How To Get Glasses With an Expired Prescription

If you need a new pair of glasses but have an expired prescription, we know the struggle. As if you don’t have other things to do and worry about, now you have to make time for an eye exam and a trip to the optometrist to update your prescription.

You might even wonder if it’s possible to skip this step altogether and buy glasses without a valid prescription. The short answer is, you can, but it’s not recommended.

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Expired Prescriptions and The Law

glasses in case sitting on top of prescription

The law states that an optician or optical shop cannot dispense glasses with an expired eyeglass prescription. It’s illegal, and not just in the United States – this is true worldwide.

Even if you have an expired prescription from your eye doctor, it’s not valid anymore and you can’t use it.

Using an outdated prescription for glasses is risky because your vision may have changed since the last time you got a prescription.

Without an updated exam and accurate measurements, your new glasses could be off just enough to cause eyestrain, headaches, or blurry vision.

So How Can I Get Glasses with an Expired Prescription?

mom and young boy looking at eyeglasses

That said, many online retailers will accept your prescription information during the checkout process without verifying it.

So technically, you can still buy glasses with your old prescription, as the retailer is relying on you to provide accurate information.

Some well-known online retailers that don’t verify your prescription with your doctor include Zenni Optical and EyeBuyDirect.

What If I Don’t Know What My Current Prescription Is?

older woman trying on cat eyeglasses in optical shop

If you don’t even have your latest prescription, call your doctor’s office and request a copy. However, they may tell you to come in for another exam if your prescription is no longer valid.

If so, you can also use a prescription scanner app to figure out what your current Rx is.

You’ll need your current pair of glasses to scan your lenses and measure the strength of your vision correction.

There are several free apps available that can tell you your prescription strength using your smartphone, a computer, and any standard ID-size card for measurement purposes.

Online retailers with a free prescription scanner include GlassesUSA, Liingo Eyewear, and SmartBuyGlasses.

Can I Use My Contact Lens Prescription To Get New Glasses?

glasses and hand holding contact lens case

No. Contact lens prescriptions are different than glasses prescriptions, and the two cannot be used interchangeably.

Contact lens prescriptions measure different parameters because they sit right on your eye, unlike prescription glasses.

Is There An Easy Way To Renew My Prescription?

eye chart surrounded by 6 pairs of glasses

If you want to get an updated prescription but can’t make it to the eye doctor, you can also take an online vision test to update your prescription.

Not everyone will be eligible (there are age, location, and prescription type limitations) but if it’s an option for you, it can save you a lot of time and hassle.

The way it works is, you use your smartphone or computer to take a vision test while standing a specific distance away from the screen.

Your results are then evaluated by a licensed optometrist in your state.

If everything checks out, you’ll receive an updated prescription in anywhere from a few hours to a couple of days – no need to make an appointment with an optometrist or visit their office.

Virtual vision tests don’t replace a comprehensive eye exam, but they can be an easy and economical way to renew your prescription without leaving your home!

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