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Eyeglasses and contacts are cheaper and more widely available than ever before. With seemingly endless options to choose from, it can be hard to know which retailers are worth your time and hard-earned money.
This article explores Target Optical’s eye exam and eyewear services to help you decide if you want to give them a try.
I’ve used Target Optical in Alameda, California, several times. Now that I’ve moved to Oregon — where there are no Target Opticals — I miss the services of my trusted eye doctor. Whenever possible, I will include my personal experiences with Target Optical in this article.
Editor’s note on testing
We’re here to make researching products easier for you. In some cases, that means having our writers and editors test products to see how they perform in real life.
For this review, our writer relied on her experiences using Target Optical for eye exams, and she analyzed online customer feedback for the company’s services.
You may already be familiar with Target, the popular retailer. What you may not realize is that more than 500 of these stores have a Target Optical department that offers glasses, contacts, and eye exams performed by a qualified optometrist.
You can pre-book an appointment or try to get a walk-in appointment. When you go into Target Optical, it feels just like any other optometrist’s office, complete with a vision board, lenses that come down from the ceiling, and a chair that goes up and down.
Target Optical offers a large selection of products, including:
- Brands: Ray-Ban, Oakley, and other high-end options
- Glasses: eyeglasses, reading glasses, sunglasses, and glasses with no lenses
- Lenses: single-vision, progressive, no-line progressive, lined bifocals, or prescription-free lenses
- Lens features: plastic, polycarbonate, high index, blue-light-filtering, photochromic, and polarized lenses
- Contact lenses: rigid, soft, daily disposable, frequent replacement, colored, overnight, multifocal, hybrid lenses, and lenses made for astigmatism
When shopping in-store, you can chat with an employee who can assist you with any queries. You’re also able to complete an eye exam, try on frames, and complete the purchase using a Target RedCard.
You’re not able to get an eye exam online, nor does the website accept the RedCard. But there are more frames to choose from online than in-store.
Both online and in-store purchases include the same guarantees, warranties, and shipping times for glasses and contacts.
Frames start at right around $100 and go up to $320, not including lenses. There are sales occasionally, so keep an eye out for discounts if you don’t need frames urgently.
Basic plastic prescription lenses are $75 and include ultraviolet (UV) protection and scratch resistance.
Premium polycarbonate lenses are $160 and include the same features as plastic lenses, as well as resistance to impact, glare, and smudges.
For $250, you can get ComfortLight Performance: Hi-Index lenses, which Target claims offers “the sharpest visual experience.” These are the thinnest, lightest lenses and are recommended for those with a strong prescription who don’t want bulky glasses.
The three progressive vision lens options have the same single-vision features listed above but are more expensive, as is the norm for these lenses.
The costs for basic plastic lenses are $200, premium polycarbonate are $285, and ComfortLight Performance: Hi-Index are $375.
Contacts range from about $29 to $200 per box, depending on the type and package size.
The cost of a Target Optical eye exam varies by location, but you can expect to pay $60 to $100. Pupil dilation costs extra, as do contact lens fittings.
Target Optical accepts many vision insurance plans.
Click here to see if your plan is accepted. Simply enter your information to determine your benefit eligibility and estimated out-of-pocket cost. Keep in mind that different insurance plans are accepted online versus in-store.
If you have VSP or MetLife, you can call 1-877-848-8476 to have customer service help process your order.
For other out-of-network insurance plans, Target Optical recommends you take advantage of in-store promotions and sales to reduce the cost, and then self-submit a claim form to your insurance provider.
Target Optical offers a standard eyewear shopping and eye exam experience.
Target doesn’t necessarily have optometrists on staff, but it often rents space to licensed optometrists. With more than 500 locations, the quality of service may vary.
For an eye exam, you’ll first fill out standard forms about your medical and eye history and then meet the optometrist. They will ask questions about any current vision concerns and perform a vision test. You’ll receive a prescription and return to the retail space to pay for your exam.
You can now select your glasses. Like any other optometrist or glasses retailer, Target Optical displays hundreds of options, allowing you to try on different pairs.
In my experience, the employee on hand was friendly, knowledgeable, and available to answer questions. If you find a pair you like, let the employee know, then order the glasses and pay.
If you decide to get your glasses or contacts from a different retailer, you’ll be all done after the exam. Your prescription details will be printed out, and you can then take this prescription to any online or in-person eyewear retailer.
What you need before ordering
Whether ordering online or in-store, you’ll need the following:
- your prescription
- your pupillary distance (PD)
- If you get a Target eye exam, they will provide your PD.
- If you’re in-store, ask them to measure your PD.
- If ordering online, use this tool to determine your PD.
- your insurance information, if applicable
- payment method
- In-store, you can use a Target RedCard, cash, credit, or debit cards.
- Online, you can use a credit or debit card.
Once you have your prescription and PD, you can order eyeglasses and contacts online. If ordering nonprescription glasses or frames without lenses, you won’t need a prescription, though you still need your PD.
Getting your order
Glasses tend to take a little longer to receive than nonmedical products from Target, as they’re typically custom-made. For prescription glasses, expect 7 days of processing once a prescription has been verified. For nonprescription glasses, the processing time is 1 to 2 days.
After processing, the free shipping option will take an additional 3 to 5 days. If preferred, 2-day air delivery is $7.99, while next-day air delivery costs $9.99.
Contact lenses tend to process quicker at just 1 to 2 business days. Once processed, the shipping time and costs are the same as those for glasses.
Warranty and return policy
Target Optical offers a 90-day unconditional guarantee, as well as free repairs and adjustments.
If you’d like additional protection, you can purchase a Worry-Free Protection Plan for $35. This kicks in 91 days after your purchase, which means you get a total of 1 year and 3 months of protection. Note that this plan isn’t available in California.
With this plan, you can get damaged frames or lenses replaced with a copay: $25 for frame or lens repair and $50 for both. To get your replacement, simply return the damaged glasses. For more details on the Worry-Free Protection Plan, click here.
Target has been around since 1982.
It’s not accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and has an F rating from the BBB. An accreditation demonstrates that a business commits to resolving customer disputes fairly; it’s also associated with trust and integrity. To learn about BBB ratings see their page online.
Between Trustpilot and Google, two popular places where customers can leave reviews, Target Optical has limited mentions. Personally, I had a great experience when I visited Target Optical for an eye exam.
In 2008, Target settled a class action lawsuit with the National Federation of the Blind filed by a blind student who couldn’t access their website.
This highlighted how many websites don’t prioritize screen-reading technology to assist people with vision impairments. Target was required to pay a $6 million fine and make their website more accessible to those with visual impairments.
Target Optical pros
- accepts many different insurance plans
- online and in-person shopping options
- affordable eye exams for people without vision insurance
Target Optical cons
- other websites may offer less expensive glasses
- quality of care varies by location and doctor
- not available in every store
- Warby Parker. Though they’re famous for their free try-on-at-home option, Warby Parker also has retail locations. Generally, Warby Parker’s glasses are less expensive than those available at Target.
- Zenni. This online-only eyewear store has become increasingly popular. With frames as low as $6.95, you can get multiple pairs for the cost of one pair from Target.
- Costco Optical. Like Target, Costco offers affordable in-person eye exams and eyewear. They don’t sell glasses online.
In my opinion, as a nearsighted person with accommodative spasm, I was happy with my eye exam experience at Target Optical. Check it out if you live near one and need an affordable eye exam. It’s a great option for those of us without vision insurance.
If Target is a place that you shop at regularly or you’d like to have the convenience, using Target Optical for eye exams or buying eyeglasses may be a great option.
That being said, I’ve found cheaper eyeglass options elsewhere. I also find that their selection isn’t larger or more unique than at other eyeglass retailers. Though they offer regular sales and discounts, they still aren’t as inexpensive as online alternatives like Zenni.
Ash Fisher is a writer and comedian living with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. When she’s not having a wobbly-baby-deer day, she’s hiking with her corgi, Vincent. Learn more about her on her website.