How Much Does an Eye Exam Cost?

Eye exams are an essential part of maintaining your overall health and wellness, yet many people neglect regular eye exams due to the costs involved. The price of eye exams can vary depending on several factors, including whether or not you have vision insurance. 

Let’s explore the basics — and the benefits — of regular eye exams, the risks of skipping regular eye exams, eye exam costs with and without vision insurance, and the steps you can take toward better vision health at a more affordable price.

What Is an Eye Exam and Why Is It Important?

First, let’s take a brief look at what happens at an eye exam. During a comprehensive eye exam, the optometrist will thoroughly check your vision and gauge the health of the different parts of your eye. They’ll run different eye tests with specialized equipment designed to quickly and accurately assess your eye health. Exactly what is covered at the eye exam can vary by the location of the eye doctor, the eye doctor, and your vision needs. 

Benefits of Regular Eye Exams

Whether you have vision insurance or not, it’s important to get regular eye exams. Here are some of the benefits of regular eye exams:

 - Eye exams help detect and prevent eye problems: Regular eye exams can help detect and prevent eye problems before they become more serious and expensive to treat. According to the American Optometric Association, early detection and treatment of eye problems can help prevent vision loss and improve overall eye health.

 - Regular eye exams can identify other potential health problems — sometimes before other symptoms appear. The National Eye Institute reports that an eye exam can reveal early signs of chronic diseases that can have an impact on your overall well-being, such as diabetes and high blood pressure. 

 - Update your vision prescription: If you wear glasses or contact lenses, regular eye exams can help ensure that your prescription is up-to-date which can help improve your vision and prevent headaches and eye strain.

Risks of Skipping Regular Eye Exams

It might be tempting to assume that if your vision seems fine, there’s no need for eye exams. Not true! Without regular eye exams, several serious health issues may go undetected. Eye exams check for common eye disorders and diseases like glaucoma, cataracts, and the overall health of your eyes. Discovering these vision problems early can make treatment simpler and even prevent blindness.  

Beyond vision health, eye exams play an important role in your overall health. During eye exams your eye doctor can detect signs of other non-vision-related health issues, such as diabetes and hypertension. Undiagnosed hypertension and diabetes can not only lead to serious full-body health issues, but may also lead to eye damage and potentially vision loss. It’s important to schedule regular eye exams for your health!

Eye Exam Cost Without Vision Insurance

Without vision insurance, the cost of an eye exam can range from $50 to $200 or more, depending on the location of the eye doctor and the type of eye exam you need. For example, a basic eye exam can cost around $50, while a more comprehensive eye exam with an independent optometrist, including a dilated eye exam, can cost upwards of $200.

Additional vision tests or procedures, such as a contact lens fitting or a glaucoma test, can also add to the cost of your eye exam. According to the American Optometric Association, the average cost of a comprehensive eye exam is $114 for patients without vision insurance.

Eye Exam Cost With Vision Insurance

Having vision insurance can significantly reduce the cost of an eye exam. Most vision insurance plans cover the cost of a comprehensive eye exam and provide discounts on glasses and contact lenses. Some vision insurance plans may also cover additional tests or procedures, such as a contact lens fitting or a glaucoma test.

The cost of vision insurance can vary depending on the type of vision plan you choose and the level of coverage you need. For example, a basic vision insurance plan may cost around $10 to $20 per month, while a more comprehensive vision plan with higher coverage limits may cost around $30 to $50 per month.

With many vision insurance plans — including VSP’s vision plans — premiums are low enough to save you hundreds of dollars each year, especially if you wear corrective lenses. Many vision insurance plans offer a free or discounted eye exam every year, giving you incentive to schedule that regular eye exam for your overall health. 


Eye exams are an important part of maintaining overall health and wellness. Regular eye exams can help detect and prevent eye problems, such as glaucoma and cataracts, as well as identify other health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure. While having vision insurance can significantly reduce the cost of an eye exam, it’s important to get regular eye exams whether you have vision insurance or not.

Want to know more about the cost of getting your next eye exam covered? VSP vision insurance has everything for complete vision health including vision correction allowances, preventive health screenings, annual eye exams, and more. With vision providers across the country it’s easy to find a location near you. Get started today with our Vision Plan wizard to find the vision insurance plan that’s right for you and your family. 

By choosing vision insurance from VSP, you’ll get access to reliable vision care plus the ability to detect more serious problems. You’ll have access to a huge network of eye doctors all over the country. Vision insurance is an essential part of your total health coverage.

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