Medical Vision Aid and Optometry Visit Costs

MEPS collects optometrist expenses separately from other medical expenses, and these costs are included in optometry-specific expenditure variables, including the cost of glasses and contact lenses and care provided by optometrists. While optometry services may be used for the treatment of diagnosed vision disorders, in MEPS data we found that only a small fraction of optometry costs were attributable to vision diagnoses, including diagnoses of vision problems. We therefore assume that most optometry, glasses, and contact lens costs, as recorded by MEPS, are unrelated to diagnosis of vision disorders. We estimated the total cost of optometry visits (Table 5.1) and medical vision aids (Table 5.2) through a simple accounting approach, summing the total optometry costs for all persons in the sample and estimating overall and per person costs.

Optometry Visit and Medical Vision Aid Costs, in $ millions

Click on an age-group category to highlight the data.
Cost Category Age 0-17 Age 18-39 Age 40-64 Age 65+ All ages
Optometry Visit Costs 387.758 679.730 1234.825 547.016 2849.33
Medical Vision Aid Costs 1479.977 3335.159 6222.157 2199.120 13236.415


Table 5.1. Optometry Visit Costs

Optometry Visit Costs

Table 5.2. Medical Vision Aid Costs

Medical Vision Aid Costs