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Can I get an eye exam and glasses on the same day?

Yes, it's possible to get an eye exam and prescription glasses on the same day. But unless it's an emergency, you might want to wait a few days and get the best eyeglasses for your needs. Not all glasses are available in "an hour" or on the same day as your eye exam.

Same-day eye exam and glasses: Factors

The amount of time it takes to receive your new prescription glasses depends on a few factors, including: 

  • Purchase location: Some places have different timeline estimates for prescription glasses.

  • Lens modifications: Are you getting anti-glare or scratch-resistant lenses? This could lengthen your timeline for getting your glasses.

  • Your prescription: Do you have a complicated prescription? If so, this could mean your lenses will take longer to make.

  • Frame availability: The frames you tried on in the store and loved are just for display, so they’ll have to order the frames for your glasses. If that particular frame style has low quantity at the factory, there could be a delay in your delivery.

  • In-house optical lab: Some optometrist offices and eyewear retailers have in-house optical labs. These labs can make some eyeglass lenses in an hour or so. But other lens powers and designs require fabrication by an outside optical laboratory, which takes more time.

Depending on how many of the above factors you’re juggling, it could take anywhere from a few hours to 10 days to receive your prescription glasses.

SEE RELATED: How long do glasses take to make?

Do I need an eye exam to get new glasses?

You must have a valid prescription from an eye doctor to purchase prescription eyeglasses. If you have a valid eyeglasses prescription from a previous eye exam that's still current, you don't need to get a new exam to buy glasses.

Eyeglass prescriptions typically expire after one to two years. If your prescription has expired, make an appointment for an eye exam.

Who provides same-day eye exam and glasses?

In most cases, you can buy new glasses at your eye doctor’s office. It's convenient to have your eye doctor nearby to answer any questions or concerns you have about your eyeglasses. Also, the office should have your vision insurance information so you will know if some of the cost of your glasses will be covered.

If you don’t find what you’re looking for at your eye doctor’s office, you can take your prescription to an eyewear chain like LensCrafters or Target Optical. You can select your frame and lens options from these retailers just as you would at your doctor’s office.

The advantages of going elsewhere for your prescription glasses are that you might find a larger in-store selection along with better (or more frequent) deals on frames.

There are also many online eyewear retailers if you prefer shopping for prescription glasses from your home or office. Online retailers often will have a very extensive selection of frames to choose from.

One downside to buying online is that you don’t get personalized attention from an eye doctor or optician to answer any questions you have. But many websites have an online chat function if you have questions during the online shopping or buying process.

READ NEXT: Where can I get a walk-in eye exam?

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