Eye Exam Without Insurance

Eye Exam without Insurance – Overview

The total cost of an eye exam can range from US$ 50 to US$ 250, with the average cost closer to US$ 200.

The exact cost of an eye exam depends on several factors, such as the location, if you are a new or returning patient and whether you choose to undergo the eye exam at a local private optometrist or at a major retailer.

Eye exams are usually more affordable at major retailers, especially when you don’t have insurance coverage and you need to pay out of pocket.

Cost of an Eye Exam

Eye Exam without Insurance

Eye Exam without Insurance – Cost of an Eye Exam

As compared to a local optometrist, an eye exam at a major retailer is less expensive.

You can expect to pay around US$ 50 to US$ 100 when visiting a retailer, as compared to the US$ 200 you need to pay when you visit your optometrist.

Check out the specific costs of an eye exam at different major retailers in the United States:

  • Costco – US$ 70
  • Target – US$ 70
  • Lenscrafters – US$ 73+
  • Walmart Vision Center – US$ 75+
  • Sam’s Club – US$ 45+
  • America’s Best – US$ 50 / free when buying two pairs of eyeglasses

Apart from this basic cost, you may also end up paying some additional costs. According to reports by the CDC, around 93 million adults in the US are at a high risk of severe vision loss.

However, reports show that only about half of these adults visit an eye doctor at least once a year. For adults over 40 years, the total eye care impact on the economy comes to an astonishing US$ 145 billion.

Here are some commonly seen additional costs associated with eye exams:

  • Contact Lens exam – US$ 120 to US$ 250
  • Prescription Glasses – US$ 240
  • Contact Lenses (nearsighted) – US$ 200 to US$ 300 per year
  • LASIK Surgery – US$ 2,246 per eye
  • Cataract Surgery – US$ 3,500 to US$ 7,000

Factors that Influence Cost of Eye Exam Without Insurance

There are several factors that combine together to determine the exact cost of an eye exam for an individual. For instance, the fact that you are a new or returning patient matters, apart from the region or area you live in and the type of eye clinic you visit.

For new patients, an eye exam can cost around US$ 200 without insurance. For returning patients, costs vary less significantly, often within the same range as for new patients depending on services required.

In the Midwest, Southwest and Southeast regions, the average cost of an eye exam is around US$ 90 or less. However, the average cost of an eye exam in the Northeast is around US$ 112.

If you live in cities with higher costs of living, then you should expect to pay even more than this, at a private optometrist clinic.

Besides this, the type of clinic you visit also influences the total cost of an eye exam. For instance, the majority of eye exams cost around US$ 50 to US$ 250, depending on the type of clinic you choose.

At a retailer or vision center, you can expect to pay less than US$ 100 for an eye exam. However, the cost of an eye exam at a private optometrist clinic can be more than US$ 250, depending on your location.

Services Included in an Eye Exam

Generally, an eye exam takes around 30 minutes to an hour. According to the results, the doctor may recommend vision correction with eyeglasses or contact lens prescription, or may even advise you to undergo surgery such as LASIK surgery.

Usually, a normal visit to the optometrist does not involve selecting eyeglasses or contact lenses and surgery requires visiting a specialist at a different time. In a basic eye exam, you can expect to have the following evaluations:

  • Peripheral vision
  • Sharpness of vision
  • Refractive errors (for eyeglass prescription)
  • Eye alignment
  • Pupillary reaction to light and close objects
  • Ocular health
  • Muscular function


According to professionals, the main reason that patients visit an eye specialist is when they develop severe eye problems, usually because they need eyeglasses or contact lenses.

Apart from this, experiencing pain or irritation in the eye is the most common problem.

However, the American Optometric Association recommends an eye exam once every two years for adults without vision problems or risk factors.

This is a better way to detect eye problems in the beginning stages and remedy them with affordable solutions.

See Also

Does Medicare Cover Eye Exams

Does Medicaid Cover Eye Exams

Does Medicare Cover Cataract Surgery

Laser Eye Surgery Cost

Medical Care Without Insurance

Current Version
July 30, 2022
Written By
Shubham Grover
March 21, 2024
Updated By
Andrea Morales G.

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