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Home Craft How to Get Glasses or Contacts Without a Recent Prescription

How to Get Glasses or Contacts Without a Recent Prescription

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Photo: Kzenon (Shutterstock)

We strongly recommend checkups with your eye doctor and a regular updating of your prescription, but sometimes life gets in the way. You might break or lose your glasses just weeks after your old prescription expired, or you might just want spare glasses or contacts. But to get new glasses or contacts, you usually need an up-to-date prescription—there are ways around that in a pinch, though.

Order contacts from abroad

This tip comes from Reddit, though you should know upfront the moderators of the subreddit removed the original post a few hours after it went up. (Again, you really should use a recent prescription whenever possible.) Per the now-silenced Redditor, you can order contact lenses from the United Kingdom to a United States address with no prescription proof required.

Numerous commenters recommended the site lenstore.co.uk, but others pointed out that even U.S. brands, like 1-800 Contacts, will usually fulfill orders, even if they kick up a stink about your prescription being out of date. One Redditor explained, “They do check [with your eye doctor] but if they don’t respond fast enough they process the order. Contact Lens Verification Requests are common at most offices I’ve worked at.”

Use an online retailer

Online glasses retailers, like Zenni, might ask you to manually enter your prescription, but they usually don’t do much beyond that. You just have to enter one in. Knowing what to enter in the first place, though, might be tricky: Some eye doctors won’t just hand over your prescription if you call; they sense that you’re about to make a purchase from somewhere else, and they don’t love that. Still, it is your prescription and you have a right to it, so push for it.

It’s a good idea to ask for a copy of your prescription every time you do get your eyes checked and you get new glasses or contacts from your regular optometrist. If you don’t have a copy and they’re pushing back on giving you the details, a little white lie might make them bend more easily: Say you’re making a personal medical record for yourself and just want everything to be up to date.

Backtalk a little

This worked for me last year: An online retailer wouldn’t accept my glasses order without proof of my prescription. I’d already used up my glasses allowance from my insurer for the year, but I wanted another pair I’d seen online. I entered in my regular prescription, but they wanted more confirmation. I didn’t have the time (or the insurance allowance) to go get checked out and use a bunch of official channels, so I just said no. This went on for about four emails, but eventually, with no warning, I received notice my order had shipped.

This worked because retail companies want to make money. As the Redditor said above, if they don’t get confirmation in time, they’re probably not going to toss away the opportunity to get your cash because it’s not their job to make sure you’re making good choices. It’s their job to take your payment.

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