Those of us who need glasses to function every day know what a dent a new pair can put in the wallet; eyeglasses are one of those things you might have to have but still hate to pay for.  Costco Optical is one great place to get affordable glasses or contact lenses—but are those deals for members only?

You must have a membership to purchase eyeglasses or contacts at your local Costco.  Members can buy contacts for a non-member if a valid prescription is presented. No membership is required to schedule an eye exam with the Costco optometrist.

If you’ve heard about Costco’s optical offerings, you might be interested in taking advantage of them.  Grab those reading glasses and read on to better understand how you can take care of your vision needs at Costco. 

Is a Membership Required to Get Glasses at Costco?

According to a Consumer Reports survey, Costco is rated as the #1 place in the U.S. to buy eyeglasses. Costco Optical offers a winning combination of quality products, excellent customer service, and affordable pricing. With that said, you may be wondering whether you have to get a Costco membership to take advantage of these benefits. 

Costco is a membership-based warehouse model, so to buy glasses of any kind, as well as contact lenses, you must be a current member of Costco. However, Costco policy allows members to buy contacts online for other individuals, including non-members, if a valid prescription is used. 

Can I Get an Eye Exam without Being a Costco Member?

You do not need to be a Costco member to make an appointment to have your eyes examined by the in-house optometrist. These optometrists are independent contractors who are typically found within the store or nearby in another building.

The cost of an eye exam at Costco varies by state, but generally, it will run you between $65 and $80. Contact lens exams run closer to $100. Additionally, according to the Optical page of the Costco website, they accept most vision insurance plans, so you may be able to receive an eye exam without having to pay a co-pay and get a greater discount on your glasses. 

However, it’s always a good idea to check and see if your insurance is listed before deciding to purchase eyeglasses there.

How Much Do Eyeglasses Cost at Costco?

Most people will try to get their eyeglasses from Costco simply because it is quite low-cost compared to alternative glasses retailers. 

The exact cost of a pair of glasses will depend on several factors, such as the frames or special lens treatments you choose. According to Consumer Reports, the average price for a pair of eyeglasses that include frames and lenses at Costco is $184.

Compare that to the price of a pair of glasses we recently specified using LensCrafters’ most popular frames and single-vision lenses.  This comparable pair of eyeglasses ran $338 before insurance—nearly twice as much as the Costco price.

Is a Costco Membership Worth It for Eyeglasses?

Costco offers a couple of different types of personal memberships that will give you the ability to purchase eyeglasses and contacts at your local store for an affordable price. But is the membership worth the discount you get? 

Let’s take Costco’s median price for eyeglasses (frames and lens) and factor in the cost of membership, and see how it compares to other options. The Executive Gold membership has the added bonus of a 2% rewards program that helps to further offset the cost of most purchases.

Everyday GoldMember (Costco)Executive GoldMember (Costco)LensCraftersGlasses USA (online)

Overall, using these estimates for the price of a pair of eyeglasses, we can say that it is definitely worthwhile to become a member of Costco to save on the cost of your vision needs.

Final Thoughts

If you’re a Costco member, buying eyeglasses at your local Costco warehouse is the best option for getting quality frames at an affordable price. But if you don’t have a membership, you’ll need to shop other places, including online sites like Warby Parker, or fork over the $60 for a Costco membership.

With all the other benefits of low prices on food and household items, as well as automotive, pharmacy, and travel needs, you may find that Costco is truly worth the cost of membership for your next pair of glasses.