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Ongoing: Click here for 15%-off EVERY ORDER at EyeBuyDirect This is the best ongoing deal on the internet for EyeBuyDirect!
Goggles4U drops prices, drops additional discount codes. People are concerned, but this is still one of the best places to buy online. Link!

The people at GlassesShop have been emailing me for about a year now to take a look at them. I resisted, as there wasn't much that they provided that the others didn't.

I'm a firm believer that too much choice leads to paralysis.

My attitude changed when I wanted a new pair of sunglasses and couldn't find what I was looking for at any of my usual haunts, and had sizing issues at a few others. I figured it might be time to try something new and potentially fill a spot on the roster. Let's call this a "try-out".

I didn't find exactly what I was looking for at GlassesShop either, but they were the closest -- something I happily live with at these prices.
I ordered the "Addison-F7020", but really dislike the idea of a clip-on sunshade, so I ordered them with an 80%-Green lens. A day after the order I got an email verifying that I wanted them tinted even with the clip-on. I explained what I wanted and they made them. I'll hang onto the sunshade in the very-unlikely event that I ever become the kind of guy who could pull-off something like these with clear lenses.

They arrived 10 days later -- mighty fast. I like the style even better than I thought I would, so I'm very happy*.

Here is the unboxing.

BIG, fancy, highly visible, box.

I thought I only ordered ONE pair of glasses!

Opening the box to reveal an orderly array of... lots of stuff packed in a well-padded foam inlay.

This is the most impressive delivery yet. Not sure I need (or want) it to be this over the top.

Well packaged. No breakage or scratches.

It's a very nice case which fit perfectly in the foam box insert. Not a lot of room for contents to "shift in transit".

Box flotsam.

Not exactly sure what the "Care starts from eyes" means on the booklet.

Also, the bag is strange in that it's rubbery. Not a clue what I'd use it for.

The glasses (and the sunshade). Both are nice.

The frame has spring hinges and feels very solid. I really like the dark green lenses too -- another first for my collection.

The temple says "FUMING". I'm not exactly fuming over this, but it is one of my biggest pet peeves.

*I don't like labels on my stuff -- especially silliness like this. It wasn't visible in the photo.

Going to test the inside of the temple with acetone to see if I can remove it without affecting the finish.

Overall, I'm very impressed. I'll order again in the next month or so and compare. If you have any existing input or decide to order from GlassesShop, let me know how it went.

I'll be posting a site review in the next few days.

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Another week, another mighty deal from EyeBuyDirect. Last week it was 20%-off. This week it is 25%-off and exclusively for GlassyEyes readers.

It's drop-dead simple again too:
  1. Click here
  2. Pop in the code "glassyeyes25" in the final cart steps
  3. PROFIT!
Once again, this is the best EyeBuyDirect deal out there.

Pass it on to your Facebook friends and as always "Please Retweet"!

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In the market for some photochromic shades? This may be a great time to give them a look. 39DollarGlasses carries a selection of nice options. Figure out what you're looking for and click the relevant link below. These are going to come out to close $110 after discount or a bit over 20%-off.

Single Vision Transitions®:
$30 OFF! Any Frame with 1.59 Index Polycarbonate Transitions® Photochromic Single Vision Lenses. Select this link and choose PACKAGE H for your lens package.

Progressive (no-line) Photochromics:
$30 OFF! Any Frame with Ocular Dynamics® SMARTshades® Photochromic 1.58 Index Progressive Lenses. Use this link and select either PACKAGE UT or YT for your lens package.

Lined Bifocal Photochromics:
$30 OFF! Any Frame with Ocular Dynamics® SMARTshades® Photochromic 1.58 Index Regular Bifocal Lenses. Use this link and select PACKAGE JUT for your lens package.

Note that there are three different coupon links with different coupon codes. Only one code can apply to an order. If you click the first link (single vision lenses) and buy bifocals with it, the discount won’t apply.

This offer is good through next weekend (October 4th).

Just found out about this one in a comment on my last post. Seems EyeBuyDirect has a "secret" Buy-One-Get-One sale in effect until the end of the day Sunday.

Click here for details.

EyeBuyDirect is trying to close off another big month by offering another exclusive 20%-off code to GlassyEyes visitors.

Click here
and pop in the code "glassyeyes20" in the final cart steps to replace the standard 15% discount with 20%-off.

This is the best deal out there this month and it ends on the 27th.

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We met Barry back in early June when he and I had an exchange on an EyeOverheard post. Barry had more to say, and I've taken his last message verbatim and responded to each point. Hopefully, it's easier to read. It certainly gives an insight into some of the more traditional eye care providers.

Grab a glass of wine and a comfortable seat and settle in.

NOTE: "ECP" equals "Eye Care Provider" -- and although this may look roughly like a screenplay, there is no chance that Jerry Bruckheimer will see any promise in it as a Summer 2011 blockbuster.

(Lights fade as an ECP and a guy in a well-worn Minnesota Wild T-Shirt, tan shorts and Keen sandals enter an empty room -- both men wear eyeglasses)

BARRY: I think Ira’s "mission" to expose the inefficiencies in eyewear delivery today is on target.

GLASSYEYES: Why thank you.

BARRY: Blanket statements, to the effect that "all mom & pops or brick and mortars" have too much overhead is inaccurate at best.

GLASSYEYES: I apologize if you take offense, but I stand behind that. I've yet to walk into an optical shop (apart from inside a big box store) that wasn't overdone in some way or another. It is perhaps a bit generalized on my part, but you should really try to honestly step into one of your stores as a consumer some time -- with kids and a budget. I keep hearing how these eyeglasses that I need to see are a "medical device". The lobbyists for the ECPs have done and paid so much to keep things this way even in an era when no one is "grinding" lenses in the traditional sense.

So OK, we're talking a medical device -- until ten minutes later when I'm flipping through a magazine or watching television and see the latest LensCrafters ad. If you didn't know better you'd swear they're selling jewelry or jeans. They're pushing lifestyle. I, and many others, just want to be able to see -- and be able to afford groceries at the same time. The independents, instead of forging their own courses, seem to want (or maybe feel they need) to emulate the Luxottica stores. It's difficult to trailblaze, yes, but someone besides Wal*Mart needs to serve "regular people" -- PLEASE!

This is the gray area that optical stores have exploited since the advent of the designer brands. You want it both ways. If this is a medical device, treat it as such, if not then stop behaving as if it needs the same federal oversight as a bionic heart valve. You can't have it both ways and expect people to take you seriously.

I think most people would be comfortable forgoing the fancy lighting and displays -- they can't see any of this when they're trying on frames anyway.

BARRY: Like the writer who skewered me in last summer’s Conusmer Digest article purportedly exposing eyewear’s outrageous cost, there really is more to the story than simple price or "glasses".

GLASSYEYES: I, too, was quoted in the Consumers Digest article. If you blinked you may have missed it (we spoke for about 30 minutes and I got a paragraph) -- however she got at least part of what I said correct. Re-reading it again today after reading your comments was a real eye-opener.

[Here's a link to a PDF of the article]

As far as price goes, there are many people opting for the $8 glasses, but there are many others who feel more comfortable paying $40 to $60. This seems like a legitimate price to me for $10 to $20 worth of materials. I've paid more and I've paid less.

BARRY: Ira, with your new position of recognition and perceived authority, you are well advised to try to walk around behind some of us ECPs and see what we see & do. We strive to the absolute pinnacle of excellence in what we do… everyday.

GLASSYEYES: "Perceived authority"... That's a thinly-veiled insult. ;-)

I'm sure some of you do strive for that. The problem comes from those of you who don't. I don't have access to the full ODwire forums, but there was a time that they were less locked down than they are now. Someone placed a comment in one of my posts a couple of years ago and provided a URL and I did some digging. This may not be the way you do business, but this optometrist from Dallas took great pride in this (and there were many who backed him up), until he saw the post and threatened me:
"A pair of SV (single vision) stock poly Alize cost me $34, and carry a 2 year warranty. We sell 'em all day long for $199/pair, for a profit of $165/pair. Our capture rate for AR (anti-reflective coating) is about 90%. Also stock poly non coated, cost $6/pair and sell for $109...

Now show me the math where you can beat the $165 profit on a pair of SV (single vision) lenses. If you can, I'll still love you in the morning."

He'll probably threaten me again for popping this in a post, but people need to see this.

I'm sure you have access to those forums. Take a look with fresh eyes. It's despicable how some of these "professionals" view their patients -- and they're not contributing to any warm-fuzzies for your industry. Call them out. Make an example of them if this isn't the way to do things.

BARRY: Internet eyewear does not. Simple as that.

GLASSYEYES: If by excellence, you mean "overpriced", you're right. There is no appreciable difference in the glasses I've gotten online from those purchased offline apart from price (and the fact that no one lied to me telling me I needed hi-index lenses). They serve their purpose admirably. They're no worse and I certainly feel better about them than the last five pairs I bought from the mall vendors (of the Luxottica family), and doctor's office opticians. On the plus side, when my prescription did change, I was able to donate some of the old pairs and update multiple pairs at a fraction of the cost.

BARRY: The totality of the eyewear and eyecare expereience is *not* the same, just because you’ve said or decided it is so.

GLASSYEYES: I don't give two hoots about an "eyecare experience". I want to see -- and I can well at one-tenth of what you'd likely charge me.

BARRY: You may be satisfied with the eyewear equivalent of pizza or Mickey D’s, but many people, especially seniors, are not. Please don’t assume every John Q. thinks like you.

GLASSYEYES: You're fond of the McDonald's metaphor, but it's false. I don't assume everyone thinks like me, but hundreds of thousands do -- more every day. As far as seniors go, this is the market that stands to gain the most. They're more likely to be on a fixed income and the prices charged for multi-focals is dizzying. Honestly, they're the biggest growth sector in my site visitors. I get more email and phone calls from seniors than from other groups.

My wife's uncle, who had been wearing broken, five-year old bi-focals for months was able to get a new pair progressives for a fraction of the cost of the local optical store -- where he had his exam. He brought them in to have them checked at the local optical store. The optometrist and optician were both surprised at the quality and fit. It's now been over a year since he's worn taped-together, scratched glasses.

Is ordering glasses online a panacea? No, of course not, but it's worked out well for many, many people -- single-vision and increasingly multi-focal.

BARRY: In every market there are those who represent the best that can be done. I try to be one of them. I object to your charaterization that ECPs that strive for excellence are ripping off the public.

GLASSYEYES: No. You may be the most conscientious and above-board ECP on the planet, and the wares you're peddling are still very likely overpriced. At least part of that is due to the decisions you make in running your practice. True, some of it stems from the fact that you've been painted into a corner with consolidation of the market by the likes of Luxottica and Essilor, but there have to be options.

BARRY: Yes, times are changing. The problem is essentially not us ecps. It is, as you’ve discovered, the layers of monopolization from 15 years of consolodation allowed by our government. Lack of oversight breeds excess in every industry.

GLASSYEYES: There it is -- "monopoly" and "consolidation". Do something about it! Organize! Stand up to it. Contact your representatives and senators. The internet is a great equalizer. I think I'm angrier about Luxottica than you are. I've been very vocal about it -- I do it as a consumer. You've got so much more to gain from exposing their practices for what they are.

BARRY: If you want to see another viewpoint, just seek us out. We make no secret that we’re here.

GLASSYEYES: I've talked to and conversed online with a number of ECPs. It's been inspiring.

BARRY: This current tenor of negativity about traditional eyewear delivery is upsetting to all of us. It smacks, IMHO, of what I call the "Duke" effect. Remember those lacrosse players from Duke University, who were so resoundingly tried and found guilty in the forum of early public opinion, only to have the "facts" eventually come out, and the truth be revealed. Even the DA jumped in before he had all the facts. How stupid the mob mindset appears when seen in the light of hindsight. I’m sure you don’t want to appear as having an unfair agenda.

GLASSYEYES: I definitely have an agenda, but to equate it to the Duke Lacrosse thing is silly. I've been wearing these many pairs of glasses for nearly three years now, and they work perfectly. Mob mindset? Start charging what things are worth and the world will happily beat a smiley-faced, open-walleted path to your door.

My agenda is to show people that they don't have to pay hundreds to be able to see. Another interesting fact is that people at least anecdotally appear to be more willing to get their eyesight checked yearly with the knowledge that there isn't a $300+ eyeglasses fee waiting for them at the conclusion of the exam.There are still millions willing to pay hundreds to wear the latest brand names, I'm just not one of them.

BARRY: Keep an open mind to these discussions.

GLASSYEYES: Much of what you've said here has been thoughtful. I appreciate that. I will try to keep an open mind -- I urge you to do the same.

Further apologies in the delay in getting this out. I wrote this weeks ago and the formatting got the best of me -- along with getting the three youngsters ready for another year in our fine public school system.