A few weeks ago, I discovered Glasses Direct. Thanks to my generally defective memory, I don’t recall where I found the link, but when I looked at the site, I was interested. They offer a very good range of glasses at prices that make the average optician look very expensive indeed. You need a prescription that’s less than two years old, but any optician who tests your eyes has to give you your prescription to take away, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Assuming you have a prescription, you can order your glasses online with prices starting as low as £24. If you want extras such as thinner lenses, anti-scratch or UV coatings, you’ll have to pay more, but you can genuinely get a basic pair of glasses in a perfectly acceptable frame for £24.
To make the whole buying glasses online thing easier, you can request a trial of up to four frames. Pick the ones you like on the site, or from the catalogue which they will send you on request, and they’ll send them to you for the token payment of £5. You need to send them back within 10 days (they provide a postage-paid label), otherwise they’ll charge your payment card for the value of the frames, which could be £120 or so. If you decide to buy some glasses from them, you’ll get your £5 back as a discount off your order.
I decided to give them a try, and picked one of the frames from my trial pack. I added the whole thinner lenses, UV and anti-scratch package, and added in grey-tinted photochromic stuff. That ended up costing £125 or thereabouts, which is about half what my last pair cost, and those didn’t have the photochromic stuff. It took about a week from placing my order on their website to receiving my order, which is slower than you’d get in most opticians, but quick enough for most purposes. And here they are:
 The fancy going dark in bright light thing