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

Warby Parker will update 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 later (the company does not currently offer an Android app). Like its predecessor, the new Warby Parker Virtual Vision Test isn’t a substitute for an actual optometrist visit, but it should be very convenient to get a new prescription for $15 without having to schedule an appointment.

Once the Virtual Vision Test has been downloaded, you will be presented with a number of intake questions, not unlike what you might fill in at a normal optometrist visit (“Do you have frequent headaches?” etc.). Warby Parker also requires you to meet some basic criteria, such as being 18 years of age or older, having no “eye health problems”, using a single-distance prescription, and seeing well with your current glasses or contacts. With those things, the app guides you through a simple vision test, reading letters that appear on your phone’s screen and alternately covering your eyes.

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

Prescription Check used a laptop and a phone to measure the distance from your eyes to the test and to enter prompts, but Virtual Vision Test makes it a little 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 to keep everything on your phone.

Vision Framework covers a wide range of potential use cases in iOS, from scanning barcodes to enabling head tracking used in AR filters, but Warby Parker says it, combined with his algorithm, will speed up the process of taking of a vision test less complicated:

Because the tool can measure distance and tell a user when they are at the correct distance to perform the vision test, the possibility of human error during the measurement is reduced. All in all, this results in an even simpler and more efficient user experience.

That’s handy, because this is the first time the company has also offered the option to renew a contact lens prescription online. Warby Parker’s Scout line of contact lenses launched in 2019, but has never made it to the older Prescription Check app until now. Warby Parker hasn’t said whether 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 eyewear.

In the end, all this high-tech convenience is inducing you to buy new eyeglass frames or contacts directly from Warby Parker, and the company’s leverage of Apple technology to make that as fun and interactive as possible. If you have an iPhone X or newer, you can virtually try out the company’s frames right from the app.