How to order prescription glasses online without wanting to gouge out your eyeballs

I have only ever purchased glasses at the doctor’s office. It’s just so reassuring knowing that they’re doing all of the pupil distance measuring (that’s what they’re checking with that thing!?) and the sending over of the prescription and the double-checking that the work is getting done and I dunno, other optical magic. Anyway, I didn’t really want any part of figuring it out and was happy to let others take care of it.

Until this year, when I needed both new sunglasses and regular lenses. Sure, that may be because I neglected to take care of it last year (apparently the extra day thrown in because of leap year wasn’t much help). Buuuut we aren’t talking about that.

Earlier this year I happened to stumble on a site called Warby Parker (mumble mumble while at work maybe mumble mumble) that had prescription glasses starting at $95. Out the door. What!?

Yes please.

And then I spent a long time staring at adorable frames (while totally not still at work, I swear, please don’t read this boss) and daydreaming. $95 isn’t nothing, but it’s pretty good for good-looking glasses. I figured they had to be cheapie and too-light and prone to falling apart if you so much as looked at in the wrong way (a problem since they live on your face, where people tend to look).

Warby home screen

After a while, I noticed a little note next to some of the frames, talking about a free home try-on. Hmmm. Another “yes please”. Especially the “free” part.

The deal is you pick five frames you want to try, they send them to you and you try them on, and you (hopefully) find a pair you can’t live without. Then you box ’em back up and send ’em back (they pay for shipping! both ways!) – you’ve got five days and if you forget, they’ll send you a very polite email reminder (not that I needed one…). The reminder also assures you that once they get the glasses back, they’ll message you, so no one has to worry (remember that for later).

Warby Parker

Some glasses may be better than others.

Then it’s time to make your purchase (cracks knuckles, wiggles fingers over keyboard).

I went back to Warby Parker’s site and added my choice to my cart. And here’s where the work began. Don’t worry, it wasn’t so bad.

First, after choosing my frames, they needed my prescription information. There are three options; let them contact your optometrist to get the prescription, send them the prescription yourself, or opt to send it later. I tried option 1, but they had trouble getting the information from the doc for some reason. So I moved to option 2. I scanned my prescription and emailed it in to them, then used their pupillary distance tool on the website to get them that measurement. They explain a little about that on their site, but it basically lets them know where to center the lens over where your pupils are, the better for you to see, my dear.

This was pretty clever: their tool uses your webcam, your face, and a credit card to measure your PD. Here’s a little illustration from their tool that shows how it works:

pupil distance

Using the length of the magnetic strip as a reference (it automatically outlines it, but you can manually correct it if there’s a mistake), the tool can determine the distance between your pupils. All you have to do is make sure there’s enough light and to place the pupil markers over each of your pupils in the photo. Pupils, pupils, pupils.

And then you wait!

And if you’re me, you either miss or don’t get the message that your home try-on made it back home safely, and you freak out because what are they gonna do if they had to remind you to send them back and then they just don’t show up, oh my god how expensive will that be!? And then you send an email to ask about it, and a very nice lady named Lucy reassures you that “We’d never hold you accountable for any hiccups that occur during the return shipping process, so once your package is back in the mail, we’ll take it from there.” Whew. Thanks Lucy.

And then you just sit back and relax! Wait about a week and your new glasses will show up and you can take gorgeous photos of them, sitting in a succulent. Just because you can.

warby parker in a succulent

But wait! There’s more: for the do-gooder in you (I know its in there – can’t fool me!), here’s an extra bonus that’ll make you want to shop for new glasses like, today. For each pair of glasses that Warby Parker sells, they donate a pair to someone in need somewhere in the world. They also do great work helping those communities with access to quality eye care. All-around good folks.

thanks so much

And they’re so polite!

So next time you need glasses, go there. Everyone wins.

**this post was not sponsored, I paid for my entire experience, full-price. In fact, I’m pretty sure Warby Parker has no idea that I even exist, except for my order. And if either Warby or Parker are reading this, hi guys! I’ll take a pair of your sunglasses of your hands if you have some spares lying around that you don’t know what to do with them!**


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