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Exchange service optical center price points now online

DALLAS -- With more than 166 locations across the world, National Guard and Reserve, retiree and active-duty military families know they can depend on exchange Optical Shops and Vision Centers for affordable, quality eyewear, regardless of where they're called to serve. But what about those authorized shoppers who don't live near a military installation?

The answer to this question, one that has challenged military and civilian leadership for more than a decade, is coming into focus with the addition of two new partner Web sites on the Exchange Online Mall at aafes.com, usmc-mccs.org, navy-nex.com and cg-exchange.com.

Authorized shoppers who click on the new "Glasses & Contacts" link now have access to the prices comparable to those found in the Exchanges' brick-and-mortar Optical Shops and Vision Centers through FramesDirect.com and MilitaryContacts.net.

"These sites have been set up to offer the same opening price points Exchange shoppers find at our Optical Shops and Vision Center facilities on military installations," said the Army & Air Force Exchange Service's director of professional services Lt. Col. (Dr.) Ric Peterson. "Their inclusion on the Exchange Online Mall solves some long-standing issues by delivering the eyewear benefit the exchanges provide worldwide right to authorized shopper's front door. Now, any beneficiary can take advantage of internet access, low prices and high-quality eyewear found at our facilities without even leaving the house. This service is especially important to those in remote and/or isolated sites and without access to traditional exchange facilities."

With single vision eyeglasses starting at just $39, FramesDirect.com's Exchange Online Mall site features some 50,000 prescription frame styles and 8,000 sunglasses from more than 200 brands, all discounted 10-30 percent with free shipping. The site also helps ensure glasses aren't just affordable, but also stylish thanks to a feature that allows troops and their families to upload pictures and virtually try on different frame styles.

MilitaryContacts.net is also doing its part to bring exchange savings home by delivering exclusive "military only" pricing for contacts ordered through the Exchange Online Store. The savings this site offers, up to 30 percent less than the leading mail order contact lens provider, even extends to shipping costs as orders of $50 dollars or more always receive free shipping.

"Ordering from either site couldn't be easier," said AAFES merchandise manager Don Walker. "Shoppers can e-mail or fax their prescription or even just provide their eye doctor's name and phone number and if the prescription is on file, the sites will validate and fill the order."

The Exchange Online Mall is a concession mall offering online services and merchandise to military members around the world. Today, 81 third-party sites strengthen the exchange benefit through their active support of the exchangeonlinemall.com. Authorized customers can log onto their Exchange Online Store at www.aafes.com, www.usmc-mccs.org, www.navy-nex.com or www.cg-exchange.com  and click the Exchange Mall logo or access the site directly by logging onto www.exchangeonlinemall.com.