Warby Parker can renew glasses and contact lens prescriptions with its updated app

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Warby Parker is updating its Prescription Check iOS app on Monday with a new name and the ability to renew glasses and contact lens prescriptions on the iPhone 6S and up (the company currently doesn’t offer an Android app). Like its predecessor, the new Warby Parker Virtual Vision Test isn’t a substitute for an actual optometrist visit, but being able to snag a new prescription for $15 without having to schedule an appointment should be very handy.

With Virtual Vision Test downloaded, you’ll be taken through some intake questions, not unlike what you might fill out in a normal optometrist visit (“Do you regularly get headaches?” etc.). Warby Parker requires you to meet some basic criteria as well, like being 18 years of age or older, not having any “eye health concerns,” using a single-vision distance prescription, and seeing well with your current glasses or contacts. With those taken care of, the app guides you through a simple vision test, reading off letters that appear on your phone’s screen, and alternating covering your eyes.

Warby Parker says it takes about 48 hours for a new prescription to be written, but it won’t charge you $15 unless you’re approved.

Prescription Check used a laptop and a phone to measure out your eyes’ distance from the test and to enter in prompts, but Virtual Vision Test makes things a bit easier. Warby Parker says the updated app uses a new “proprietary distance estimation algorithm” and a software framework exclusive to Apple devices called Vision Framework in order to keep everything contained on your phone.

Vision Framework covers a wide swath of possible use cases in iOS, from scanning bar codes to enabling the head tracking used in AR filters, but Warby Parker says that combined with its algorithm it makes the process of taking a vision test less complicated:

Because the tool is able to measure distance and tell a user when they’re at the correct distance to take the vision test, the possibility of human error while measuring is reduced. Overall, this results in an even simpler and more efficient user experience.

That’s helpful because this is the first time the company’s also offering the ability to renew a contact lens prescription online. Warby Parker’s Scout line of contact lenses launched in 2019, but never made it to the older Prescription Check app until now. Warby Parker hasn’t said if any of the technical changes it’s made to its app make it easier to account for a contact prescription, but they do require different measurements and considerations than traditional glasses.

Ultimately, all of this high-tech convenience is to push you to buy new glasses frames or contacts directly from Warby Parker, and the company’s leveraged Apple tech to make that as fun and interactive as possible. If you have a iPhone X or newer, you can virtually try on the company’s frames right from its app.

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