One thing I did early in 2018 was get new glasses. My prescription was more than overdue, and I was definitely noticing the change, both in sharpness while trying to take pictures and eye fatigue while reading. I probably shouldn’t have waited that long, but for reasons of laziness, I always seem to end up waiting a few months more than I should.

After I got my new glasses, though, I decided to try something that’s been on my back burner for a while. I grabbed my prescription, uploaded it to Warby Parker, and ordered myself a set of sunglasses and a backup pair for the car.

I’m seriously nearsighted. Not quite Mr. Magoo bad, but close: about +5.5, plus astigmatisms. I also have eyes that tend to run dry, and I’ve never stuck with contacts for very long. That means glasses are necessary for driving and if I break or lose them I’m screwed if I don’t have a spare pair. Typically I keep my N-1 pair in the car, and the N-2 pair in my desk, just in case, but there was enough change in my prescription this time around that I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have the spare in the car be current.

And sunglasses? I’m someone that has a love-hate relationship with them. Since I’m diabetic, I get my retinas checked for damage every two years, and the tech invariably nags me for not wearing them regularly. And this time, while getting the prescription dialed in, the doctor told me something I’d rather not have heard: he’s seeing the beginnings of what’s probably cataracts, which he says I may have to worry about in a decade. And, yes, he strongly suggested I should wear sunglasses outside regularly.

So, I can (eventually) take a hint, and I decided to try a pair of prescription sunglasses, at least for driving. So I fired up the Warby Parker web site, found some frames I thought I’d like and had them send off for evaluation.

The way this works is pretty simple: you can pick up to five pairs of glasses. They’ll ship them to you to try on in your home — I suppose you could do it in a coffee shop if you must — and see if you like them. If you do, you can upload a copy of a current prescription, ship back the frames, make the order and in about 10 days, you have glasses in your mailbox.

In my case, my prescription didn’t have the distance between my pupils listed so I had to do one more thing, which was take a picture with a credit card under my nose backward so they can see the stripe and compare it to the eyes.

And about a week later, they arrived. The sunglasses are, well, sunglasses. Aviator style with big lenses to cover the eyes (and lots of room for a progressive prescription). As far as I can tell, the prescription between it and the glasses I had done by the doctor match perfectly and I notice no difference, other than a potential minor different in pupil distance, and that I only noticed a little bit one day when I swapped from one to the other after a really long day in the field with long drives on both ends. But under most circumstances, they fit fine. The spare pair also fits fine and I could wear them full time if I needed to.

Cost? The sunglasses cost me about what my standard prescription pair cost, and a noticeable bit less than if I’d bought them together with my main pair. My spare pair less as well.

My final take on this? The process worked as easily and friction free as they advertise. The prices are good, the frames are quality and the lenses as well, and the same type you find elsewhere as well.

Would I use them for my primary pairs as well next time? probably.

Negatives? A number of their frames are supply limited so they won’t send them out, which arbitrarily limits the frames you can try out unless you go into one of their stores, so there were a couple of frames I wish I could have tried but couldn’t. Still, I found ones I was happy with without compromise.

Overall, I’m quite happy with the results. It’s easy to do with good quality at a decent price. Or pretty much what they say it will be. You don’t need to be a nerd to do this, either.

So, two thumbs up to Warby Parker. And now I can tell my eye people I’m actually following directions.