Do You Need a Prescription to Get Glasses?

There may come a time in your life where you start to notice that your vision is becoming less clear. You may even experience blurry vision, whether you are trying to read your favorite book or, even worse, are driving down the highway. It goes without saying, but blurry or unclear vision can be uncomfortable, awkward, and potentially deadly.

Because of this, you may seriously consider taking additional action. Naturally, you would think of visiting your optometrist or another eye physician so that they could better diagnose what is really going on. Your eye care professional, in all likelihood, would write you a prescription so that you can purchase a new set of eyeglasses or contact lenses.

However, this naturally raises the question of whether you actually need a prescription in order to purchase glasses. The answer is somewhat complicated. In most cases, it is simply easier to visit your optician or optometrist, undergo an eye exam, and obtain a prescription. But what if you don’t have time to do that? Moreover, what if you don’t have health insurance or have a plan that covers eye care?

In this article, we want to further explore this question. The bottom line? You may not necessarily have to obtain a prescription from an eye doctor in order to purchase glasses. To purchase prescription glasses online, you would need to diagnose yourself (which technically wouldn’t be a prescription). However, with that information in hand, you can work with certain online retailers, like Rx-Safety, and purchase your new pair of glasses.

The Value of the Prescription

It often goes without saying, but a prescription provides a wealth of information about your eyesight. It reveals whether you are nearsighted, farsighted, or have astigmatism. It can even reveal whether or not you are legally blind. And to be clear, your prescription isn’t the same for both of your eyes. Each eye may need a drastically different prescription in order for you to see properly. To learn more about each element in your eye prescription, feel free to review earlier posts on our website.

With all of that said, a prescription provides all of the information you need to correct your vision. But how can you collect that information? If you were to visit an optician or optometrist’s office, for instance, you would undoubtedly undergo an eye examination. The most common type of eye exam involves a Snellen chart, which is the standard eye chart that you most likely saw in school.

The chart has a collection of letters that are on different lines of the chart. The letters become more numerous and get increasingly smaller as you move down the chart. It is ultimately used to determine the clarity of your distance vision. Along with the Snellen chart, the eye care professional could deliver a series of additional tests. Some of these tests would examine your ability to see in three dimensions, your peripheral vision, and your color perception.

He or she would more thoroughly examine your eyes, potentially dilating your pupils in order to get a clearer view inside your eyes. Finally, your optician or optometrist would likely ask you a series of questions about your symptoms, general health, and any family history of eye diseases.

As you can tell, a visit to your optician or optometrist’s office provides you with an in-depth look at your eye health. Your optician or optometrist is clearly an expert. They can quickly diagnose why you are experiencing blurry vision or other side effects. From there, he or she will write you a prescription to correct your vision.

Proceeding On Your Own

If you choose not to work with an eye care professional, you can always attempt to self-diagnose your vision. This, as you can guess, is much less ideal than visiting a trained optician or optometrist. It is easy to suspect that your vision issue is due to one issue when it is really due to another issue. Searching on Google, while it may seem helpful at the moment, can often lead to misdiagnosis or even more anxiety about your condition.

Nevertheless, there is nothing actually stopping you from self-diagnosing your eye issues. While we don’t recommend it, you can give yourself a series of tests and exams in order to get a better sense of the prescription you need. To reiterate, this in and of itself is not a prescription. Only a medical professional can write an actual prescription for your prescription eyewear. But having said that, you can still obtain prescription eyewear without a prescription, so long as you provide certain information to your eyewear retailer. For example, at Rx-Safety, we need the sphere, cylinder, and axis of both your right eye and left eye. Along with this, you need to provide several pupil measurements (like your pupil distance).

Once again, a medical professional can best obtain these measurements and compile them in a prescription. However, if you are trying to do this by yourself, there are several tools that you can use. While we don’t recommend any particular tool, you can find several different types of tools on the internet that claim to accurately test your eyes and provide you with the necessary measurements. Following those instructions, you may be able to get closer to the measurements that you need to correct your vision. You can then use those measurements to place an order for prescription eyewear through an online retailer like Rx-Safety.

This is an extremely basic way to get eyeglasses without an official prescription from an eye care professional. Even though this option is open to you, it comes with flaws. For instance, the tool that you use to measure your eyes may be flawed or skewed. You may accidentally fail to follow the instructions when using your eye measurement tool. The tool may not properly diagnose what is really causing your blurriness or other eye issues. These are just a variety of the challenges you may face, so you have to tread carefully here. Read all of the instructions and get your measurements to the best of your ability.

If you use those measurements to order prescription eyewear yet you are still experiencing the same symptoms, it may be time to schedule a complete eye exam with an optician or optometrist. Not only will you be able to confidently obtain your measurements, but those measurements (and your subsequent prescription) will likely cure all the eye issues that you are experiencing.

Take Action Today

As you can tell, diagnosing yourself and taking your own measurements is, in most circumstances, not ideal. It forces you to find a tool that you trust and follow all of the instructions to obtain a measurement. Beyond that, your tool may not be sophisticated enough to truly diagnose why your vision is off. If you are able, we highly recommend that you see an eye care professional and obtain a prescription. Not only will your measurements be more accurate, but it will provide some peace of mind.

Regardless of your decision, however, we at Rx-Safety are happy to work with you on finding the perfect pair of prescription eyewear. If you would like to learn more about this topic or browse any or all of our collections, feel free to visit our website by clicking here

  1. Thank you so much for being clear about how much more ideal it is if you have an eye doctor get you your glasses prescription. The fear of trying to get a pair of glasses when I don’t know all the specifications of my eyes definitely does convince me that I shouldn’t try it. I’ll visit an optometrist in the area instead and listen to their advice.

    • SanMartin says:

      Hi Afton,

      We are glad you find the post informative, you should always get checked first by an Eye Doctor to get your Eyeglasses Prescription.

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