Charting Stories, Crafting Perspectives
Charting Stories, Crafting Perspectives

Costco Optical in Review

These days, you can find a wide variety of in-person and online eye care providers to meet your needs. Although you may already be aware with Costco as a place to shop in bulk, you might be surprised to learn that they also provide extensive eye care services.

About Costco Optical

Costco Wholesale has been in business since 1976, when it was called Price Club. It is a membership-based retail retailer.

In contrast to the 30,000 items carried by typical supermarkets, Costco sells only around 4,000 products. As a result of their bulk sales and varied inventory, they are able to undercut the pricing of regular grocery stores. Food isn’t the only thing you can buy at Costco; they also have clothing, electronics, furniture, and more.

In addition to providing eye exams and glasses, many Costco stores also house a Costco Optical. Professional opticians are on hand at Costco Opticals to assist customers in selecting eyewear and answering questions on insurance, returns, and orders.

A board-certified optometrist is on staff at every Costco Optical location, so you can get the same thorough examination that you would at any other eye clinic.

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Pros and cons of Costco Optical

Costco Optical pros

  • More than 500 Costco Opticals can be found across the country.
  • A Costco membership is not required to schedule an eye exam.
  • You can have your vision insurance covered at Costco Optical.

Costco Optical cons

  • Site navigation on Costco Optical is a bit hazy. To find out which insurance plans they accept, you have to phone or visit in person, even though it says they accept most on the website.
  • Unfortunately, Costco’s website does not provide any warranty information.
  • To buy contacts or glasses, you need a Costco membership.
  • Without any special features tailored to the app, Costco’s website functions as a glorified version of the app.

What services and products are available?

Independent doctors of optometry are available at Costco Optical to provide in-person eye exams. Costco members get access to an extensive selection of sunglasses, designer eyeglass frames, and contact lenses. They provide a variety of eye care goods, including contact lens solutions, and name-brand contact lenses.

Sunglasses, contact lenses, glasses, and other eye care products are available for online ordering to Costco members.

You can get a vast selection of lenses, contacts, and eyewear at Costco Optical. Among the many options are polarized, anti-blue-light, anti-reflective, HD progressive, and Transitions photochromic lenses.

How much do glasses from Costco cost?

Members of Costco are the only ones eligible to buy lenses and other eye care products from Costco Optical. A personal membership is $60 per year. For companies, the price jumps to $120 for the Gold Star Executive Membership.

For more information about becoming a member of Costco, check out their website.

Although I was unable to find an exact price for an eye exam on the Costco Optical website, I was able to find that they typically cost between $75 and $80. To get the best deal, call your local shop.

I couldn’t see the actual prices of their eyeglasses and eye care goods as I am not a member of Costco. A set of eyeglasses with lenses and frames typically costs $184, according to my findings.

Inaccessible to non-members is a major gripe with Costco Optical’s website. You can visit a Costco Optical store to look at products and prices in person, or use your Costco membership information to log in to their website.

Does Costco Optical take insurance?

According to their website, Costco Optical now accepts most vision insurance policies; however, they do not accept cheap plans. Call or stop by your neighborhood Costco Optical to see whether they accept your insurance.

Does Costco Optical take VSP insurance?

Yes, according to VSP’s website. However, the VSP website notes that your allowance may differ. For more details, call the number listed on your VSP card or check with your local Costco Optical.

Does Costco Optical take Medicare?

The precise Medicare plan you have will determine whether Costco accepts your plan. You can’t tell by looking at their website if Costco takes Medicare or not. Call the Medicare number on your insurance card and then call your neighborhood Costco Optical to see whether they accept your Medicare plan.

About ordering glasses from Costco Optical

Membership is required to shop at Costco Optical online or in-store. You should sign up for membership if you haven’t already.

You must have your prescription on hand in order to purchase contact lenses with a prescription. Both the website and the app allow customers to place orders.

You can see which products are qualified for FSA payments on the website.

Following these steps will allow you to place an order on the website:

  1. Access your Costco account by signing in.
  2. Choose the contacts you would want to buy.
  3. If it applies to you, please input your prescription.
  4. Fill out the shipping information.
  5. Submit your payment details.
  6. Place your order.

To place an in-store order, simply visit your nearest Costco Optical location during business hours. In addition to several stores in Canada, the UK, France, Mexico, Iceland, and Spain, there are over 500 Costco Opticals in the US.

How long does it take to get glasses from Costco?

Costco said it will take roughly a week to execute an order for in-store pickup of eyeglasses. It will take 7 days to process your order and another 7 to 14 days to ship your glasses if you choose to have them delivered to your home.

There were a variety of opinions on the shipment time when I looked at review websites. It took longer than expected for the glasses to arrive, according to several of the bad reviews.

Costco Optical’s return policy

Compared to other stores in the same industry, Costco Optical has a slightly more convoluted return policy. Although there is no typical satisfaction guarantee, you have the option to have your lenses replaced in the event that your prescription becomes problematic. Depending on your local Costco Optical, you can expect to have your old lenses replaced every 60 to 90 days.

Before placing an order, be sure to inquire about specifics with your neighborhood Costco optician. Make an appointment with the on-site eye specialist if you require a new pair of lenses.

Contact lens return policies are less complicated. You have the freedom to return your contacts whenever you like for a complete refund, provided that the packaging is undamaged and unopened. Please retain any documentation accompanying your contact order and return it in accordance with the instructions provided.

Costco’s reputation

The primary function of Costco is to provide members with a place to buy food and household items in bulk. Reviews on sites like Trustpilot and the Better Business Bureau show that customers’ experiences vary greatly, not limited to Costco Optical.

  • Better Business Bureau (BBB): More than 210 customers have given Costco an average rating of 1.48 stars and an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau page. It would appear that Costco and Costco Optical are not independently rated by BBB.
  • Trustpilot: There are almost 1,400 evaluations of Costco on the review aggregate website Trustpilot, with an average rating of 1.5 stars. Please be aware that these ratings are derived from Costco overall, as neither Trustpilot nor the Better Business Bureau have a dedicated website for Costco Optical.
  • Reddit and Google: Look for the optometrist in your neighborhood Costco by looking for their name on Google reviews or in the city’s subreddit. Here you can get a sense of the doctor’s standing in the community. Asking Redditors about their experiences at Costco Optical is another option.

Costco was the target of a class action lawsuit that a California man initiated in 2013. He reasoned that because Costco Optical was a “joint operation,” they were able to charge him more for his spectacles. The plaintiff was able to revive his case in 2018 after having the dismissal of his claim reversed.

A lawsuit asserting that Costco neglected to reimburse customers for the expenses associated with terminated Costco executive memberships resulted in a settlement of $525,000 for Costco in 2021. As part of the settlement, qualified customers can get $15 in cash or a free year of Costco membership.

Other options 

Both in-person and online eye care alternatives are plentiful. Some other options to think about are:

  • Target Optical: You can get in-store eye tests and a large selection of name-brand spectacles, sunglasses, and contacts at Target, much like at Costco Optical.Get to know Target Optical better.
  • Local independent retailers: Locate local stores that sell sunglasses, eyeglasses, and contacts by using search engines, social media, or word of mouth.
  • Online retailers: For information on the eight best online optical stores, read this Healthline article.
  • Local eye doctors: Consult a local optometrist for a more traditional eye checkup. A quick Google search, some word of mouth, or a Reddit post can help you locate a top local eye specialist.

Is it worth it?

If you are a member of Costco, you may be able to take advantage of their fast and reasonably priced in-person eye tests at Costco Optical. Keep in mind that you have a myriad of alternatives to choose from if you decide to go elsewhere.

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