Contact Lens Exam Cost

Written by: Staff

A contact lens exam, separate from your comprehensive eye exam, will be required by your optometrist if you want a contact lens prescription.

Contact Lens Exam Cost
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Contact lens exam cost

The cost of a contact lens exam will primarily depend on where you have the exam, your vision insurance policy (if you have one), your geographical location and if any promotions are active.  In comparison to the traditional eyeglasses exam, a contact lens exam will always cost more, about 20 to 30 percent more, due to the other diagnostic tests that help determine which lens are best for you.  In the end, for just the contact lens exam and nothing else, be prepared to pay $40 to $125 without insurance.  Do not forget that you will still need to budget for your prescription lenses and if any health issues were to arise.

As there are so many franchises and even retail chains, such as Walmart, that offer contact lens exams, we compiled the costs of each and included the prices in the table below.

Where?Price (for JUST the exam)
America's Best$79 each or customers can join the Eyecare Club for $99, which includes 3 years of contact lens exams, up to 2 per year
Costco$99~ (can vary depending on the location as they are independent)
LensCrafters$155~ for exam and fitting (this can vary depending on location)
Pearle Vision$140~
Target Optical$95~ (varies on location)
Visionworks$99~ (varies on promotion and location)
Walmart$125~ (but this can vary depending on location as they are independent)

What happens during a contact lens exam?

If you want contact lens, then aside from the eye exam, your optometrist will want to perform additional special tests to evaluate your eyes for contacts. According to, a contact lens exam is much different as an eyeglass prescription will measure for lenses positioned approximately 12 millimeters away from your eye, whereas a contact lens will be measured for a lens that sits directly on the eye itself.  If this prescription was either the wrong prescription or wrong fitting/size, then it could cause damage to your eyes.

First of all, your optometrist will want to measure your prescription from your current glasses, if you were to have them and convert them into a prescription.  With this conversion, you will be asked to view an eye chart, while using your current prescription, to see how well your prescription is and based on this information, your prescription will be adjusted for a new prescription.

Next, your eye doctor will measure your eye surface and apply the contact lenses to help determine what size and type of contact lens will be best for you as contact lenses do come in various types and sizes.  Depending on your situation, your doctor may also recommend a tear film evaluation to ensure you’re naturally producing enough tears to wear contacts comfortably.  With these results, your eye doctor can then determine which contact lens prescription is the right fit for your eyes and allow you to choose between either a disposable contact, colored or extended wear contact, all of which can provide its own benefit.  After your script is written, your eye doctor will provide a small trial to last you the next few days until your actual prescription comes in.

If you are new to contacts, then your optometrist will want to educate you as to how they work and what you can expect, as well as help you insert your contacts for the first time once your prescription is done and watch you do the same to make sure you’re doing it correctly.  Most of the time, after the first few weeks, your optometrist will ask you to come in for a follow-up visit to see how they are performing and if you have any questions in regards to the process.

Tips to know

How long does it take to get contacts?  In some cases, you can receive your contacts on the same day if the company has it in stock, which is quite common; however, for those that are not in stock, then it could take up to 10 days to receive your supply.

You cannot legally buy contacts lenses in the United States without a valid prescription as the FDA categorizes contact lenses as a prescription medical device, which means they are not to be sold over the counter without a prescription.  As long as your prescription is less than 12 months old, then you will be able to purchase your contacts online legally.

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