Getting regular exams is an important part of maintaining the health of your eyes. Eye exams can help protect your vision by catching early signs of disease.1 We’ll help you learn what to expect at your eye exam, how often you should get an exam and how to get coverage to help pay for them.

What to expect during an eye exam

Eye exams may take anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. Usually, a technician will perform diagnostic tests. An eye doctor will review the results and complete a full examination of your eyes. If you’re getting your first exam or seeing a new eye doctor, expect to answer a few questions. They’ll ask about your vision, medical history and overall health.

Before the exam, eye care professionals might apply numbing drops to measure eye pressure as part of a glaucoma test. They may also apply drops to dilate your pupils to examine the retina or back of the eye. It usually takes 20 or 30 minutes after applying drops for pupils to dilate fully. Your eyes may be sensitive to light for several hours afterward, so consider bringing sunglasses or arranging a ride home if you’re getting a retinal exam.

What are some common types of eye exams?

There are a few different types of eye exams. A comprehensive (or routine) exam typically involves several eye tests to measure your prescription and check your overall eye health. Some other specialized exams can measure your eyes for contact lenses or quickly screen children for vision problems.

Comprehensive eye exam

During a routine comprehensive exam, eye care professionals perform various tests to check for vision problems and signs of disease. Technicians and eye doctors will measure the sharpness of your vision, how well your eyes work together and your pupils’ reaction to light. They may also perform tests to look for signs of glaucoma.

Contact lens exam

If you’re thinking about getting contacts, you’ll need a specific exam to make sure contact lenses are right for you. During a contact lens exam, eye doctors inspect the corneas to make sure they’re the right shape for contacts. They also check for conditions such as dry eye syndrome, which might affect your ability to wear contact lenses. If you’re a good candidate for contacts, you might have a trial fitting to find the right type of contact lenses for your eyes.

Vision screening

Unlike a comprehensive exam, a vision screening is a quick test from a primary care provider designed to catch signs of any major vision problems. Often, vision screenings are performed as part of a child’s pediatric checkup.

During the screening, a healthcare professional checks the patient’s ability to see from a distance and close-up. They may also perform tests for color blindness. If any vision problems are detected during the screening, the patient may be referred to an eye doctor for a more in-depth exam.

How often should you get an eye exam?

Getting an eye exam depends on your age, eyesight and health risks. Children’s eyes should be checked regularly by an eye doctor or pediatrician and at least once between age 3 and 5 years to detect amblyopia or risk factors for the disease.1

For adults, if you don’t have any history or symptoms of vision problems, you should get a comprehensive exam at age 40.2 If you wear glasses or contacts, have a family history of eye issues or have a chronic disease that carries a risk of eye disease, you should get your eyes checked more often. Talk to your eye doctor to determine how often you should schedule exams. Starting at age 60, all adults should get an eye exam once every year or two.3

How much does an eye exam cost?

If you don’t have insurance, eye exams could range anywhere from around $75 to $200. If you’re a new patient, you could expect to pay around $200 for an exam without insurance, or around $100 to $150 if you’re uninsured but already a patient.4 For more details on the price of eye exams, see our article about how much an eye exam costs.

If you have Original Medicare, routine eye exams and prescriptions for contact lenses or glasses are not covered. However, for patients with diabetes, Medicare part B covers 1 eye exam for diabetic retinopathy each year. If you get this service, you’ll pay 20% of the cost approved by Medicare, plus your Part B deductible.5 Read our article about Medicare and eye exams for more information.

Do Humana vision plans include coverage for eye exams?

Yes, Humana offers individual and family insurance plans that can help you pay for eye exams. Most Humana vision plan members get 1 comprehensive eye exam covered once every 12 months with a network provider. Some plans may also include coverage for a contact lens exam.

If you have Medicare, you could get routine vision coverage through a Humana Medicare Advantage plan.

How much you’ll pay for vision insurance through Humana may vary based on your age and location. Get a quote now to view price estimates where you live.

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  1. Why Eye Exams Are Important,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, last accessed June 5, 2024. 
  2. Get an Eye Disease Screening at 40,” American Academy of Ophthalmology, last accessed June 5, 2024. 
  3. Aging and Your Eyes,’ National Institute on Aging, last accessed June 5, 2024. 
  4. Michael Bayba, “How Much is an Eye Exam Without Insurance?” Vision Center, last accessed June 5, 2024. 
  5. Eye exams (for diabetes),”, last accessed June 5, 2024.