Where to get a cheap eye exam

Free eye exam

You know that dreadful time: Your prescription is expired, your contacts are way past their three-month life-span and that inevitable eye exam… is just one big, foreboding dollar sign looming on the fuzzy horizon. So, as with any routine doctor’s visit for the insurance-less, it’s time to price-check. What we’re looking for: an eye exam, for contacts, for less than $100. Here’s what we found so far:

Each price listed is for the basic eye exam for contacts; If you have Astigmatism, it’s more; for glasses, less. Also, none of these prices has a “fitting fee” tacked on to it. Likely, you’ve been wearing contacts since the seventh grade, and you could put them in doing one-handed push-ups in the bed of a truck going 60 down a bumpy road. Okay, maybe not 60. But we’re not about to pay $30-$50 on top of the exam to be “fitted.” We cross-referenced with Yelp, and everything here received decent to great reviews.

Insight Optical, 306 Court Street, Cobble Hill/Carroll Gardens, 718-596-3740
Basic eye exam for glasses or contacts: $50

Victory Vision, 30 Fifth Ave., Park Slope, 718-622-2020
Contacts eye exam: $75
Glasses eye exam: $50

Cohen’s Fashion Optical, 189 Montague St., Brooklyn Heights, 718-855-2333
Contacts eye exam: $80 with coupon from website (regularly $100)
Glasses eye exam: $20 (that’s right, $20 with a coupon from the website, but ONLY for a glasses eye exam, not contacts)
(This place got the worst reviews out of everyone on this list, but at $20 for glasses, it’s worth a mention).

My Optician NY, 2849 W. 8th St., Coney Island, 718-265-1100
Contacts eye exam: $85
Glasses eye exam: $45

Urban Optical, 326 Seventh Ave., Park Slope, 718-832-3513
Contacts eye exam: $95
Glasses eye exam: $65

Grand Opticians, 151 Montague St., Brooklyn Heights, 718-625-6545
Contacts eye exam: $95
Glasses eye exam: $65

Luxeye, 171 Bedford Ave., Williamsburg, 718-599-7799
Contacts eye exam: $100
Glasses eye exam: $60 or $30 if you buy your frames there

Are these the best deals out there? Where do you get your cheap-o eye exam?


  1. Cohen’s really is the worst, aside from Lens Crafters. You have to be forceful, or don’t admit that you’re not sure or aren’t planning on buying frames there. We went in for an eye exam, but weren’t sure if they’d have any frames that we liked. When they were checking my boyfriend in for his exam they asked if he’d be buying frames as well and he told them he wanted to look around after the exam and see if he liked anything. They walked off to talk to the manager I suppose, I don’t know they didn’t say anything before they walked off, and almost didn’t let him get an exam for $20. We had printed out the coupon online, which make sure you do or else you probably won’t get that price, and I was going to be sure to point out on the coupon that it didn’t mention anywhere that purchase of frames was required if they gave us anymore trouble. On top of that the sales experience was about 100 times worse than the experience we had trying to get the exam.

  2. Insight Optical (corner of Court and Degraw Streets) is excellent. Gil, the owner, is really helpful and nice. My wife and I have been going there for years — I get glasses and she gets contacts.

  3. If you need glasses, my very chic friend Jocelyn swears by Mizner’s optical across from Maimonides Hospital. She got a pair of glasses and lenses for $45.

    Minzer’s Optical, 907 48th St, Brooklyn, NY, 718-436-6963

  4. Anonymous Fellow

    I went to Cohen’s this weekend, actually, in Park Slope on 7th Ave. The sign out front says $100 for exam and two sets of contacts. After the exam was over, the woman said, no, since I had astigmatism in one eye, I had to pay full price (nice to know after the fact) and since they didn’t have the right contacts on hand, I had to pay the full price for those, too. Came out to like $240. Rip-off, rip-off.

  5. Roberta

    Manhattan Grand Optical, Grand and Mott Sts. in Chinatown, has a great optometrist, wonderful customer service, excellent selection of frames. I think the exam is free if you get glasses or contacts there. And if they have your frames and lenses in stock, you can walk around Chinatown/Little Italy and come back in an hour for them.

  6. beth s.

    One place you have not mentioned is COSTCO. I always get my contacts and glasses there. They have great prices and a good consumer rating.
    in addition a friend told me that at New York Technical College they will give a free examination and frames cost $50

  7. I also get my glasses and exams at COSTCO. I got really great frames there last time, at a great price, and my prescription + Transitions lenses + a spare pair of polarized driving glasses cost me a fraction of what I’d have paid for half that anywhere else. Their warranty is good as well. I’m a member, but I THINK you do NOT have to be a COSTCO member to use their optical services. I go to the one in Brooklyn off the BQE, around 39th & 2nd Ave.

  8. Thank you for posting this! I went to Victory Vision because they accept Care Credit. And with my Met Life discount plan, the exam was $40 plus 20% of contacts. The exam doesn’t cost any more if you have an astigmatism – with or without insurance.

  9. Robert

    I just went to Fulton Eyes in Fulton Mall. The staff is great and you get an eye exam for glasses and contacts for $60. I had an astigmatism, but it didn’t cost extra. I also had to keep going back because my contacts were bothering my eyes and I had an open ulcer, but she did not charge me extra for the 3 additional visits to check how my eye was doing. The office is truly amazing and reminds me of how awesome small local businesses can be.

  10. worth noting that even though cohen’s offers a $20 eye exam coupon, it’s only $20 if you buy a pair of glasses from them; otherwise, it is $45

  11. Miss Thing

    Don’t sleep on Optical Solutions on at Fulton and Fort Greene Place in Fort Greene (right near BAM). $40 exam for glasses, $75 exam for glasses + contacts, and a lot of inexpensive, very cute frames!

  12. Elizabeth

    I didn’t realize alot of these places were so affordable for someone who has no insurance. I have been just using my old prescription, so this will help alot.

    I found a pretty cheap deal on contacts at I don’t think I would have found it, if someone else hadn’t posted, so I am just trying to return the favor.


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