A NEW, AT-HOME VISION TEST ISA FEAT FOR THE EYES
The ultimate direct-to-consumer brand isn’t content just to sell you a pair of glasses. It’s preparing to own the entire eyewear space. In May, Warby Parker launched a Prescription Check app that enables users to complete virtual eye exams at home—no doctor visit required. This comes a few months after the company opened its first optical lab, in Sloatsburg, New York, where it cuts lenses to fit its frames, bringing some of the manufacturing inhouse. “Building this technology and opening the lab allows customers to stay within the Warby Parker environment,” says cofounder and CO-CEO Dave Gilboa.
Warby Parker initially launched the Prescription Check app—which sends results to an eye doctor who can only issue new prescriptions if the user’s vision hasn’t changed—in five states, including New York and California. It’s working to overcome regulatory hurdles (along with opposition from the American Optometric Association, or AOA) in others. Georgia, Indiana, and South Carolina, for example, require inperson eye exams. Warby wants to change that by offering customers with limited vision problems a telemedicine alternative—making it even easier to buy its glasses.
The Sloatsburg lab, meanwhile, gives Warby new agency over the lens-finishing process. The outlet currently produces a small percentage of the company’s glasses, but that could change as Warby owns more of the eyeglass ecosystem. “As we scale,” cofounder and COCEO Neil Blumenthal says, “we are able to control each of these touchpoints and make them all super special.”
The company will open 20 new stores this year, including its first locations in Houston and Kentucky.
The AOA has argued that Prescription Check could lead to users forgoing in-person eye-health exams that reveal conditions like glaucoma.
CO-CEOS Dave Gilboa, left, and Neil Blumenthal are owning their vision (and yours too).