While everyone is freaking out about mobile eye exams, online eyewear and Donald Trump, several companies have quietly gone after the online lens business. Optical lenses have become a little pricey. By the time you add in your coatings, fashion and performance options, all of sudden you have a $1,000 pair of lenses. Add in your frames and whatnot the full ticket without insurance can be up to $2,000. A hefty price tag.
We have pulled together several companies by primarily eyecare professionals who are going after the lens biz. It makes $ense. No need to stock frames, no need for the 3D try-on-must-share-a-selfie-because-i-can’t-make-my-own-decision business and returns.
1.) Lensabl (Los Angeles, CA) Start up company, Lensabl was founded in 2016 by Mike Rahimzadeh and Andy Bilinsky, both serial entrepreneurs who noticed a large void online, for the accessibility of replacement lenses, – so, Lensabl was born. The company is currently being backed by seed money from MeUndies founder, Jonathan Shokrian, and Ben Nazarian from Propel Factory, amongst others. In addition customers can mail in their Spectacles (SnapChat) and select from a number of lens types: prices start as low as $77 for clear prescription lenses. Prescription sunglass lenses are also available, starting at $97. Shipping is included, and all lenses come with anti-reflective, anti-scratch, and 100% UV protection.
2.) Eyeglass Lens Direct (Sugarland, TX). Not much is said about the company, just they have over 25 years of optical experience .
3.) eyeglassX (Framington, MA) Launched in 2012 these are Eyecare professionals promoting both lenses and frames online. They show up on page 1 of google for Facebook page has over 9500 LIKES.
4.) Fuse Lenses (Clearwater, FL) Is all about replacing sunglass lenses. This is what they say: Fuse Lenses is on the constant lookout for the popular brands of sunglasses
5.) Lens Factory (Louisville, Kentucky) Has been around since 2013 which is when we received a press release on them. Their come-on is is Love Your Frame and keep your frame, they will re-furbish it provide new lenses .
6.) Crystal Vision Lenses Interesting site of which I am not sure what this is all about. First they have a big eyeglasses.com and a reference to visit their stores. It looks like eyeglasses.com did a different site just for replacement lenses. They also offer an option for eyecare professionals to order from them
7.) Lenses Only (Bloomfield, CT) Another eyecare professional who has brick and mortar locations that promotes lenses only.
8.) Lens Rx (Staten Island, NY) They also sell both eyewear and lens only options. But they show up on page 1 of google. Of interest is an affiliate program, which mean that anybody with a website or blog could put their link up and make money
9.) Replace a Lens (Denver, CO) Discount eyecare professional who is promoting online lens replacement.
10.) Replacement Lens Express (Manchester, CT) Family owned and operated ‘optometric lab’ since 1982.
11.) Use My Frame (Rock Falls, IL). Couple items are interesting on this site. They have a tab on Glass lenses, which is a strong trend in the lens biz. Not a big market, but more sports performance sunglass companies are offering a mineral glass lens option.
These are only a few Lens Only options and I am surprised there are not more. I would think the consumer want to try on their eyewear and sunglasses. They may use an app or a 3D try on technology, but nothing says it’s me than to actually hold, feel and put on the frames. That is really not the case with lenses. Lenses, to most people are not sexy, they are the medical device part of the sale, like a walker or oxygen tank.
Bottom line, an interesting new development in the online and lens wars. What do you think?