Costco Eyeglasses and Eye Exam - How much does it cost?

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby george » Sun Sep 20, 2009 5:22 pm

Most recently updated: January 2, 2015
Previously Updated: January 24, 2013

This thread was originally started on September 20, 2009, and had ~350k views by January 2013 and now is all the way up to almost 800k views! I figured it was finally time to do another rerwrite with 2015 here. I'm also going to again prune some of the less useful / outdated comments, and move some of the replies that deserve their own dedicated threads. I moved discussions about the new Costco progressive lens to a new thread here.

Prices will vary based on geographic areas, so please share if you have found different prices near you.

I checked prices at two local branches and these are their prices as of November 2014:
Eye exam (eyeglasses only) - $49
Contact Lens eye exam - $79 (includes eyeglass exam)
Pupil dilation and visual fields costs extra
The eye exam costs are more likely to vary from store to store as the optometrist is not directly employed by Costco. They basically lease the space within the Costco store. The eye doctor at my local Costco accepted all credit cards for the eye exam cost, but the glasses are provided by Costco which means you can only pay with cash or American Express. You do NOT need to be a member to get an eye exam at Costco. You do need to be a member (or be with a member) to buy eyeglasses and contacts.

Regular Frames - $34.99 - $129.99 with most being under $100. Average men's frames are $60-70. Average women's frames are $70-80.
Designer Frames $129.99-$249.99, including brands such as Bottega Veneta ($249.99), Fendi ($129.99), Mikli ($129.99), Burberry ($199.99). Tod's ($199.99).
All lenses include scratch resistant coating and UV protection
You can bring your own frames, they charge $18 to make a template, but they said there is no charge if you bought the frames from Costco originally.

Single Vision:
Plastic lenses - $19.99
Polycarbonate lenses - $43.99
High index 1.67 lenses - $69.99

Lined bifocal lenses - $90 (I need to recheck this as the price seems higher than it should be)
Lined trifocal lenses - $86-$130 depending on the material

Premium Anti-reflective coating to any of the above adds $29.99

Progressive (Kirkland Signature Digital HD since summer 2014):
Polycarbonate $130 (includes premium anti-refective coating)
High Index $160 (includes premium anti-reflective coating)

Transitions brand photochromic treatment adds $30 except on high index lenses it is an extra $45.

They offer polarized lenses with anti-reflective coating for $80 (single vision) or $140 (progressive).

They offer Drivewear polarized lenses specifically designed for driving as they will darken based on light, even inside a car (normal Transitions lenses will not darken inside a car because they adjust based on UV light but windshields block UV light). The lenses include an anti-reflective coating. Drivewear single vision polycarbonate lenses are $124 and progressive lenses are $174.

All of their lenses appear to be proprietary at this point, under the Kirkland name. The anti-reflective coating is also a proprietary product. They say it is not Crizal, but is comparable to the best anti-reflective coatings available.

Costco DOES accept some forms of insurance. I will try to get a list soon, but I know my local Costco does accept VSP eye insurance. They do NOT accept Eye Med, but I've seen that some companies that use Eye Med have a provision that they will match in-network coverage if you use Costco. Even if Costco does not accept your insurance, you can usually still submit your Costco bill as an out of network provider. For me, Eye Med will cover a good portion of the frames, lenses and contacts at Costco as an out of network provider. In fact, Costco combined with my out of network coverage comes out cheaper than going in network.

Again - you do NOT need to be a member to get an eye exam. You DO need to be a member (or be with a member) to purchase the eyeglasses or contacts.

As far as quality goes, I am a big fan of Costco optical. I found the quality of my glasses to be top notch, with nice frames, nice lenses, and a high quality anti-reflective coating. Consumer Reports had similar findings as reported in their December 2010 issue. Costco received their highest rating. Costco received the highest marks on customer satisfaction of any eyeglass chains and they also beat most of them on price. Costco also did the best in their review when it came to not having problems such as loose lenses, blurred vision, or damaged frames within the first few weeks after purchase.

My Costco eyeglasses performed well. They remain my first choice for quality glasses with excellent customer support at a much lower cost than what you will pay at other retail chains or a prviate optometrist. For my annual exam and glasses this year, I'm going to Costco and plan to try their new progressive lenses. Look for a new post on that topic soon.

If you have any comments or opinions on Costco's vision department, I'd be interested to hear it by posting in this forum.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby looking4glasses » Tue Jun 15, 2010 9:50 am

I'm almost due for my annual eye exam and I'm wondering if the eye doctors at Costco are as good as a private optician? I would think someone in private practice would probably be better than someone working for a big corporation. Also, can you then take your prescription and buy your glasses somewhere online to save money?

What do you think the quality difference is between Costco, a private optician, and online stores like Zenni for the lenses and frames are?

Postby george » Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:17 pm


I decided to make another post to clarify the difference between optician and optometrist (and ophthalmologist) as you used the word optician meaning eye doctor, but you seemed to mean optometrist (a basic eye doctor). When you go to a place like Costco or Lenscrafters, you'll see an optometrist to test your eyes.

All places that I'm aware of use licensed optometrists, which means that whether you go to a place like Costco or Lenscrafters, you'll see someone with the same level of training and licensing as someone in private practice. Some people believe that you get a more personal experience when you go to a private practicioner. Other people feel that there is a conflict of interest in that private practice optometrists almost always make money off of the glasses and frames that they sell. At a place like Costco, the optometrist doesn't make any extra money whether you buy your glasses there or not, so if they make a recommendation for a specific type of lens, they probably aren't just trying to sell you the product with which they make the most profit. Having said that, though, I do have to say that when I went to Lenscrafters last year, the optometrist was strongly recommending the anti-reflective lenses - saying that some of my blurry vision could have been from eye fatigue. While there does seem to be some basis for her recommendation, it did seem like she was maybe trying to get me to buy something that may not make much of a difference. I'm still not convinced I benefit from anti-reflective lenses as I don't have a strong enough prescription to create much glare. That's a separate issue though.

At Costco, they seem to have a decent quality lens with most of the options you'll want, including a decent quality anti-reflective coating for a good price. If you want one of the top of the line lens treatments like Crizal Avance or Zeiss Purecoat , I think you'd have to go to one of the private optometrists and check to see if they actually offer the desired lens treatments before you go. The superior features of these lenses seem to be increased coatings that will resist oils and and dirt with lenses that clean more easily, while also being very durable and scratch resistant. From what I can tell, the lenses at Costco are going to be very good quality but I haven't been able to find anything specific. Going to a private practitioner would give you an option for one of these extra high quality lens treatments, but it will also likely cost you significantly more than the very good lenses at Costco. There was a nice discussion on this topic last year with someone who wound up buying the Crizal Avance. The lens was about $250 vs a very good but not top of the line lens from Costco for $74.

I'm actually going to be due for my annual eye exam in August and I'm trying to decide which way to go myself. I got super cheap glasses online from Zenni Optical last year and they have served me very well. However, my insurance will pay for a new pair of glasses this year so I'm actually deciding between Costco and getting something like Crizal Avance. I'm leaning towards going the Costco route as I don't know that I'll appreciate the difference. If I ever need a spare pair for which insurance won't pay, I'll wind up ordering through Zenni again, unless another place comes along that seems as good.

If you have more questions, feel free to ask.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Thu Sep 23, 2010 11:45 pm

Here is my eye exam review and some info about the eyeglasses. I'll post a full review of the eyeglasses once I receive them.

I called Costco to set up an eye exam. There is one optometrist who has an office within the Costco, but she is considered as independent from Costco. There were no appointments available the same day, so I made the appointment for later in the week. This was in contrast to Lenscrafters where I've always been able to get an eye exam the same day I've called.

I showed up to Costco a few minutes before my appointment and I noticed there is a sign saying they accept walk-ins if the time is available. I don't know if they are able to "squeeze" people in if they show up and want an appointment. My appointment did go fairly fast, so I can see it as possible.

I had checked in advance about my insurance (through EyeMed) and Costco. Costco does NOT accept insurance. What they do is give you a receipt that you can then submit to your own insurance. As Costco is "Out of Network", the coverage is up to $30 for an eye exam, up to $70 for frames, and up to $50 for single vision lenses. While the amount covered in network when I went to Lenscrafters was much more ($10 copay for eye exam, $10 copay for frames up to $175 and $10 copay for standard single vision lenses (not including extra treatments), because Costco's prices were so much lower, I still am able to get good glasses for much less money. More on that later.

I knew the eye exam would cost $49 (it's a little more for a contact lens exam) and it would be an additional $20 if she recommended pupil dilation.

The optometrist had an assistant who handled the scheduling, payments, and the initial eye exam. The assistant was very nice and she initially had me start by looking at a standard eye chart across the room - first with both eyes, then covering each eye one at a time. She then had me read a card she held close up - again first with both eyes, then covering one eye at a time. She had me repeat both the wall chart and the close up chart without my eyeglasses - with both eyes and each eye separately.

After finishing that, she had me put on 3D glasses and she showed me pictures in a book where I had to say what 3D shape I saw. After taking off the 3D glasses, she showed me a book with circles filled with different colored dots that make up various numbers.

After finishing that, she had me sit down at the machines. I looked into the first machine where there is a picture of a little house on a grassy lawn. The picture then goes in and out of focus. The same test was done when I was at Lenscrafters - I believe it is to try to estimate your eyeglass prescription. Next there was the machine that blows air into your eye - putting one eye in front of the light at a time, to get a puff of air. The air puff test is to test for glaucoma.

Once I finished those tests, I went in to see the eye doctor. Since I had never had an eye exam with her before, she first took my glasses and used a machine to measure the prescription. She said my glasses looked like they were still in very good shape (these were the glasses I had purchased at Zenni Optical almost exactly a year ago). She asked a few questions and if I had any particular problems. Shen then had me sit in front of the machine with all of the lenses and she had me try reading different rows of letters / numbers. Shen then asked a few times to compare different settings ("which is better - one or two?"). All of the options she chose looked almost the same to me. She also looked into my eyes with her hand held light/lens. She didn't suggest dilation or peripheral field testing. She said that my prescription hasn't changed at all and that I don't need to get new eyeglasses at this time. She did say I am almost to the point of needing bifocals, but not yet. She said she would guess I will need them in a few years, but that was just her guess. I told her my insurance will cover a new pair and she recommended I get a pair of prescription sunglasses, but I told her that I don't wear sunglasses. I asked her about Transitions / photochromic lenses and she said she was actually wearing a pair and that they may be a good option for me. She said they don't get as dark as dedicated sunglasses but will be better for me as I don't wear sunglasses at all (even though I have the clip-on sunglasses from Zenni - I just don't ever use them).

As I wanted to check out the quality of Costco's eyeglasses and since my insurance will cover a pair, I figured I would get a pair and I can always keep them as a spare. The eyeglasses and lenses are sold by Costco - not a separate entity like the optometrist. They had two sections of men's frames - one section which was for narrower glasses and one section for wider glasses. The narrower glasses are what fit me. While there were many different frames in the one section, many of them are similar styles by different companies. It wasn't a huge selection by any means. I found a frame that I liked - which was similar to my current pair - and the frame was $75. They had frames starting at around $39 up to just over $100. Most were around the $50 price.

I then took the frames I liked to the counter and she had me sit down and she measured my pupillary distance. She used a little machine that looks kind of like binoculars. The pupil distance she measured was 1mm smaller than the number I came up with when I measured my own last year. I'd say I was pretty darn close measuring it myself last year for my Zenni order. She then said that they had a few options of lenses, with plastic being cheapest, then polycarbonate, then high index lenses. As I have a weak prescription, I don't need high index lenses. She mentioned the polycarbonate lenses are stronger than the plastic and lighter. I'm familiar with the differences and while I liked my original plastic lenses from Lenscrafters, I wanted to get the polycarbonate with anti-reflective coating so that I can see how scratch resistant they are and how good the anti-reflective coating is. I especially wanted to compare them to my Zenni Optical glasses.

The polycarbonate lenses were $44 and then the antireflective coating was an extra $30. Between the lenses, frames, and tax I spent just over $150, plus the $50 for the eye exam.

Unlike when I get my exam at Lenscrafters (and glasses), I will have to submit the receipts to my insurance. They should reimburse me about $150, making the eye exam + new glasses only $50. Even with Lenscrafters being "in network" I would have had to pay $10 for the eye exam, $10 for new frames, and then significantly more for similar new lenses as the Lenscrafters lenses with anti-reflective coating would only be partially covered by my insurance - and the Lenscrafters with anti-reflective coating are very pricey. I probably could have gotten plastic lenses without anti-reflective coatings for about the same price.

They said it will take 7-10 days to get the glasses and they will call me when they arrive. I'll post an update at that time.

In the future, I will probably just get my eye exams at Lenscrafters, or find a local optometrist who is "in network" as it will save me the hassle of having to submit paperwork for reimbursement from insurance. Also, unless the Costco eyeglasses are significantly better than the ones from Zenni, I will probably just order from Zenni in the future. I am thinking I may order photochromic / Transitions lenses from Zenni next.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Thu Oct 07, 2010 9:52 pm

I got a call from Costco about 10 days after I ordered the glasses. I went and picked them up. The person at the Costco Optical counter had me try them on as he adjusted the ear pieces and the nose pads until they fit properly. Overall, the glasses seem very nice so far, but it will obviously take more time to see how durable the anti-scratch coating is. There was a little note card with the cleaning cloth saying that the anti-reflective coating is the most technologically advanced coating currently available - or something like that. In casual use, I can't really say that I notice much difference compared to my previous glasses, but I'll have a better sense as I have worn them longer.

I'm going to take some pictures side by side with previous glasses and I'll try to see if there are more noticeable differences. An important part of the lenses will be how easy they are to clean and keep clean, as well as how durable the anti-scratch coatings are. I'm not sure when I'll have a chance to do some side-by-side comparisons.

Overall, though, they are very nice glasses and lenses. As my Zenni lenses have held up very well over the past year, I'm not sure I can say there is a noticeable difference. Nonetheless, I'm guessing the quality from Costco is superior and more importantly, Costco offers excellent customer service if there is ever a problem, while Zenni's is practically non-existent (from what I've heard).
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby george » Thu Feb 17, 2011 11:33 pm

Neda posted an interested reply which I split to a new topic about Lenscrafters and Costco optometrists trying to push certain products.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Albertagirl » Sat Apr 16, 2011 7:44 pm

I live in Alberta, Canada and have recently compared the cost of regular eye and contact exams (they are different). Let me begin by stating that the exams are for my children who are under 18, so their basic eye exam is covered by Alberta Health Care. I have contacted many optometrist offices, to find that the contact exam ranges from $25-30, depending where you go. Costco is free. Some optometrists also charge a contact fitting fee (in my small town it is $95 which prompted me to look around) while Costco does not charge a fitting fee at all. My older child has glaucoma which apparently for my local optometrist is difficult to fit, thus the cost. Last year they had to try 3 different lenses on my child, and tried to charge me $95 again after the first two lenses didn't work. We are talking about them sending him home with a new contact lens/sample for a week and a quick checkup to see if they work. Regardless, Costco does not charge a fitting fee. They told me they will re-fit him until he is happy - at no extra charge at all. Another example of excellent customer service and another reason I'm a Costco member. My co-workers purchase their glasses at Costco as well and are very satisfied and repeat customers.

Postby Guest » Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:47 pm

very informative, but i have one question does the optometry section of costco take only cash alike the rest of the store? Thanks for your time!

Postby george » Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:08 pm

When I went to Costco, the eye doctor accepted all credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard and American Express. For the glasses and lenses, though, they only accepted American Express or debit card like the rest of the store.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby eyeglassesforever2117 » Wed Jun 22, 2011 4:50 pm

Is this only for Costco members, or can anyone go to their vision department?
My mom has a Costco card. Would that cover me or only her? We're in the same household.

Postby george » Sat Jun 25, 2011 4:52 pm

You can get the eye exam without a Costco membership. To buy the glasses, you need to be a member, or have a member go into the store with you and probably be with you when you make the actual purchase as they scan the membership card when you actually purchase stuff at Costco.

You could always call your local Costco and confirm their policies.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby mlthechef » Wed Jul 13, 2011 8:16 am

Never had my exam at Costco but have gotten glasses there and been very pleased with quality and price. The eye doctors at Costco are independent, as they are at most big chains, but still if you have a doctor you like, get the exam there and take the Rx to Costco to get filled. Consumer Reports rated them higher than Lenscrafters and the like for accuracy when filling the Rx. My last glasses were no line progressive bifocals, hi index lenses, polycarbonate (or whatever it's called), anti-glare coating, darken in the sun...the works including new frames. All this was for just under $300, which is a real bargain. By comparison, I recently tried a new doctor and got my glasses from their showroom. Got everything listed minus the darkening and they cost me well over $400 plus my insurance paid around $150 on top of that! Go to Costco...YOU CANNOT BEAT THEIR PRICE OR QUALITY! You do need to be a member to use the service, but it is worth it to join just for this benefit. You'll save far more than you will spend on a membership.

Postby konde888 » Sat Aug 20, 2011 4:26 pm

Here is the current price (August 2011, without frames) I got from Costco Marina Del Rey, CA. Prescription Polycarbonate for medium thickness and progressive bifocal is $130. If you want top of the line including hi-index super thin, transition (darken in the sun) with polished edge you pay additional $75 for a total of $ 205. Single vision is $85. The best price anywhere maybe except online. Frames are very reasonable from $29 to $129+
Customer service is not the best and double check your receipt to make sure you understand what is included. They miss stuff.

Postby leegar » Thu Oct 13, 2011 8:26 pm

If you have frames from your exiting glasses you wish to use but did not purchase from Costco, there is an additional charge of about $24. I find this strange for a consumer oriented retailer, and a waste of a good pair frames that I have already purchased last year and that are very adequate. I will not get my new prescription filled at Costco.

Postby Cyncyn » Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:35 pm

George thank you so much for all your research. It helped me a lot because I lost my only pair of glasses and I have no insurance so I have to pay for everything out of pocket but with your reviews I found the cheapest place for an eye exam and I can try to order a pair online. I live in Long Island, NY and the cheapest eye exam I found is at Costco for $49. Walmart and Lenscrafters were $55 and $170, respectively. I also wear contacts but I like to wear my glasses to rest my eyes and Costco also has the cheapest eye exams for contacts ( I think she said $100 all together). Again thank you so much for all the information you provided through your posts.
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:18 pm

Postby guest » Thu Nov 10, 2011 2:06 pm

leegar wrote:If you have frames from your exiting glasses you wish to use but did not purchase from Costco, there is an additional charge of about $24. I find this strange for a consumer oriented retailer, and a waste of a good pair frames that I have already purchased last year and that are very adequate. I will not get my new prescription filled at Costco.

At the Costco in Naperville, IL that fee is just $18. I thought it was strange too. They also are hesitant to take embellished frames with rhinestones as they tend to get knocked out during the process. I'm waiting on my old Candies glasses to be returned as I purchased new lenses for them. I will try to repost on the experience if I get a chance.

They have frames that now go up to $189 in price (Emilio Pucci's). I had a contact fitting + eye exam for eyeglasses and paid $89 for it, not $49. I was happy with the service as Dr. Tomich (our Costco's independent optometrist) was the first eye doctor to spot my blatant astigmatism (I've had blurry vision for years and no one could "figure it out" - sad). Polycarbonate lenses cost $50 + an additional $30 for anti-glare. Though the prices are very high for the actual manufacturing costs of the products (lenses, frames, coating), the markup is lower than in most places, and I have to say again, the service is good.

Postby Virginia Customer » Wed Nov 23, 2011 11:29 am

I have used Costco for years for my son's contacts and have been very satisfied with them. I also buy new lens for my glasses when my perscription changes and have them inserted into the Costco frames I bought. They have not charged me extra for this. I have only paid for the lens. I also believe that Costco prescribes contact lenses based on what is best in price and fit for your eyes while my last two experiences with "private" eye doctors is they sell contracts and give a prescription for a higher priced lens. I am a satisfied Costco customer.
Virginia Customer

Postby Shelbell » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:47 pm

I just got my eye exam done at Costco. Does anyone know if I can go elsewhere to purchase my lenses and frames? And if so, where can I go? I didn't particularly like their selection. Thanks in advance for any help!

Postby george » Wed Jan 04, 2012 11:26 pm


The short answer is that you can go anywhere with your prescription to get frames and lenses.

If you are very particular about the style, then you may not want to order online unless you have seen the specific frame in advance in person. The online options are the cheapest, but the frames may not be to your liking. You could check out places like Walmart or Target if you want to stick to low price frames and lenses. You could also choose to buy just the frames at a more typical retail store like Lenscrafters which is likely to have a much larger selection and then have Costco put in the lenses as you'll get good quality lenses at Costco for a lot less money than what Lenscrafters would charge for similar types of lenses.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Kathco » Fri Mar 16, 2012 10:18 am

I've been to Costco twice now for a checkup and their eye exam is thorough - more thorough than other doctors I have been to. In fact, it was there that I was told that my previous glasses were not well gaged to my prescription which I got at Lenscrafters and other department stores. Yes, you have to pay cash or debit like any other department at Costco -- years ago, they allowed credit cards at the Opth counter but no more.

Postby rahul » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:54 pm

Today I picked up prescription glasses from Costco, Brampton.
Extremely bad experience...the girls don't care about your questions or concerns...All they care is to get your money.
For a $250 purchase you would at least expect some attention from the sales person, but not at Costco Brampton optical section.
In fact, she handed over the prescription glasses in a dirty old case (probably you can get 2 of those in a $1) and when asked to change, I was told it's brand new and the best they have. I will never return there and warn others NOT TO shop at Costco Brampton optical section.
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:44 pm

Postby george » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:27 pm


It sounds like they have some pretty lousy staff at the Brampton Costco. I've found the Costco near me to be very customer service oriented, so clearly it really depends on the store in your area. If I were dissatisfied, I'd send feedback to Costco headquarters. I think Brampton is in Canada, so I think the way to send comments directly to Costco Canada headquarters would be through this link.

Hopefully at least you found the glasses to be good quality.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Bill » Wed May 16, 2012 12:15 pm

I have bought several pairs of glasses over the past few years. Recently, I lost my sun glasses on a trip to North Africa and needed to replace them when I returned to Tampa. My old glasses were tinted bi-focals in Maui Jim frames. I shopped in local designer frames shops and priced similar but cheaper glasses at COSTCO. Retain (high end shops) priced my glasses at approx. 700.00. COSTCO price came in just below 300. I am so unhappy with the quality of the COSTCO frames I am going back and buying the higher end glasses. The quality of the lenses is terrible and the frames are coming apart in just a few months of careful wearing. The screws keep loosening up and the frame springs apart when the screw pups out. I am planning a trip out of the country for a few months and I need reliable glasses. I am so disapointed with the quality of the COSTCO frames my experiment will now cost me approx. 1,0000 dollars vis 700. Will not happen again. :evil:

Postby eli » Sun May 20, 2012 3:09 pm

I picked up my glasses from Costco Optical on Staten Island about a week ago and am absolutely satisfied. I got Bebe frames, single vision, anti-glare, anti-scratch, transition lenses for a total of$184.97. They took exactly one week from ordering to pick up. This was after returning two pairs of similar glasses to Target, which cost $365 with a half price lens sale. The first was scratched and the second were not fit properly. The staff at Costco was professional and helpful. I did not have my eyes examined at Costco, so can't comment on the doctor. Overall, I am extremely satisfied with the quality and the price and will definitely be returning for my next pair.

Postby Wilbur » Mon Aug 27, 2012 12:51 am

I recently had my first experience with Costco Optical and overall, it was not good. The eye exam was quite good and one of the techs in the Optical Department was extremely helpful but the others were not. One was so bad she actually made me angry which rarely happens. I learned what they call progressives are really no-line trifocals and they either don't know, or won't admit to knowing the difference between the two. The no-line trifocals had such a narrow focal point on the intermediate lenses, only a character or two would be in focus on either side of the focal point. The reading lens was not much better. A word or less would be in focus on either side of that focal point. Because the focal point was so narrow, the distance I was required to hold what I was reading had to be exact in order for both eyes to be in focal point. The same was also true for the long distance lenses, although not as noticeable. Because of the distortion beyond the focal point, the glasses would literally make me feel nausea in my gut and lightheaded if I was doing anything outside including walking and driving.

I talked to them three times about returning the glasses before they took them on return the fourth time. To their credit they stated, and may have sincerely believed, I was having difficulty adjusting to, "progressives" (as they called them). This occurred over six weeks of time. When they did take the glasses back I opted for lined tri-focals. I believed what they had said about my difficulting in adjusting to these glasses. The new glasses have varying focal points and distortions in different parts of the lenses. For example on both the right and left distances lenses, the point most in focus is at the very top inside of the lens. As my eyes move away from this point objects become more or less blurry across the lens. It's different from the left eye to the right. The intermediate right lens is more clear closer to the top and bottom of the lens and it is the opposite with the left lens. The reading lenses are similar to the distance lenses. My eyes hurt while wearing them and I believe they contribute to my headaches. Because it is very obvious to me it is the glasses and not me, I will attempt to return these glasses for a cash refund (it is Costco after all).

Many have stated they have no problem using Costco and I believe that to be the case, although I do have one friend that has had the anti-reflective coating peel off three times within three years (yes he cares for them properly). In my case I have never been able to wear cheap glasses, even before I needed corrective lenses. When I was making $3.10 an hour I still had to spend $60 on sunglasses. I have never been able to tolerate distortions in lenses. In my opinion, these Costco lenses are poorly made. If you can tolerate $10 sunglasses from K-Mart, you'll likely be fine with Costco lenses. If not, I would recommend avoiding any high-volume or warehouse optical departments.

Postby Carrie » Wed Sep 05, 2012 10:55 am

Great info. Does anyone know if you can bring your old frames to costco and have them put in new lenses?

Postby george » Tue Sep 11, 2012 11:00 am

My local Costco will replace the lenses on frames you bought elsewhere, as long as they are not completely rimless frames and as long as they are in decent condition (not curved). They charge $18 to replace the lenses and the lenses are still $74. Interestingly, that is the same price as when I started this thread almost 3 years ago.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Petite_Miss_P » Mon May 06, 2013 10:40 pm

Thanks so much for this updated information!
I just came from Kaiser Permanente where I have limited optical insurance under my "High" option.
My deductible is $10 for the eye exam including dilation, which is great.
Here's the quote I got for lenses only, since my titanium "rimless" Sillouette frames are perfect:
Polycarbonate single vision; anti-reflective; transition lenses...... $202.50.
I'll be going to Costco to try for the Drivewear lenses for $124. Based on the comment on Sept 11, 2012, they may not create the lenses for me. Thankfully, I do have other old frames that I like.

Postby Guest » Thu Oct 03, 2013 11:18 pm

I have used Costco for years for glasses and they do take insurance. Of course some insurance companies may not have Costco in their network but all you have to do is ask the optical clerk and they will let you know if they are contracted with your vision insurance.

Postby LarryB34695 » Thu Oct 31, 2013 4:00 pm

While I appreciate the time that went into your review, I have a different perspective. My Costco lenses (3 pairs over 12 months!) have ALL done very badly with respect to durability. I have really never had an issue with durability on my (optician purchased) lenses. Two of the Costco pairs are slightly scratched. and one seems to be permanently stained from drywall dust. I am completely over Costco lenses. The Crizal Avance lenses I am ordering are scratch resistant, and carry a 2+ year warranty for that. Costco doesn't offer a scratch resistant lens. Enough said...never again, Costco.

Postby george » Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:13 pm


Thank youf or sharing your experience with Costco lenses. I'm surprised to hear you had so much trouble with the lenses scratching and getting stained from drywall dust, and that you didn't have problems with lenses you got from a private eye doctor. The Costco lenses do include an anti-scratch coating. I haven't seen any objective comparisons of the durability, such as COLTS scores for the Costco lenses, but the Crizal Avance are extremely durable. My own glasses from Costco never scratched, and I wore them daily for over a year before replacing them. I was fairly careful with them, always rinsing them with water before cleaning them with a microfiber cloth. I'm curious if there is something in your lifestyle that is particularly rough on glasses.

I know that Costco is typically very good about their products. I assume you took them back when they scratched and they replaced them for free? You'll have to update us once you get your crizal avance coated lenses and let us know how they hold up over the next year.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby ACHUANG822 » Sat Nov 02, 2013 11:33 pm

Today I made a appointment for my eye exam at Costco. They told me the exam cost will be $85 because I am not a senior, is that expensive ?

Postby george » Sun Nov 03, 2013 3:19 pm


$85 for a basic eye exam seems high to me, but it depends on what is included. The Costco eye doctors are independent from the store, so they set their prices to whatever they want. Typically, at least near me, they keep their prices pretty close to anything else around here. That is usually around $50-60 for a basic eye exam. There is an extra charge for dilating your eyes to do an exam and an extra charge if they do visual field exams. That would make the price around $85. Also, there will be an extra charge if you are going to be ordering contact lenses.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby verymyopic » Mon Dec 02, 2013 6:01 pm

How good are their progressive, hi-index lenses for prescriptions over -7.5?

Postby george » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:45 pm


I don't have any personal experience with Costco progressives, and I don't know enough about how good progressives would be for that level of negative. From what I have been able to find out, in the past Costco used Essilor Ovation progressive lenses and I've also seen they have used Essilor Accolade, but it seems most of this information came from people who worked at Costco as they don't currently say what make of lenses they use. I am also guessing that they change over time based on the technology and what they can get at a good cost. Overall, I would think that you would get a decent lens (but not the best) at a very good price at Costco. You should call your local Costco and see what they say, and also find out if they have any policy if you aren't able to adjust to the lenses.

Please let me know what you find out and regardless of where you get your lenses, I'm always interested in more feedback.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby verymyopic » Tue Dec 03, 2013 1:47 pm

Thanks for your answer. I just purchased high end glasses, but I think I may go to our local Costco, purchase a pair and compare. If they are just as good, it would save me a HUGH amount!

Postby uchu » Wed Dec 18, 2013 3:01 pm

I just ordered my transitions lenses from the local Costco, in Markham (ON). The service was OK, although it took forever (only 1 person attending in a busy Monday morning). I had use Costco years back, at a different location in Canada, and I was pretty happy with the overall experience. In my opinion, they take a very long time to get them ready (10-14 business days). It's OK for me, as I have spares, and my eye prescription has not changed much. But I still think it's way too long a wait to get your glasses ready. So, if you are in a hurry to get your new glasses done, Costco optical is not your place.

Postby momof3 » Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:18 pm

I live in Kansas and we don't have a Costco here and I am going to be in Colorado at the end of the month where there is one.. And I am in need of a eye exam I currently don't have vision insurance so its all out of pocket and the places here cost from 175.00-214.00 for the basic eye exam. And I was wanting to know if I can go there even if I live in another state and if I need a membership? My sister in law has one.. Thanks
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:08 pm

Postby george » Wed Feb 05, 2014 11:49 pm


When I checked with my local Costco a few years ago, they said non-members can get eye exams there, but you need to be a member (or with a member) in order to purchase eyeglasses.

I would highly suggest you call in advance to the Costco near where you're going, both to confirm that is their policy as well as to make an appointment in advance.

The price you are quoting for an eye exam seems quite high. Does that include a contact lens fitting, which is more expensive?
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby momof3 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 4:01 am

No it does not include contact part of the exam just eye glasses. And my last prescription was only good for a year and I could have sworn that they are usually good for 2. I just need something cheaper.
Posts: 2
Joined: Wed Feb 05, 2014 6:08 pm

Postby janine in GVille » Tue Feb 11, 2014 10:38 am

I just had my eye exam in Carson City Nevada. The exam was $84.00. I ordered glasses and this was the breakdown: Frames $59.00, Lenses $49.00 and they automatically put the protective coating on the lenses (they did not ask me) for another $39.00. Hope this is helpful to people in my area. February 10, 2014
janine in GVille

Postby retiredteacher » Tue Feb 11, 2014 3:14 pm

I purchased a pair of Progressives a few years ago at Costco that I could not adjust to...It was totally my fault not the quality or manufacture of the lenses. Costco replaced my progressives twice trying to make it work for me. I finally decided to go with 2 pair of single vision lens. No hassle, no problem. Just this month I tried a pair of lined bifocals lenses which were $39.99...still no I went back to 2 pair of the single vision glasses. They replaced the bifocal lenses with two pair of single vision lenses ($19.99 each). If the lenses are less on the replacement they refund the difference. I have tried other places before Costco over the years where I paid more and did not get anything better. The Optometrist and the optical help that will fit your glasses have been the same people for turnover in help...and all are very helpful and capable. I had a lens in a rimless frame get a chip at the side and they replaced the lenses at no cost to me. I have used Costco for many years and have always been more than happy with both the product, the service and the guarantee. :D

Postby Fawn » Tue Feb 11, 2014 4:55 pm

My name is Fawn and I am the Dr's optical technician at Costco optical in Charleston SC. I wanted to update the page on the current price of the all eye exams. First of all I would like to offer we have had the same staff since 2004. Our Dr's strive to provide full medical services as well as vision. Included in the price of the exams are refraction, dilation, visual field testing, any specialized instruction for new glasses or contact lens wearers, and follow up appointments (if needed) for up to 60 days.
Exam: 82.00
Spherical Contact lens exam: 118.00
Astigmatism Contact lens Exam: 133.00
Multifocal/ Monovision Contact lens Exam: 148.00
Office visit for injury or eye irritation: 47.00 and up (depending on the severity of the issue)
Retinal Imaging service to any exam (optional): 19.00

We are an independent service from Costco that is only interested in providing the highest quality vision services available. We are always accepting new patients. Please call Costo Optical 843-460-2000 ext 241 to schedule an appointment with Dr Devin McKinney, OD., or one of the other participating Dr's at this location.

Postby ghy7824 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 6:25 pm

Regarding price, I just called Costco Naperville optical department and was told the exam price is $54 for a regular exam (this is on 2/21/2014). Price varies by location apparently?

Postby Sweepergurl » Thu Feb 27, 2014 9:02 pm

Just received three Nine West frames purchased from Woot! Planning to order lenses from Costco (2 progressives (Transitions) and 1 sunglass). How much should I expect to pay in the Chicagoland area?

Postby george » Sun Mar 02, 2014 1:03 am

<edited 11/4/14 to updated prices>


Prices may vary somewhat from store to store, but based on other people's comments, it seems the ChicagoLand area generally charges around $20 to put lenses into frames you bring in, so figure around $18-25 per frames you bring in, plus the following:

Digital HD Progressives - polycarbonate around $130 (includes antiglare and anti-scratch), high index around $200

Transitions - add $30, or $45 if high index.

I'm not sure how much tinting the lenses will cost to make sunglasses. If you go ahead and have Costco put in the lenses, please let us know what you paid and whether you are happy with the result.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Spectical » Tue Mar 18, 2014 9:02 pm

I'm in WA in the puget sound area and just returned from a costco optical visit.

The exam was $75. They did ask if they were billing insurance, but sadly I don't have the coverage. But $75 isn't too bad.

The frames + lenses + lens treatment (anti glare etc) ran about $160

Postby JerryM » Wed Mar 19, 2014 11:22 am

Hi Spectical,
Were your lenses single vision?
Posts: 22
Joined: Mon Jan 27, 2014 7:58 pm

Postby Ken H » Fri Mar 28, 2014 11:13 am

I lost my glasses in a traffic accident and needed new ones.

I got my eyes examined by a doctor of Optometry at a Pearl Vision, who I've gone to for over 10 years and I trust completely. The exam was $69 and with my insurance the total out of pocket was $5. At Pearl Vision the lens for progressive, 1.67 hi index and Endure Ez anti reflective (their recommendation) was $560, after insurance they came to $232. The frame I wanted was wire rim titanium (Flexon), spring loaded temples, with mag clip polarized sun glasses. The price after insurance was $213. The total for the glasses was $445.

One of the major surprises for me was that Costco now accepts most brands of vision insurance. Excellent!

The optical service at Costco was very good, excellent as it turned out. I had already shopped around for the frame style I wanted so it was easy to see if Costco had something comparable, which they did. But, the closest Costco to me did not have the type of lens the optical service person recommended for me; their new digital progressive. So, they sent me to another Costco which was about 30 minutes away, not a problem for me.

Costco has a very limited selection of the particular type of frame I wanted, but I was lucky and found exactly what I was looking for. The total for the same lens spec and frame spec was $135 after insurance; a savings of $305. The optical service person at Costco said the AR treatment was relatively new and the best on the market at this time. They also said the particular lens I got was also new to Costco, digital progressive with UV protection and scratch resistant hard coat.

My previous pair of glasses were also progressive and had the Crizal Alize which have UV protection and are extremely resistant to dirt, dust, smudges, etc. When I first got them I could not believe how clean they stayed during everyday use.

I've had the Costco glasses for two months and couldn't be happier.They don't stay quite as clean as the Crizal did, but they are much better than any other lens I've had over the last 40 years of wearing glasses.
Ken H

Postby guest » Sat Apr 05, 2014 8:00 pm

I just checked a Costco in Fremont, CA

The plastic lens is $58 single vision
Polycarbonate lens $73 single vision
Progressive polycarbnate lens $130.

My insurance is VSP. Costco is not in the network. It will be reimbursed as out network. Costco takes care all paper work.
My insurance plan covers $40 for single vision lens, and $80 for progressive lens for out network.

Overall the price from Costco is still lower than a couple of local stores(in VSP network) that I checked. They usually mark up frames and upgrade a lot.
I was told that I have to add $52 to get polycabonate lens, and may have to pay additional for anti-glare and scratch resistant.

The only draw back at Costco is that it has limited number of frame selection. If I can find the frame that I like, it is better than VSP providers.

Postby Kristi » Thu May 08, 2014 2:53 pm

Thank you so much for the update. I was looking for info on whether this price was valid for costco members only or not.
Ive gotten glasses in the past from them and yes. Very good quality exams, lenses and cost.

Postby Gisele » Tue Jun 10, 2014 11:20 pm

Hi, I went to Walmart today for ordering my single vision lenses ( hight index, transition, anti-reflection, roll-polished edges, scratch and impact resistant lenses ) and they cost me $279. I use my own frame so they might have charged me the extra $24 for that. I wonder how much will it costs if I get the same lenses at Costco? Has anyone ordered the same lense ?

Postby george » Wed Jun 11, 2014 9:33 pm

As of a year ago, the price was around $70 for the high index (1.67) single vision lenses, add $30 for anti-reflective coating, and Transitions photochromic is $45 on their high index lenses. The price includes anti-scratch and UV protection. I don't know whether it includes roll-polished edges or not. Other people reported that Costco charges $18 if you bring your own frames. I know that prices for the eye exam vary by location, but I don't know how much prices for lenses may vary.

So, the total based on my calculations would be around $163 at Costco. Even if their prices have gone up since then, it would still be markedly lower than Walmart's price, assuming the features are comparable.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby cassgirl » Sun Aug 03, 2014 9:45 pm

My glasses just broke. The lenses are ok but the frames are nit. I bought them from Costco. Do you know if I can purchase a pair of frames from the that day and have them put the lenses in? Thanks.

Postby squid3 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:13 am

I found this thread interesting. I am a 24 year vet, (Navy). I have started a new career to become an dispensing optician. It's a great field. I started working in this field about a year ago and have looked at "discount" stores, private DR's and places that are in between. The DR's are trained the same and give the same exams. Some insurances are accepted at places that other's aren't. At all of the in between eye places and the private practice locations, I saw a mark up of over 10 times what I saw for the same frames and lens at the discount places. The exam may be cheaper by $15 to $50, but the real cost is the materials. I saw, in this thread that Costco offers a lens that basic lens that has UV protection, but it costs extra for the anti-scratch coat. After you pay for the scratch coat, you pay more than where I work. Costco does not offer a "FREE" year warranty on the frames or for gouges in the lenses. Where I work does. This includes children's frames, too. It doesn't cover loss or simple scratches, but more than covers what most folks need. Also, if your prescription isn't quite right and your DR changes your prescription within 60 days of your exam, where I work, will replace the lenses for free. There is no cost for any of these services. Where I work we have over 300 male frames, over 400 female frames, almost 100 sunglass frames ( prescription ready), 40 safety glass frames and over 120 children's frames to choose from. The average cost of an adult frame is $68, sunglasses average $38, safety glasses average $78 and the average children's frame cost $38. Our basic lens comes with UV protection, anti-scratch, no glare, and impact resistant. It is a polycarbonate, much better than plastic, for adults it is $110 for 2 lenses. For children's glasses, it is $49. For safety glasses it is $90 and for sunglasses, with polarisazion, it is $60 for two lenses. In most cases, a person can get a single vision set of glasses for well under $200 (insurance may help this even more). A pair of lined bifocals will be out the door at about $210 and a set of progressives will be about $250. Yes, we offer transitions and other lens that cost less and more, but this is the lens we sell the most and what most folks want and need. Costco can't touch Walmart in quality, selection, price or guarantee. I have looked at many places and the best prices, selection, quality and guarantee are given at Walmart. I am not on commission and get nothing for posting this, but this thread is very misleading.

Postby Guest » Fri Sep 05, 2014 2:04 pm

leegar wrote:If you have frames from your exiting glasses you wish to use but did not purchase from Costco, there is an additional charge of about $24. I find this strange for a consumer oriented retailer, and a waste of a good pair frames that I have already purchased last year and that are very adequate. I will not get my new prescription filled at Costco.

It's not strange at all. What happens if they accidentally break or damage the frames - they will have to replace them. The additional charge is likely similar to an insurance policy against damage.

I am glad I found that out - I may actually have them use my current frames the next time I need new lenses!

Postby Guest » Mon Sep 08, 2014 6:59 pm

My local Costco charges $18 to use your own frame. The cost is actually to measure and make a template for cutting the lenses that will go into your frames. They already know the measurements of all their frames that they sell. When you use your own frame the lens measurements will be a little different from anything they have in their system so it's more work to process your frame.

Postby Guest » Sat Nov 01, 2014 11:58 pm

@ squid3

:lol: :?
Thank you for your service, but...
Sheesh, what a generalism. "Costco can't touch Walmart..."

Quality... as you said, Dr's wth same training, same exams.
Selection... perhaps correct. Good for Wally.
Price... LoL. Costco's exam "cheaper by $15 to $50" ...sounds pretty good to me. And at least three posts previous to yours also have a complete pair of glasses with UV protect and anti-scratch for "well under $200". Maybe Wally's getting kind of touchy about that.
Guarantee... Costco has the best return policy in the land. How's that for a generalism?

Postby guest » Sat Nov 29, 2014 7:09 pm

How is this thread misleading? Or the better question, what are people here misleading you on? All people are doing are posting actual costs/experiences at their Costco Optical locations. There aren't many opinions going on here. They all seem to be fact/evidence based.

Postby guest2 » Wed Dec 17, 2014 5:47 pm

Eye exam for gas permeable contact lenses = $154 (not $79). Beware.

Postby george » Wed Dec 17, 2014 11:33 pm


The prices for eye exams and contact exams are much more of a regional thing and prices do seem to vary based on location. It might be helpful if you could add your general location, as that is a big percentage difference compared to my area.

The eyeglass and lens prices seem to be the same nationally, at least as far as I can tell so far.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby OtoSan Kangai Nasai » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:21 am

I admit to being prejudiced on this subject because my cousin has been an independent OD at Costco for many years. While I, personally, have never been examined by him, almost all of my relatives swear by him. Obviously, so do many satisfied returning customers in this rather high-tone community.

With regard to the frames/lenses: Costco generally does not display or sell the most current or designer eyewear. They may have a small collection of a designer brand (3 or 4 styles in a separate showcase) but the bread and butter are the frames known in the industry as "closeouts." We know them as last year's or older frames and there is a lot of profit to be made as they are purchased "right" and in bulk by Costco's buyers. That being said, if you don't need the latest Gucci or Armani frame, let Costco make a profit while you buy for 1/3 of optical shop retail.

I recently priced the primo progressive combination at Costco...anti-reflective, UV, High index, thin lenses (of course no-line). Last year, with my own frames, I paid over $500 at my local optical shop. Costco quoted $160 + (maybe) an additional charge if the template was not included with my frames. I checked with several other customers, all of whom have a higher "minus" than I, thus needing the same quality of lenses; all satisfied and coming back for more. It appears that Costco has raised the quality of its optical goods over the years, so much so that, while almost anyone would order a single vision prescription for C, those of us with requiring concise and comfortable fittings would almost always go with the OD's or MD's shop to be guaranteed a quality fit and product. So this week, I am taking the plunge and bringing my Joseph Abboud designer frames purchased online for $82 to my cousin's Costco for the $160 package instead of paying the optical shop almost $200 for the frame plus another $500 for the lenses. I shall report back re: the success of my venture!
OtoSan Kangai Nasai

Postby anew » Thu Jan 01, 2015 4:41 pm

Are there Optometrists at Costco Optical? Or, are their services just for eye glasses?

Postby george » Thu Jan 01, 2015 10:52 pm

Mr. Nasai,

I look forward to hearing your opinion of the high index progressive lenses from Costco. I have a fairly low prescription, so no need for high index, but I've been wearing Costco progressive lenses for the past few weeks. I'm very pleased with them, but I only have the Zenni progressive lenses to compare them with. While the Zenni lenses served me fine for the past year at an amazing price, the Costco lenses are seeming far better. The more I get used to them, the bigger the improvement is over the Zenni lenses. I hope you have as good of an experience as I did. As for the price of the frames, I did notice they are now displaying several premium designer frames inside the case where the opticians work. At some point if I have time, I'll put together another post with more details on what they have. The cases I saw were mostly women's frames, and some unisex, with prices up to around $250. The frames I picked out were $60, and seem about as nice as the frames I got from a private optometrists office for $199 a few years back.


All of the Costco Vision centers I've seen have an independent optometrist. When I was there a few weeks ago, the optometrist said she's been there for many years and prior to that had worked in a variety of settings and likes this the best. She said they don't ask her to push any products and pretty much leave her alone to see the patients and answer their questions. I told her my prior pair was bought online, and she asked which store as she's heard of many of them. Unlike most optometrists I've come across, she didn't badmouth Zenni at all and said they clearly are providing a product that meets a certain need.
Posts: 195
Joined: Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:23 pm

Postby Dori » Thu Feb 26, 2015 9:22 pm

I just scheduled my annual exam at the local Costco (in Cali), apparently there's a new optometrist and the cost went up from 79 to 99 for exam with contacts. Just glasses went up from 49 to 69. With dilation it will be 129! I'm super bummed about the price hike.

Postby guest2002 » Sun Mar 08, 2015 3:44 am

My husband and I have been very pleased with the value and quality of Costco lenses in the past. I cannot use the independent optician/optometrist adjacent to my Costco as I have to have exams by an ophthalmologist annually due to a medical condition, so my cost comparison does not include the cost of an eye exam.

The most recent cost comparison I've received as of March, 2015 includes "the works" - high index progressive lenses, anti-reflective, anti-glare, scratch-resistant, etc.:

Independent eyewear storefront: $538 including Bellagio frames priced at $169.99

Costco eyewear department: $230 including Vera Wang frames priced at $89.99

No-brainer. Costco wins again.

Return to Eye Care

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests