As a (nearly) lifelong glasses wearer who despises contacts, having a rotating collection of cool frames has always been a priority for me — at least as far as accessories go. But building up a collection of glasses can get expensive, especially if your prescription gets stronger on a yearly basis, like mine does. Enter EyeDesired: a new service that lets you rent prescription glasses and designer sunglasses for a monthly fee, then trade them in when you're ready to upgrade to a different pair. For anyone who likes to stick to one pair of glasses at a time but also likes to get a new pair more than once a year, it's a pretty sweet deal.
To use the site, you choose between a subscription for sunglasses (which costs $29 per month, but does not include prescription lenses) and standard prescription glasses (which is $40 per month, which covers the cost of lenses and frames). The designer sunglasses can be exchanged for a new pair as often as you like — and you get to keep the old pair until your new pick comes in the mail, so you'll always have cool shades on hand. The only catch is that shipping is only covered for one pair per month, so if you want to switch it up more often you'll have to pay a $15 fee.
The prescription service (which is what drew me to the site in the first place) is slightly more limited: It allows users to snag a new pair every four months, so you end up paying about $160 for one pair of glasses, which is still on the low end for designer frames. EyeDesired founder Rida Khan tells me that, in the site's beta testing phase, the company "saw that people swapped their optical pairs once every four months" anyway. If you're really itching to switch things up before the four month period, you can pay a $25 fee to do so, Khan says. And if you love your glasses, you can buy them to keep for good, then get rent a new pair.
The site has a pretty hefty selection of name brand frames, especially when it comes to sunglasses. I counted 41 different designers on my most recent perusal of the site, ranging from Ray-Ban to Tom Ford to Kate Spade to Oliver Peoples and just about every eyewear designer in between.
For prescription glasses, the selection is comparable to the larger eyewear stores I've visited IRL: There were 11 designers available for women during my last visit to the site, with Maxim appearing to have the largest selection.
Not all products are included in every plan, but you can view which products are included by going to your profile and clicking "products in my plan" to eliminate any designers you won't be able to snag. You can also sort the list by color, style, and retail price range to help narrow down the selection and make it a bit more manageable to scroll through.
Once you've found a pair you like, you can easily upload your prescription with one click. You'll have to do this each time you want to rent a new pair, just to ensure the site has your up to date script on file.
The delivery time for my first set of frames was fairly comparable to other online glasses services I've tried: I requested my first pair of EyeDesired glasses on Aug. 7, and they arrived the estimated 10 days later on Aug. 17. They come in a very nice, velvet lined case.
The glasses I tried (which were the aforementioned Maxim brand) felt super sturdy and well made. New glasses usually make me dizzy for about a day (even if I'm not changing prescriptions), but I didn't get even a hint of nausea with these. Magic, or just really good lense calibration?
My only qualm with these lenses is that they aren't anti glare (which you can definitely see in the photo below, especially when compared to this photo of some of my other frames). In our current era of Instagram-everything, those lenses usually come standard — I'd forgotten there was a time I used to have to specify wanting the anti-glare lense until I put these babies on. Right now, there doesn't appear to be an option to choose between different types of lenses on the site.
Overall, this eye rental service is a solid substitute for walking into a store every time you get your new glasses. If you like changing up your look on a fairly regular basis and can swing the monthly fee, I'd highly recommend giving it a go.