The only glasses store that hides frame prices – an Eyeglass Direct review

My review is below the notes. I’m the only one with a review. Nobody else sent in a review. It’s entirely possible that I might be the only one who has bought from their online website. You’ll see why…

Quick Notes:

  • 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.

Impressions, Website, and Ordering:

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 okay, it’s now officially quite 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.

Okay, I have to reiterate that with the process:

  1. You choose a frame. You have no idea how much it will cost. Next page.
  2. You chose the color, single/progressive/bi-focal. Next page.
  3. You enter your prescription. Scroll down and you can finally see the prices.
  4. $80?! I was looking for a lower priced option!
  5. Return to #1

Now as I mentioned in the Quick Notes, they do have a physical storefront (seen below). It’s very possible the website is simply so that either their own customers can order online, or so that people in New York can find them.

The Eyeglass Direct location in New York

The site itself may look like it was copied over from GeoCities, but it’s quite functional. Shipping is reasonable.

Yes, I bought glasses from them, and here’s the review:

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 – 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 – I received a short email that stated the order had been shipped and that I should receive it shortly.

Nov 16 – 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).

 

Pictures

(click on any of the thumbnails to see a larger version)

Eyeglass Direct packaging
Eyeglass Direct overhead view of glasses
Eyeglass direct glasses on microfibre cloth
Eyeglass Direct a look at the glasses from another angle

#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 – (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.

 

Recommendation for 2019

The way I personally view Eyeglass Direct is essentially “if you took 39DollarGlasses, tweaked the pricing by a few dollars here and there, made the website worse, took away a number of user-friendly elements, and then tried to hide all the frame options you might get something resembling Eyeglass Direct”.

I mention 39 Dollar Glasses above because years back I immediately noticed a few parallels between the companies which made me wonder if they were both owned by the same outfit (both in NY, similar pricing, etc). The sites are night-and-day different though.

The Eyeglass Direct site is functional. They seem to be located in NY and I’ve ordered from them and I had a good experience. Those are my big positives.

As for a recommendation… if you’re in Brooklyn, New York: by all means, visit their store. Maybe you’ll see something you like and you can order it online. For everyone else, if you’re not price-sensitive, then sure take a look at their site online at https://www.eyeglassdirect.com/ . If you are price-sensitive, then you’ll find much less frustration elsewhere.

 

<< Back to the other Glasses Reviews