How much does it cost to get an eye exam?
One of the biggest questions we get is, “How much does it cost to get an eye exam?” For a regular eye exam, you can generally expect to pay from $40 up to $120 with an Optometrist. If you choose a retinal scan or even to get dialed, it is often an additional $40. If you go to an Ophthalmologist, the pricing can run all the way up to $500 depending on the depth of the exam.
So now it’s time to get your annual eye exam. The only problem is that you don’t know where to go. Finding the right eye doctor is every important. On one hand you want to get a quality exam, while on the other you do not want to overpay. When looking at the eye doctor costs, it is important to consider 2 primary factors:
1) Who is performing the exam?
Exams from ophthalmologists generally cost more than from optometrists. Most often, people choose an ophthalmologist to deal with diseases or specialized problems and see optometrists for routine vision exams.
2) Where are you having an exam?
You can get an eye exam at several different places such as a retail store, optical chain, medical clinic or private doctor’s office. Retail stores and optical chains generally have cheaper eye doctor costs and charge less for an exam. However we have found that an indepedent, private practice Optometrist will provide the very best exam.
Having a regular eye exam is important not only to check for vision problems that require glasses or contact lenses but also to check for diseases, such as glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration, that can lead to blindness if left untreated. While the cost of a comprehensive eye exam can be as low as $50, the average price for an eye exam is slightly more than $100, with the exact figure dependent on a number of factors. Vision insurance coverage varies. Some plans pay for the exam cost outright, while others require a copay. We have reviews of specific retailers listed here: Lenscrafters, Americas Best, Pearle Vision, more.
What does an Optometrist or ophthalmologist cost to get an eye exam?
Ophthalmologists are medical doctors who prescribe eyeglasses and contacts and treat medical conditions that affect the eyes, including performing surgery. Optometrists can offer most of the same services as an ophthalmologist but typically don’t perform surgery, with some exceptions.
While ophthalmologists attended medical school and then received specialized training related to the eyes, an optometrist typically attended a four-year optometry school after college and received a Doctor of Optometry (OD) degree.
What’s the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists?
Both differ from opticians, who aren’t doctors but are professionals trained to fit, adjust and repair glasses. Opticians also teach contact lens wearers how to apply, remove and care for their lenses.
What’s included in the cost to get an eye exam?
Vision exams can include a number of different tests, which vary depending on the doctor you choose and your personal/family vision history.
At a minimum, you want a comprehensive eye exam to include reviewing your personal health and vision history, evaluating your distance and near vision using an eye chart, checking for farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and presbyopia, testing the ability of your eyes to work together, testing for glaucoma, and examining the interior of your eyes to check for problems such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
Your eye doctor can also talk with you about the potential benefits and risks of procedures, such as LASIK.
How often should you get an eye exam?
Recommendations for the frequency of a vision exam vary. Parents should have their infants eyes checked at 6 months to be sure there are no problems. Then starting at age 3, they should receive another eye exam. At age 6, kids should have their eyes tested every two years, and more often if their eye doctor recommends it.
In general, if you wear glasses or contact lenses, the recommendation is every one to two years. If you don’t wear corrective lenses and are healthy and between the ages of 20 and 40, you can get an exam as infrequently as every five years, unless you notice vision changes that may require immediate care. If you have risk factors, such as diabetes, previous eye injuries, a family history of disease of the eyes, more frequent exams are appropriate.
If you’re between 40 and 64, an exam every two to four years is appropriate, depending on your overall health and risk factors. Of course, if you notice worrisome changes, get an exam sooner. After age 65, the risk of macular degeneration, glaucoma and cataracts increases, and you should get an annual eye exam.