How Sam’s Club eye exams compare to others
Sam’s Club offers a seemingly endless variety of affordable products and services — and eye exams are no exception.
Even if you’re not a member of this wholesale shopping club, you can take advantage of an easy and inexpensive way to have your eyes examined when it’s time for your yearly checkup.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re scheduling an eye appointment at a wholesale shopping club: For instance, you’ll want to know what’s included in your exam and which eye care products (if any) are available to you if you are not a club member.
How much does an eye exam cost at Sam’s Club?
The cost for eye exams at Sam’s Club may vary based on location, the extent of your exam and whether or not you have vision insurance.
According to our survey of 100 optical centers across the U.S., without vision insurance, basic exam prices at Sam’s Club can range from $50 to $100, with an average charge of $61 per exam.
This is significantly lower than the average cost at a private eye care office, which is around $128.
Dilation and contact lens fittings can tack on a bit more to your total cost (no matter where you receive an exam), so it is best to call ahead of your appointment and speak with the optometrist if you have pricing concerns.
If you have vision insurance, all or most of your vision exam may be covered.
Optometrists at Sam’s Club
Eye doctors who work at Sam’s Club are known as independent doctors of optometry (optometrists). Although these doctors work at Sam’s Club, they are usually not employees of the company itself.
Like doctors located within other retail spaces, Sam’s Club optometrists work independently and price their own services. This is why exam fees can vary from club to club.
Do optometrists at Sam’s Club receive the same training as eye doctors elsewhere? Yes! Every optometrist must go through the same training and continuing education, no matter where they practice.
RELATED READING: How to choose an eye doctor
How do Sam’s Club eye exams compare to others?
During your appointment, an optometrist will perform a comprehensive eye exam. This is the same routine exam that is performed at other optical centers, and it checks for the following:
Visual sharpness (visual acuity).
How well your eyes move together.
Peripheral vision (side vision).
Fluid pressure inside your eyes.
If your visual sharpness has changed since your last eye exam, your vision prescription may need to be adjusted. Your optometrist will provide you with an updated version after the exam is over, which can be used to purchase new glasses and/or contact lenses.
Keep in mind that you’ll need a membership to purchase eyewear from Sam’s Club, but there are many vendors out there (EyeBuyDirect, etc.) that offer prescription eyeglasses at affordable prices.
Should your optometrist find more complex issues with your eye health during your exam, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist for a separate evaluation.
While eye doctors in retail environments like Sam’s Club are able to identify serious eye conditions (such as glaucoma and cataracts), they are not properly equipped to make a diagnosis or provide a proper treatment plan the way an ophthalmologist can.
Do you need a membership to get an eye exam at Sam’s Club?
No, you do not need a membership to schedule an eye exam at Sam’s Club. Since optometrists at Sam’s Club work independently, the rate for an exam is the same whether you are a member or not.
However, you will need an active membership to purchase eyewear, contact lenses and other vision-related products that are sold in-store.
In order to schedule an appointment with the Sam’s Club optical center, call the number listed for the independent optometrist at your preferred club location. This can usually be found online, but if not, call the store and ask to be transferred to the optical center.
Many optical centers are located outside of the Sam’s Club store, but some are located within the store itself. If this is the case, let the greeter know that you have an appointment, and he or she will direct you where to go.
Alternatives to Sam’s Club eye exams
If cost is a priority, Sam’s Club optical is one of the most affordable options for an eye exam. Other retail-based optical centers are comparable as well. These include:
While Sam’s Club and Costco require memberships to purchase eyeglasses and contact lenses during your visit, Walmart and Target optical centers do not.
Each of these options have similar price points, but it’s best to call ahead or do a bit of research on your own to make the best decision for yourself.
If you have concerns about your eye health beyond a basic vision exam — for instance, if you need to address an eye disease or condition — a private eye care practice with an ophthalmologist on hand may be a better option to consider.
Regardless of where you choose to have your eyes examined, be sure to keep up to date with annual examinations, as they are critical to your eye health.
Page published in March 2021
Page updated in September 2021