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What Is the Cost of An Eye Exam in Edmonton?

  A recent survey studying the pandemic’s impact on vision care in Canada revealed that an estimated 1,437 Canadians lost their vision due to delayed eye examinations in the pandemic year of 2020 alone. The importance of timely and regular eye exams is thus paramount.  Here’s all you need to know about the cost of an eye exam in Edmonton, frequency, insurance coverage, locations and accessibility and much more. 

How Much Is an Eye Exam in Edmonton?

Eye exams are an invaluable investment for our overall well being. According to the Alberta Association of Optometrists, the average cost of an eye exam in Edmonton is typically between $100-200. However, the actual cost is based on a host of different factors that go into an eye exam. These include:

Complexity of the exam

A comprehensive eye exam can include a multitude of tests, each designed to assess a different parameter of eye health. The Canadian Association of Optometrists suggests covering around eight different factors in a typical eye exam, including taking a functional history of the patient, colour vision evaluation, neurological assessment, and refractive correction.  Depending on your personal preferences and needs, you may opt for one or many of these tests, which can influence the pricing structure of your eye exam.

Range of equipment utilized

A host of technical equipment is needed to conduct a sound eye exam. Machines like digital retinal camera, phoropter, auto-refractor, slit lamp, retinoscope, etc. are used for comprehensive eye exams. The more technical the eye exam, the more advanced equipment will be needed and that can significantly alter the overall costs for the eye exam. 

Optometrist’s expertise

The number of years of experience, level of skill, ability to perform different tests, etc. go into determining the fee of the individual eye doctor.  So while typically, an eye exam in Edmonton can range anywhere between $80 and $200 depending on the factors mentioned above, it is a good idea to inquire about the specific fees and services included in the eye exam when scheduling an appointment.

You Decide the Right Time: When to get an Eye Exam

An eye exam may cost you a little, but not getting a timely eye exam can cost you a lot more. In order to ensure optimal visual health, it is imperative to schedule periodic eye exams.  The pandemic years set us back far behind in managing generalized healthcare, and particularly vision care. With people apprehensive to step out and visit clinics, eye exams were postponed and that has resulted in significant vision loss and impairment amongst Canadians. 
A survey by Health Insight showed that the short and long term effect on vision care even stretched into the year 2023. Further, these losses amount to approximately $253.3 million of direct health care system costs and an additional $1.1 billion in the loss of overall well-being.  In this regard, the Canadian Association of Optometrists gives guidelines on the ideal frequency of eye exams for different age groups. While it is generally recommended that infants should have their first eye exam between the ages of six and twelve months, youngsters between the age of six and nineteen years should ideally undergo yearly eye exams.  Senior citizens, on the other hand, are also prone to vision impairments and must take annual eye exams as well. 

Exploring Options: Where to Seek Eye Exams in Edmonton

From established chains to independent practitioners, Edmonton offers diverse options for its residents to choose from when it comes to selecting the right optometrist for an eye exam. You should look for an optometrist that’s known for informative consultation sessions with expert optometrists, and one that provides convenient access to a range of eye care services. Some aspects to consider when choosing the right eye clinic for yourself are easy accessibility, affordability, availability of up to date diagnostic equipment, price structure of different eye tests, and good client testimonials. 

Evaluating Walk-In Eye Exams in Edmonton: Are They Worth It?

Generally speaking, walk-in eye exams in Edmonton offer a sense of convenience and accessibility for individuals with busy schedules or emergency eye care needs. Such clinics are able to accommodate patients without the need for prior appointments, allowing for quick diagnosis and treatment. While offering an alternative, it is imperative to assess the value of walk-in eye care. Here we take a look at some pros and cons of walk-in eye exams:


  • Convenience: It can easily fit into your schedule as most walk-in eye clinics also operate evening hours and weekends. 
  • Emergency care: Walk-ins are the most sought after choice in cases that require urgent medical attention and intervention, such as sudden vision changes or eye injuries. 
  • Insurance coverage: Under regular appointments, clinics may only accept certain types of insurance whereas walk-in clinics take almost all eye insurance. 


  • Higher costs: Walk-in clinics typically cater to immediate assessment needs. Depending on the clinic’s policies and services offered, eye exam costs are often higher where prior appointment is not made. 
  • Wait times: According to a research study published in the Canadian Journal of Ophthalmology, walk-in eye clinics often have longer waiting queues and limited availability compared to scheduled appointments.

Discussing Insurance Coverage: Are Eye Exams Insured?

Whether or not eye exams and related expenses are covered by health insurance plans in the province of Alberta largely varies depending upon the age of the patient and the type of care needed.  According to the information shared by the Alberta Association for Optometrists, eye care needed to treat eye infections, eye injuries, styes, dryness, sudden changes in vision, post-operative care for cataract patients, dryness or inflammation, and testing for glaucoma, retinal diseases or diabetes issues, is typically covered under vision care insurance. Additionally, the cost for one eye exam per year is covered under Alberta Vision Care Coverage only for the age groups of 0-18 years and 65+ years:

Infants and Young Adults (0-18 years)

Alberta Health Care covers one complete eye exam annually. Further, additional exams and/or treatments may also be covered based on specific medical needs.

Adults (19-64 years)

The provincial health care plan does not cover eye exams for this age group, however, many among this group are insured for eye exam costs under a host of private insurance plans, such as employer-sponsored benefits or individual health insurance policies. 

Senior Citizens (65 years and above)

Provincial insurance schemes cover one complete eye exam per year for this age group as well. Additional exams and/or treatments may also be covered based on specific medical needs, such as glaucoma, diabetes or cataract follow-up or monitoring. This age group is the most susceptible to vision impairments and is thus best insured by the province’s healthcare program.

Managing Eye Exam Costs: Informed Decision Making is Key

In this regard, it is necessary to periodically review your insurance plan to familiarise yourself with the coverage limits, eligibility criteria, and reimbursement processes, prioritise preventive eye care, and always compare prices before going for an eye exam.  Stellar Integrated Eye Care offers quick and seamless consultation with our experienced optometrists. Schedule an eye exam today.