A few things you should probably know if buying from EyeBuyDirect (review)

If what you really wanted was the review with the pics, no need to fear. It comes right after some EyeBuyDirect details!

Quick Notes:

  • Sub-$20 pricing – While a number of their frames/options get into higher price points, it’s possible to get a very basic pair of prescription glasses with lenses for under $10 plus shipping.
  • Website – The website design is quite good, easy to navigate, has a polished feel to it, and is well-done in general. The search section is very easy to use.
  • Help bubbles (“!”) – virtually every prescription/lens option has a well-written help bubble. EyeBuyDirect has clearly gone to lengths to ensure that if you don’t understand something, there’s an explanation ready and waiting for you.
  • Party Glasses offering – to me this seems a little gimmicky, but people must like them because they’ve continued to offer it as an exclusive (currently under $15 extra).
  • UV protection – not included on the cheapest lenses.

Impressions, Website, and Ordering:

The EyeBuyDirect website has been consistently user-friendly, and it’s easy to navigate and move through to purchase. It’s really quite new-user-friendly, and that’s reflected in the video they have demonstrating how to take your PD which has shockingly high production value.

They’ve been in business for a number of years (over a decade now if I’m recalling correctly), and I’d certainly classify them as one of the major retailers at this point in time.

One aspect that EyeBuyDirect has focused on heavily throughout the years is the up-sell. All the defaults tend towards higher pricing: high-priced frames listed first, the non-base lens option selected by default, etc. As I mentioned in the Quick Notes it’s possible to get a basic pair for under $10 (plus shipping). However, frame selection at that price range is fairly slim and you have to pay close attention as you choose the lenses if that’s what you’re aiming for. You won’t get UV protection there, so unless you’re getting an indoor/backup pair chances are you’ll be spending a good bit more.

Ordering itself is quite easy except that you need to register before you can see shipping options/prices. However, EyeBuyDirect does at least list your Geo-located shipping price in their help menu, giving an option if you’d like to get a better idea of the total cost before you start giving them personal information.

Value:

If you go with the cheapest frames and lenses, the cost is extremely hard to beat. As soon as you start adding lens upgrades though, prices quickly start to push up. Not unreasonably-so mind you, but the upgrades tend to be a little higher than with competitors.

 

Time for the Review…

This order took place in 2009.

Feb 2 – An order was placed for a set of glasses during the “2-4-1” sale that EyeBuyDirect.com was having, although I only ordered a single pair of glasses. Browsing through frames and sorting by price, I selected regular metal frames ($17.95) with basic free lenses, and added an AR ($6.95) and UV ($4.95) coating. After using a coupon code for reduced shipping, the total came to $33.85 shipped to Canada.

Feb 23 – The glasses arrived in the mail. I had actually expected them to take a little longer (since they were ordered during a sale), but to my surprise they made it in exactly 2 weeks which is what I generally expect from most items I order from the US. I was certainly pleased with the amount of time it took.

 

Customs

To my surprise, I was charged duty/tax on the glasses. Normally, prescription glasses are exempt from duty/tax. However, the customs form submitted listed the item as “Sunglasses” (even though they had no tint), with no mention of them being prescription. To add insult to injury, the value was listed as $77.50 – much more than the $33.85 I had paid. Therefore, duty/tax came to just under $20 including Canada Post’s $8 handling fee. While the Canada Border Services Agency will probably refund me my $20 once I fill out a few forms and send my actual invoice showing the actual amount paid and showing that they’re prescription glasses, this would have been a non-issue had EyeBuyDirect listed the actual price I paid and/or listed them as prescription glasses. Obviously, the customs issue applies to non-US orders only, and this may vary by each country’s customs regulations.

 

Packaging

Inside the larger shipping box was a smaller one, branded quite nicely. A clear/transparant case was fit snug inside, with the glasses wrapped in what appears to be a microfibre cloth. The case itself was actually pretty impressive. It’s magnetically closed, and has a foam strip to keep the glasses from moving around. Inside was a slip with a couple coupon-cards for discounts on future orders.

 

Pictures

(click on any of the thumbnails to open the image full-size in a new window)

Box in the mail from EyeBuyDirect The contents of the EyeBuyDirect box

Basic packaging. you can see the customs info in the first image (although identifying information has been removed). The transparent case in the 2nd photo closes/latches magnetically and has a foam strip to keep the glasses secure.

Altogether the presentation was quite nice and professional.

 

First impressions

The nosepads looked like they might need adjusting, but they didn’t. The glasses fit perfectly. The lenses had a slight bit of fluff/debris on them (possibly from the cloth) which rinsed off easily with water. The AR coating has a greenish tint when light is reflected off of it.

EyeBuyDirect glasses on the included microfibre cloth EyeBuyDirect right lens EyeBuyDirect left lens EyeBuyDirect glasses laying down

Very clear lenses – in fact the digital camera generally focused on an item on the other side of the lens – both frames and lenses appear to be of good quality.

 

Quality

The frames are straight and sturdy. The lenses fit perfectly in the frames, and looking around the edges, they seemed to be cut precisely – really just as good as any other pair I’ve owned, and I couldn’t find any flaws in this area.

Wearing the glasses, they seem to be optically correct throughout.

One minor concern is the AR/UV coating. I smudged up the glasses, and then cleaned them with a bit of dish soap and some hot water. Now, you’re not supposed to use hot water when cleaning glasses (warm is okay) because it’s known to cause coatings to crack. That said, I generally use hot water since it works so well and leaves 0 potential for minute scratches. Most AR coatings survive without a hitch. On this pair, hot water does indeed “crack” the coatings, and rather quickly at that. While this won’t be an issue for most people (who generally use either a microfiber cloth or a warm-water/dish-soap combo), the relative ease at which the cracking occurred indicates that either the AR or UV coating isn’t quite as durable as others. Again, won’t be an issue for most, but something worth mentioning.

EyeBuyDirect cracked glasses coating from hot water EyeBuyDirect cracked glasses coating from hot water (another angle)

Do NOT use hot water to clean the lenses, or this will result (only visible in specific light conditions which were created for the photos – glasses are still completely useable unless the light catches it the right way which causes a blur). Don’t use hot water, and this won’t happen.

Final Thoughts

Overall I was quite pleased with the glasses themselves. I received them in a very reasonable timeframe, and they seem to be a good-quality pair overall. The packaging was quite good and I have no concerns about any potential for damage during shipping. The customs issue and coatings issue were the only things that I found to be negative.

 

Would I buy from EyeBuyDirect again?

Yes.

 

Would I recommend EyeBuyDirect to others?

Probably. I’d certainly recommend them to US customers since they won’t have duty/tax issues. I’d recommend them to international customers as well, providing they were aware of the possible duty/tax they may end up paying. Either way, I’d let them know that they’d be receiving a good, solid pair of glasses, providing they’re kept away from hot water.

 

Recommendation for 2019

EyeBuyDirect is a reasonable option whether you’re new to buying glasses online or have veteran experience. Pricing at the low-end “wows” me a bit, but in the mid/high-range offerings the price is simply “reasonable”.

If a clean and easy-to-use site is on your priority list, EyeBuyDirect ( https://www.eyebuydirect.com/ ) is one of the retailers you’ll probably want on your shortlist.

 

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22 Comments | Leave a Comment

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  1. Roxy on February 20, 2020 - click here to reply
    I purchased my first pair of glasses from Eyebuydirect about a year ago, for my computer work, I liked the frames so well I purchased another pair for everyday, everywhere wear, and same frame for sun glasses. (I paid for so many upgrades, that each pair cost me over $80.00, plus shipping, I'm still wearing the sun glasses and the pair for computers, but the pair I wore for everyday, everywhere, got scratched up so badly after just a few months that I purchased another pair for everyday, everywhere. I have been purchasing glasses from zenni optical for years, and I do not know how they do it, but their lenses never scratch, even if you do not use water, just the soft clothes that comes with them. I made the mistake of assuming the lenses from eyebuydirect would be the same, so with my new pair I'm very very careful not to scratch them. I clean them at least once per day, and they are already showing small scratch, (which really bothers my eyes). In short, I've reached out to eyebuydirect regarding this issue, at first they responded quickly, (well at least once they responded quickly), now it's crickets. No, I wont purchase any more glasses from them, poor customer service. Their prices are quite a bit higher then zenni, so do to poor customer support I will be going back to zenni optical.
    • Matthew Barker on July 1, 2020 - click here to reply
      You do realize that EyeBuyDirect's parent company is Essilor International S.A., a french-based international ophthalmic optics company that designs, manufactures and markets lenses. Then Essilor International S.A. parent company is EssilorLuxottica S.A., one of the leading groups in the design, production and marketing of ophthalmic lenses, optical equipment and prescription glasses and sunglasses. The company has more than 20 premium brands including Ray-Ban, Oakley, Michael Kors, LensCrafters, Sears Optical, Target Optical, Pearle Vision and more.

      I currently have several pairs from EBD, and never had any issues with the lenses.
  2. Anonymous on February 27, 2020 - click here to reply
    I’ve bought 2 pairs of glasses and both beautiful. The only thing I hated was the wait. It was half the price of America’s best 180$ versus 360$. Because I wear progressives and have high index. But what a savings. I love how you try them. It’s fun and I’m impressed. My son is a truck driver and doesn’t have time. He orders same frames every couple years and has been really pleased. We recommend them to everyone. Especially if you have no insurance. Thanks read on
    • AllyShock on March 14, 2020 - click here to reply
      I'm nervous about ordering progressive lenses online since they are more complicated, but you didn't have any issues with yours? How have they held up with the coatings, etc.? I appreciate your feedback! -Ally
  3. Anonymous on April 16, 2020 - click here to reply
    Don’t buy from EyeBuyDirect ! I ordered progressive lenses . First it took over 2 weeks to receive them, Then everything was blurry in the distance. I wanted a refund and EyeBuyDirect advised that they would make a new pair from my prescription, adjust from a new picture I supplied and resend. Please just refund but insisted they would work.
    Again 2 plus weeks later I received the new pair and they were basically the same. I again asked for a refund and they refused saying past the 14 days refund time ,
    If you buy be prepared to never get a refund no matter how bad they fit. Caveat Emptor!
    • sag on August 18, 2020 - click here to reply
      What? That's terrible. Did you force a cashback since you obviously couldn't use them?
  4. Avery on April 22, 2020 - click here to reply
    Thank you for the review! I just placed an Order and I live in Ontario, Canada. Hopefully I won't get any issues with borders/customs. If I do, I'll be sure to follow you suggestion of filling out the Customs forms. Did you manage to get your duty/tax refunded?
    • Duty/tax was refunded, though not the $8 handling fee (which increased to $12-ish or so last I'd checked). With that said, we've had other orders placed from EyeBuyDirect since then and there hasn't been any tax/duty charged. At this point in time I think all the retailers have a good grasp on cross-country situations, and are pretty good when it comes to ensuring the customs forms are filled out properly.
    • Arno on May 23, 2020 - click here to reply
      I bought from EBD 5-6 years ago. Both pairs were perfect. However, during their winter 2019 2for1 sale, I made a purchase for 2 pairs. This is where things started going bad. First, the shipment fell behind projected mfg/shipping schedule with an additional 2 weeks added. Second, the lenses were "off centered". The sweet spot was above the lens centerline. The long distance/mid distance/reading distance were tilted toward the top of the lens and the bottom 1/5 was totally out of focus making reading very annoying. I called their customer service and spoke with a woman who had eastern European accent (Croatia/Slavic?) I was asked to supply a photo wearing one of the 2 pairs I ordered, which I did. They sent a replacement pair and those were still wrong. I'm now in the process of selecting a completely different set of frames as well as re-submitting my prescription specs (as of 5/24/2020). I hope these work out. I've lost total confidence with this company. I cannot recommend EBD. BTW, Walmart will install their lenses with any frame you bring in for $40. At least, if things go wrong, you won't have to deal with an internet corporation's BS.
  5. Anonymous on May 4, 2020 - click here to reply
    Had placed an order at Eyebuydirect. Paid extra for quick/premium shipping. I did not receive a confirmatory email.Placed a call to the customer service. The customer service assured that I would be receiving an email confirmation, but did not receive anything. Place another call to the customer service team, again reassured that I would receive an email confirmation but did not receive. Now after 23 days of placing the order, gave another call the customer service rep, had no clue about the previous conversation and said that the order would take another 4 weeks. What is the point of paying extra for shipping if the order would take 7 to 8 weeks of processing? Eyebuydirect have to really up their game and work on providing better customer service if they wish to continue their business. Really poor experience! Would advice others to think twice before placing an order with Eyebuydirect.
    • Anonymous on July 11, 2020 - click here to reply
      You do know we're in the middle of a pandemic. Hence why your order may be delayed and the customer service may be behind.
  6. Anonymous on May 7, 2020 - click here to reply
    At my first purchase my High Index lenses where priced at 40. When I went to buy another pair the price went up to 80. Is this a scam?
  7. Anonymous on May 31, 2020 - click here to reply
    Beware of incorrect lens type. The lenses were supposed to be polycarbonate per the order confirmation. Turns out they were not. I fell and one of the lenses shattered. Required major surgery to my face to remove the lodged pieces and repair the muscle and nerve damage below the eye. Over $25,000 in medical bills. Expert examination of the lens showed that it was an acrylic and not polycarbonate. Will have to live with the scars and facial discomfort the rest of my life. If you purchased glasses with polycarbonate lenses from EyeBuyDirect I highly recommend that you have them verified by an optometrist.
    • random person on internet on September 22, 2020 - click here to reply
      I never leave comments on blogs, but I just want to say that I’m so sorry for your painful experience. I’m dealing with my own unexpected chronic illness, so I empathize strongly with all the uphill battles you must be fighting. Thank you for sharing your warning. It’s alarming since glasses perch an inch from our eyes. Wishing you the best
  8. Sergei Topchian on June 1, 2020 - click here to reply
    Bad service.
    Good way to loose money
  9. Simon Flores on June 7, 2020 - click here to reply
    I tied to order from EBD today. Exact same glasses as my last order. They went from between 118.00 to 147.00 on sale for the last three pairs. Exact same order. $384.00 today. The increased the price drastically. I was going to pay it anyway because it was buy one / get one. I thought OK, they scammed an upcharge so they don't lose money on the sale. Still 150 each. no problem. Nooooo...not anymore. Now only the frame is free, with the eyeglass part all extra and not included. It used to be a real BOGO. From a real and former EBD customer. They are no longer a cost alternative. I also have vision insurance, I just used to like the BOGO sale and the 30% off sometimes. All good things must come to an end...back to the stores.
  10. Katie on August 11, 2020 - click here to reply
    I paid $160 for two pairs of blue light glasses and I was robbed! I tested them and they had no blue light filter! I called to discuss the matter and they wanted me to pay for shipping to send my fake blue light glasses back in exchange for new replacement glasses that were different glasses! I paid for alcohol and they gave me water and now they want me to pay for their mistakes.

    Ridiculous ! They rob their customers!! Don't buy from this company!
  11. Heidi H on September 14, 2020 - click here to reply
    I placed an order and noticed the promotional code was not applied. I emailed customer service. They said the order and promo code cannot be processed unless I submit an "authorization" form. They wanted me to send my send my cc#, date, signature, etc. in an email for a new "authorization". Cancelled the order.
  12. Kay on November 30, 2020 - click here to reply
    We'll see. I ordered mine a few weeks ago and have heard nothing. They should not market 2day service because of you have progressives, that's not the case. I also paid more for a more expedient delivery. Anyway, we'll see once I get them what happens. I only went here because I thought I'd get my glasses much faster than America's Best. I received the glasses from America's Best much quicker.
  13. Anonymous on December 14, 2020 - click here to reply
    I just placed my order tonight for ebd before reading these reviews. Maybe I should have done that first. Oops. Hope my glasses will be okay. No fake blue light lenses, no border taxes... yikes. Fingers crossed.
  14. mary on April 13, 2021 - click here to reply
    I ordered 2 frames sent by ups in France and it's FedEx which asks me 27 euros of customs fees and with the follow-up of expedition I realize that it's sent from China if it's made in China it's a scam do you know where these glasses are made?

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