Eye exams aren’t incredibly expensive, usually only costing between $50 and $100. But why pay for something when you can get it for free? And there are a surprising number of places to turn to get a free eye exam. If you are experiencing a problem with your vision, you shouldn’t let the cost of an eye exam hold you back from having good eyesight. Well, now you don’t have to.
For most of us experiencing a vision problem, paying for the eye exam is going to be the first drop in the bucket. Getting your vision corrected will cost around $200 if you go with eyeglasses and maintaining a supply of contact lenses runs a bit more. If you have a more serious condition that requires LASIK or cataract surgery, this is going to cost $4,000 or so.
Now if you are actually covered for vision care under your health insurance plan, an eye exam will only set you back a small copay. This is usually around $5 to $35. But around 40% of Americans have no form of vision care coverage. I know. I’m one of them. For the rest of us, we are forced to come out-of-pocket for the cost of an eye exam. Since it is recommended that we have one at least once every two years, this can be a significant cost over our lifetime.
The Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology offers this program to provide free eye exams and some follow-up care to seniors and people with an increased risk of glaucoma. Patients who have vision insurance have all copays covered. Those without coverage are given eye exams at no cost. To find out if you qualify, visit EyeCare America’s website and take a quick quiz to get your free eye exam.
Johnson and Johnson’s Vision Care Institute and the American Optometric Association offer the InfantSEE Program to help new moms by providing eye exams to their toddlers. Doctors recommend that an infant has its first eye exam at 6 months. This program takes care of that first exam at absolutely no cost through a network of 7,000 optometrists from coast to coast. There are no income requirements or anything else. Use this search to find a participating doctor in your area and schedule an appointment while your child is 6 to 12 months old. It’s as simple as that.
Lions Clubs International
The Lions have long had a history of providing services for those with vision problems and support for the blind. Their sight programs include vision events that provide eye exams for children, free cataract surgery and eyeglass recycling efforts. Local clubs accept assistance requests for grants that pay for eye care including eyeglasses and surgery. If you need help, use this club locator and contact the club nearest you.
Vision USA is part of Optometry Cares, a program provided by the American Optometric Association Foundation. It conducts free eye exams for low-income patients through its network of volunteer optometrists nationwide. Currently the program is offered in 39 states and in a few of them you might even receive free or low-cost eyeglasses. To participate, you must have no medical insurance. You must provide proof of U.S. citizenship and have not had an eye exam in the last 2 years. For more information, contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.