How Prescription Glasses Are Made

by , May 25, 2023

How Prescription Glasses Are Made

A cut lens being fine-tuned for a perfect fit

Eyeglasses have been used to improve poor vision for hundreds of years. Although the first pairs were made by hand, the manufacturing process for eyeglass lenses and frames today is mostly automated.

After examining your vision, your eye doctor will create a prescription specifically for you. This prescription will use curved lenses to correct whatever problem you have with your vision. Some lenses can perform more than one function—helping you to see near or far, or to read—and these can be a little more complicated to make.

In this article, you will learn how prescription glasses are made and what to expect when you order a new pair.

How long do glasses take to be made?

How Prescription Glasses Are Made

Finished eyeglasses being inspected for prescription accuracy

The time it takes to make a new pair of glasses depends on where you order them and what type of lenses you need to correct your vision.
Some businesses may manufacture your specific lenses in-house using pre-made lenses that can be customized, while others may handle the manufacturing from start to finish.
At Overnight Glasses, your prescription glasses are manufactured in California and can go from ordering to being in your hands within a day. Many frames are available from top designers for you, and your lenses will be made-to-order from the prescription your eye doctor orders for you.

Why do glasses take so long to make?

Not every eyeglasses supplier manufactures prescription eyeglasses in-house. Some may send your order out to a central manufacturing facility, and this can add time to your order.
We make your lenses to match your prescription at its California facility and ship them out to you as soon as they are ready.
Different lens types can take different amounts of time to make, depending on what type of vision correction you need.
At Overnight Glasses, most pairs of prescription glasses can be made and shipped to you in about a day, but some particular types of glasses—like multifocal lenses or rimless lenses—can take longer to make.
Generally, we can have rush orders ready within the following time frames based on lens type.

  • Single vision lenses: Same day
  • Bifocal lenses: 1 to 2 days
  • Progressive lenses: 1 to 2 days

Overnight shipping through UPS is included in the price of your rush order.
You can also select “no rush” on your order. These prescription glasses will take longer to arrive but are guaranteed to be delivered to you 3 to 6 days after you place your order. Manufacturing times for no rush orders are:

  • Single vision lenses: 2 to 4 days
  • Bifocal lenses: 3 to 5 days
  • Progressive lenses: 3 to 5 days.

Prescription Glasses-Making Process

Each manufacturer may have its own process for manufacturing your prescription eyeglasses. At Overnight Glasses, you can expect the process outlined below.

Step 1: Tracing the Frames

The journey to your perfect pair of glasses begins with tracing the frames. This is an essential step that helps determine the exact size and shape of the lens required. Using a specialized tracing machine, we map out the inner outline of your chosen frames, ensuring an accurate fit for your lenses.

Step 2: Selecting a Lens Material

After tracing, we choose the right lens material. This step is influenced by your prescription strength, lifestyle, and comfort preferences. Materials can range from high-index plastics for stronger prescriptions to polycarbonate or trivex for a more durable, impact-resistant option.

Step 3: Surfacing the Lens

The 'surfacing' process is where we sculpt your prescription into the lens material. We use precise grinding machines to carve your unique prescription onto the lens. It's a bit like a master sculptor chiseling a masterpiece, but our canvas is the lens, and our tool is technology.

Step 4: Polishing the Lens

Next, the lenses undergo a polishing process. They are smoothed and buffed to remove any rough edges left from the surfacing process. It's like giving your lenses a spa day, resulting in a pair of lenses as smooth as a mirror.

Step 5: Hard Coating the Lens

The lenses are then treated with a hard coating. This step is crucial as it enhances the durability of your lenses. It's like applying a protective shield that defends against scratches and harmful UV rays, ensuring that your lenses stay clear and healthy for your eyes.

Step 6: Edging or Cutting the Lens Shape

Now, it's time for 'edging', which involves cutting the lenses down to the exact shape to fit your frames. Using the initial tracing as a guide, our high-tech machine meticulously sculpts your lenses to match your frames perfectly. It's precision work, much like a tailor fitting a suit.

Step 7: Coating the Edged Lenses

In this stage, your lenses are given one last touch of refinement. They are placed in a vacuum coating machine and coated with Anti-Glare and Anti-Reflection layers that will eliminate glare for crisp vision. This process is like applying a top coat on a freshly painted car, ensuring the final product looks great and performs even better.

Step 8: Mounting the Lenses

We're almost there! Now, we mount the treated lenses into your chosen frame. This is a careful process to ensure a perfect fit. Think of it as placing the last piece in a jigsaw puzzle, as we ensure your lenses sit comfortably and securely within your frames.

Step 9: Final Inspection

Lastly, we conduct a thorough inspection before the glasses are sent your way. Our commitment to perfection is to check for imperfections and ensure the glasses meet our high-quality standards. It's like a final dress rehearsal before the big show, ensuring everything is right for you.

And there you have it – a behind-the-scenes look at how your glasses are made, combining the power of technology, precision, and meticulous attention to detail, all to provide you with clear, comfortable vision in 24 hours or less.


How long your eyeglasses take to make depends on where you order them from and what type of lens you need. Some companies may send your glasses to outside manufacturers or to a central facility that’s not located on-site. Overnight Glasses begins working on your order as soon as you place it, and can deliver your custom prescription lenses from its California plant in as little as a day.

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Rachael Zimlich, RN, BSN, has been writing for a variety of news and health publications for more than 20 years.... "Read More"