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Was that the snap of your glasses breaking? Did your fingernail accidentally rip your last contact? Perhaps it’s just time for a regular update to your glasses?
When it’s time to purchase some new glasses or contacts, you may not feel like driving to the store, waiting in line to make your purchase, and then driving back again to pick up your order in a few days.
Luckily, online retailers now allow you to purchase glasses and contacts from the comfort of your couch. No trip to the store is necessary, and your glasses or contacts will arrive in your mailbox shortly after clicking “purchase.”
FramesDirect.com, or simply FramesDirect, has been offering this service for 25 years, but how does it stack up against its competition and newer websites? We’ve investigated the pros and cons of this online option for you. Let’s take a look.
FramesDirect was founded in 1996 by two eye doctors, Dr. Dhavid Cooper and Dr. Guy Hodgson.Based in Austin, Texas, it was one of the first websites for ordering designer glasses and contacts at a discount.
Since then, it has continued to grow and is now owned by Essilor, the world’s largest provider of eyeglass lenses.
FramesDirect sells designer brand frames and contacts. They have 100,000 products and 300 brands available, including many major brands like Oakley, Burberry, Prada, and Marc Jacobs. FramesDirect carries men’s, women’s, and children’s glasses. They also have regular and prescription sunglasses.
FramesDirect offers designer glasses for less than you might pay at a brick-and-mortar store. The website also offers price matching on frames. (Though, this doesn’t extend to lenses and only includes non-sale retail prices.)
These are still designer glasses though, so even with a substantial discount, a pair of Burberry glasses will easily cost upward of $200.
Looking for a way to bring down the price? Health savings account (HSA) and flexible spending account (FSA) debit cards are accepted forms of payment. Alternatively, you can send in proof of payment to your HSA or FSA insurer for reimbursement.
If you have vision insurance, you may be able to get reimbursed for your glasses or contacts if you follow your insurer’s reimbursement policies.
You can choose from a variety of designer frames and contacts on FramesDirect.com, input your prescription information, and then sit back and wait for your new glasses or contacts to appear in the mailbox.
FramesDirect has a straightforward ordering process that’s done entirely online.
After gathering this information, you’ll want to browse FramesDirect.com to choose your favorite frames or contacts. (Don’t worry, the website is clearly labeled and easy to click through.) If you’re unsure about what styles of glasses will work well on your face, you can begin with an online styling guide.
After you’ve settled on the perfect frames or contacts, you’ll need to enter your sizing information and prescription, if applicable. Then, fill out a little information about your preferred payment method, and you’re done.
FramesDirect will contact your eye doctor to confirm the prescription, order the frames from the manufacturer, and fit them with your chosen lenses. An experienced optician will even give a final quality check before placing them in the mail.
According to FramesDirect, you can expect your contact lenses and nonprescription lenses in 4 to 7 business days. For prescription eyeglass orders, you should expect to see your package in 11 to 14 days.
Free shipping is available in the United States on many items, but not on contact lens orders and some exchange orders. If you live abroad, FramesDirect does offer international shipping at an additional cost.
To initiate a return, you’ll need to log on to FramesDirect.com.
If you’re returning your item because it’s incorrect or damaged, FramesDirect will provide free shipping return labels. However, if the return is due to size, fit, color, or personal preference, you’ll need to pay for the return shipping.
If you have a warranty issue and would like to exchange your glasses or contacts, you have up to 12 months from date of receipt to do so.
In general, customers seem pleased with their experience with FramesDirect.
FramesDirect has been accredited with the Better Business Bureau since April 2011, and they currently hold an A+ rating from the organization. The company averages over 4 out of 5 stars, with 393 customer reviews.
Trustpilot reveals similar positive reviews for FramesDirect. With more than 24,000 customer reviews, FramesDirect has 4.8 out of 5 stars, with 80 percent of the customers giving 5 stars.
Online and in-person retail stores
In addition to FramesDirect, other eyewear retailers include:
Although many online eyewear retailers have similar ordering processes for customers, they have different lenses and contacts to select from, individual exchange policies, customer service, and special website features that can set them apart.
Because of these slight differences, one company’s offerings may be better suited to you.
Local optometrist’s office
It’s also possible to purchase your glasses and contacts at your optometrist’s office after getting an eye exam.
This typically ends up costing a little more, but the in-person service means that everything is a little more personalized to your specific needs.
FramesDirect has been in business for over 25 years, selling brand-name frames and contact lenses. For those who value long-standing companies offering well-known brands at discount prices, this company checks the boxes.
FramesDirect may also be an option if you want only the frames or lenses rather than a complete set of glasses, since many online retailers don’t sell lenses separately or frames without lenses.
FramesDirect’s competitors offer wider selections, quicker shipping, the ability to try on glasses for free at home, and the opportunity to update prescriptions with a virtual eye exam.
Depending on the extra features you’d like as you purchase your eyewear, it may be worth shopping around — especially when you can do so from the comfort of your couch.
Catherine Crider, CD/PCD(DONA), CLEC, CBE, JD, MEd, has worked with children for the past decade as a trained elementary and special education teacher, and finds special joy in supporting blossoming families and their infants. She enjoys educating new parents and parents-to-be about their different options as well as the current best practices in baby care.