Replacing Prescription Lenses
While working at a small local optical store, I noticed more and more people coming in and wanting to either replace the prescription lenses using their existing frames, or have new lenses made for a frame they purchased online. The place they used to get this service done would no longer do it, and this brought them to our retail store. What really concerned me, was hearing of stories where customers weren't even allowed to reuse their frame at the place they just bought them from the year before!
As someone who not only tries to be frugal myself, I also hate the idea of wasting a perfectly good frame - I thought to take this idea online and thus, UseMyFrame.com was born in May of 2015.
Why are some practices willing to put new prescription lenses in old frames, and some aren't? There are mainly two reasons why:
- Lack of experienced staff
Lack of Experienced Staff
Sometimes, its as simple as that. Working with frames that aren't on your current frame boards requires a more comprehensive overall knowledge of frame designs. Its much easier to work with what you sell, but when customers can bring in frames from other manufacturers and styles, it can get overwhelming - not to mention the inherent risk involved should something go wrong.
A friend of mine said she went to her eye doctor's office to have her frame adjusted because one of the temples (i.e., the arms that go along side our head and around our ears), was loose. After trying several attempts to tighten the fit, my friend was told that her frame was broken, and it would have to be replaced...soon!
Of course, my friend was dismayed as she was going out of town in a couple days and loved her current glasses! So, she texted me and asked if I would take a look at them, "Of course" I replied back, though I was skeptical as she just had her doctor's office try to fix them and I thought, "If they can't fix them, surely I can't either!"
Come to find out, the barrels on the hinges were bent and so the screw just wasn't able to reach the threads on the bottom barrel. After a couple of minutes, I handed my friends glasses back to her. "That's magic!" she said in glee. It took me less than 4 minutes to fix.
While it's entirely possible that her doctor's office simply wanted to sell her another frame (believe me, I have some real first-hand horror stories about that, but I digress), but most likely, the optician was just inexperienced and didn't know how to fix the glasses; and let's be realistic, it's just easier to try and sell a new frame than fixing an old one.
This one is obvious, but it still goes without saying that many optical stores don't want to replace the prescription lenses in old frames because they would rather get another sale. The markup on frames in some optical stores is huge, and when you think of what's involved, it's an easy way to make extra money. Optical stores certainly aren't making the frames, so there's no real cost of goods to recoup. They simply buy from vendor "A" for "$" and turn around and sell it to their customers for "$$$$". So, to reuse a frame costs them, "$$$" - at least that's how they view it.
Utilizing a customer's existing frame can be viewed as the pinnacle in customer service, especially nowadays when many are looking for online bargains, or even high-end frames that they just can't find locally. Every month, we receive frames that are made by Oakley, Maui Jim, Ray Ban, Costa, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Gucci, and Silhouette (just to name a few); even 99 cent frames people find at the dollar store! We have gained a tremendous amount of experience working with all sorts of frames, and we are grateful to provide this service to our customers.
"Woulda, Shoulda, Coulda"
The real question is, should you replace the lenses in your frames, or buy new ones? There are benefits of course to buying a new frame, but on the other hand, there are practical reasons for reusing what you already have and are comfortable with. Good frames conform to our unique shapes and can even become part of how people see us and recognize us.
People often think that since I'm an Optician, that I must get new frames every month! No, I've actually been wearing the same drilled rimless frames for nearly 5 years (look at some of our older YouTube videos and see for yourself)!
There are other companies that provide this same service, so what makes us unique? Our prices are affordable, but I wouldn't say we're the cheapest option available, so what really sets us apart? I think if you peruse our Customer Reviews (which are all 100% real, by the way), one theme that resonates through them all, is a great customer service experience.
Quality workmanship and exceptional customer service was what I sought to deliver from the humble beginnings of UseMyFrame.com. I've always wanted to keep that personal relationship you'd find in a local store and provide that nationwide using our online platform. Many people said that it couldn't be done, and even to this day, you'll find places that really trash talk online companies: "Cheap materials...can't ever speak to an actual person...inferior quality compared to what you can get locally, etc." and while it may be true for some online eyeglass companies, I hope that with our customers help, we're proving them wrong - one pair of glasses at a time.