Do you need glasses?
Maybe you prefer contacts?
Either way, eyewear (like many other things) is a pretty expensive thing in Australia.
Being a small market, Australia doesn’t have as much competition as Europe, Asia or the US.
Furthermore, unless you have private health insurance, you have to cough up the cost of your prescription glasses, Sunnies and contacts out of your own pocket. Even with private health insurance, you are often slugged with a hefty ‘gap’ payment if you want the latest designer frames.
Well, in this post we’ll show you how to get the best value eyewear regardless of where you are in Australia and you won’t even have to leave the house for it.
Yes, if you happen to live in regional Australia where often competition is a lot less than in the capital cities (or even non-existent altogether), you can still get access to best value eyewear and the latest designer lenses and sunglasses just like the city folk.
We would like to introduce to you to a huge global optical retailer with strong Australian connections, who is doing us all very proud on the world stage.
Their founders are all Australian and they started their operations here but have since expanded to become one of the leading online optical retailers in the world with sites operating across Asia, Europe, the US and Latin America, as well as a significant online presence down under.
One of the main reasons for their tremendous growth is that they have introduced technology and user experience that has simply never been seen before, when it comes to buying glasses and contacts.
These guys have really shaken up the consumer scene when it comes to buying specs, sunnies and contacts, have strong links to our country and are doing a lot of good things (including a very big charity project) on the world stage.
They also provide a best price guarantee and will beat any price from any retailer anywhere in the world, either online or offline.
But how can you buy glasses online without being able to try them on?
Well, as mentioned already, they have developed proprietary technology which allows you to try any frame in the comfort of your own home and get an exact idea of how it will look on you once it turns up at your door.
This is currently the most advanced online fitting technology for eyewear in the world!
To add to that, they also offer easy and hassle-free returns if you are not happy for whatever reason with the eyewear you got.
They also provide full warranty on the frames you buy and even allow you to claim on your private health insurance, if you have one.
Before we go any further however, we want to point out that if you need multi-focal lenses, research conducted both in Australia and overseas has shown that there is an increased likelihood that an online optical store (however sophisticated it may be) would get your lenses wrong.
Therefore, we suggest you consider using a traditional optical store or only consider online optical retailers that offer free and hassle-free returns. The retailers we talk about in this post certainly do that.
Finally, please keep in mind that Australia’s two largest health funds, Medibank Private and Bupa, don’t pay benefits for purchases at some of the online optical stores (even if they are Australian-based or Australian-owned), so if you are with these funds (or any other fund for that matter), make sure you ask them first if they will provide rebates on the purchases.
If they don’t, you must take that into account when calculating any savings.
After getting these two disclaimers out of the way, let’s get right into it, shall we?
Actually no, one more thing (sorry for being a ‘tease’ 😉 ).
Before starting to look for your next pair of specs, you should really watch this 4 minute clip from the ABC’s awesome consumer affairs show The Checkout (arguably the best consumer affairs show ever made in Australia!).
This clip will tell you everything you need to know about buying glasses online (and will hopefully also make you smile, if not laugh out loud 🙂 ).
Yep, really! 😉
Now that you’re an expert and know the potential benefits and pitfalls of buying glasses online, let’s get cracking!
Review of Vision Direct – the best value online eyewear retailer in Australia
Vision Direct claim to have the biggest range of frames and contact lenses in Australia with 180 different brands and over 80,000 individual products in their catalogue (with 25,000 of them always in stock and available for immediate delivery). No other optical retailer in this country can even come close to that.
All brands come with guaranteed authenticity. No fake brand names here!
All products come with a 24 month warranty and you can also return anything you bought within 100 days of purchase if you are unhappy for whatever reason. No questions asked and no hassle provided you return the product in its original packaging.
Within those 100 days, you can either have the product exchanged for something else or have your money refunded in full.
In addition to that, ALL orders come with free EXPRESS delivery to your door, anywhere in Australia. This means the delivery charges become irrelevant in your buying decision and price comparison.
All prescription glasses and Sunnies come with free Anti-Reflective and Scratch Proof Multi-Hard Coating. The Anti-Reflective Coating is very useful for computer use or for driving at night. While most Optical stores will charge you extra for that, Vision Direct will not.
As far as how to choose the right frame for your face without trying it on in person, Vision Direct have created a simple guide on how to do it.
For those of you who have private health insurance, Vision Direct works directly with over 20 major health funds (including Medibank Private) so that you can easily claim your benefits through your extras cover.
Finally, a purchase from Vision Direct also has a ‘feel good’ element to it. For every pair of glasses or sunglasses you buy from them, Vision Direct will donate a pair to Unite for Sight through their ‘Buy one, Give one‘ program. Unite for Sight is a global non-profit which aims to improve eye care standards of poor and disadvantaged people throughout the world.
The ABC TV program AusBiz Asia did a feature on this company and its founders which we found fascinating and quite inspiring.
You’ll see the name ‘SmartBuy glasses’ being mentioned there. This is the same company (and same founders) as the business we talk about in this post. It’s just that in Australia, they run their online store under the brand name Vision Direct.
Just to give you an idea on how far these three everyday blokes from suburban Australia (two of them from migrant families) have come, their CEO (and one of the 3 co-founders) has been invited to give an interview to Bloomberg Television, the most respected, most quoted and most watched business & finance news network on the planet.
In this interview he talked about the company and also did a live demonstration in the studio of their innovative and unique virtual ‘try it on’ technology. Check this out.
If you want to get an idea of the experience other customers had with Vision Direct, you can check their reviews on ProductReview.com.au where Vision Direct was rated 4 out of possible 5 stars based on almost 2,000 reviews and Trust Pilot where they were rated 8.5 out of a possible 10 based on over 5,000 reviews.
If you are familiar with these massive user-generated review sites, you would know that it is extremely rare for any company to score so high on them as customers usually go there either to complain and vent some steam or warn others from doing business with a particular company.
Sounds good so far?
That’s great but obviously we won’t be real Spending Hackers if we didn’t offer you something extra, right?
How about a discount, sounds good? 😉
Well, how about these coupons?
30% off prescription lenses (frames not included) using the coupon code RXGLOB30.
5% off all contact lenses if you spend at least $130 using the coupon code AU5CL.
The discounts mentioned above are before any health fund rebates and also don’t include delivery simply because all shipping is FREE 🙂 .
Looks good and you’re keen? Simply click the banner below or this link to start looking for your next pair of eyewear.
Another option to consider for great value eyewear: Sneaking Duck
Sneaking Duck is an online optometrist aiming to market themselves as the ‘choice of hipsters’ with a funky website design and ‘cool’ attitude.
However, other than just aiming to be cool, we think they actually offer some very unique features that are indeed cool!
- Free try at home service. Get 5 frames sent to your door to try on before buying, free and with no obligation to actually purchase anything.
- A ‘matchmaker’ service where they’ll ask you a few questions and then provide recommendations on frames that you may like.
- Free delivery worldwide with free returns for any reason within 60 days of purchase but that’s in Australia only.
All glasses or sunnies you buy from them come with the following:
- Quality prescription or non-prescription lenses. All prescription lenses are made in their own lab in Sydney;
- Anti-scratch multicoat or hard coat as standard and for no extra charge;
- Hard case and lens cloth; and
- 12 month warranty
Like Vision Direct, they also offer health fund rebates but, as per the earlier disclaimer, we suggest you check with your fund first whether and how much they would cover if you buy from Sneaking Duck.
While not having the extensive range that Vision Direct has, they have some unique features that make them worth mentioning in this post.
Check them out and then compare their prices with Vision Direct above. If Sneaking Duck happens to be cheaper, you should get a price match with Vision Direct.
Another reason why we decided to include sneaking duck in this post is the fact they have recently launched a dedicated separate service for those who are happy with their existing frames but would like to upgrade their lenses (or had a change in their prescription).
They call this new service Clens and here is how it works:
- You choose your new lenses. Sneaking Duck (a.k.a Clens) can make any type of standard optical lenses, Photochromic lenses, optical Sunglasses lenses (either standard, polarised or mirrored) and blue light lenses. Prices start from $90 for single vision lenses and $205 for multifocal lenses. They also guarantee to beat any quote from another optometrist.
- Email through a copy of your current optical prescription. If you don’t have it, they are also happy to contact your optometrist and get it on your behalf. As explained in the checkout video above, the optometrist can’t refuse to give you (or a 3rd party with your permission) your optical prescription as it belongs to you, not them!
- If you need multifocals, Sneaking Duck will also need you to take a selfie with your glasses so that they know the positioning of your eyes. This should help address, at least to some extent, the potential issues when shopping online for multifocal lenses.
- You mail-in your existing glasses to them. They’ll supply you with a reply paid address so postage is free.
- Their Sydney-based optical lab does its thing and puts your chosen new lenses in your existing frame and makes any adjustments to ensure a perfect fit.
- They send you back your glasses with the new lenses free of charge.
To give this service a try, just click here or on the banner below.
You can use the coupon code CLENS10 to get a 10% discount on your first order of new lenses.
Despite the slogan, we have been assured that they have no connection to Trump 😉 .
Before you go:
The Spending Hackers Recommend:
- If you are after a no-contract mobile plan with unlimited calls & text in Australia and lots of data – this is your best option.
- Your two BEST options for ADSL broadband with lots of data and no contract until the NBN arrives.
- Smile – Save up to 40% on your dental bill WITHOUT taking private health insurance (or ‘double dip’ if you already have it)!
- Vision Direct – The biggest range of designer eyewear on the planet for the absolute lowest price.
- Thinking of going solar? Get 3 obligation-free quotes from properly qualified installers (guaranteed!) in your local area from either 3 Quotes or Solar Market.
- Save Energy, Save Money – Australia’s first comparison site dedicated solely to energy saving devices and services.