The main costs of an eye exam varies on whether it’s performed by an opthamologist or optometrist. Eye exams done at an optometry chain can cost as little as $50, while exams done through private eye doctors can cost over $250. How much you pay for an eye exam also depends on whether or not you have an insurance plan that covers eye care. Below is a breakdown to help give you a better understanding of how different factors can influence the cost of an eye exam.
The Average Cost Eye Exam
When trying to figure out how much is an eye exam, the type of eye doctor your seeing and the tests performed can make the biggest difference in the cost of your eye exam. First, let’s consider the type of doctor you choose to see for your exam. Typically, the choice is either between one that works at an optometry chain or a private practice. Note: Just cause you’ve taken a test in the past doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t take one again! Be sure to check your prescription expiration date.
Optometry chains tend to have low initial costs and rely on a large number of customers and upselling services. While anyone who examines your eyes at an average cost eye exam will be a doctor, they may not be as highly trained or specialized. In most cases, they will be an optometrist, or an eye doctor who is licensed to perform eye exams and write prescriptions for glasses and contacts. They can also treat some eye diseases depending on their level of training. While chains can have low prices around $50, that fee may only cover initial exam costs. In many cases, any tests you receive will cost extra.
Private doctors on the other hand tend to have fewer patients but charge higher prices in order to cover their costs. Whether or not tests are included depends on individual practices. However, service in private eye doctor practices tends to be more patient-focused due to low patient turnover. Private practices are also more likely to have ophthalmologists on staff. An ophthalmologist is an eye doctor as well, but where a optometrist has a Doctor of Optometry, an ophthalmologist is a medical doctor that specializes in eyes. This means they have more training, are able to treat a wider range of eye disorders, and can even perform surgery. This also means that their services can be more expensive.
The number and types of tests your eye doctor performs depend on the current health of your eyes and your family’s history of eye health. But it’s safe to say, the more tests you have done, the higher the cost of your eye exam. Here is a list of common exam procedures and tests you’ll encounter at an eye doctor:
- A discussion about your and your family’s health history, including any history of eye problems
- A distance and near vision check with an eye chart
- A check for nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism, and presbyopia
- Testing to determine if you need progressive lenses or bifocals
- A check to see how well your eyes work together
- A test for glaucoma, also known as the “puff” test
- An evaluation for cataracts and macular degeneration
Regardless of whether you’re visiting a chain or a private doctor for your exam, make sure you know what the pricing structure is before committing in order to avoid any surprise costs. While both ophthalmologists and optometrists are doctors, only an ophthalmologist can perform certain specialized treatments and procedures. Whether you need to see an optometrist or an ophthalmologist depends on your personal preference and you eyes’ health. However, eyes with special needs will most likely be referred to a specialist, who will be an ophthalmologist.
Finally, when trying to figure out how much is an eye exam going to cost you, insurance that covers eye care can be another big factor. If you have a vision or health insurance that covers eye care, make sure that the eye doctor you choose is authorized by your plan. A quick and easy way to do this is call the eye doctor’s office and give them your health insurance information. You can also check your health insurance’s website for an online directory to see a list of eye doctors who accept your insurance. How much your deductible is depends on the type of plan you have.
Why do I need an eye exam?
Knowing how much is an eye exam is only the start. You also have to think about why you need it! After all, when looking at the costs of how much is an eye exam, some people start to wonder if they’re worth it. But regular eye exams can help in the detection and prevention of eye problems. Like with any type of healthcare, it’s better to be proactive than reactive. That means you shouldn’t wait for it to feel like there’s something wrong with your eyes. Problems with your eyes can occur gradually and be hard to notice, sometimes until it’s too late. For example, glaucoma can lead to blindness, but with early detection and treatment you can often prevent serious vision loss. That’s why regular testing is important for everyone.
How do I know when I need an eye exam?
For children three and over, and adults under the age of 61, it’s recommended that they go for an eye exam every 1-2 years. For adults over 61 years of age, it’s recommended to have eye exams every year.
Other signs that you may need an eye exam include trouble seeing, blurred or double vision, difficulty focusing, tired eyes, spots, frequent headaches, sensitivity to light, or even trouble concentrating. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, it’s important to visit your doctor for an eye exam, even if it’s been less than a year.
What do I do after my eye exam?
The next step for many people is finding a pair of glasses. Even if you don’t corrective vision, glasses can help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce eye strain caused by digital screens. Eyebuydirect offers an amazing selection of stylish and affordable prescription and protective eyewear. Looking for new glasses? Shop from our most popular frames for your next pair! Also, just a reminder: Be sure to check your prescription expiration date so you know when to head in for another eye exam in the future!