Buying eyewear is often considered an important, high-involvement purchase for consumers, who focus on price, function and fit. Customers want to be certain they will look and feel good in their new frames, of course. They therefore tend to be quite hesitant to buy online. Brick-and-mortar stores are still a preferred choice among eyewear shoppers.

In many ways, the eyewear industry is undergoing the same transformation as the clothing industry did only a few years ago. Customers have gone from being hesitant to order clothing that they hadn’t tried on first, to predominantly shopping their outfits online. In comparison, the clothing industry has come a lot further in developing and adapting to consumers shopping habits. Mainly thanks to technology, the eyewear industry is now developing in the same way.

Try-on software has been under development for a few years and is a common technology used by most eyewear e-retailers. It allows the user to virtually try on different frames to find a suitable one for their face shape and measurements.

In addition to this technology, Vision Direct, part of SmartBuyGlasses Optical group founded in 2006, is the first eyewear e-retailer to introduce an app that can get an accurate reading of the prescription from a pair of glasses, for free. The Lens Scanner app is developed by Israeli start-up, 6over6 and allows the user to obtain their prescription parameters by scanning their current pair of glasses using their smartphone and an additional computer screen.

The process is simple and only requires 4 things:

  1. A smartphone witht the Lens Scanner app installed
  2. A laptop or computer with a 12” screen or larger
  3. Your current pair of glasses
  4. A standard-size magnet card used for measurement

The prompts in the app guide the user through the process where the app firstly is calibrated by using a magnetic card. The next step is scanning the glasses using the light from the computer screen and the app on the smartphone, followed by getting an accurate reading of the users pupillary distance using the magnetic card for measurement. Once the scan is complete, the prescription will be displayed on the screen. It will automatically be saved and added to any glasses that are added to the cart.
Not only is innovative technology moving the dial for the entire industry as it transitions into the online world, but the technology also has a democratising effect as it is making the process of acquiring prescription eyewear both cheaper and more accessible.

In comparison, an eye exam to retrieve your prescription could cost between $100 and $250 (if not covered by health insurance), while the app is currently offered for free.

This service is offered by Vision Direct as a part of the commitment to making eyewear and eye care affordable for everyone.

“At Vision Direct, we are working hard to provide better eye care solutions to our users. We are proud to bring to Australian consumers this unique technological offering, democratising access to vision care to all people wherever they are,” says David Menning, co-CEO of Vision Direct.

The app is a free and effortless way of getting an accurate reading of your glasses prescription with your smartphone. Vision Direct’s Lens Scanner reads the prescription of the glasses with the same accuracy as a Lensmeter, a common tool found at the optician.

“6over6 has created some of the most advanced consumer vision technology available, enabling customers to perform the most accurate at-home vision tests using a mobile app or computer,” says CEO Dr Ofer Limon.

Some important things to note about Vision Direct’s Lens Scanner technology is below:

  • 6over6’s products are registered as Class 1 Exempt Medical Devices on the FDA Medical Device Listings and CE (EU) self-declared Class 1. The Lens Scanner meets the industry guidelines for accuracy (ANSI-80.17). The Lens Scanner has been developed to simplify the process of getting an accurate prescription reading, thus making it easier and cheaper to order new glasses online.
  • The service extracts the optical parameters from your current glasses and as such, it does not replace an eye exam. Your current glasses prescription must be valid, typically within a 24 month period from when the initial prescription is issued at the conclusion of an eye exam. The app may not be used for multifocal or progressive lenses and for certain eye conditions, as the software cannot guarantee an accurate reading. A minimum age of 18 years is required for someone to use the app. For more details, please read the full terms and conditions.

Vision Direct’s Lens Scanner is compatible with both iOS and Android and available for free in both the App Store and Google Play Store.