Is Walmart Vision Center a Good Choice?

Review of Products, Services, Quality, and Price

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Many people want a convenient and affordable option for their eye and vision care needs. That's where Walmart Vision Center comes in.

Walmart has everything from auto to beauty products. So it's no surprise the mega-giant retailer offers eyeglasses and contact lenses. Even more, they provide eye exams by licensed doctors of optometry (eye doctors).

Walmart is the fourth leading provider of optical goods (like glasses and contact lenses) in the United States. But you may wonder whether size matters when it comes to your personal eye care. And you may question if using Walmart puts you at risk of budget-rate care. The answer may surprise you.

This article goes over what you need to know about Walmart Vision Center. You'll learn about the quality of their eye doctors and services they provide, as well as the price and quality of their frames and lenses.

Sign on a Wal-Mart store in daytime

Getty Images / Tim Boyle

Product Range and Quality

Walmart Vision Centers are in convenient locations for most people. They have a good selection of eyewear at fair prices, including many varieties of eyeglasses and contact lenses. On top of that, the centers are tastefully decorated, which might make you more comfortable.

Many people like being able to walk in without an appointment and find a popular name-brand frame. Yet you might have a hard time placing a special order for certain items. These include some brand name progressive lenses or high-profile brand frames.

Recap

Since Walmart is a discount retailer, they emphasize value-for-price over high quality. That's why many of their less popular brands and some of the lenses are lower in quality.

Quality of Doctors

You don't have to see a private practice eye doctor to get a complete basic eye exam. Independent optometrists at private practices might charge more than Walmart-employed optometrists. But both give complete eye exams to diagnose vision conditions and eye diseases.

Every doctor Walmart hires or contracts is a licensed and fully certified optometrist. Sometimes they're even ophthalmologists.

Still, there are some instances when you might want to see your current eye doctor instead. Having a detailed prescription is one of those cases. Your current provider knows your history. Plus, you already tested (and hopefully approved) their ability to take accurate measurements.

Because healthcare laws vary from state to state, the way Walmart employs or contracts eye doctors also varies. Some doctors at the vision centers are technically employees of Walmart. But most are independent eye doctors who lease their equipment, staff, and office space from Walmart.

Recap

While the optometry staff at Walmart are in no way lacking in expertise, the turnover rate is high. If you prefer a relationship with your eye doctor, Walmart may not be right for you.

Services and Insurance

Some of Walmart's doctors provide more advanced services, such as treating eye infections or eye disease. But their primary aim is to provide routine eye care. Private eye care practices might be better at treating more complicated eye conditions.

A bigger concern is that Walmart might not take your vision insurance, including Medicaid and Medicare. Some do and some don't, and many Walmart optometrists work on a cash or credit-only basis.

Pricing

You may think of Walmart as a leader for low prices. But their prices for eyeglass lenses and frames are often the same as many private practices.

In fact, Walmart once bragged about having extremely low contact lens prices. But their prices were only slightly lower than at private practices or other commercial practices, like Lenscrafters.

You might be shocked to learn that your private practice doctor might have the same prices for contact lenses as Walmart.

While glasses at Walmart start as low as $16, you get what you pay for. Higher-quality brands at Walmart are usually more expensive than places like Warby Parker, where most of the products are $95.

Summary

Walmart isn't just known for their mega stores that carry everything from baby clothes to car tires to medications. They are also one of the leading retailers of eye care products. On top of that, they offer affordable basic eye exams.

The prices and quality of the frames and lenses at Walmart's Vision Center vary greatly. Check out their competitors to see if the prices are even more affordable before investing in a pair of eye glasses or contact lenses.

A Word From Verywell

An annual eye exam is one of the most important things you can do to protect your vision and keep your eyes healthy. Keeping your prescription up to date is also important to maintain clear vision throughout your entire life.

When it comes to choosing an eye care doctor, do your homework and select wisely for the best deal and care for your situation.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What does an eye doctor check during a routine eye exam?

    Your doctor checks how clearly you see (visual acuity) and the overall health of your eye. A detailed exam should also look at eye muscle movement, depth perception, how light passes through the cornea and lens, color vision, ability to see out of the corner of your eye, eye drainage, risk of glaucoma, and possible macular degeneration.

  • Are cheap reading glasses okay for your eyes?

    The quality of the lens and frames are not as good as specially manufactured glasses, but as long as the prescription lenses match your eyes’ prescription, inexpensive reading glasses should be okay. For some people, off-the-rack glasses may not match the distance between your pupils, leading to eye strain and double vision. If you experience those problems, see an eye doctor for an exam.

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3 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Cleveland Clinic. Are drugstore ‘cheaters’ as good as prescription reading glasses? Published January 25, 2018.