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In the market for some new eyewear? When you’re looking for new glasses, it can seem like you see them everywhere. You may have even noticed that your local Walmart has a Vision Center.
What services do they offer there? Is this a good place to buy your glasses? Allow us to give you some insight into the services and products these Vision Centers offer.
In 2019, Walmart was the third largest distributor of optical goods in the United States. This was accomplished through Walmart Vision Centers located inside physical stores and through online shopping.
If you have a Walmart where you live, chances are you’ve seen a special section of the store with an optometry department. You can get your eyes checked, prescription updated, and shop for glasses and contacts.
The website allows you to order nonprescription readers and sunglasses that you may not find in the store. Walmart also sells contacts online through a separate website called Walmart Contacts.
Walmart Vision pros
- lots of locations nationwide
- convenience (you can buy school supplies, groceries, and new glasses in one trip)
- offers children’s glasses and contacts
- can purchase contacts online
Walmart Vision cons
- website can be confusing and doesn’t offer prescription eyewear options
- high turnover rate in optometrists
- lawsuits over charging practices with customers and treatment of employees
Walmart Vision Centers offer prescription glasses and sunglasses, contacts, reading glasses, and computer glasses. They offer basic single-vision lenses, line bifocals, and no-line bifocals.
Walmart offers clear, tinted, polarized, and transition lenses. They also offer different protective coating options for lenses. If you’d like your old lenses put in new frames, Walmart offers that, too.
For those needing a current prescription before getting a new pair of glasses, optometrists inside Walmart Vision Centers provide optical exams.
A note on Walmart Vision Center optometrists
Because laws vary from state to state, some optometrists are employed by Walmart, but most are independent optometrists who lease the space and equipment from Walmart. The turnover rate of doctors at Walmart Vision Centers tends to be high, so if you’re looking to have the same eye doctor year after year, you may want to try a local optometrist’s office instead.
You can go to the website and scroll through various nonprescription eyewear options, including sunglasses, magnifying readers, and blue-light-blocking glasses.
The website is sorted by men’s, women’s, girl’s, and boy’s glasses. You can filter by categories like delivery speed, frame sizes, price, color, and brand.
You can also buy eye drops and similar accessories and comfort items.
The website can be confusing to navigate for eyewear and may take some scrolling to find details for a specific item. Glasses are from a variety of sellers through Walmart’s website.
Once you’ve settled on a frame and added it to your cart, you’ll click on the shopping cart to check out. You may be able to have your products delivered to your house or pick them up at a store.
The online store for Walmart Contacts gives you the option to enter your prescription details to order contacts from major brands and manufacturers. Make sure to have a current contact lens prescription from your doctor before ordering.
Glasses start from $10 to $40, but you should expect to pay more than that.
Single lenses are free with frame purchase. No-line bifocal lenses are an additional charge (usually around $80).
As for other lens options, basic tinted lenses start at about $40, polarized ones start at about $50, and transition lenses start at about $65.
There are also various coatings available. The basic anti-scratch coating is free, while impact-resistant lenses will run about $30.
If you’d like anti-smudge and water-resistant coatings, high-definition digital lenses, and a 2-year limited coating warranty, you should expect to pay about $120. Want all that plus thinner and lighter lenses? Expect to add about $150 to your bill.
In case you’re wondering how this compares, while there are some cheaper options, Walmart’s higher quality offerings (especially the designer brands) can cost more than glasses from places like Warby Parker. Walmart does have a wide variety of frame styles and brands, though.
How much can eye exams cost at Walmart Vision Centers?
If you’d like to get an eye exam, contact your local store for pricing. This can vary depending on the part of the country you live in.
As a point of reference, a basic eye exam starts at $65 but can range up to around $100. A basic contact lens exam runs around $125, again depending on the part of the country you live in.
Do Walmart Vision Centers take insurance?
Yes, many Walmart Vision Centers accept most major vision insurance providers for both eye exams and in-store purchases.
If you already have an updated prescription (or want nonprescription glasses), you can just skip straight to shopping for frames or contacts. Otherwise, you’ll need to set up an appointment with a Vision Center optometrist or another doctor first.
You can stop inside a Walmart Vision and try on frames. Once you’ve settled on a pair you like, the next step is deciding on the type of lens as well as any tints and coatings to protect it.
After making those important decisions and having measurements taken for your glasses, all you need to do is pay at the counter and wait for your glasses or contacts to be prepared. You can either pick them up in the store or have them shipped to your house.
Vision Center products bought online have a 30-day return window from the time they’re delivered.
Frames and lenses purchased in a store have a 60-day return window. You can also get your lenses replaced for free if a doctor changes your prescription within 60 days of your exam.
As for contacts, you can return a ripped or defective contact lens for up to 365 days after the purchase date.
It’s important to note that lenses made by certain manufactures have a different defective lens return policy. Return policies frequently change, so make sure to double-check policy details before buying.
Before ordering, you’ll want to have your current prescription ready. Bonus points if you have the physical prescription, but Walmart can also call to confirm with your doctor if not.
If you pick up your order in the store, you can expect it anywhere from 3 to 7 days after you submit the order.
Having something shipped to your house? According to Walmart, 98 percent of orders arrive within 7 to 10 days. If an item is in stock, it’s not uncommon to get it even sooner.
On the website, you can also sort reading and computer glasses by various degrees of expedited delivery if you need things sooner.
Walmart Vision Centers have been the source of some controversy.
They have had to settle with the Department of Labor because of allegations that they were not paying appropriate overtime to their employees.
There has also been a class-action suit alleging that Walmart Vision Centers have been overcharging by not providing customers with the full reimbursement of their vision insurance benefits. It was alleged in this case that Walmart was getting double paid by insurance and the customer.
Additionally, there have been court suits over the treatment of optometrists and their practices.
Not sure that a Walmart Vision Center is right for you?
Some other options include:
- Online sellers. Companies like Liingo, Warby Parker, and Zenni offer many of the same online features as Walmart Vision Center’s website. Some have their own features like the ability to see what you would look like in the glasses online and free mail try-on programs.
- Vision retailers. There are other retailers like Costco Vision Centers, Target Vision, and LensCrafters that offer similar services and products for in-person shopping and vision checks.
- Local optometrists and ophthalmologists. If you’re interested in supporting small businesses or want more personalized care, local eye doctor’s offices are a place you can get an eye exam, new frames, and order contact lenses. Prices and services will vary, so you’ll want to do your research on what local options are available to you.
If you’re in the market for quick and convenient in-person shopping, Walmart Vision Centers may meet your goals. They have a wide range of frames for men, women, and children along with contact lenses. You can get your eye appointment and buy your groceries on the same trip.
When it comes to online ordering though, other sites like Liingo, Warby Parker, and Zenni offer options that Walmart’s site doesn’t. If you’re not a fan of Walmart or prefer a different experience, other online and local options can help you find your dream glasses.
Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, M.Ed, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care. Catherine writes for various websites and teaches full-spectrum childbirth and postpartum education in several locations in California’s North Bay Area and Peninsula.