- Mid-upper end of discount price range with glasses containing single-vision 1.5 index lenses coming to $33 shipped.
- Frame price not available until you've chosen the frame. Essentially, prices are hidden from you for as long as possible.
- AR coating is at the very-high-end, weighing in at $28.
- Because prices aren't readily available when browsing, I suspect they may be more focused on their physical store business than the online area.
- Name-brand lenses available (Transitions, Crizal Avance, Seiko, Varilux, Sola, Zeiss)
- BBB accredited with a A- rating.
- Offer "bill me later" if paying via Paypal.
- Offer lens replacement option (sending your existing frames and getting them relensed).
Eyeglass Direct is located in the US (New York). Pricing in USD. They sell single-vision, bi-focal, and progressive lenses. Methods of contact include an email address, mailing address, toll-free phone and fax numbers, as well as direct phone and fax numbers... Payment methods include Visa, Mastercard, AmEx, Discover, and PayPal. They are BBB accredited, with an "A-" rating.
Eyeglass Direct has been around for quite some time. Their website is clean and well-organized, though it's starting to feel a little dated. One surprising thing is that they don't appear to "push" the pricing of their glasses, even on the low-dollar offerings. Pricing is not upfront, and if you're ordering anything other than their metal/plastic frames (which are typically $28 for CR39 or $38 for Polycarbonate), the only indication of price tends to come up when you start picking your lens options. All in all the website seems designed towards you finding glasses you like and not worrying about the price until you're filling in some information. It can make it tougher for someone who's trying to compare the price of certain frame types between various retailers, as well as those on a budget.
Frame selection is reasonable, although not by any means extraordinary. It certainly won't take most people long to determine whether they see ones they like or not, as once you've chosen a frame type/material, all the frames in that selection tend to fit in 1 page. Each frame tends to come in either 1 or 2 colors, but you don't get the opportunity to see what colors are available until you've chosen the frame. Frames at the lower cost-end come in Metal/Plastic ($28 for CR39 or $38 for Polycarbonate), and there are a variety of other frame options as well including Rimless, Flexible, Titanium, and Childrens styles although some tend to cost more than others. The final thing to note is that you can choose to use your own frames (mail them in) and simply pick the lenses.
Single-vision lenses start at $28.00 and come with the frame. Bifocal lenses start at $69 with the frame, and Progressives at $75 with frame. All lenses come with free anti-scratch/UV, while AR coatings are extra – both a regular AR as well as a Teflon AR coating are offered though both are quite expensive compared to other online retailers. Photochromic lenses are available (and all seem to be under the Transitions name brand). Polarized lenses are available as well. Name brands listed include Transitions®, Sola®, Seiko®, Varilux®, Crizal®, and Zeiss®.
Website and Ordering:
The website itself is easy to use, although it does not cater to those who are looking for quick pricing to compare. The way frames are presented actually makes it very easy to see all the frames offered in each category – they all tend to fit on one page. However, details are absent until you actually view the frame. This may be fine for some – however those who are looking for specific dimensions are going to have to find all the frames they like, and then check each one to see if the dimensions are suitable. If you're looking to compare prices, be warned that it takes a few clicks. First you have to find the category, then choose the frame on the next page, then choose the vision type on the next page, and then finally you'll have a list of pricing on the lens-selection page. It's not as bad for those choosing metal/plastic frames as they all tend to be the same low price, but for those looking for something else, it may take a while. As far as seeing how the glasses may look on you, they have 2 options – first is a PDF you can print, cut out, and use to take a look in a mirror. The other option is to "see these frames on your face type", which brings up a new page with a few faces of varying shapes.
All-in-all, the strong point of the site's design tends to be that it's easy to see all the frames available without going through numerous pages – you simply choose a category, and they're all there. The weaker point is that it takes a lot of clicks to get into the actual details.
The ordering process is short and simple, and details are available about each lens by clicking on the links provided. Unfortunately, at the end of the order process, you're required to register.
Pricing and Value:
Frames and CR39 lenses start at $28 for the metal and plastic offerings for single-vision wearers, with bifocals being $69 and progressives being $75. Switching to polycarbonate adds $10 to the price. Anti-scratch and UV coatings come free, but an AR coating adds $28 dollars to the price – effectively doubling the cost of the basic glasses.
For value, the basic pair is certainly competitive in price with retailers on the higher end of the discount spectrum. Shipping is reasonable at $4.95 within the US, and $8.95 elsewhere.
Chart based on basic $28 frames – as pricing has remained constant for a few years, I've re-used the old pricing table and simply updated with the new options.
Lens offerings (based on $28 frames):
|FRAMES||included in lens price||included in lens price||included in lens price|
|LENSES (FREE anti-scratch/UV)|
|Polarized Polycarbonate (grey/brown)||$125.00||$175.00||$185.00|
|Photochromic – Next-Generation Transitions (grey/brown)||$85.00||$149.00||$149.00|
|Photochromic Polycarbonate – Quantum Transitions (grey/brown)||$125.00||$179.00||$185.00|
|HD digital progressives upgrade||+79.00||+79.00|
|Anti-Glare (AR) – Crizal Avance with Scotchgard||+75.00||+75.00||+75.00|
|Fashion Tint (grey/brown/blue/pink/rose/yellow)||+8.00||+8.00||+8.00|
|Sunglass Tint (grey/brown)||+8.00||+8.00||+8.00|
|USPS First Class – USA (priority and next day available at extra cost)||$4.95||$4.95||$4.95|
|UPPS First Class International – International||$8.95||$8.95||$8.95|
The price charts are created by hand – if you notice any errors, please contact me.
In short, the pricing is reasonable at the upper end of the discount spectrum, though an AR coating that costs the same as a basic pair is... not exciting. The biggest flaw is that if you're browsing with a certain budget in mind, it can be a big pain to compare the different frame costs, since you have to choose the frame and start adding lenses before you find out.