Designer Eyeglasses Online

FramesDirect.com is the premium online glasses retailer for educated, upscale eyewear consumers globally. Unlike overpriced brick-and-mortar glasses stores and online competitors who focus on discounts, FramesDirect.com offers only the highest quality, designer glasses frames and premium prescription lenses, but at affordable online prices.

FramesDirect.com was the first glasses shop to sell prescription eyeglasses online and the first to sell progressive lenses online, thanks to a proprietary mathematical formula developed by company co-founder Dr. Guy Hodgson.

What makes FramesDirect.com different? Quality is our number one concern, from the products we sell to the customer service we provide. In addition to having the world's largest selection of designer eyeglasses frames online, we are also proud to offer premium Essilor lenses, industry-leading lens coatings, and a 100% prescription lens accuracy guarantee.

Founded by eye doctors, FramesDirect.com was the first and remains the only place to buy glasses online that is staffed by certified opticians. Our expert opticians can answer any questions you may have about prescription glasses, from inquiries about prescription lenses and coatings to questions about glasses frames and choosing the correct size.

Designer Glasses: Setting the Standard for Quality

The FramesDirect.com quality standard begins when we select only the best eyeglasses to feature on our site. Our demanding frame evaluation process has several steps. We will only consider eyeglasses that are well designed and that will please the customer with respect to both comfort and style.

In addition, all of our eyeglass products follow best practice manufacturing standards. We want to make sure that the eyeglasses we sell are well made and are durable enough to meet our one-year manufacturer's warranty.

FramesDirect.com only sells the absolute best, optical-quality eyeglass lenses available on the market today. We keep up with advances in eyeglass lens technology and always strive to offer our customers the best. For this reason, we use only the highest-caliber lens materials and hand pick all of the popular lens coatings, such as anti-glare and UV coatings, to ensure they are the best quality.

When you order glasses online from FramesDirect.com, one of our expert opticians will personally evaluate and review your eyeglass prescription before sending your order to the lab for processing. If we notice a potential problem with your order -- such as an incorrectly entered prescription or a frame on back order -- our certified opticians will personally call you to answer any questions and confirm the details of your eyeglass prescription.

Buying prescription glasses online is probably easier than you think. If you have any questions about your eyeglass prescription or need help choosing your eyeglass frames, please do not hesitate contact us at any time at 1-800-248-9427 to have a certified optician help you with your eyeglass order.

FramesDirect.com has some of the highest standards in the eyewear industry. We back up our quality-first philosophy by:

  • Inspecting your frames for defects before sending them to our lab
  • Making sure the eyeglass frames that come from the manufacturer match the eyeglass frames you ordered
  • Double-checking your eyeglass prescription again at the lab site
  • Confirming that your eyeglass lenses are correct at each step of the creation process
  • Reviewing your frames one more time once the eyeglass lenses are added to check for cleanliness, proper lens fit, and scratches

All of the eyeglasses we carry come with a 12-month manufacturer warranty. What does this mean to you, the eyeglass wearer? If an eyeglass nasal pad prong breaks or an eyeglass lens coating peels, FramesDirect.com will repair or replace your eyeglass frames or lenses for free under the warranty.

Shopping for Glasses Online

Today, shopping for eyeglasses online is easier than ever at FramesDirect.com. The first step is to determine your frame size, which has three components: eye size, bridge size, and temple size. Our Frame Size Guide offers several ways to figure out your frame size, including using your current pair of glasses or sending us a picture of your face to have your size measured for you. Poor fit is the number one reason that people return online glasses orders, so be sure you know what size you need before you start adding items to your cart.

Once you know your glasses size, you can start to consider style. The FramesDirect.com filters on the left-hand side of the eyeglasses page let you filter frames by styles, such as classic, cool/trendy, hipster, nerdy, retro/vintage, sporty, or unique. If you need further help narrowing down your glasses choices, we suggest reviewing our Face Shape Guide to determine which style of frames will work best with your face. To help you make your final decision, you can try on eyeglasses virtually by uploading a photo of your face to the FramesDirect.com Virtual Try-On tool.

After you've selected the designer frames you want, sending us your prescription information is quick and easy. If you don't feel comfortable entering your glasses prescription information yourself, you can simply send us a fax, scan, or picture (yes, camera phone pictures are fine) of your eyeglasses prescription. From there, our trained customer service representatives –- who are also certified opticians -— will enter your prescription information for you.

Glasses Prescriptions & Lens Materials

Different eyes call for different eyeglass prescriptions, and for either single-vision lenses or multi-focal lenses, which includes bi-focals, tri-focals, and progressive eyeglass lenses.

The lens material can also vary in eyeglasses. Plastic lenses are the most common and the least expensive. These eyeglass lenses can be used by people who need eyeglasses with light prescriptions, which range from no correction to +/-1.75.

Polycarbonate is a type of impact-resistant lens material. It is suggested for children, athletes, and people who engage in very active sports, such as skiing or snowboarding. This is the best choice for eyeglass prescriptions up to +/- 4.00.

Finally, High Index 1.67 is the thinnest and lightest of all the eyeglass lens materials. High index lenses are for people with stronger eyeglass prescriptions, and people who want thinner lenses for both style and comfort.

Eyeglass Lens Technology Advances

Recently, there have been many advances in eyeglass and lens technology that allow eyeglass wearers to have both better sight and better-looking eyeglasses. Photochromatic lenses let you move seamlessly between indoor and outdoor use with the same pair of eyeglasses. New anti-reflective lens coatings are available that offer polarization against glare and also shield your eyes from UV rays. Progressive lenses offer seamless transitions to prescription eyeglass wearers from near to far vision.

A Need for Prescription Glasses

When you think about eyeglasses, what comes to mind? Librarians? Einstein? Benjamin Franklin? This amazing invention, eyeglasses, has helped so many to achieve a better, safer, more productive life, but its birth was a long and rocky one.

Before eyeglasses were invented, imagine the frustration of being nearsighted or farsighted. As anyone who wakes up to a blurry world and gratefully puts his or her eyeglasses on knows, there is nothing more frightening than not being able to see. Squinting your way through the day, unable to drive or read, not recognizing a friend waving in the distance -- a typical life before eyeglasses. Let's take a moment to discover how this important invention came about.

The History of Eyeglasses

When did eyeglasses start being used for vision correction? No one knows the name of the inventor of magnification, but between 1000 and 1250 AD, reading stones appeared -- spherical magnifying glasses you could lay over your manuscript to enlarge letters as you read.

According to Antique Spectacles, though Greek and Arabic scholars had described the idea of convex (or converging) lenses, it was a thirteenth-century English Friar, Roger Bacon (one of the founders of modern science), who confirmed the idea with experiments. Bacon experimented with lenses and mirrors and recorded his observations about reflection and refraction.

The first pair of what we would consider eyeglasses appeared in the late 1200s in Pisa, Italy. These eyeglasses actually looked like two small magnifying glasses (made with convex-shaped glass) riveted together at the top of their handles. We do not know the name of the individual who came up with this idea, perhaps because he wanted to keep it secret to profit from it.

However, two monks in Italy hailed the new invention of eyeglasses a few decades later. Antique Spectacles provides this quotation from the earliest primary source, the monks Giordano da Rivalto and Alessandro della Spina: "On Feb. 23, 1306, Giordano mentioned them by stating in a sermon 'it is not yet twenty years since there was found the art of making eyeglasses which make for good vision, one of the best arts and most necessary that the world has.' He coined the word 'Occhiale' [eyeglasses]."

The Museum of Vision notes that early eyeglasses were mostly used by monks and scholars. Instead of having temples that went behind your ears, these spectacles were held in front of your eyes or balanced on your nose.

The exclusivity of eyeglasses changed after the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg in 1452. Not only did that monumental invention open up reading to the general public, but it also brought about a rise in the need for eyeglasses, which led to the first "mass production of inexpensive spectacles." The demand for eyeglasses increased again with the start of the first newspaper, the London Gazette, in 1665.

By the 1800s eyeglasses abounded, but not as we think of them today. You didn't have lenses custom made; rather, you went to a jeweler, hardware store, or met with a travelling peddler to try on different pairs of eyeglasses until you found one that worked. The Museum of Science notes, "Eyeglasses were considered evidence of old age and infirmity." So instead of wearing eyeglasses all the time, people often opted for handheld devices such as lorgnettes (spectacles with a single handle on one side) or scissor spectacles (where lenses moved on a hinge).

Scissor spectacles and lorgnettes were popular in France. Although we may associate the flourishing of these types of eyeglasses with the aristocracy, it was actually the French revolutionaries who used them the most. According to the United Kingdom institute The College of Optometrists, "Napoleon Bonaparte used a pair to correct his myopia."

The next popular style of glasses was the "pince-nez." These were inexpensive spectacles that perched on the bridge of your nose. Not surprisingly, they were uncomfortable and easy to lose. By 1890, spectacles also moved into the realm of fashion: "Fan spectacles were designed for ladies of elegance to use as a multifunctional accessory."

The sides, or temples, that we associate with modern eyeglasses came late in the history. After various inventors took stabs at ways to better attach spectacles—such as an over-the-head, under-the-bonnet crown, or eyewear that attaches to a cap—it wasn't until about 1727 that spectacles became eyeglasses with the introduction of sides.

In London, Edward Scarlett, optician to His Majesty George II, was the first to advertise eyeglasses with sides. These kind of glasses became known as the "Scarlett-type." In this case, the sides ended in a flat spiral (later replaced by rings), which were designed to rest against the head, not go behind the ear as eyeglasses typically do today. For once, you could easily take eyeglasses on or off, and yet they didn't interfere with your hair or your wig.

From there, the invention of different forms of temples took off. Double-joined temples folded back on themselves to provide more comfort, and turn-pin sides were long and curved around your head almost completely. In the mid 1850s curl sides were invented, which were curling wires that went behind your ears. Curl-side frames were especially common as children's eyeglasses because they stayed in place while running or playing.

The American renaissance man Benjamin Franklin is credited with inventing bifocals in the mid 1700s. He split one lens in half, with the upper part being made for distance viewing and the lower part for near viewing. Antique Spectacles notes that Franklin wrote to London philanthropist George Whatley in May 1785, "As I wear my own glasses constantly, I have only to move my eyes up or down, as I want to see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready."

By the end of the 18th century, Philadelphia store proprietor John McAllister opened the first optical shop in America. When the War of 1812 and the trade embargo with Great Britain hindered his importing ability, he began making his own frames out of gold and silver. He and his son also imported the first cylindrical lenses for astigmatism. Antique Spectacles calls him "the founder of the profession of opticianary in this country."

Today, in the 21st century, you can find thousands of styles of eyeglasses in all shapes, sizes, and colors. You can even order eyeglasses online by visiting a retailer like FramesDirect.com. The inventors of the past have created a product that is more than popular: Today, the Vision Council estimates there are over 149 million adult eyeglass wearers in the United States (more than half of U.S. adults).

Modern Glasses Choices

At FramesDirect.com, you can find a wide variety of designer eyeglass styles, including cat-eye frames, aviators, wayfarers, as well as semi-rimless and rimless frames. The eyeglasses come in traditional colors such as black, brown, and tortoise shell, but also modern colors like turquoise and cerulean and canary yellow. You can also choose from single- or double-bridge eyeglasses.

Even the frame material for eyeglasses is modern at FramesDirect.com. Aside from the traditional metal/titanium and plastic/acetate frame materials, plastic, eco-friendly glasses frame materials are now available, including plastics made from sustainable sources, like oil from castor beans. Natural castor bean oil is used in place of crude oil, so eco-friendly eyeglass frames are made with renewable resources and not fossil fuels. But don’t worry; the eco-friendly plastic frames are as good-looking, long-lasting, and strong as regular plastic.

Easy to Order Eyeglasses Online

FramesDirect.com carries the biggest and best selection of the designer eyewear available online. It's easy to order prescription eyeglasses from FramesDirect.com. You can search through hundreds of the top eyeglass styles online to find the perfect eyewear for your face and your personality.

If you're not 100% satisfied with your eyeglasses, FramesDirect.com offers a 30-day exchange and return policy from the day you receive your order. Additionally, our price-match guarantee will ease your mind that you are getting the best eyeglasses at the best price.

We are an authorized dealer for all of our designer brands, which means we only carry authentic eyeglasses brands and styles. Furthermore, as the leading prescription lens experts, we offer a 100% prescription lens accuracy guarantee. Finally, FramesDirect.com offers free domestic shipping on all prescription glasses orders.

Still have questions about ordering prescriptions glasses online?

  • What size eyeglasses do I need?
  • What are the best glasses for my face shape?
  • Which frame material would work best for me?
  • What type of prescription lenses do I need?
  • Which add-ons should I choose for my lenses?
  • How do I enter my prescription information online?
  • Can you accommodate my special eyeglasses request?

Don't hesitate to call 1-800-248-9427 to have one of the FramesDirect.com certified opticians help you with placing your eyeglass order.

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Eyeglass Customer Testimonials

Michelle Asnaran / Bronx, New York
I LOVE MY GLASSES!!! Thank you for all your help. You guys are fantastic! Frames Direct has a customer for life! From now on all my glasses and my daughters glasses will be ordered through your website!

Greg Glass / Marion, Iowa
Thank you so much you are awesome!

Richard C / Shelburne, Vermont
Josie, my glasses arrived today in fine order.I am very pleased with them and especially with your service. It really is quite an easy and convenient process and without doubt, one I shall use again and also reccommend to others.I will ask for you regarding any future orders.