Question About Vision Testing and Eyeglasses...

Updated on March 08, 2012
R.D. asks from Richmond, VA
19 answers

My 8 year old daughter has been complaining on and off for a few months about her eyesight. She says she can't read the chalkboard (and I'm about to have it out with her teacher, who refuses to move her from the back of the room closer to the board), and her eyes 'feel tired' when she reads a lot (and she reads a LOT)... at first I called BS because her best buddy Leslie had just gotten glasses, as well as my best friends daughter... now, I think she's really being honest. ESPECIALLY after that crazy headache incident that landed her in the ER one night (old post).

SO, since I have never needed glasses (but I'm confident I do now), do I have to take her to the pediatrician first? Get her vision checked there? And then what? How do you choose where to get your glasses? My BFF uses LensCrafters or ForEyes, one of those types places, but I know Sears and Walmart have them as well... how do you pick? Does insurance cover glasses? I don't even know where to start!! If she does need glasses, how often do you get your vision checked once you get them? Just as often as you feel you need to?

Do anyone's kids wear glasses? How old are they? Are they responsible with them?

Does anyone have a ballpark figure how much it would cost ME (with NO insurance) for a vision exam and glasses?

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answers from Washington DC on

I had glasses from about the age of 8 or 9. It was the end of 3rd grade. I won't say I was 100% responsible, but I did do well with them. Losing them meant not being able to see.

I would start with the pediatrician and just ask if he/she knows of any children's vision programs in your area, not necessarily see the pediatrician. Just ask for info. You can also see if WalMart or another vision center like that would provide glasses inexpensively. You can get the prescription one place and look for glasses somewhere else. I feel that transitions lenses are not necessary, but you want plastic (or flexible metal) and scratch resistant coating.

I went to a local optometrist when I was a kid and I've been to LenseCrafters as an adult. It wasn't bad to go to LenseCrafters, but I never got the same person twice. If you go to a standalone optometrist, you can build a relationship. You may also find it beneficial to go to a pediatric optometrist. Many insurances have a vision component that covers or partially covers glasses. You might also have benefits under AAA membership or similar.

Get her vision checked yearly, especially as she grows. Nobody will sell you glasses for a prescription more than 2 yrs old. Her vision should stabilize when she's older, but expect glasses every year for a while. If she ends up with a strong prescription, try to buy the high density lenses. It will make such a difference.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Insurance doesn't cover it unless you have vision insurance, however, the pediatrician can test her vision with your regular office visit (so your health insurance will pay for that). Then he can at least tell you if there is an issue. If you DO have vision insurance I would say take her to the eye doctor and skip the middle man. If not, expect to pay at least $300 for exam, frames, and lenses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My daughter got glasses this year and so did 4 or 5 other kids in her class (2nd grade). Must be something about that age. You don't have to take her to the ped first, just make an appt somewhere. Vision exams are less than $100. I can't remember how much plus last time I opted for the optic nerve photo rather than dilation, so it cost extra. Glasses, however, are pretty expensive. My daughters were around $300 so i definately opted for the replacement plan in case they get broken i'm sure you can get them cheaper and sometimes there are BOGO sales. But remember that as long as you have the prescription you can buy them anywhere, not just where you had her tested. Prescriptions are good for one year.

Usually vision plans are separate from medical plans. Not every employer offers them anymore so you will have to check.

My daughter's pretty responsible but she is still a kid and accidents happen so I expect her to tell me any day that they got broken.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

You don't need to see a pediatrician. If you happen to have well check coming up, they will check her eyes and let you know if she needs to see and optometrist. Otherwise, save your money and go see the eye doctor. I do not have insurance and I go to Target for my exams (the optometrist is next door) and glasses. An eyeglass exam costs me $25. I am sure this will very state to state. You can call around and find out the cost from the various doctors and they will let you know the cost. Over the years I have tried Lens Crafters, Walmart, Target and few no name places. I haven't had a bad experience at any of them. The exclusively eye glass places, seemed a bit pricier to me. Target just happens to be convenient to where I live and the right price for me. My glasses, with a glare protection, scratch resistant coating and insurance (if they get broken or I get tired of them I pay $25 for a new pair) were $250. Children's glasses do run cheaper and they are often on sale. I know lots of kids with glasses who do just fine with them. Just have a "Spot" for them. When she takes them off she puts them in "the spot", otherwise they will get lost. It happens. I think it's pretty standard now, but make sure to get scratch resistant coating on the lenses. You are supposed to get your eyes checked once a year.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

You can go straight to the eye doctor. My friend gets her glasses at ForEyes and likes them and the service. Another friend gets glasses for her kids at Sears. Her son needed glasses at 4 yrs old. I would call and see what their policy is for kids glasses. I do know one place near me will replace the frames for a fee if they break, using the same lenses. If the store offers insurance for kids glasses, get it. She will have to learn to take care of them. My girls needed them and would just lay them down, the reason they do not have glasses now. I have separate vision insurance so we will be going very soon. You will need to find out if your health insurance included vision, some do.

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answers from St. Louis on

2nd & 3rd grade is historically the time when kids show up with vision problems.

skip the pediatrician. We've used WalMart for years with both of our sons. They're affordable & I actually trust the dr who's been there for years now! I went with Walmart, because we live in a small town & Walmart is open until 8pm which works great with last minute/afterschool repairs!

I have also used Lenscrafters for myself. They were a little bit more expensive than WalMart, but had a larger selection for me. (I take an oddball/larger size than most women.)

My mom has used both Penneys & Sears.....& refuses to return to either. I agree with her.

As for cost, my glasses run about $500. My older son who does not have an astigmatism nor bifocals....just straight-forward lenses.....hmm, his last pair was about $280. My younger son just needed correction for reading.....& his ran about $200.

Responsibility: I started in glasses at age 13. Never had any issues. Both of my sons began at about age 8.....& even thru sports, no problems or issues with either of them. I always look for flex frames &/or spring hinges. The spring hinges are lifesavers! Good Luck!

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answers from Chicago on

HI R. - I was 2 when I got glasses - my eyesight is bad = think of the kid with coke bottle glasses and as I am far sighted my eyes look magnified when wearing them.........Anyway - go to an optometrist or opthamologist to get her looked at - maybe there is one who specializes in pediatrics. We have a vision plan though my husbands company - my company has everything but vision insurance. I THINK if you go to an opthamologist they will take major medical so if you have medical insurance, as long as they are contracted with them, you could use that......BUT - find out before by calling the office and asking about insurance.

OK - as for the cost - as I said my prescription is pretty severe so if I had no insurance my glasses would be more than $400 (I have vision insurance therefore at For Eyes my glasses were about $160). I'm assuming she'll have a slight prescription - the exam will be about $90 (seems the going rate here in the Chicago Suburbs) and glasses maybe $200.......Then again, depends on the insurance issue.

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answers from St. Louis on

I just got Tommy two pairs of glasses, lenses, exam for 250. We all have vision insurance but never use it because you have to go here or here and it only covers >< much. It is just easier to find a good place out of pocket.

All of Christine's friends got glasses in fourth grade so she needed glasses. Took her for the eye exam, which is 50 of that above cost, they said her vision was fine. Next year same thing, I didn't believe her so she got a note from her teacher. So we did it again, she needed glasses.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Omaha on

This reminds me of my younger years! My mom always thought my younger brother needed glasses because he would often complain of headaches. I told her I had a hard time seeing the board at school and thought I needed glasses. She thought I just wanted them too and ignored (unintentionally-she thought my brother was showing more symptoms of eye strain/need for glasses, etc.) Finally, we both went to the eye doctor. My brother was fine and I was blind as a bat! I wasn't legally blind, but my vision, if I recall, measured at 20/225 or something like that. My mom felt horrible!!
I would just ask some friends you know who they would recommend and go from there. My mom goes to Pearle Vision and also purchased glasses from them. You could call your pediatrician and see if they recommend anyone for you. Check with your insurance and see what your coverage is. I think many insurance carriers will cover the exam, but not glasses although some do give an allowance for that too. Hope that helps!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

First, call the principal and tell him/her that your child is having vision problems right now and hasn't gotten her glasses yet, and that the teacher is refusing to accommodate her by moving her closer to the board. My teacher actually informed my parents that she thought I needed glasses, b/c I also had a hard time seeing the board.

Don't take her to the pediatrician, that's just a waste of time and money. Take her straight to an ophthalmologist (call aorund to find one that accepts your insurance), they will have glasses to choose from. They have kids kinds too, that are more durable and scratch proof lenses. Or, you can get her prescription written out and take her somewhere cheaper for glasses, but then I would just go there for the eye exam as well (even Walmart does eye exams). Insurance will usually cover glasses and the exam or a portion of them, it just depends on how good your insurance is.

For contact wearers, we have to get a yearly exam to renew our contacts. Since glasses don't have to be renewed each year, you aren't required to get a yearly exam, but it is a good idea to since the prescirption only lasts a year, and b/c eyesight changes from year to year, especially in kids. I think I probably needed new glasses every 1 1/2 to 2 years or so when I was younger.

I've been wearing glasses since I was 7, then switched to contacts when I was about 11.

For you, without insurance, call around on the vision exam for prices. As for if you need glasses, it depends on the type of lens, for example astigmatism or something like that will be more expensive. A lot of places have buy one pair glasses get second half off or something like that.

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answers from Dallas on

I'd fist have the school nurse test your daughter's eyes, and if she feel she should see an eye doctor. Your pediatrician will send you to an eye doctor to get the prescription, so I wouldn't even bother going to see pedi doctor. Then you take the prescription to Walmart, Sears, one of those places to get the glasses.
Some insurance do cover it, but most of the time it's separate. I just recently signed up for vision insurance at my job. In the past, I've went the eye doctor without insurance (for me and son) and without insurance for the exam for glasses only was around $70, now he wanted contacts so it was around $130 or so. Walmart does have some good prices, you can get frames and lenses for under $50, but depending what you want you could pay a couple hundred too.
Good Luck!

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answers from Detroit on

for a child .. I would go to an opthamologist.. a medical doctor (MD) with special training in eyes... find a pediatric opthamologist.. it might be 100 or 150 for an exam. I would want to make sure there isnt any major problems and she only needs glasses.

After the first exam.. I would take her back about every 1-2 years for an eye exam.. I would go to an optomitrist.. A person with training in prescribing eye glasses. (not an MD). There a

re are cheap glasses for $49.. but the frames are heavy and the lenses are thick.. if you want cool glasses they cost extra.



answers from Richmond on

It depends on your insurance whether or not they will cover all, some or none of glasses. We have a vision plan but it's not that great. They usually cover 1 eye exam every year but when we go to get glasses they almost always tell us it will actually be cheaper without insurance to get them (weird but true - I've had them do the math both ways). Call your insurance company on that one. As for where to go, I would call your ped office and ask for a recommendation. They will know a good pediatric opthamologist to send her to. Don't just do Walmart or somewhere - she needs an eye doctor that specializes in pediatrics (according to my pediatrician). You can get a prescription from them then go anywhere w/it (they will probably want top $$$ for glasses there). I know you live near me so you might want to check out Eyemart on West Broad in Short Pump. We got DSS glasses there last year - they were MUCH cheaper and are still going strong and he's kind of rough on his glasses. Talk to them about options like flexible frames, plastic lenses, etc. if you are concerned about her breaking them. Also, check out For Eyes on that too - they tend to have a good policy on repairs for kids glasses and frequently run specials on 2 pairs so you can have a back up in case they get broken. Good luck!



answers from Cleveland on

my boyfriend and i just got our eyes done at walmart for 450 for both of us, and we dont have insurance, they have kids frames for 9 so itd probably be 150 there for exam frames and lenses.



answers from Cumberland on

Insurance covers some of the cost-if you have a vision plan associated with your medical insurance. Four of my children have worn glasses and then contacts for a long time. Go to a pediatric opthamologist-because they can test more than just what strength of glasses to get. Your child will compensate for a long time-and then just say-"I need new glasses". Going without doesn't make the vision deteriorate-so don't feel bad! Maybe a few hundred dollars-and yes, they lose them and leave them-it's how they roll!


answers from Tulsa on

If you don't have insurance, you may want to look into buying it individually. I have VSP through work (which I have been extremely happy with) and buying an individual policy only runs about $180 a year, which would include an exam, lenses, and a frame allowance. You do have to go in network for the full allowance, but there are a ton of docs that accept it. It definitely pays for itself!


answers from Washington DC on

My kids don't wear glasses...however, Christopher does. he has since he was 3 years old. He's responsible with them. At 3 - not so much - but he liked being able to see clearly - so he tried not to lose them.

I think you should be able to go into Hour Eyes for $99. I don't know how much glasses are. have you tried going to wal-mart or Target and have her do the "reading glass" thing - has she exhibited other signs of eye problems other than the headache? Like tripping when she shouldn't be, etc?

Check with the school. Don't they do free eye exams during the year? I know ours does eye and hearing.


answers from Norfolk on

Hi, R.:

Call around your local eye care centers and see what they do and what they charge.

Good Luck.



answers from Sacramento on

Your insurance may or may not cover vision-related appointments. I would call and find out. If it does, then go with an optometrist in your health plan. That's who is best qualified to evaluate her eyes and give a prescription, if necessary.

If insurance doesn't cover it, then I would consider optometrists outside your plan.

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