When Alive magazine publisher Elizabeth Tucker first thought about LASIK surgery as an alternative to the glasses she had worn since second grade, she didn't think it was an option. She feared the cost, worried about the time off work, and was unsure about how safe the procedure would be. Luckily, numerous friends told her about the transformative effects of their own procedures, and she finally decided to take the plunge at Crown Laser Center. There, a team of seven board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and surgeons put Elizabeth and other clients at ease as they correct corneas with trained hands and cutting-edge equipment, boasting a 99% surgery-success rate. Elizabeth is now glasses-free and doesn't regret a thing. "It's been life-changing for me," she says in a video on the laser center's website, "I would recommend it to anyone."
SVS Vision Center?s founders opened their first shop in Sterling Heights, Michigan, in 1974 to help the community clear up its vision. But even these optical gurus never foresaw their humble business expanding to more than 60 locations sprawled across 8 states. Today, each shop continues the tradition of ensuring ocular health and crystalline sight, beginning with exams from seasoned optometrists. Afterward, patients head to the optical dispensary, where they try on frames by Coach, Tiffany, Nike, Versace, or Ray-Ban. The staff then fits the stylish selection with polarized and scratch-protected prescription lenses to help guests read books clearly or see a charging moose from a distance. Most of SVS Vision Center?s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.
In 1927, thousands of feet above the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh was shielded from the elements only by the Spirit of St. Louis' thin linen covering. His eyes, though, boasted much sturdier protection on that historic flight?a custom pair of goggles designed by brothers A.P. and August Erker. More than 80 years and four generations later, the Erker name still stands behind high-quality optics.
Jack Erker Jr., great-grandson of August, presides over the business's two present-day locations, which have also played their part in adorning famous eyes. During Jack's tenure, Will Smith, John Goodman, and Shaquille O'Neal have all stopped in to swap needlepoint tips and grab a pair of stylish frames, which are sourced from Italian and German design houses, as well as his own manufacturing division, Studio Optyx.
Tower Optical is the stylish spawn of St. Louis's longest-running ophthalmologic practice, Clinical Ophthalmology. The eye-shield shrine is the retail section of Clinical and home to a horde of designer brands, including Vera Wang ($250+), Brooks Bros. ($150+), Coach ($250+), and J. Lo's own line of optical orb protectors ($165+). Break down the brightness while becoming the envy of neo-hipster friends with a pair of authentic Rayban wayfarers. If you're feeling self-conscious about your eyes' square-shaped irises, invest in a pair of mirrored eyewear, which strategically deflect the evil eye from frenemies while allowing true friends to check their teeth.
For 36 years, the friendly and experienced staff at Overland Optical has bested poor eyesight with scratch-resistant coatings, durable frames, and prescription lenses. A huge range of frames from designers such as BCBG, Nike, Coach, and Prada gild eyeglass edges in a plethora of fashionable and classic styles ($99+), and basic single-vision lenses, made from either standard plastic, high index, or polycarbonate, thwart blurs and fill ocular borders with crystalline transparency ($100+). A fleet of more than 1,000 sunglass frames and tinted lenses divert rays and mask inappropriate reactions to overhead duck formations ($120 for basic single vision), with polarized lenses offering the most comprehensive glare deflection (an additional $100).
After the local camera shop went out of business, customers contacted Ron Henges, the building's manager, about picking up their finished prints and repaired cameras. In the process of helping fill these last orders, customers recommended Ron open his own camera store to fill the need in the community. More than 30 years later, Creve Coeur Camera continues to serve and educate its customers through nine area locations, including a 12,000-square-foot flagship store. The shops supply and repair top-of-the-line cameras and photographic equipment and timely print services and teach how to craft charismatic images through a broad curriculum of classes.