Where to Get Cheap Eye Exams

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Patient looking through a phoropter during an eye exam
Image Credit: Dreamstime

Having your eyes checked regularly is important, especially if you wear glasses or contacts. 

I’ve been wearing glasses and contacts for years, so I know how pricey it can be. I’ve taken the time to call and talk with optometrist offices all over the country to get the best idea of where you can get a cheap eye exam. 

In this article, we’ll 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 $70 for an eye exam without insurance

If you’re being fitted for contacts or renewing your contacts prescription, you could be looking at an additional fee ranging from $100 to $150. 

The exact price of your eye exam will vary at each store 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:

 Lexington, KYAtlanta, GADenver, COAverage
Sam's Club$70$70$60$67
Target Optical$70$75$65$70
Walmart$70$89$59$73
Costco$69$85$79$78

In addition to these stores, America’s Best and 1 800 Contacts offer free eye exams. Of course, getting a free eye exam through either company comes with its own conditions. 

Where to Get a Cheap Eye Exam

If you have insurance, the best place to get a cheap eye exam is 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.

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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 free eye exams

America’s Best offers a free eye exam when you purchase any two pairs of glasses.

With this deal, you can pay $69.95 for an eye exam and two pairs of glasses. The glasses you’ll choose from are normally priced at $59.95 each. That means you’ll be saving $49.95 on two pairs of glasses plus an additional $50 with the free eye exam!

If you don’t plan on making your purchase from America’s Best, you can still get a cheap eye exam. Expect to pay about $50 for a comprehensive eye exam without insurance. 

To schedule an eye exam with America’s Best, find the nearest location and make your appointment online.

2. 1 800 Contacts

1800 Contacts free online eye exam webpage

1 800 Contacts offers a free online eye exam that you can take from home. I took the Express Exam and can verify it is completely free! Unfortunately, the online eye exam is only available 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 free, it isn’t a replacement for a comprehensive eye exam. The doctor cannot check your eye health in-depth or diagnose illnesses. For more information about the 1 800 Contacts Express Exam and to see if you’re eligible, read our review.

3. Sam’s Club

Sam's Club cheap eye exams

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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 $67. 

While a Sam’s Club membership is required to purchase glasses or contacts from the store, you don’t need a membership 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. 

4. Target Optical

Cheap eye exams at 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 $70.

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. 

5. Walmart

Walmart eye exams

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 $73.

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 scheduling.

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.

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6. Costco

Costco eye exams

Costco is another great option if you’re looking for a cheap eye exam. You can expect to pay about $78 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 locator to find the phone number. Select the optical department and speak with the independent optometrist.

Final Thoughts

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. Likewise, if you’re simply renewing your contacts prescription, you can take a free online eye exam 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 AOA Foundation

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