Fastest way to figure out my vision prescription?

So here’s the deal: I went to a LensCrafters about six months ago to get fitted with contacts because I wanted to try them out. I’ve been a stodgy glasses guy all my life, and didn’t really care for the extra maintenance, so I wore the trial pair until they were too old, and then tucked them away somewhere. Now I’m getting married… on Saturday. We leave for Aruba on Monday, and there will be snorkeling.

Back home, the visibility is never more than three or four feet, so I can look at a blur on the bottom and say “bbbb, blb blgblgblgbbblblgblg!”[sup]1[/sup] and swim down to get a closer look and be happy. Now, however, I’m going to be in a place where the water is crystal-clear, and I want to be able to SEE the fishies.

I can order contacts online if I know my prescription… but I don’t. My priorities are

  1. speed - I need to be able to go get my eyes checked out sometime on Tuesday and order contacts overnighted to me.

  2. cost - Obviously cheaper is better as long as they get the numbers right.

Does a machine exist that can cradle my glasses, bombard them with light, and return a neat printed receipt of my prescription? If so, where is it and how much can I expect to pay for that service?

  1. “Look, a crustacean or something!”

You may be required to go to an actual location to do the following"

  1. Try checking with the LensCrafters you got your original contacts at. They may still have your prescription on file (they certainly did when my mother went and got prescription sunglasses for me for christmas).

  2. I believe they would be able to determine your current prescription from your glasses if you bring them in with you.

If these don’t work, you can try to get a new prescription from an optometrist, but I doubt that you will be able to get an appointment on such short notice.

Contacts prescriptions are different from glasses prescriptions. I wear the same contact lenses in both eyes, but the left and right lenses on my glasses are different. Even if you can measure your glasses to find out the prescription, I don’t know if that would be enough to prescribe contacts for you.

You may be able to rent prescription facemasks. I rented these from Snorkel Bob’s in Hawaii a couple years ago. Spent all of $7.

Another reason you can’t just use the available information from a pari of glasses to make contacts is that contacts have to be fitted. They measure your cornea, and prescribe a lens that matches the shape of your eyeball. They don’t have to do this, of course, for glasses.

The place that gave you the trial pair obviously fit you for contacts. They will provide you with a copy of your contact prescription upon request. They’re generally valid for 1 year after examination.

OH GOD, DON’T TRY IT! Your glasses are NOT an adequate substitute for a contact lens prescription. In addition to the strength of the lenses, contacts have a base curve to fit the surface of your eye, come in different diameters, and must be fitted by a professional. Measuring the curve of the lens, while possible, is not something most opticians are adept at, and even a recorded glasses prescription won’t include all of the above information.

Your best bet is to go back to that LensCrafters and buy a pair of lenses – is it really that hard to do a walk-in there? They may just give you your prescription – the federal law requiring them to give you your glasses prescription doesn’t extend to contacts, but some state laws do.

Definitely go back to the place that fitted your contacts. If it’s only been 6 months, your prescription is still good. If they are like my eye doctor, they have boxes there in the store ready to sell you (assuming you don’t have a rare prescription). My eye doctor even told me that I could have a second trial pair if I ever found myself needing new contacts but couldn’t afford a new batch. Maybe you could explain your situation and get another single pair. I mean, you paid extra for a contact lense exam and you didn’t use it, and I think they get those samples for free…just a thought.

I just got back from exchanging a contact lens; even with measurement by the eye doctor, it took three tries to get it right. When I picked it up, I noticed on the back that there were four numbers, just for the one lens. Two I recognized as the prescription and diameter. The other two were roughly 0.15, and 8.66 (possibly with a minus sign on one or both). Presumably one of those numbers is the interior curvature of the lens. No idea what the fourth one is (shouldn’t be astigmatism, as the doctor said I didn’t have it). So, as others have said, it’s more complicated than just the prescription.

By law, LensCrafters must supply you a copy of your contact lens prescription on demand.

It was an FTC regulation that has been codified by all 50 states I believe.

My last pair of contacts I went into a “lenscrafter”-type place. They indeed read my prescription (which has been stable for many years) with a light scan of my glasses. They still want to actually look quickly at your eyes- I believe there is some differences in lense size/contour(??).

Did a quick eye chart test before I left, better than 20/20 as usual. Without prescription I have fairly poor eyesight and the left a fair shake worse than the right.

Regarding the “legality”, Many moons ago when I bought glasses they asked to see a prescription no older than 2 years. This time they took my word and the eye chart test. I know that eye exams have recently been de-listed from my province’s universal health care.

They’re in L.A., I’m in D.C., and I’m getting married in Philadelphia on Saturday. I’ve called them to fax me my prescription, but since I didn’t get a second fitting, odds are that they won’t have it on-hand. There’s an optometrist’s office just outside my building (closer than the nearest Starbuck’s!) but the doctor is out until Friday.

I’m not looking for 20/20 vision here; I’m just looking for something that will improve my negative-eight-point-something nearsightedness to the point where I can tell a fish from a rock at 2 meters. Sadly, it looks like that’s not going to happen with contacts. Looks like I’m renting prescription goggles, then!