If you wear contact lenses, you know the struggle of scheduling your annual eye exam during the very slim window between your insurance kicking in and your lens supply running out. Contact lens subscription services make it easy to order them through the mail, but you need a valid prescription to use them. Typically, the process for obtaining said prescription has involved making an appointment with an eye doctor, driving to the office, psyching yourself out about which slide is clearer for about 20 minutes and leaving with a rating for each eye that you don’t really understand. That is, until now.
Everyone’s favorite trendy eye experts have stepped in to help. Warby Parker has launched a Virtual Vision Test app, designed to be the industry’s first one-stop shop for getting an affordable contact lens and eyeglass prescription from anywhere. All it requires is an iPhone and a set of eyeballs. Needless to say, if it plays out the way they’re describing it it could be a game-changer.
We sat down with the Warby Parker team and got all the relevant details about the new app, how it works, whether vision insurance can be used and other relevant information.
How Does the Virtual Vision Test Work?
When you launch the app, you’ll immediately be guided through a simple quiz to determine whether the test is right for you. In general, the service is a good fit if you:
- are 18-65 years old
- have no eye health concerns
- currently have a single-vision distance prescription
- can see well with your current glasses or contact lenses
If you’re eligible, the app will then walk you through a simple vision test. You can complete it anywhere you’ve got 10 feet of space and adequate lighting, and it’ll look and feel very similarly to vision tests you’ve taken at doctor’s offices. The whole process shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes total.
If you want to get technical, the app employs a proprietary distance estimation algorithm that their team developed in collaboration with Apple’s Vision Framework. Through exploring novel technologies during the creation process, their team has created a suite of algorithms that allow the tool to measure the distance from the user to the device during the exam, rather than relying on the user to manually adjust. This is designed to decrease the room for human error and increases the accuracy of the test.
What Happens After the Test?
Afterwards, your results get sent to a doctor who reviews the results in detail within two days. If they determine your current prescription is still a fit and it hasn’t changed, you’ll be notified by email and sent a renewed subscription. If the doctor deems your current prescription not strong enough, or that your vision needs have changed, you won’t be charged the $15 and they’ll recommend you go to an in-office eye doctor for a comprehensive exam.
How Much Does the Virtual Vision Test Cost?
It costs $15 for the renewed prescription.
Is it Meant to Replace an Annual Eye Exam?
No, according to the Warby Parker team it’s not meant to replace a comprehensive eye health examination and isn’t meant to replace regular visits to your doctor to check for things like glaucoma, macular degeneration and cataracts.
Can I Apply Vision Coverage to the Virtual Exam?
They’re not currently accepting vision insurance for the Virtual Vision Test, but your vision plan might cover Warby Parker services as an out-of-network or in-network provider. At $15, their goal is to be a much more affordable vision prescription renewal service without insurance.
Can I Order Contact Lenses and Glasses Through the App or Use the Prescription to Order Them Elsewhere?
Yes, once you’ve got your updated prescription you can order contact lenses and glasses through the Warby Parker app, and the prescription is eligible to use on other sites as well.
If you’re someone whose vision hasn’t changed in years and you’re frustrated by having to physically go into an eye doctor’s office just so you can order the same contacts again, this service is for you. However, if you’re someone whose vision is actively changing or tends to shift by a few points each year, this won’t be a quick fix. It will, however, save many of us who need contacts for our consistently mediocre eyes some valuable time, money and insurance stress. Hallelujah.