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Many online retailers and some optometrists offer online glasses lens replacement. This service is an easy alternative to visiting an optometrist when a person has lost or damaged a lens or has a new prescription and wants to keep their current frames.
This article explores when people might need to replace their glasses lenses. It discusses vision checks and lists some websites offering lens replacement services online, and also explores how to choose between the available options and answers some frequently asked questions.
While some people regularly replace their eyeglass frames, others prefer to just replace the lenses.
Individuals might do this because they favor the style or the frames they currently use are no longer available from retailers.
It can also be cheaper to only replace the lenses instead of getting new frames.
In some cases, frames outlive the lenses. This can happen when:
- a person’s prescription changes
- the lenses become damaged after a fall or scratch
- the lenses break or no longer fit securely into the frame
If a person’s eyeglass frame is still in good condition, lens replacements can be useful.
Some companies specialize in fitting new lenses to existing frames. They may require a recent or new prescription, but some may use a person’s current prescription to create and fit the lenses.
An individual should first consider having an eye exam to make sure the lenses they request are still the right strength. That way, if their prescription still fits their existing frames, they can be sure that their new lenses will work.
Some signs that it may be time to replace the lenses in a person’s eyeglasses include:
- Damaged lenses: When the lenses are visibly scratched or damaged, the damage can make it more difficult to see clearly.
- An individual’s vision changes: Some people notice their vision becomes less sharp as they age, even after years of a stable prescription. In this case, they will need to have an eye exam.
- Time since the last eye exam: If it has been several years since a person had an eye exam, and they are not sure whether they still have the same prescription, it may be time for a new exam. Health experts recommend getting checked every 1–2 years, depending on a person’s age and risk factors.
When a prescription is no longer valid or effective, it may cause eyestrain and make everyday tasks more difficult.
Some people may develop other eyestrain symptoms, including:
- dry eyes
- blurred vision
Additionally, as lenses are an essential part of glasses, if they break or pop out of the frames due to damage, this creates a safety hazard. Years of wear and tear may prevent a person from seeing clearly.
While a person may get their lenses replaced online without an appointment, vision checks are not the only part of eye health.
The American Optometric Association (AOA) recommends annual eye exams to check for a wide range of medical conditions that can affect sight, such as glaucoma. An eye exam may also detect early signs of diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and even cancer.
The AOA also advises that online apps to assess vision may not reveal a complete picture of a person’s vision and eye health, while they may also provide less accurate results than a comprehensive eye exam.
After an eye exam, federal law requires prescribers to provide a copy of lens prescriptions, although state laws that govern how long prescriptions are valid vary.
As a result, while a person can obtain their prescription to use with an online lens provider, it might not be valid if the prescription is very old.
To receive replacement prescription lenses online, a person may consider the options below.
Online vision apps
Several apps can test a person’s eyesight at home. An optometrist or ophthalmologist reviews the test then creates a prescription for an individual to use at most online glasses retailers.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), it is only safe to use these apps for glasses, not contact lenses.
- Verana Health: Offers a free eye exam via an app without requiring any special equipment. It can test a person’s sight right away and allows them to monitor changes to their vision over time.
- EyeQue: Offers an app to assess vision while a person uses a handheld device that users need to buy separately. People can then order glasses or lenses from the company’s online store or receive a prescription to use with another retailer.
- Lens.com: Uses a website instead of an app to offer new prescriptions that a person can use on most retailer websites.
Optometrist or ophthalmologist
In some cases, if a person’s prescription has expired, their eye doctor may be able to perform a telehealth eye exam if they prefer not to visit the office.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based and correct at the time of publication.
Medical News Today follows a strict product selection and vetting process. Learn more here.
Below are some of the top eyeglass lens replacement companies an individual can consider.
Best for wide range of lens options: Lensabl
Price: from $77
With plenty of options for people who wish to replace their lenses but not their frames, Lensabl offers a wide range of lenses.
Prescription choices include single vision, progressive, and bifocal.
Lens types include:
- blue-light blocking
- Transitions light intelligent glasses
Available lens materials to choose from include:
- standard CR39 standard plastic
- shatter-resistant polycarbonate lenses
- Trivex — the lighter version of polycarbonate lenses
- thinner lenses for higher prescriptions
Additionally, a person can order water-repellent, scratch- and smudge-resistant, UV protection, and antifog coatings.
Individuals send their frames directly to Lensabl, and the company installs the new lenses into the frames and sends them back in a few days.
A person must already have a valid prescription to use Lensabl, but they have the option to submit a prescription after completing their order. The company states they will email and request this information.
Lensabl also provides printable labels and the use of its own packaging for convenience.
Other advantages of the Lensabl brand include:
- payment plans available
- wide range of lens colors
- lenses for people sensitive to light or spending extended time outside, such as drivers
- offers very thin lenses for those with strong prescriptions
- edge polishing and rolling for rimless frames
- free shipping
Some disadvantages include:
- some options, especially thinner lenses, can cost over $400
- an average 3.1 rating on TrustPilot, with negative reviews noting quality issues and slow turnaround
- the company does not promise to return the original old lenses
This brand offers a wide variety of options in both lens types and colors. Those looking for a convenient way to customize and order their lenses may find Lensabl suitable.
Best guarantee: 39DollarGlasses.com
Price: from $39
39DollarGlasses offers a wide range of lens-only products.
The company sells a choice of prescription types, including single vision, bifocal, and progressive options. Single vision lenses do not cost extra, but there are additional charges for bifocal and progressive lenses.
A person may also select clear, sun, or transition lenses, each with varying options, such as:
- UltimateView light and thin
- UltimateView super-thin
- Tinted UltimateView super-thin
- UltimateView ultra-thin
- NuPolar polarized
- Transitions Signature GEN8
They can also include antiglare and Crizal Prevencia enhanced antiglare coatings.
A person must either input their prescription as they are ordering or have a valid prescription already on file with the service. Alternatively, they can complete their order without a prescription, but they must send it to the company within 21 days of ordering.
They can then send their frames to the company for lens fitting.
Some advantages of 39DollarGlasses a person can consider include:
- free return shipping
- a warranty on most lenses
- offers clear, sun, and transition lenses
- a nonrefundable $14.95 handling fee applies to all orders
- limited selection of colors and options
- ultra-thin option is not available with a progressive darkening lens
This company is a viable option for those looking for a service with a good guarantee on its products.
Best for fitting to designer frames: EyeGlasses.com
Price: from $49
Eyeglasses.com offers replacement lenses for a person’s current frames.
Available lens options include:
- single vision
Lens material includes:
- standard plastic CR39
A person can also order antireflective, antiglare, smudge resistance, and dust-repelling coating options. Some lenses also come with an anti-scratch warranty of 1–2 years.
Additionally, Eyeglasses.com offers official and certified RayBan lenses if a person has RayBan frames.
Individuals must send their frames and current prescription to the company. Alternatively, Eyeglasses.com can read and duplicate a person’s current lenses.
The company will then install the lenses and ship them back for free.
A person can consider the following advantages of Eyeglasses.com:
- a wide variety of lens options
- some lenses come with a manufacturer’s claims guarantee, such as antireflective protection
- delivery upgrade is available
Some disadvantages include:
- limited range of lens colors
- some Trustpilot reviews report unresponsive customer service and incorrect lenses
This company may be a suitable choice for those who have designer frames as it stocks lenses from official designer brands.
The following table provides an overview of the above three companies.
|Best for||those looking for a wide range of lens and color options||people with a lower budget and those seeking warranty on lenses||people looking for official lenses suitable for designer frames|
|Free shipping||yes||• $4.95–24.95 in the U.S.|
• $12.95–29 international
• free for orders over $99
|Price starting from||$77||$39||$49|
Replacing eyeglass lenses can be an important decision to maintain eye health, especially for those who regularly wear glasses.
Factors a person can consider before making a purchase include:
- Existing frames: If a person has a new lens prescription, they should consider whether their new lenses will fit into their current frames. As this is not always the case, a person should be prepared to change their frames if their new lenses cannot be shaped to fit them.
- Lens options: Some brands offer a wide range of lenses, including single vision, bifocal, trifocal, computer, and reading lenses. Others offer more limited ranges.
- Time to delivery: Some people use their glasses all day, while others use them for specific tasks such as driving or reading. Fast shipping for replacement lenses is essential if a person regularly wears glasses, so a person should research shipping times on the company website and customer reviews before making a purchase.
- Guarantee and refunds: Choosing a company with a guarantee and a clear refund policy can help alleviate potential risks and unnecessary costs.
- Cost: A person should research which features they need in their lenses, such as scratch-resistant coating or a protective UV tint, and consider how these features will affect the price of their lenses. Some companies offer low initial costs that can increase depending on a person’s prescription. A person should consider their budget and choose a company that offers them the features they need and the option to return the lenses if they are not suitable.
Below are some common questions about replacement eyeglass lenses.
Can you put new prescription lenses in old frames?
Some companies offer to make and cut new prescription lenses and fit them into an old frame. However, if a person’s prescription has changed considerably, they should be prepared to buy new frames if their new lenses do not fit.
Can I just replace the lenses in my glasses?
A person does not always need to buy new frames along with their lenses, and this can be a cheaper way to update their glasses.
If a person has damaged their lenses and does not need a new prescription, they can order new lenses from many online retailers. A person can also just replace one lens if only one is damaged.
If a person has a new prescription, there may be a chance that these lenses will not fit their current frames.
Glasses lens replacement services can be much more affordable than replacing frames, and many websites offer options for new lenses without needing to visit a doctor or optometrist.
However, it is essential to undergo regular eye exams, so a person should regularly consult with an eye doctor to help ensure optimal vision and eye health.
Medical News Today does not imply warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or endorse any of these applications. These apps have not been evaluated for medical accuracy by Medical News Today. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved them unless otherwise indicated.