on your next eye exam is to call optometrist offices in your area and compare the prices. If you aren’t sure where to start, consider checking the prices at your nearest Sam’s Club, Target Optical, Walmart and Costco.
If you plan on purchasing glasses at America’s Best, you can get a free eye exam through a connected local eye doctor. And if you just need contacts, you can take an online eye exam to get a new prescription for $20 at 1-800-Contacts.
If you’re over the age of 65 and haven’t seen an ophthalmologist in three or more years, you may be eligible for a free medical eye exam through EyeCare America. You can check your eligibility online.
For more ways to save on an eye exam, check out these national vision resources provided by the American Optometric Association (AOA) Foundation.