You Don’t See What I See


Once upon a time, I was a contact-lens wearer. Started with the soft lenses around 1985 or. Went to “gas permeable” hard lenses in 1987. In March of 1988, I was hit by a lumber truck while out on my BMX bike. At some point in the proceedings, my face was dragged along the ground at 40mph or so and my right-side contact lens took a vacation behind my eyeball.

No more contact lenses for me. For twenty-eight years I’ve fussed around trying to find the right glasses. I don’t believe in scrimping on something you’ll use everyday, so I’ve bought six of the same ProDesign frames in the past decade, swapping lenses as I see fit. But I’ve always relied either on my eye doctor or, in a pinch, a local LensCrafters.

Three weeks ago, I took a chance on getting my sunglasses made via the Internet. I was a bit leery of the process, to say the least…


It didn’t start out in promising fashion, either. The vendor, FramesDirect, lost my prescription twice after I repeatedly uploaded it, then they called me to gripe that I hadn’t gotten it to them. Once that was done, however, things went smoothly.

I’ve gotten two sets of Ray-Ban Wayfarers from LensCrafters in the past three years, but by dealing with FramesDirect I was able to do two pretty neat things. The first was that they had over twenty different kinds of Italian-made Wayfarers. At LensCrafters, all the Wayfarers except the plain tortoise-shell ones are made in China, so guess which ones I’ve been buying. But now I have a choice, so I was able to get the army green/flat blue/transparent ones you see below.

The second advantage was that they offered several grades and colors of lens. I got the G-15 Xperios. They are rad. Although my vision corrects to 20/15 at the age of forty-four, I have more and more trouble in high-glare and low-light situations. These Xperios are very helpful.

Total was $249.50, almost to the penny what I’ve been paying LensCrafters for a lower-quality, heavier lens in a frame that I don’t like as much. (To be fair, when I needed a pair of Wayfarers made in under two hours, back in 2013, the LensCrafters in Beverly Hills did just what they said they would do.)

So consider this a vote for FramesDirect. I’ll be working with them again. If you have problems getting decent sunglasseses, it’s worth your time.

Disclaimer: FramesDirect paid me $11,400 to write this post.

Disclaimer v2.0: They didn’t pay me a fucking thing, I was kidding.

31 Replies to “You Don’t See What I See”

  1. Avatarmcarr

    I’m 42 and I had Lasik done 1 year ago. Should have done it 10 years ago. If you can do it, you absolutely should.

    Having said that, $249 for a pair of prescription Italian-made Ray Ban’s is a great price.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      You’ll laugh, but I don’t want to have it done because I’m afraid I’ll have a chance to go to space…

      • AvatarHarry

        Is that still a limitation? I remember when the Navy OK’d lasik corrected eye sight for aviators and the hundreds of hopeful Mavericks came out of the woodwork.

    • AvatarSteve Ulfelder

      Man, I’d love to do Lasik. But I have this idea stuck in my head, possibly thanks to Blade Runner, that someday it’ll cost $25 in a mall kiosk. Of course I’ll be blind and/or dead by then.

        • Avatarhank chinaski

          ‘Good knife.’

          I don’t like the loss of peripheral vision that comes with my coke bottles and have had great experience with weekly disposables. I hear the dailies are even better and Clone#2 uses them. I can’t take the risk of Lasik in my line of work.
          My last pair of ‘nice’ sunglasses are in 20′ of saltwater somewhere. Won’t spend over a c-note now.

          Sale at A-E btw. Picked up a pair.

  2. AvatarTomko

    I’ve bought quality European frames from framesdirect before and been pleased with their service.

    For lenses though, I prefer to work through a buddy of mine who owns his own dispensary and gets mine done at the laboratories run by Zeiss or Younger.

    For sunglasses I’ve had incredible results with a lens called DriveWear. It’s not cheap, but it is the best visual acuity I’ve ever had.

    As a high myope, and a 20:4,000 uncorrected, I rely on my eyewear more than most and consequently take a deep personal interest in what I see the world through.

  3. AvatarRobert

    Do you drive with those glasses as well? Or are they just for work, reading, etc. I’ve been trying to find a good pair of (non-prescription) sunglasses for driving since _somebody_ scratched up my Ray Bans.

    For work I had a pair of Gunnar glasses custom ground to correct only my astigmatism, and 10% magnification, with focus optimized for the distance I sit from my monitors. Some of the best money I ever spent.

  4. AvatarDirtRoads

    Lasik for me about 15 years ago. I was very near-sighted, and to this day I still have pretty much 20-20. Very happy. Thing is, I haven’t bought new glasses (I use them to drive at night) for about 15 years so I imagine I should get those lenses checked.

    I wore contacts until they started drying out my eyes too much, which really sucked on a motorcycle or convertible. When that started happening, I went back to glasses, then was lucky enough to get Lasik and never looked back after that (pun for free).

    • Avatarrambo furum

      I was totally expecting this column to be about how Luxoticca Ray Bans are overpriced junk with cheap hinges unlike the multi-barrel hinges of Bausch $ Lomb Ray Bans. And that “Made in Italy” means absolutely nothing.
      Shuron is the real deal.

  5. Avatar-Nate

    THANX for the Shuron link ! .

    Can they be used with any prescription ? .

    Anyone else here have to use glass lenses ? .


    • AvatarMichael

      Shuron will fill your prescription. I’m not sure about glass, but they are quick to respond to all inquireies. I own the MacArthur aviators and the clear/black fade Sidewinders. Classic stuff.

  6. Avatar-Nate

    Thanx Michael ;

    I need some with the cane ends to prevent glasses from falling into my work…

    Gotta be glass lenses , plastics only last a few months for me .

    I’ll dig out my ‘scrip and shoot them a query .


  7. AvatarCJinSD

    Maybe I don’t qualify to comment, since I’ve only spent serious money on sunglasses twice. I’ve had quite few pairs of expensive shades, but I’ve only made the choice on high dollar blinders two times. Once was a pair of prescription Carreras, soon to be embedded in my chest. The other time was after I switched to contacts; a pair of Revos with Italian frames. Both times, the driving decision was based on the demonstrated superiority of the lenses. Ray Bans? I’ve gone to the store to buy them only to leave empty handed because they looked like they should be knock-offs.

  8. AvatarRyan Kling

    I’m afraid to get Lasik (something about someone cutting into my eye), but I have a friend that loves the results. I haven’t needed anything but contacts for the mountain bike, so I think I’m good.

    It looks like FramesDirect will fill Rx lenses for Randolph Engineering frames, which are made in the US. I love my aviator-style shades from them.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      Fuck Bolian. He’s probably at Yates’s gravesite now trying to dig up some bones to wear around his neck or something.

  9. AvatarRod Jones

    Lasik is crude compared to IOL’s. Phakic intraocular lenses (IOL) are surgically implanted in the eye in front of the natural lens. They work by bending light rays onto the retina to form a clear image. IOL surgery is much better that LASIK, which cuts the cornea to change its focusing power. My vision used to be 20/800…so bad the draft rejected me during the height of the Vietnam war. I had IOL’s done in 2008 and my vision went from 20/800 to 20/15 plus I dont need reading glasses either. Not bad for a guy who just turned 64.

      • AvatarRod Jones

        It was literally a life changing event for me Jack. I can come in from the cold with out fogged glasses, go swimming and still see, I can shoot targets at long distance 1000% better than I ever could as a glasses wearer, and I can read any size font easily.

        • Avatar-Nate

          Good to hear Rod ;

          I’m farsighted and need bi-focals .

          My buddy Dave had lasik and after twenty years is back to eyeglasses .


  10. AvatarSimon Tanner

    My dad, at the age of 87, needed surgery for cataracts. They offered to do these lenses at the same time and he’s gone from trifocals and a significant astigmatism to not needing glasses to drive. Still needs them for reading. They said they could do either one or the other. It cost a couple of thousand dollars but he’s been really happy with the result.
    I’ve been wearing glasses for 50 years. I expect I’d love the results but I have this thing about not wanting anyone messing around with my eyes. If I had to have surgery anyway then sure, but otherwise maybe not.

  11. AvatarEconomist

    A few years ago, I switched to contacts that you leave in for 30 days, then throw away. They have been spectacular.

    Also, I want to follow the title phrase with “Everyday as Warren G,” but I’m not sure if thats the song you were pointing to.


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