The 8 Best Online Eye Exams

You use your eyes every waking moment of the day, and they are your window to the world and crucial to almost everything you do. Regardless of your age or physical health, you should keep your eyes healthy by getting routine eye exams. During an eye exam, an eye care professional (ECP) will examine the sharpness of your vision and eye sensitivity. The ECP may also check your eyes for possible conditions, such as color blindness and astigmatism.

Unfortunately, booking an in-office eye exam with an ECP isn’t a walk in the park. An in-office eye exam can take anywhere from 15-60 minutes for starters. That may not sound like a long time, but you would also need to consider your travel time and the availability of your ECP. In-office eye exams can also be costly, with some costing upwards of $100.

Today, glasses and contact lens companies offer online eye exams as a convenient alternative to in-office ones. You’ll find that most online exams can be completed in 10 minutes or less. You only need an internet connection, a computer and a smartphone to take an online exam, and you can do so in the comfort of your home. Online eye exams are also cheaper than in-office exams, and they’re a reliable tool for renewing your prescription for glasses or contact lenses.

If you’re short on time but need to renew your prescription for glasses or contact lenses, you may want to take an online eye exam.

To help you decide if an online eye exam is right for you, we reviewed several eye care services that are currently available online. These are our picks for the best online eye exams.

Retailer Cost Board-certified doctor Time commitment Test turnaround time Age restriction
1) $9.99 (Reg: $30.00) Yes 5 – 10 minutes Within 24 hours 18-55
2) 1-800-Contacts $20.00 Yes 10 minutes Within a few business hours 18-64
3) ContactsDirect $29.99 Yes 10 minutes 1-2 business days N/A
4) Discount Contact Lenses Free Yes 15 minutes Within 24 hours 18-55
5) LensDirect $20.00 Yes 5 minutes Within 24 hours 18-55
6) Warby Parker $5.00 (Reg: $15.00) Yes 10 minutes Within 48 hours 18-65
7) WebEyeCare $34.99 Yes 5-15 minutes 1-2 business days 18-55
8) AC Lens Free Yes 15 minutes Within 24 hours 18-55

1) makes re-ordering contact lenses fast and efficient with their online vision exam, letting users confirm that their prescription is still valid. The exam takes only 10 minutes, after which a board-certified ophthalmologist will review your prescription. Once approved, you’ll get a copy of your renewed prescription. If for any reason you aren’t satisfied with your Vision Test purchase, will make it right or refund the cost of their services.

2) 1-800 Contacts

1-800 Contacts offers a quick and convenient ophthalmologist-reviewed express exam, which lets customers take a simple online vision test to confirm that their contact lens prescription is still valid. For prescription renewals, your new, valid prescription will be issued by an ophthalmologist licensed in your state.

3) ContactsDirect

ContactsDirect is another platform that offers an online vision assessment and prescription renewal service. In addition to the vision test, customers who wish to use this service will need to undergo a redness check—the licensed optometrists will review the test results and determine if there’s any irritation. If no issues arise, you’ll have a new prescription in 1-2 business days.

4) Discount Contact Lenses

In addition to offering contact lenses at massively discounted prices, Discount Contact Lenses provides a free online vision test so you can renew your prescription from home and speed up your order. A licensed ECP will review your test results within 24 hours. Discount Contact Lenses will email you a PDF of your new prescription and process your order if you’re approved.

5) LensDirect

Try LensDirect’s 5-minute online vision test if you’re short on time. All you need is a smartphone and a computer or tablet display. Your computer or tablet will be your eye chart, while your smartphone will be the remote control. You’ll also need to show your driver’s license or credit card as part of the test so that the technology can calibrate adequately. 

6) Warby Parker

Renewing your eye prescription just got easier with Warby Parker’s Virtual Vision Test, a mobile application that lets you renew your prescription in no time. The Virtual Vision Test is ideal for those who see well with their current glasses or contacts, have a single-vision distance prescription, and have no eye health concerns. The application itself is free to download, but the vision test costs $5.00 for a limited time.

7) WebEyeCare

WebEyeCare has an extensive selection of popular contact lenses at affordable prices, and they offer an at-home vision test specifically designed for contact lens wearers. An ECP licensed in your state will review your test results and send your new prescription to you in 1-2 business days if no issues arise. Additionally, WebEyeCare also offers an at-home vision test for glasses wearers for only $39.99.

8) AC Lens

Skip the doctor’s office with AC Lens’s free online vision test. You’ll only need a computer, a smartphone, 10 feet of space, and 15 minutes. A licensed ECP will review your test within 24 hours. If you’re approved, AC Lens will email you a PDF of your new prescription and process your order. Aside from offering more than 42 brands of contact lenses, AC Lens also offers new members 20% off on all contact lenses. That way, you save a bit of money with your first order.

How does an online eye exam work?

An online eye exam has a few steps. You will need a computer, internet access, and a few feet of space. Some online eye exams may also require a smartphone to download an application. You’ll also need to wear your existing glasses or contact lenses for some parts of the exam.

Most online eye exams begin with you setting up an account, and you’ll then need to answer a few questions about your eye health to confirm if you’re eligible to proceed. If you are eligible, you’ll be asked to look at your computer screen and read various displays of letters, shapes, or numbers based on traditional eye charts.

After the online eye exam has been completed, an ECP will examine the results. If no issues arise, you should be able to receive your results and/or prescription renewal for glasses or contact lenses from the ECP. This usually takes no more than 48 hours. However, note that not every state will allow you to renew a prescription this way.

Bottom Line

Online eye exams are a convenient alternative to in-office exams to renew your prescription for your glasses or contact lenses. However, note that online eye exams are not intended to replace comprehensive, in-office eye exams with an ECP. If you think you have an eye condition that can threaten your vision, such as cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration, consult an ECP immediately.

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