Eyeglass Lens Direct - High Quality Lenses at a Low Cost?

Getting the best value for your money when it comes to eyeglasses, sunglasses, eye exams, and contact lenses.

Postby george » Wed Sep 29, 2010 11:30 pm

<Updated 12/15/18 - updated links and updated some prices>

Overview: Eyeglass Lens Direct seems to offer a unique service of high quality name brand lenses and lens treatments and cheap prices. One fundamental difference from other online eyeglass stores is that they do NOT provide frames. You mail in your frames and they will provide the lenses of your choosing. For someone who wants top of the line lenses and treatments at discount prices, this seems like an excellent option.

I came across Eyeglass Lens Direct after someone asked a question in another thread on Transitions lenses about finding an online option for getting the very high quality lens treatments such as the Crizal Avance with Scotchgard. I did search a little and so far the only option I've found (please let me know if you find other good options online) was for Eyeglass Lens Direct.

They have an interesting system where you provide the frames, and then they replace the lenses. You can choose from many of the highest quality lens options including Crizal Avance with Scotchgard, Transitions lenses, and High Index lenses. Their prices seem very good and from what I could find, I haven't seen any negative information about the company.

In another thread about Crizal Avance with Scotchguard, one forum member posted that he paid a private optometrist $244 for the Crizal Avance with Scothguard treatment on polycarbonate lenses.

For comparison, Eyeglass Lens Direct sells the Polycarbonate lens with Crizal Avance for $145. Retail price seems to be around $240, so $145 seems to be a great price. As of December 2018, I haven't really seen Crizal advertising their scotchgard based products.

A quick look at their site shows that they sell pretty much every option and combination available. They have the typical progressive lenses, single vision lenses, bifocals, trifocals, photochromic lenses, computer lenses, and sunglass lenses. Different from any other online eyeglass store is the name brand options and seemingly endless combinations.

For example - lets say I wanted a high-index lens with a high quality anti-reflective coating. Under the single vision lens option they have 15 brand name choices including: Drivewear, Essilor, Gentex, Hoya, KBco, Nikon, NXT, Optima, Pentax, Resolution, Seiko, Transitions, Trilogy, Xperio, and Zeiss. The site is very easy to navigate and find what you want. The only potential problem is actually too many choices. As I personally don't know the pros and cons of each brand, it's hard to know which is the best choice. Part of my posts here are to try to help figure out what is the best, and also the best value.

Since I am familiar with the Essilor name, I will select that for this example. The site then gives 3 options. The standard CR-39 plastic lenses for $39, the Airwear polycarbonate line, and the Thin and Lite high index line. <Great - I just saw they now have a Crizal Sapphire with Scotchgard that is supposed to be even better than Avance! Will need to do more research and another post on that now too>. The prices of the Thin and Lite high index lenses include the Crizal Avance and the 1.74 extended range lense offers the option of the new Crizal Sapphire antireflective coating for no extra cost. The 1.67 lens with Avance is $152 and the 1.74 lens with Avance is $222.

As to the company's service quality - I have only seen positive information so far. They have a BBB rating of A+ with only 2 complaints and both listed as resolved. They have a reseller ratings rating of 10/10 (but only 2 reviews and both are over 6 months old).

I was thinking of getting a pair of transitions lenses from Zenni Optical, but now I'm think I may replace the lenses on an old pair of glasses from Eyeglass Lens Direct as I can get name brand top quality for only a little bit higher price.

I'd love to hear feedback from others as this seems like a really great option.
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Postby Steve » Sat Mar 26, 2011 5:22 am

I would like to know what your experience with Eyeglass lens Direct was. I am seriously considering placing an order with them, but I did find one unsatisfied customer who complained about the quality of the lenses he received and the Owner's failure to correct the problem.

Please email me at [email protected]


Postby Mango » Sat Jun 18, 2011 11:01 am

As some of you know from reading the other thread, I sent some frames to Eyeglass Lens Direct so that they could make lenses for me. The result: let's see. What was that adage about deals that are too good to be true? :roll:

Unfortunately, the glasses I received weren't made correctly. I had more eye strain in the week that I wore them than the rest of my life combined. If I really strained, I could see properly, but I couldn't do that for very long or I'd get a headache. If I didn't strain, I couldn't see properly and that eventually gave me a headache too. After a few days of this I had my new glasses measured. Much to my dismay, the PD was 3.5 mm narrower than my prescription. (By Eyeglass Lens Direct's own admission, the margin of error for my prescription is only 2 mm.)

At Eyeglass Lens Direct's request, I sent the glasses back. The owner stated he measured them himself. Right away, he claimed that the person who measured my glasses was wrong and that they were in fact made correctly. Then he claimed the optician who made my old glasses was actually the one who made the mistake. I verified my old glasses were made correctly. Then he blamed my doctor for over-prescribing me. Then, he stopped responding to my emails. Herein lies the real problem: Eyeglass Lens Direct appears to be a one-man show. There's no customer service department to talk to. There's no supervisor to ask for. It's just one guy.

I filed a claim with PayPal. I sent in a letter from my doctor and won the claim. I got the money back for the lenses, but Eyeglass Lens Direct still has my frames. I'm still out $30 for the frames, $13.50 for shipping, $20 for second opinions, and about five hours of my time. I truly wish this had worked out differently, since there were many qualities of Crizal Avance lenses that I really liked. Oh well, (expensive) lesson learned.

The verdict: not recommended. Read the other reviews in this forum and choose a different optician.

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Postby figgymoonpowda » Mon Aug 22, 2011 8:36 pm

great experience with eyeglassLensdirect.com.

i put in an order and sent my lenses august 5, arrived back august 22nd. perfect.
i liked that they included the opened packaging from the hoya lenses with my rx as ordered right on them and that they carefully wrapped the blank lenses from my old frames.. little things.

i had very good communication with them during the process about time frames.

hoya highlux pnx (trivex) single vison lenses with super hivision AR (supposed to be harder than glass) for $168.85 - that's inc. shipping. fantastic.
i couldn't be happier and just sent them another pair of polarized sunglasses to do.

i am so happy i sought out this website just to tell somebody about them.
very pleased with the service and these lenses, it wasn't really about cost for me, i'm inclined to think that business that specialize in one thing often do them better.
this experience has proved that out.

also, the hoya lenses with their AR are outstanding. (zeiss? why?). these are fantastic, second to none.
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Postby ELD » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:11 am

I made every attempt to satisfy this customer, I asked the customer to visit the doctor and have the glasses checked. He took them to a competitor which said the glasses were made wrong. I asked the customer to return them to me and I would verify the prescription again. When I received the glasses back, and checked the prescription, they looked very very accurate and there should have been no reason for an experienced optician to say they were made incorrectly. I tried to explain this to the customer but unfortunately he didn't believe me. He immediately filed a complaint with PayPal and took his money back. After I learned of this I removed the lenses, returned his frames but they were returned back to me. I contacted the customer about this and he claimed they were never returned to him and didn't want them anymore. The comments this person has made against my business has absolutely no reflection on the excellent quality, craftsmanship and customer service I provide to all my customers.
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Postby george » Fri Nov 11, 2011 12:44 pm


Thank you very much for taking the time to post your comments in this thread. I think it reflects positively on your company that you take the time to clarify your side of the story here. Best of luck with your business. Your prices are very good for high quality lenses.
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Postby SteveO » Wed Feb 01, 2012 9:23 am

Received back two pairs of glasses from Eyeglass Lens Direct last week. One with brown Xperio polycarbonate lenses and the Crizal Sunshield coating; the other a pair of reading glasses, Essilor polycarbonate lens with the Crizal Sapphire coating.

This company does an excellent job at an unbeatable price. The sunglasses were fit into a 15 year old antique Cartier platinum frame i had lying around and wanted to get some use out of. When they came back I inspected the lens fit carefully as the old lenses were constantly popping out, and as far as i can tell the fit is flawless. The lenses are awesome. The coatings perform as advertised, shed water, and fingerprints readily.

The reading glasses were of similar quality. The frames were 10 year old pair of plastic tortoise shells, so fit was not an issue, but the clarity of the lenses was quite noticeable, thanks in no small part to the superior anti-reflective properties of the Sapphire coating. Can't attest personally to the hardness of the lens coating, not yet at least, but so far I'm very pleased with the results.

Here in the Big Apple where i live I visited three opticians before ordering from Eyeglass Lens Direct. None would tell me exactly what lens brand/style I was getting, and all were considerably more expensive for no-name merchandise. Here you are getting (premium) name brand merchandise at a substantial discount to what you'd be paying in most stores locally. My opinion after numerous attempts to get the lens info from the local retailers is that the vast majority of eyeglass purchasers care most about the frame and the "look". Most do not pay much attention to the particulars of which lens option the are choosing, preferring to go with the optician's assurance that their lenses are as good as anyone else's.

I didn't buy into that logic. Yes, there's a lot of marginal marketing out there trying to convince us all that one brand is better than another. But in most cases there is a considerable difference in performance between the low end and high end. The beauty with Eyeglass Lens Direct is that you get the best quality for less than you'd pay locally for average. Nothing to dislike about that.

Good luck.

P.S. I don't usually write these reviews. But I was so happy with the value this service provides, I would like to see them succeed. Sooner or later i'll likely be needing a new prescription and i want to be sure they will still be around when i do.
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Postby ipsodesign » Tue Mar 13, 2012 12:20 pm

<post editted by moderator - I am skeptical that this was not a genuine review. It is possible the person really is very satisfied (claimed he got single-vision Crizal Avance, with a 10 day turn-around). Poster was very satisified with price and quality. Maybe I am being overly cautious, but the exact same post was made to at least 4 websites.>

Postby wotever » Thu Jun 28, 2012 12:24 am

you think! talk about con jobs ......and as for George well maybe thats an anagram for eye glasses direct

Postby george » Thu Jun 28, 2012 11:37 pm


Just so you know - I am the moderator who editted that post, and I have no connection with Eyeglass Lens Direct (as you should be able to conclude as I removed what appeared to be a fake positive review). I agree 100% that it can be extremely difficult to find trustworthy reviews on the internet these days. I try to be as unbiased as possible, but I understand people being suspect of any reviews they read online (including mine). At this point, it seems Consumer Reports is the best unbiased source for reviews, but they don't review most of these online eyeglass retailers.
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Postby P.Y.T. » Sun Jul 22, 2012 10:28 am

Eyeglasslens direct.com appears to be owned by a Steve V. The address is appears to be a Virtual rental possibly for the appearance of the Internet? google the Sugarland, Texas address and see wHat I viewed.

Not to say it is not a good company, but highly skeptical that Steveo above lives in New York.

I am on the fence about ordering from them. How do I know that I got what I paid for? Someone else on the net said it is just this Steve guy making the lenses himself. Again, I am unsure as to what to do.

Postby george » Mon Jul 23, 2012 10:59 pm

I split off a post that was asking for suggestions of high quality lens replacements. I figured it was worth a separate thread.
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Postby Alex » Thu Aug 16, 2012 2:06 am

The WEB-site is an user friendly. Varilux Physio Enhanced High Index 1.67 Transitions and AR Crizal Avance Coating were ordered to fit my eyeglasses frame sent to Eyeglass Lens Direct. They are my first mulifocals and I'm very happy to use them. Honest business, great communication with Steve, perfect job, fast delivery and reasonable prices. Highly recommended.

Postby george » Fri Aug 17, 2012 10:46 pm


Can you please post some additional information how you came to choose to order from Eyeglass Lens Direct? I hate to be such a cynic, but I'm skeptical about your comments.

Why did you choose those specific lenses? Did you have something similar before? How long did it take to get your lenses replaced and sent back to you? How far did you need to have them shipped?

Thanks, and sorry again for being a skeptic, but it seems a lot of information in this particular thread has been brought into question.
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Postby BillD » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:04 pm

I've ordered several pairs of lenses from eyeglasslensdirect.com over the past couple years and am pleased overall with the quality and price. I thought other folks might get something out of my experience, so I decided to take the time to be a provider of comments instead of just a consumer of other people's comments.

To put it in context, it might be helpful to know that I expect a lot from my glasses, but I can be a little rough on them. I'm a 50 yr old pilot and had excellent vision until my mid 40s. That's when I was no longer able to see things clearly up close (important things like instruments, charts and approach plates), but my distance vision is still near perfect. So I need glasses to be able to function, but clarity at mid to long distances has to be as flawless as possible. I tried plain bifocals, but the line drove me nuts. I paid well over $600 for the best pair of progressives I could buy from my local eyeglass shop, and was pretty well satisfied with them except for a few issues. #1: they tend to get beat up easily, especially when I'm outside. That's because I don't need to wear them for most things and even the best lenses are problematic when they get rain or dirt on them. However, I have to have them close by, because when I need them, I need them. Consequently, they spend a lot of time hanging from my collar or in a pocket getting dirty, scratched and bent. #2: I needed at least 3 more pairs, a backup pair, a tinted pair (transitions don't darken enough in the cockpit), and an everyday pair with smaller lenses. #3: $600+ is a non-trivial amount of money, especially for repeat purchases.

Ok, enough about me and my requirements. What did I do and what were my results? I tried both eyeglasslensdirect and zenni. The lenses in my primary flying glasses are from eyeglasslensdirect: Varilux Physio Enhanced with Crizal Sapphire coating. They are superb. I couldn't be happier. My glasses from zenni were for everyday use, and I selected Polycarbonate lenses with AR coating... There weren't a lot of other options. I got my glasses from zenni quite a bit faster, but that's understandable because eyeglasslensdirect couldn't start working on my order until they received my frames from me. After I received both orders and was able to compare them side by side, there was a significant difference between the $420 lenses from eyeglasslensdirect and the $90 glasses ($45 for lenses and $45 for frames) from zenni. I can't say that I was surprised. So I put in another order with eyeglasslensdirect for my everyday glasses... Another set of lenses in Varilux Physio Enhanced with Crizal Sapphire coating. That was a little over a year ago, and I was pretty pleased with the product. I tried to baby the glasses, but as I explained above, it's a tough world out there. I don't remember how long it took to get the first scratch, but now that they're a little over a year old, they look pretty rough. I pulled out my unused zenni glasses, and guess what? New $45 lenses with no scratches are a whole lot more pleasant to look through than higher quality $420 lenses. Where is the "break even" point? I don't know. But here's another interesting thing I just learned:

I recently went back to my optometrist for my annual eye exam and he told me that my vision really hasn't changed. However he did run my glasses (with the eyeglasslensdirect Varilux $420 lenses) through his "lensometer" and told me that the correction doesn't match my prescription. Now that was a surprise, because I was pretty happy with them, except for the scratches. So I went home and looked back through my records from the purchase, and sure enough, there was a slight difference between what I ordered on the website, what they sent me in the paperwork with the glasses. Although there clearly was a very slight transcription error by the company, I'm inclined to assume that most of it has something to do with manufacturing tolerance and/or trimming the progressive lenses to fit my frames, primarily because they seemed to work fine for me. But the fact that my optometrist noted it as a defect does make me wonder...

So I'm planning on trying to stick with my zenni glasses for rough and tumble everyday use. If I decide that I really miss the superior optical quality of the high dollar lenses for everyday use, I'll probably order from eyeglasslensdirect again... But if I do, I'll pay a little closer attention to the shipment paperwork and be sure to question any mismatch.

I've still got my superior grade flying glasses, and I'd highly recommend the top quality brand name lenses to anyone with similar requirements.

Postby nan » Wed Aug 28, 2013 5:53 pm

just an fyi for those of you looking for an alternative to eyeglass lens direct. eyeglasses.com provides the same service: you send them your frames and they put in new lenses. i just checked the price of varilux progressive transition lenses on both sites and eyeglasses.com was only 10.00 more than eyeglass lens direct. i have purchased glasses from eyeglasses.com and was very happy with their service.

Postby george » Thu Aug 29, 2013 4:31 pm


Thanks for the information. I took a brief look and it looks like eyeglasses.com can be a very good option. I'm going to look in more depth and will share what I find. Thanks for the info!
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Postby Hughie » Sat Mar 30, 2024 12:47 pm

After I got a bad pair of lenses from lensabl,I want some lenses for new frames. Lens direct was my choice,I call them and Daisy help me decide on lenses,she was very helpful. The only problem I had was the site wouldn’t take my card for some reason,probably my fault.Then I got a email that I needed more info,My PD measurements so I had to go ove to were I had my exam,they had to measure and said that ordering lenses on line that some companies add the right and left and split it
She said if they mess the up they would be happy to make new ones . Well i put that in a email to lens direct. I received my glass quicker than expected. I have to say I am pleased and will use them in the future. H

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