This Costco Optical review was completed by Vicki, co-founder of Women Who Money and Women’s Money Talk. She recently used a Costco Vision Center for an eye exam and four new pairs of glasses.
We’ve been members of a few different warehouse clubs over the years, but we usually skipped renewing memberships because of club locations.
While we could save money shopping in them, driving to a nearby town to shop didn’t make sense for us. With me working full-time, and two kids involved in extracurricular activities, time was precious.
Now, as an empty nester, in semi-retirement who “snowbirds” for most of the winter at our Florida condo, things are different.
After learning the grocery store next to our condo didn’t carry some vegan options we prefer buying in New York, we were disappointed. Luckily, a Costco just a few miles away had everything we were looking for.
Even though the Costco in NY is a half-hour drive from home, we made the decision to purchase a membership in Florida. We felt giving it a try for a year was practical.
We shopped at Costco a few times each month while in Florida and were happy with our decision to join. We’ve even gone to the one near us in NY a few times this summer.
Recently, after tiring of squinting (even with my glasses on) I knew it was time to get an eye exam. I typically use local vision centers but remembered they were available at Costco also.
This is the first time I’ve used Costco’s Vision Center, and I wanted to share my experience so far. (Since I just got my glasses, I will update this post in a few months to share my purchase satisfaction/dissatisfaction over time.)
Getting An Eye Exam at Costco Vision Center
According to their optical section of the website, an independent Doctor of Optometry is available for eye exams at or next to most Costco locations.
Costco Optical accepts many vision insurance plans. But make sure you contact the independent Doctor of Optometry to see what insurance plans they take for eye exams.
I was able to text the Doctor at my local Costco Optical on a Saturday morning to inquire on acceptance of our insurance plan. He returned my call with good news and shared that my copay would be $40. He then asked if I wanted to book an appointment or call back, also mentioning I could book an appointment online at my convenience.
When I decided to give Costco a try, I logged in and booked the last appointment available for later that Saturday afternoon. I was delighted I wouldn’t have to wait a few weeks for an appointment. With school starting soon in our area, many vision centers are booked for weeks this time of year.
I arrived at Costco for a 4:20 pm appointment and didn’t have to wait at all. The doctor reviewed my history, checked my glasses, and completed my eye exam by 4:45.
Rather than having him dilate my eyes, I opted to pay an extra $25 for a digital retinal exam. (As a science teacher, this was a small price to pay to get a cool picture to show my students. The doctor also emailed me the images for future reference.)
Ordering Glasses Through Costco Optical
There was no surprise my prescription changed since my last eye exam two years ago. Which meant it was time for new glasses. (Costco members can also purchase a variety of contact lenses, including “Kirkland Signature” which is Costco’s private label, Bausch and Lomb, Acuvue, CooperVision, and more.)
Since I need to wear glasses (with progressive trifocals) all the time, I always purchase a backup pair of glasses and prescription sunglasses. I also decided to buy a pair of office glasses this time because I teach online and have an online business.
Office glasses don’t correct distance vision but have larger intermediate and near vision fields.
Although I like the frames I’ve been wearing for the last two years, one of them had a crack and couldn’t be reused. Costco also charges a fee ($20-30) to create a template of your glasses if you do decide to use old frames. Since my Costco would reduce the price of their already inexpensive frames if I bought more than one pair. (I share the full cost breakdown below.)
Taking the cost of new frames and the condition of my current frames into account, ordering new frames for the four pairs of glasses was the best decision.
The customer service representatives in the Vision Center were incredibly patient, assisting me with choosing which frames, lenses, and anti-reflective treatments would be best for each pair of glasses.
In about 75 minutes, my eye exam and order were complete. This was all on the same day as my initial call to learn more about Costco Optical.
Costs for the Glasses and Lenses I Ordered
My eye exam and retinal imagery cost $65, payable directly to the Doctor of Optometry who did my exam.
1st pair of glasses. The frame was $59.99, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses were $130.01 for a total of $190.00. Since I struggle with glare in addition to working on the computer a great deal, I added an anti-blue light treatment to these lenses.
2nd pair of glasses. The frame was $59.99, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses were $129.99 for a total of $189.98. I didn’t get an anti-reflective treatment on these glasses.
3rd pair of glasses. The frame for the office glasses was $59.99, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses were $70.01 for a total of $130.00. This includes the anti-blue light treatment since I’ll be using them for computer work.
4th pair of glasses. The frame for my sunglasses was $49.99, and the Kirkland Signature HD progressive lenses were $159.99 for a total of $209.98.
I was eligible for a $30 discount on pairs 2, 3, and 4 for ordering them all on the same day; a total savings of $90.
The total cost for four pairs of glasses was $629.96; an average of just over $157/pair. (*I didn’t use an insurance benefit for the frames because it was cheaper to buy them outright with the discount.)
It was an expensive afternoon in the end, as I spent just under $700 for the exam and glasses.
How Does That Compare?
I bought three pairs of glasses (no office glasses) at a local vision center two years ago, for $697.86; an average of just over $232/pair. (The copay for the eye exam was the same. I did have my eyes dilated there instead of paying for a digital retinal exam.)
I saved an average of $75/pair of glasses at Costco.
According to OpticianWorks, consumers can expect to pay between $200 and $600 for a pair of glasses with progressive lenses and frames and an additional $75 to $150 for non-glare coatings.
Premium lenses like Varilux are preferred by many people who wear progressive lenses even though they cost hundreds more than the lenses Costco sells.
Before making your decision on where to buy glasses, research the type of lens you want, the cost, and what your insurance may cover.
Final Thoughts on My Costco Optical Review
Vision care is expensive, even when you have insurance. That’s why most people try to do what they can to save money on glasses, contacts, and eye care. Luckily, I was able to wear my previous glasses for just over two years before I needed new ones.
In terms of using Costco, I definitely saved money over the last two vision centers I used. So far, the quality of my glasses seems fine. The doctor and staff of the vision center were a pleasure to work with. And I’m happy to report with spending close to $700, I am satisfied with my decision to use Costco.
Since I know issues may arise with my lenses and glasses over time, I’ll update this review in a few months.