What Does a Contact Eye Exam Cost?

You're considering getting contact lenses, but you want to make sure it's the right choice for you. You want to feel confident that contacts will enhance your vision and improve your eye health but not be an unexpected financial drain. If you're still on the fence about scheduling an eye exam for contacts because you don't know what they typically cost or what's involved, Nationwide Vision is here to help you make the best decision possible. Read more for a breakdown of what to expect — both during your fitting and at checkout.

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What to Expect From Your Initial Contact Lens Exam

A regular eye exam or comprehensive eye exam at Nationwide Vision provides an overall picture of the health of your eyes. Optometrists then determine eye care and vision care plans based on your eye health.

Contact lens exams at Nationwide Vision go one step further and are designed specifically for contact lens wearers, or those interested in wearing them. These exams are similar but contact exams do have more specialized tests involved.

The initial fitting is intended to ensure your new lenses help you see well and fit comfortably and safely. Your optometrist will measure your eyes in a few different ways and conduct different tests. If this isn't done properly, your lenses could cause discomfort or might damage your eyes. But don't worry, these tests aren't invasive and won't take very long. Here's what to expect at Nationwide Vision:

  • Your doctor will also look at your eyes through a device that magnifies them to ensure they're healthy and to check lens fit.

  • The doctor will use a keratometer to measure the curvature of your cornea. The optometrist also measures your pupils and irises — otherwise known as the colored part of the eye.

  • They will look at your tear film just to make sure you don't have any severe dry eye lurking. Otherwise, your lenses may not feel comfortable.

Keep in mind that as part of the fitting process, you may have one or two follow-up visits to ensure that the prescribed lenses are right for you. You will also be able to try different types of lenses during this period to make sure you're getting the right contacts for you. This trial period allows you to see if wearing contacts is comfortable for you, or if a pair of glasses would be a better option. When correcting your vision, Nationwide Vision wants to be sure that you are comfortable with whatever you choose.

Contact Lens Eye Exam

Contact Eye Exam Cost Factors

When it comes to the actual cost of an eye exam and contact lens fitting, it can vary. A typical range is anywhere from $19 to over $250. The eye care team at Nationwide Vision works with you to answer any questions about costs and help determine if exams are included in your insurance plan. Some factors that impact the cost of a contact lens exam include:

  • The brand of lenses you'll need

  • The strength of your contact prescription, which can influence the brand or lens type your doctor recommends

  • Additive features, such as eye color enhancement

  • Whether or not you have any conditions, such as cataracts, dry eye, or diabetic retinopathy that may make the fitting of the lenses more complicated

Lens type and cost considerations

Beyond contact eye exam cost, the type of contacts will make a difference in what you ultimately pay. Here's a cheat sheet to give you an idea of what to expect (note that prices vary over time, so this is an estimate only):

  • Daily disposable lenses, replaced each day. Yearly costs can range between $700 to $950, but bulk buying typically lowers this overall cost.

  • Multifocal or bifocal contact lenses. These offer at least near and far vision and tend to be pricier, running potentially up to $1,500 per year.

  • Rigid gas-permeable lenses made of a firm material. Because these are sturdier and could easily last you a full year, prices for these per lens are among the most expensive options available.

  • Colored contact lenses. These lenses typically run between $45 to $90 for a box of six. If these also correct for astigmatism, you can expect to pay more.

Contact lenses are not one-size-fits-all, and it’s important to choose a lens that is comfortable and provides the vision help you need. View more information about the specialty contact lenses available at Nationwide Vision.

Other cost factors to keep in mind

In figuring cost, don't forget about possible offsets that may bring the price down. Check to see if your regular health insurance has an optical benefit that may cover a part of the lens cost. A supplemental vision plan is also another option. Such plans may run between $150 to $180 annually depending on where you live. In addition to covering around $120 for either contact lenses or frames for spectacles, they may also include the full amount of a standard eye exam, as well as prescription lens costs for glasses.

At Nationwide Vision our major insurers include Blue Cross Blue Shield, VSP, United Healthcare and Eyemed. Our team is always happy to answer any insurance questions and help you determine what services are covered. View our full list of accepted vision insurance plans and information.

After you receive your lenses and wear them successfully, keep in mind that getting a new prescription the next time should be easier. Once you and your Nationwide Vision  doctor confirm the fit is still comfortable and your eyes are healthy, future visits may simply involve checking your prescription and updating if necessary. Always be open and honest about how your contact lenses are working for you, and your eye doctor will work with you to find the right option for your vision!

Schedule a contact lens fitting

Schedule a Contact Lens Fitting at Nationwide Vision

If you're interested in wearing contacts, schedule an appointment at a Nationwide Vision location near you in Arizona. Our team is here to answer any questions about contact exams, fittings, cost and insurance.