“It’s the challenging fits—either spectacles or contact lenses—that drive me," writes optician John Parrelli on his website. Since opening his first shop in 1978, these challenges have included cataract sufferers who were left without binocular vision following surgery. Parrelli and his team of lens specialists experimented with different materials, designs, and indices of refraction until they could fabricate a lens thin and strong enough to restore these patients’ sight.
Today, Parrelli Optical has grown to six locations, where optometrists inspect patients' vision with a comprehensive, 15-point eye-health assessment and complete visual analysis. Through digital corneal photography, they're able to diagnose corneal disease and increase the precision and comfort of prescriptions. The locations also host a wide selection of designer frames, ideal for experimenting with different styles, such as wearing 20 frames at once.
A clinical subsidiary of the New England College of Optometry, New England Eye wields advanced diagnostic equipment to clarify its clients’ viewpoints and designer frames to straighten sight lines in style. Lining the spectacle centers’ backlit walls, 2,000 frames from 30 name-brand eyewear architects, such as Gucci and Armani Exchange, clamor to settle on nose bridges while opticians stand by to advise on prescription and facial-contour compatibility. In about five days, single-vision lens bearers can upgrade their outlooks with couture-savvy Kate Spade ($200–$399 plus lenses) or Ray-Ban ($200–$399 plus lenses) frames or opt for wallet-conscious styles from Smart Frames ($79 plus lenses). Multifocal and progressive lenses require an extra couple of days to properly merge distance-specific sights into a harmonious landscape. Evade the sun’s stare or accompany a life-size Corey Hart cutout to an upcoming soiree by donning Coach ($200–$300, additional for prescription lenses) or Ray-Ban shades ($120–$180, additional for prescription lenses).
Many view looking good and seeing well as dual goals attainable only by monocle-graced cyclopes. Envision your new visage with today's Groupon. For $50,you get $125 worth of frames and glasses lenses at Q Optical, Boston Magazine's pick for Best Eyeglasses in 2005. Located on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay, right off the T Green Line, Q Optical specializes in high-end European frames and lenses that refract light with elegance and subtlety.
Arcade Optical has been fostering ocular health since 1990. The shop's onsite optometrist examines eyes using classic tools such as phoropters and eye charts made from jumbled-up haiku poems. Once patients know their vision, they can have lenses placed into frames from Gucci, BCBG, Bebe, and other designers that line the shop's walls and display cases.
Since Dr. Stanley Pearle opened the doors to the first Pearle Vision in 1961, the franchise has expanded to more than 800 stores nationwide. In these stores, optometrists assess the ocular health of patients before onsite opticians help them navigate the assortment of frames from brands such as Versace, Ray-Ban, and DKNY. If they're not in the store, clients can utilize the Try-On tool, uploading a photo to see what they or their dog looks like in different types of glasses. Pearle Vision also helps focus the world with contacts from Acuvue and Biofinity.
Though there are 130 For Eyes Optical stores around the United States, the company still has the heart of a small start-up. Owned and operated since 1972, when a small group of friends started it in Philadelphia, aiming for quality eyewear manufacturing as well as customer service. These same friends, aided by a few family members, still lead the franchise today. They ensure that each location adheres to their original principles and mandates for mustard-colored shag carpets.
In each store, expert independent doctors test clients' visual acuity and general eye health with comprehensive exams. Then, a store associate helps each person outfit their eyes with designer frames by brands such as Ray-Ban, Prada, D&G, and Versace. For Eyes Optical has its own advanced 40,000-square foot optical lab in in Hialeah, Florida, where technicians shape, surface, and coat the lenses to fit each person's exact prescription. After creating the lenses—whether plastic, polycarbonate, or trivex Toughlites—they inspect and fit each into its corresponding frame by hand, a process that ensures quality control and guards against the robots, whose first objective is to hinder our eyesight.