Dawn Papandrea | 

Sam's Club Optical: How It Works & How Much You'll Pay for Eye Exams

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If you’re a Sam’s Club loyalist, you already know about their great stock-up-and-save deals. Sam’s offers bulk prices on everything from sports drinks and giant boxes of cereal to prescription medications and more. But did you know you can visit the giant warehouse store for an eye checkup or to order contacts and glasses?

Sam’s Club Optical Center is a full-service vision service provider right on the premises of most Sam’s Club locations. But the big question on your mind is most likely about the potential savings. Will you save money by going with Sam’s Club Optical (just like you do on other things like meat and batteries)? That’s what we set out to uncover.

I’ll explain if you have to be a Sam’s Club member to use Sam’s Club Optical and if their eye exams are affordable. Plus, we’ll go over the selection and quality of their eyewear and why you’ll want to shop their frames if you’re an Elton John fan!

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1. You can find Sam’s Club Optical in almost all Sam’s Club locations.

Hand picking up a pair Glasses

Sam’s Club has over 600 warehouse locations across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and there’s a Sam’s Club Optical Center in most of them. Check the location nearest you to make sure it has an Optical Center.

TIP: In 2022 Sam’s Club Optical brought in $156 million in sales, just behind Walmart (their parent company), Costco, and Target for the top in-store optical departments.

What are Sam’s Club Optical hours like?

The Sam’s Club Optical Center is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon – 4 p.m. Sunday hours may vary by location.

2. Eye exams are super reasonable (around $61), even if you’re not a Sam’s Club member.

optometrist hours posted at sams club optical location

The optometrists who work at the Sam’s Club Optical Center are not Sam’s Club employees. (This is just like how the optometrists at Costco Optical don’t work for Costco). Even if you’re not a Sam’s Club member, you can schedule an appointment for an eye exam. Just note that prices can vary by location since it’s up to the provider to set prices.

Chances are, though, you’ll find a great deal. One survey of 100 optical centers across the U.S. found that basic exam prices at Sam’s Club cost $61 on average. This makes Sam’s Club eye exams about 52% cheaper than the average cost of an eye exam at a private eye care office ($128).

TIP: Call ahead and ask about the price for an exam at your Sam’s Club location. And if you have vision insurance, be sure to ask if they accept yours, as that can vary by location.

3. But you need a Sam’s Club membership to buy glasses, contacts, and other optical products.

Person showing their sams club card at a point of sale system at the Optical section of Sam's Club

Anyone can get an eye exam at Sam’s Club, but you’ll need a membership to purchase glasses, contacts, or other accessories from the Optical center.

You can get a basic Sam’s Club membership for $50 per year, and you can usually find a membership deal for 50% off. The upgraded Sam’s Club Plus membership is $110 per year.

TIP: If you’re going to make Sam’s Club Optical your go-to for eye exams and glasses, it could be worth upgrading to the Plus membership. You’ll get special Optical discounts like 20% off lenses and free shipping on most items. And if you end up needing a pricey pair of prescription glasses that cost around $300, your 20% discount would save you $60. So those savings alone would cover the cost of your upgraded membership.

4. You can order glasses without seeing a Sam’s Club optometrist.

sams-club-optical-woman-frames-fitting-try-on

Simply submit a prescription from an eye doctor online or in person and you can order eyeglasses or contacts from a Sam’s Club Optical Center. No exam needed.

TIP: Make sure your prescription includes your pupillary distance (PD). If not, the Sam’s Club app has an online tool that lets you measure it yourself. Or you can stop into the Optical Center and have an associate measure for you.

5. You can use Sam’s Club gift cards toward eyeglasses or contacts.

Sam's Club membership card and Sams club gift card being held in hand in front of Sams club entrance

If you want to order contacts with a gift card, you’ll have to do it in person. But for glasses, you can use your gift card online or in the warehouse.

6. Their return and exchange policy is fair.

Person standing waiting at Member Services at Sam's Club

You have a full 30 days to return or exchange eyewear if something isn’t quite right or you’re not satisfied. Just know that when you purchase online, you have to use their online returns process. Sam’s Club store associates won’t be able to process returns for online orders in the warehouse.

For contact lenses, you can even exchange unopened boxes if your prescription changes. And if contact lenses become torn within a certain time frame (that’s set by the manufacturer), Sam’s Club Optical will let you return them.

7. They have a full range of lenses and polarized sunglasses, too.

sams club optical trends and womens frames display cases

Even an optician on Reddit was thoroughly impressed with the quality and craftsmanship of the lenses at Sam’s Club Optical.

Selections include Diamond Standard, Diamond Thin & Light, Polarized Sunglasses (prescription is available as well), and Transitions. Each of these options has anti-reflective, scratch-resistant, water-repellant, and smudge-proof features.

8. Eyeglass frames start at $59, and they have an exclusive Elton John collection for $95.

Person trying on eye frames at Sam's Club Optical

If funky eyeglasses are your thing, you’ll be thrilled to hear that Sam’s Club is the only place you’ll find the Elton John eyewear collection. These iconic style frames start at just $95.

For eyewear that’s a bit more understated, there are lots of other frame styles starting at $59. Designers include London Fog, Rachel Zoe, Betsey Johnson, and others. They also have a Member’s Mark line of store-brand glasses.

TIP: If you’re ordering frames online from Sam’s Club, check out the virtual try-on feature. It’s surprisingly fun (I admit, I spent a little too much time with it!) and gives you a good sense of how different shapes fit your face.

9. Wait for back-to-school season for a BOGO free deal on kids’ eyewear.

sam's club bogo deal for youth graphic

From July 26 – Aug. 20, 2023, when you bought one pair of youth frames and prescription lenses in-store at Sam’s Club, you could get your second pair (up to a $59 value) free.

Both pairs had to be for the same prescription/patient, and any upgrades to the lenses — like tints, mirrors, or coating — were an extra charge. The offer isn’t combinable with any additional Plus member savings, so keep that in mind.

You could choose from these $59 frames for your free pair:

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