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America's Best review: Eye exams, cost and more

Ophthalmologist examining patient's eyes

What is an America's Best eye exam?

An America's Best eye exam is an affordable eye exam from an optometrist that you can get at America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses. The America's Best chain is part of National Vision, which is based in Atlanta and has over 800 locations across the United States.

Pros and cons of an America's Best eye exam

Why might you consider getting an eye exam at an America's Best location? Benefits of an America's Best eye exam include:

  • Low cost

  • Ease of scheduling

  • Appointments available quickly

  • Cheap glasses

But there are some drawbacks as well. America's Best locations are available in only 31 states right now, so this might not be a viable option if you don't have an America's Best near you. And you might see a different doctor each time you have an appointment. 

How much does an America's Best eye exam cost?

The America's Best eye exam price ranges from $0 to $89, depending on the type of exam and whether you take advantage of the America's Best deal that includes a free eye exam.

The normal America's Best eye exam cost is:

But you can get an America's Best eye exam for free if you buy two pairs of glasses for a total cost of $79.95. You can also get a kids' eye exam and two pairs of kids' glasses for the same total cost. Or, if you wear contacts, you can join the America's Best Eyecare Club for $99 for three years to get free contact lens eye exams and 10% off your contacts during your membership.

Even a full-price America's Best eye exam adds up to less than half the national average eye exam cost, which is $106 in 2022, according to an AAV survey of 100 eye doctors. Similarly priced alternatives to an America's Best eye exam may include: LensCrafters eye exams, Target eye exams and Walmart eye exams.

READ MORE: Eyeglasses exam vs. contact lens exam: What’s the difference?

How long does an eye exam take at America's Best?

An America's Best eye exam takes about 1.5 to 2 hours from the time you walk in the door to the time you leave.

This time estimate for the exam includes:

  • Filling out the initial paperwork and medical history

  • Getting eye tests performed during a “pretest”

  • Having a comprehensive eye exam with the optometrist

  • Choosing your glasses and lenses

  • Paying for your exam and eyewear

To be on the safe side, it's a good idea to allow at least two hours total for your America's Best eye exam appointment.

Is an eye exam at America's Best the same as any other eye exam?

An eye exam at America's Best is similar to any standard comprehensive eye exam from an optometrist.

When you get a comprehensive eye exam at America's Best, you will first go through a pretest experience which includes:

  • Visual acuity screening – This test uses an eye chart to check how well you can see letters of different sizes. 

  • Auto refraction – This test provides your base prescription, which will be checked and refined later by the optometrist.

  • Eye puff test – This checks your eye pressure, which can indicate if you are at higher risk for developing glaucoma.

After you get these standard eye tests, you will have your eyes examined by an optometrist, an eye care professional who performs eye exams, diagnoses eye problems and provides vision care.  

During your exam, the optometrist will physically examine your eyes and determine your correct prescription for glasses or contact lenses. If you are getting a contact lens exam, the eye doctor will take some additional measurements, evaluate contact lens fit and help you find the right contact lenses. 

You may want to opt for an eye exam with an ophthalmologist at a private practice if you need eye surgery, have an eye disease like glaucoma, or have a chronic condition or autoimmune disease that can affect the eyes. In these cases, you may need care from an ophthalmologist, a medical doctor specializing in the eyes.

What is an America's Best digital eye exam?

As an alternative to an in-person eye exam, you can choose to get an America's Best digital eye exam. You still need to go into the America's Best store but you will get examined by an optometrist virtually instead of in person. 

In an America's best digital eye exam, some of the tests will be slightly different. For example, the doctor will use a digital version of a physical phoropter – the instrument the eye doctor uses to check your eyesight with different lenses, asking which view is better. 

America's Best digital exams offer more scheduling options if an in-person appointment isn't available at your preferred day and time.

Does America's Best offer specialty eye exams?

America's Best does not offer any specialty eye exams aside from pediatric eye exams. They offer comprehensive eye exams, contact lens eye exams and kids' eye exams.

If you need a specialty eye exam such as a low vision eye exam, you would need to go to a low vision specialist or other eye doctor in private practice who offers these exams. A low vision eye exam involves checking your level of vision, assessing how it affects your daily life, and looking at what tools and solutions may help you better perform daily tasks.

If you have an eye disease such as glaucoma or a pre-existing condition like diabetes, you may need additional eye testing when you get your comprehensive eye exam. If signs of an eye disease are found during your America's Best exam, you may be referred to an ophthalmologist. 

How do I make an appointment for an America's Best eye exam?

It's easy to schedule an America's Best eye exam. You can make an appointment either online or by phone.

  • Online – To make an appointment for an America's Best eye exam online, go to the America's Best appointment scheduling page. Type in your zip code at the bottom of the page and click the "Find My Store" button. You will be taken to a form where you can fill in your information and whether you need a contacts exam, an eyeglasses exam or both. You then choose the day and time you want an exam.

  • Phone – To make an appointment by phone, call 1-800-TWO-PAIR (1-800-896-7247) to find the closest America's Best and make an appointment. You enter a zip code to find a location near you and will be connected to the store to make an appointment.

If you need to cancel an eye exam with America's Best, call the store where you have your appointment. You can use their store locator to find the store's direct phone number.

Should I get an eye exam at America's Best?

If you're on a tight budget and seeking an affordable eye exam that you can schedule quickly, America's Best may be a good choice. Getting a basic free or low-cost eye exam and inexpensive glasses can allow you to take care of your eye health and keep your vision prescription current even on a tight budget. 

However, if you need eye surgery or have a complex eye problem or chronic health condition, you may want to establish a relationship with an eye care professional at a private practice who may offer more consistent or specialized care.

What to expect during an eye exam. America's Best Contacts & Eyeglasses. Accessed August 2022.

Difference between an ophthalmologist, optometrist and optician. American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus. Accessed August 2022.

Your phoropter on steroids? Review of Optometry. September 2017.

What is a low vision exam? International Academy of Low Vision Specialists. Accessed August 2022. 

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