The eye exam costs at Walmart Vision Centers are around $60 for a glasses prescription only. If you add an exam for contact lenses, it jumps to around $125 to $150 based on that location. This does not include an exam for progressive/bifocal lenses. A retinal photo costs around $20. If you are curious as to what happens during an eye exam, check out this article on, “What Happens During an Eye Exam?”
Eye Exam Costs at WalMart Vision Centers
Millions of people each year turn to Walmart eye care. They are in most cities in the United States. Considering they now offer services for photography, automotive needs, nails, banking and beauty needs, it’s no surprise that they also offer eye exams, eyeglasses and contact lenses. When Walmart first entered the optical industry back in 1991, they were already known for their affordable prices. But they applied this same approach to glasses, lenses and contacts. However, their quality was average but still on par with other big box stores and eyeglass chains.
However in 2000, they started offering premium products such as lenses from Carl Zeiss. So what are the eye exam costs at WalMart? Because of Walmart’s size, they have become one of the top 5 largest optical retailers in the United States. Their mindset in the optical reflects their overall value proposition of convenience and low cost. You can often walk-in and get an eye exam fairly quickly.
Will a Walmart Optometrist provide the same quality exam as your local, family Optometrist?
The eye doctors at WalMart have the same degree as any other eye doctor. They are just renting a space within or next door to a WalMart, versus rent their own stand alone facility. Every doctor that WalMart hires or contracts with are licensed and fully certified optometrists. The question about quality has nothing to do with where they work, as much as it does with experience. I would look for an optometrist that has been out of school for a long period of time and has seen lots of patients. And if you have a fairly detailed prescription or you may have additional medical issues, you may want to stick with your existing eye doctor who knows your history and will be able to provide more time on the exam.
Rumors of Walmart eye doctor turnover.
Because health care laws vary from state to state, some doctors are actually Walmart employees. However, most are independent doctors of optometry who lease their equipment, staff, and office space from Walmart. Because of this lease situation, the turnover rate among Walmart’s doctors is fairly high. Therefore, you may not see the same doctor every time you return for an office visit or examination. I have found that most patients enjoy developing somewhat of a relationship with their eye doctor whom they see year after year.
Does Walmart have lower pricing than an independent Optometrist?
Even though you may think of WalMart as having lower eye exam costs since they are a low price leader, however their prices on eyeglass lenses and frames are often the same as those of many private, independent optometrists. In fact, Walmart once boasted extremely competitive contact lens prices, with prices being slightly below those found in private practices or other commercial practices, such as Lenscrafters. However, many of their suppliers now require Uniform Pricing to level the playing field on pricing between retail, online and private practices. For example, Walmart made an agreement with 1-800-Contacts for contact lens processing, purchasing and sales, resulting in an increase in price. You may be surprised to learn that your private practice doctor is just as competitive on contact lens prices.
Walmart Eyeglass Frames
Overall they have a pretty good selection of Walmart eyeglass frames including Vera Wang, Ray-Ban, Tom Ford, Steven Tyler, DKNY, Giorgio Armani, PUMA, Montblanc, Phat Farm, Hugo Boss, Body Glove and more. For kids, look for brands like Nickelodeon and Hanna Montana. You may, however, find it difficult to special order certain items, such as brand name progressive lenses or high-profile brand frames. Do not expect to find the higher end frames and lenses. Remember that they are a “value provider” so their overall quality will tend to be lower than you may see at many private optometrists.
Does Walmart Take Vision Insurance?
While most independent optometrists honor several insurance plans, you may not be able to use your health or vision insurance at Walmart vision centers, as many of the centers’ optometrists work on cash-based systems. Also, while some of their doctors provide ancillary services, such as treatment of eye infections or disease, their examination and office setup is mainly designed to provide routine vision care. More complex eye conditions may be better left to private eye care practices.