Roy Hessel is CEO of both EyeBuyDirect and Coastal?

roy hessel

Do you know who Roy Hessel is?  If you don't that's ok but Roy Hessel is the CEO (chief executive officer) and founder of EyeBuyDirect. He's also the CEO of Coastal/Clearly.CA which I learned recently when I happened on this page on the Clearly website. Why does one man run two online glasses companies though?

A bit of internet sleuthing (this means I just went to Wikipedia) made me realize that there is one company behind both EyeBuyDirect and Coastal/Clearly, Essilor.  If you haven't heard of Essilor they are a French company that is a major player in the vision and optical industry. They own several companies and well known brands like Transitions, those lenses that transition from being eyeglasses to sunglasses and back to eyeglasses when you need them to be.  Regarding the online glasses market Essilor bought out EyeBuyDirect in 2013 and acquired the Canadian company Coastal/ClearlyContacts.CA, as it was known at the time, a year later.  I guess the big bosses at Essilor were so impressed with what Hessel had done with EyeBuyDirect they wanted him as CEO of both EyeBuyDirect and Coastal/Clearly.

Editor's Note – There was also this written right under the his Roy Hessel's picture, but I guess I should have clicked the little dropdown. 🙂

Roy is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the Clearly Group and leads our team in our mission to achieve universal access to vision. He has been a pioneer of online optical since he founded EyeBuyDirect in 2005 with the ambition to make vision correction globally accessible. Roy’s vision was made possible by joining with the Essilor Group (EPA:EI) in 2012, and he now leads the world’s largest online optical group that provides access to product and education to vision consumers worldwide

Originally I thought EyeBuyDirect bought Coastal or Coastal bought EyeBuyDirect or something.  It appears that that both companies are just owned by Essilor, the same eyewear conglomerate.  Essilor also owns another online glasses company, FramesDirect, which was purchased back in 2010.  FramesDirect has a different model from what I can tell as they offer glasses online but most of the frames are namebrands made by Luxottica.  This is slightly strange as Essilor seems to be the biggest competitor to Luxottica from what I can tell.  EyeBuyDirect designs and manufactures all the frames in house and passes that savings on to you.  Coastal also designs and makes frames but some of the companies product offerings come from outside vendors.

Anyway probably most consumers that buy eyeglasses online and customers of EyeBuyDirect and Coastal are not to concerned with who is CEO of either company.  Hey, since this website's goal is to write everything about the online glasses market we just wanted you to be aware Roy Hessel runs both.


  1. I have an issue with Eyebuy in that they proclaim to offer 100% satisfaction; however, they were never able to properly do 3 pair if glasses that were usable. They did redo them at their expense, but when the glasses came back to me, they were worse than before. I took them to a local optician to have readings done on the lenses and one reading was actually a reverse of what it should have been.

    I would never use them sgsin, but do think they should offer a refund on the lenses since I had to have them all redone locally. What happened to the 100% guaranteed?

    1. I’ve never had any bad experiences with buying from EyeBuyDirect Judith. I can see how having your lens prescription wrongly cut would be frustrating though.

      I’ve gotten wrongly cut lenses at local opticians. These types of things do happen. It sounds like EyeBuyDirect did all they could to fix the issue Judith. What else would they have done? Did you get a refund on the EyeBuyDirect glasses?

      Just to let you know Essilor, the parent company of EyeBuyDirect, makes the majority of the polycarbonate glasses in the world. They are in the process of merging with Luxottica, which owns a large amount of retail chain opticians.

      Essilor also manufactures a lot of equipment for cutting lenses to my understanding. Even if you are buying from a local optician you are sort of dealing with Essilor/EyeBuyDirect lab supply chain and related equipment. Your local optician probably sends out the lenses to be cut by an Essilor. Make sense?

      Also the majority of states do not have any laws or regulations for who can cut lens prescriptions. You don’t need any certifications to do it. Whether this is a good or bad thing isn’t for me to say. I believe there is value in apprenticeship training, something the US lacks.

      So all things to consider Judith. I assume you purchased glasses from your local optical shop?

  2. I will never use eyebuy again. It took them 5 wks. to get me my glasses (and I needed them!). When they did come, they were not right. I have to hold them within 2inches of my face to use the close lens. They switched my frames to a god-awful black, non spring-loaded, $4 frame at walmart. I paid for tinting in the sun, they do not tint! Take Mr. Hessilor and your co. and shove them up your nose. I am telling everyone I know to stay away from eyebuy.

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