It’s important to have your eyes examined periodically by an eye care professional, even if you feel your vision is fine.

According to the AOA, in general, these visits should occur:

At least once every two years, or as recommended, for adults 18 - 60

Annually, or as recommended, for those 6 - 18 or 61 and over

For those younger,  at 6 months and 3 years of age, or as recommended

The question on many people’s mind: “How much do an eye exams cost?” The answer, as you might expect, depends on several factors—your location, the type of exam, whether you’re updating your lenses or getting new ones, etc.

Let’s take a moment to explore what factors you should consider when pricing an eye exam.

Eye exam prices

When scheduling your eye exam, feel free to ask about the costs involved. You’ll find they likely vary depending upon how comprehensive an exam you need and the level of expertise of your eye examiner.

For example, the overall cost for an ophthalmologist (an eye surgeon) is going to differ from that of a quick, low cost eye exam at a big box department store.

Before you start calling around, be ready to provide the following information:

  • Your insurance (if you aren’t covered, keep reading)
  • Your history of eye exams (when did you last visit an eye doctor?)
  • Your family’s history (did your parents always wear glasses?)
  • Your age and current state of vision

Having the answer to these questions before you call will likely help the people working at the eye doctor’s office better provide you with a quote on the cost of an eye exam.

Could I get a free eye exam?

If you qualify, you may be able to obtain a free eye exam or one at a reduced rate. If you have Medicare, you can find out what eye exam services are covered by visiting their site.

Plus, the state you reside in may provide low-cost eye insurance, as well as some local organizations or charities may be able to help.

As we said, it’s important to have regularly scheduled eye exams, even if you think you have no current problem seeing clearly.

That may well be the case. But, you should be sure. Some vision problems are only detectable in the early stages by an eye care professional, and these problems are usually easier to treat if they are caught early.

Try not to assume that an eye exam’s cost isn’t worth the visit. You may find it much more reasonable than you originally thought, and one visit now could prevent many eye problems down the road.


Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice, nor is it intended to replace the recommendations of a medical professional. For specific questions, please see your eye care practitioner.
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