How to get a new prescription, new glasses, and see better from home (all for under $100)

What do you do if you need new glasses in the middle of a pandemic? Do you sit mask-to-mask with an eyeglass professional? Or can you do it all from home -- and even save a few bucks? David Gewirtz tried the home approach.
Written by David Gewirtz, Distinguished Lecturer on

Back in October, I wrote about an innovative product, the EyeQue VisionCheck. This is a device that helps you come up with prescription numbers (what EyeQue carefully calls eyeglass numbers) from the safety of your home -- no mask-to-mask COVID-19 risk required. I was impressed with what I saw, but I hadn't yet had the chance to spend much actual time with my new glasses to tell you if it really worked for me.

Now I have. I've been using glasses made with the numbers from the EyeQue for two months, non-stop. In this article, I'll share my impressions with you. 


Here I am with my new $21.95 glasses.


Super-cheap glasses without leaving the house. A new "prescription" without leaving the house. My eyes have stopped hurting. I'm seeing better. I'm even using these for both computer and distance. Winner-winner chicken dinner.

Getting the glasses

If you'll recall from my original article, EyeQue sent me John Lennon-style round glasses as a try on. While I could ascertain that I could see somewhat better through the Try Ons, they were too small (but definitely cool looking) for any real use.

It had been years since I'd updated my prescription. It was definitely three years, and possibly as many as five or six (the last prescription I can find in my files was from 2014). My eyes needed new glasses. I had been planning to go see an optometrist for months before the pandemic, but somehow never got around to it. Then, when the pandemic hit, the idea of someone breathing into my face (and vice versa), just weirded me out too much.

In any case, by early October, I did the EyeQue process documented in my previous article. I got the numbers necessary for both the prescription and my pupillary distance. Now, I just needed to order some glasses.

As you no doubt know, glasses are a racket. Most glasses are made by one company, Luxottica, who owns almost all the eyeglass brands you're familiar with.

Fortunately, there are now some online competitors to Luxottica, including companies that make very, very inexpensive glasses. I picked one at random, EyeBuyDirect (itself owned by optics giant Essilor), and decided to buy just about the least expensive glasses they make. My reasoning was I didn't want to waste money on expensive glasses that might not help me out.

After all, I came up with my eyeglass prescription sitting at my desk, not with the help of a pro. And I am an annoying patient, even when I am doing my own self-doctoring. I mean, let's get serious. I figured that the chances of my having gotten my own prescription right were about as high as the chances of my eating a bowl of cereal without spilling on myself -- which is to say, not high.

I just didn't want to waste a bunch of money on something that was a completely random experiment.


All told, I spent $22 to get the actual glasses. Total. That included $9 for the frame, $6.95 for the lenses, and $5.95 for shipping. It was actually more than I expected because when the EyeBuyDirect site shows you a frame and gives you a price, they don't mention that there's an added cost for lenses and shipping.

So, at first, I thought I'd be spending less than ten bucks. But hey, $22 for glasses is amazing. Over the years, I've spent as little as a hundred bucks and as much as $700 for some speciality glasses that are no longer available.

The first step was scrolling through the least expensive glasses on EyeBuyDirect. My wife helped me pick out a few frames and we thought we liked the Milo.


EyeBuyDirect (and presumably, most of the other online ordering sites) offers a virtual try on service. You upload a picture of yourself and then place markers over your eyes.


Pressing the Finish button gets you a mockup of how you'll look in the frames. Of the frames we found, these looked the best.


I wasn't trying to make much of a fashion statement. I'm stuck inside in a pandemic, so how these glasses look doesn't really matter too much to me as long as I still look reasonably professional on Zoom and YouTube. I mostly wanted my eyes to stop hurting.

In any case, I chose my frames, entered the set of numbers provided by the EyeQue, gave EyeBuyDirect my credit card digits, and waited. About a week later, they arrived.

How the glasses perform

They look okay. They're not great, but they're not terrible. I liked my older frames a little better and if I ever really feel a need, I can dig into finding nicer frames for my new numbers. But seriously, don't look a $21.95 horse in the mouth.

These work. They work really, really well. I am astonished how well they work.

I've never been terribly happy after coming home with new glasses made from a prescription dialed up by an optometrist. I find it extremely difficult to let someone poke around my eyes. My eyes are of a shape and size that make them particularly hard for the professionals to work with, and it always takes longer than the time usually allotted for an appointment. They get cranky, and I get cranky. I'm never convinced the prescription I've been given is right, but I wind up living with it because I don't want to go back into the fray again.

It's one of the reasons I dread and put off eye appointments. It always turns into a huge power struggle.

These ultra-cheapo glasses with the EyeQue numbers work. I've been wearing them for more than two months. I have not been tempted to go back to my old glasses. While I still get eye strain when I sit in front of my computer for 12 hours, my eyes definitely hurt less.

I never expected to be able to say it, but using the VisionCheck gadget at home, ordering glasses from my couch, and waiting a week resulted in a better solution than I ever had doing it the old fashioned, traditional, doctor-recommended way. If you want to see what some docs think of the VisionCheck, read the second half of my first article on this device.

Now, look. This is a perfect time for the typical disclaimer. Don't do anything, not even breathing, without consulting a doctor. I am not a doctor. I don't play one on TV. My experiences may not be your experience. I am not giving you medical advice here. I'm just telling you how things worked out for me. So if you're thinking about not seeing your doctor, I'm legally, probably, obliged to tell you to see your doctor about it. 

An eye exam from a pro once in awhile is a very good idea because of things like glaucoma, and other sorts of eye damage that there is just no way to check for on your own. Without a doubt, I'll go see an eye professional after the pandemic, specifically for these reasons.

Got it? Good.

That being said, I'm thrilled! And since I barely ever even get happy 'cuz I was born cranky, being thrilled is thrilling. Let's add it up. $21.95 (including lens and shipping for glasses). $69 for the EyeQue VisionCheck. That's $90.95 for both a current "prescription" and glasses. All without pandemic risk and power struggles. This whole wacky experiment was a total win.

What are you doing about glasses (and other medical care) during the pandemic? Are you going to offices, doing remote consults, or just avoiding the whole issue? Share with us in the comments below.

You can follow my day-to-day project updates on social media. Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Facebook at Facebook.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.


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