- 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.
Eyeglass Direct Review (my purchase)
Note: This order sat in a box on a shelf from 2009-2013 before being opened for the review in May 2013. Thus, if you're looking for a recent look at Eyeglass Direct, this review may not be as helpful as you'd hoped. However, if looking for a general review, hopefully you'll find something here of value. Eyeglass Direct's prices have remained largely the same since 2009 with the notable exception (for the purposes of this review) that international shipping has increased in price.
Oct 23, 2009 - I placed an order for glasses from Eyeglass Direct. I ordered a cheap pair of basic single-vision frames with the standard CR39 lenses ($28). An AR coating added $28 which is definitely at the high end of the spectrum. Shipping to Canada was $8.95.
Nov 4, 2009 - I received a short email that stated the order had been shipped and that I should receive it shortly.
Nov 16, 2009 - The glasses arrived. The first thing that stuck out was that Eyeglass Direct had paid $2 more for shipping than I had (though their international shipping has since increased).
Order Review - May 11, 2013 - Pictures
(click on any of the thumbnails to see a larger version)
#1 is the packaging along with an overhead view. #2-4 are closer up shots of the glasses themselves. The gunk you see in #4 is actually on the table (the lenses are fine).
Order Review - May 11, 2013 - (continued)
The glasses were well packaged, with a sturdy case inside. They'd easily survived a couple moves after being received, so no issue there. Frames were basic but seemed
solid enough. Lenses had the slightest bit of dust/debris on them, but it washed off easily. The AR coating survived the "hot water test" (which it
better for $28...). Really, no issues or concerns to speak of.
Total time between ordering and delivery: 24 days
Time to ship: 12 days
Time in transit: 12 days
Would I buy from Eyeglass Direct again? I certainly wouldn't be hesitant based on the quality. Pricing is definitely on the higher end (that $28 AR coating is a killer), but I didn't have any issues with the glasses themselves. One deterrent would be the lack of pricing on their site until a frame is chosen.
Would I recommend Eyeglass Direct to others based on this purchase? If they don't find the pricing hard to swallow, sure. However, note that their site tends to hide prices until you've chosen a frame. And prices to tend to be higher than other online retailers. One area where Eyeglass Direct has an upper hand is for those who live in the New York area – they have a physical store (that you can either shop at or pickup your online order from), which could be a plus for those who prefer to have a B+M store to deal with should any issues arise. They've also maintained a decent rating with the BBB.
Eyeglass Direct Video Review
Topics from the Eyeglass Direct section of the old forums...
Below is the original write-up for Eyeglass Direct (from 2006-2009). It's been kept around for posterity.
"contemporary eyewear - factory direct prices"
Eyeglass Direct is located in New York (USA). Pricing in USD. They sell frames with single-vision, bi-focal, and progressive lenses. They have a toll-free phone/fax number, direct phone/fax number, email address, and physical address listed on their "contact us" page. They accept Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express as methods of payment.
For those who are worried that the glasses they buy might not look right on them, Eyeglass Direct's guarantee might be what you're looking for. It states that "If for any reason you are unsatisfied with the style or fit of our product, we offer a 30-day unconditional exchange policy." Keeping in mind that most eyeglass retailers simply give you a 50% credit towards a new pair, this is very nice to see. Unfortunately this guarantee does not come cheap, as pricing on their basic frames & lenses is at the higher end of the spectrum, close to the $40 mark.
Many aspects of the website are similar to the 39dollarglasses site. Again, you can print the frames to actual size, and they have 12 pictures available for each frame so you can see what the frame looks like on people with various head shapes. The one large downside to Eyeglass Direct is the order page. It could really use some cosmetic improvement, as well as some functionality improvement. Since there is more detail later on in the review, I'll sum it up by saying it feels clunky and glitchy.
Single-vision glasses start at $38. Bi-focals start at $85. This includes polycarbonate lenses with anti-scratch and anti-UV.
Eyeglass Direct is a member of the BBB, which has given them a rating of "satisfactory", with 3 complaints which were all resolved.
Single Vision Polycarbonate $38.00 Bifocals Flat Top 28 Polycarbonate $79.00 Single Vision Polycarbonate & AR coating $66.00 Bifocals Flat Top 28 Polycarbonate & AR coating $107.00 Single Vision 1.67 Super-thin High Index Lens $85.00 Bifocals Progressive No-Line Poly $85.00 Single Vision 1.67 Super-thin High Index Lens & AR coating $113.00 Bifocals Progressive No-Line Poly & AR Coating $113.00 Single Vision Next Generation Transitions Lenses $85.00 Progressive No-Line Poly Quantum Transitions $185.00 Single Vision Next Generation Transitions Lenses & AR coating $113.00 Prog No-Line Poly Quant Trans & AR Coating $213.00 Single Vision Quantum Transitions Lenses $125.00 Single Vision Quantum Transitions Lenses & AR coating $153.00
Fashion Tint (grey brown blue pink rose yellow) +$8.00 Sunglass Tint (grey brown) (bifocals only) (lens material will be CR39 instead of polycarbonate) +$8.00 USPS First Class (US) +$4.95 USPS Priority (US) +$5.95 USPS Express (US) +$15.95 USPS Global Priority (International) +$7.95
Basic Single Vision glasses will run you $42.95 after shipping in the US, $45.95 after shipping
Basic Progressive glasses will run you $83.95 after shipping in the US, $86.95 after shipping Internationally.
|Website||Good||Some aspects of the site are great. Layout, organization, and the ability to see frames on different people are all very nice. However, the order page looks like it was designed by someone else entirely. For example, when you browse the "Bifocals & Progressive" section, you are under the impression that frames with bifocals are $85, since that's the pricing displayed. However when you select them at the order page, they are actually $79. It is in fact the progressive no-line lenses that are $85. Another odd quirk is that when you are at the order page for certain frames (for example, single-vision Athens) and select tint, and then try to de-select tint, it will not deselect, and upon clicking "Add To Cart", you will either get tint, or get the message "No LensColor selected for Fashion Tint". Besides those issues, the rest of the order page just plain feels 'clunky'. It's a shame to put so much into the rest of the site and have an order page that might scare away some potential customers. I would have given the order page a rating of either poor or acceptable, and the rest of the site a rating of great, but since I don't have separate sections, I've combined those ratings into one rating of "good".|
|Selection||Good||Metal, Plastic, Flexible, Children's, and Bifocals are the frame options that can be selected. Each have a fair share of frames to choose from. They also have Rimless Titanium offered, which brings you through a pretty neat set of selection options to get your final set of frames.|
|Frame Info||Great||Dimensions are given, a PDF can be printed to get actual size, and frames can be seen on a variety of different faces to give you an idea of what they might look like on you. Color is given and in many cases only 1 color is offered (in which case no selection box appears), so pay attention to the color given and make sure it's the color you want.|
|Lens Options||Good||Single vision are offered in basic polycarbonate, high index, and 2 types of transitions lenses (grey or brown). Bifocals are offered in basic polycarbonate, progressive polycarbonate, and transitions progressive polycarbonate (no color selection for transitions). Fashion Tint available on non-transitions lenses.|
|Value||Acceptable||Pricing is definitely higher than most of the retailers reviewed here. The pricing is for polycarbonate lenses though, so if you are looking for polycarbonate in particular, pricing might be cheaper than elsewhere. Also, depending on your situation, their guarantee may help to make the price worthwhile ("If for any reason you are unsatisfied with the style or fit of our product, we offer a 30-day unconditional exchange policy."). Eyeglass Direct is one of the few retailers who have a "satisfactory" rating with the BBB. Between that, and their liberal exchange policy, I'd expect that any problems you may encounter will probably be addressed appropriately.|