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Costco Eyeglasses and Eye Exam - My Experience

Updated on March 15, 2014

My Eye Exam at Costco

My local Costco has an Independent Doctor of Optometry. A basic eye exam for glasses costs $75. An exam for contact lenses costs $100. They take insurance as well as cash and credit card. In my Costco their office is right next to the eyeglass department and you can schedule an appointment or just walk-in.

I was quite impressed by the eye exam. It was more thorough than the last free eye exam I had at America's Best. The doctor tested my depth perception, field of vision, color perception, eye pressure (with the puff of air test), looked at my eyes with a microscope, and tested my eyesight.

A dilation was also included in the exam! This was my first eye dilation. If you've never had your eyes dilated before, here's a description of my experience.

The doctor and his assistant were both very friendly and helpful! I felt totally at ease and would definitely go back. Plus, the prices at Costco are good and it's a really no-pressure atmosphere for buying glasses.

Photo by Frederick Md Publicity

My Glasses that I Bought at Costco
My Glasses that I Bought at Costco

Costco Eyeglass Prices

Buying Great Glasses for Cheap!

The cost of eyeglasses depends on many factors, including your prescription (single vision, bifocal, trifocal, etc), the lens material, the type of lens, and the style of frames.

Frames vary widely in price. I opted for cheap metal frames, which cost only $39. I saw frames that cost up to $89 each, so you can get quite fancy and fashionable if that's your thing!

To give you an idea of cost, I'll tell you what I paid. I have a single vision prescription and I bought 2 pairs of glasses:

  • Transitions Photochromic Lenses, Anti Reflective Treatment, Polycarbonate, with Metal Frame - $149.97 (Choosing plastic frames instead would have saved me $20)

  • Polarized Sun Glasses for Driving, Black Metal Frame, $134.98

I thought transitions would cost a lot more, so I was pleased!

I previously bought transitions only and didn't realize that they don't fully darken while driving. The windshield blocks out some of the UV light that's needed to cause the color change. I'm quite sensitive to sunlight so I found myself squinting a lot. I've had time to test out the polarized sunglasses and they really do making driving on a sunny day much more comfortable.

Now, Transitions has a new kind of lens, which darkens to a brown color while driving in sunlight! They are called Driveware and might be a good option. Costco does have these but I'm not sure about pricing.

The Optomap - Photographs of your eye!

An extra test that you can add-on to the eye exam is the Optomap, which is where a machine photographs the back of your eye, the retina. It costs $35. I opted to do this, and it worked out alright. The procedure is that you have to open up your eye wide and look inside a machine. I found it a little tricky to get my eye positioned correctly, but the assistant was very patient and helpful in guiding me. When I had it lined up just right, the picture was taken with a really bright flash of light. Afterwards, the eye doctor looked at the pictures with me. He explained what I was seeing - pointing out the optic nerve, macula, and blood vessels. Good news for me, everything looked fine! The photos stay in my electronic record and can be compared with future photos.

Must have Accessories for Eyeglass Wearers

Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Lens Spray Cleaner (2-ounce Bottle)
Carl Zeiss Optical Inc Lens Spray Cleaner (2-ounce Bottle)
I think I messed up my old glasses by using a paper towel with windex all of the time :( I think maybe the anti-reflective coating came off... Don't make the same mistake I made!
3 Apex Eyeglass Holder Fashion Cords
3 Apex Eyeglass Holder Fashion Cords
These are great if you are always taking off your glasses! I used to just clip my glasses to my shirt but sometimes when I bent over they would fall off and land face-down on the ground. Not good!
MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 13 PACK
MagicFiber Microfiber Cleaning Cloths, 13 PACK
These will clean your glasses without scratching them! Costco provided a cleaning cloth with each pair of glasses, but I like them so much that I'm thinking about ordering more.

Reading Glasses

In the United States, you don't need a prescription for reading glasses. If you are farsighted, you may only need reading glasses for reading, computer work, and other close-up work.

Costco sells reading glasses. They usually are located near the books and they sell 3 pairs for about $20. My husband likes them and says that they are pretty high quality for the price. One disadvantage to buying reading glasses is that for any given pair of glasses, both lenses have the same power, so if your vision in each eye isn't the same, you may be better off getting a prescription.

Don't be shy! Take a few moments to share what's on your mind. I'm always interested in readers' experiences and insights.

Have any experience with Costco Optical? - Or anything to say about eye exams in general?

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