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.
Dr. Howard Short and Dr. Chris Ullrich, the ophthalmologists at Advanced Sight Center, stay at the forefront of their field—drawing on modern technologies such as digital retinal photography, optical coherence tomography, and specular microscopy. The doctors' ongoing education helps keep their skills sharp when they’re performing LASIK procedures or checking for typos on Snellen eye charts. Both Advanced Sight Center locations include an ambulatory surgical center as well as a wide selection of frames from Elle, Esprit, and other popular brands.
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.
Dr. Melissa Lewis wards off blurry vision at 20/20 Optical St Louis, where she performs thorough eye exams and emergency care services. With proper prescriptions in hand, Dr. Lewis's patients can peruse the shop's stock of more than 400 frames from brands including Michael Kors and Tommy Bahama. 20/20's helpful staff is on-hand to ensure that frames fit faces properly and that contact lenses don't fuse to eyeballs.
Under the Mercy umbrella of healthcare providers, Mercy Eye Care sees to patients’ optical needs in the form of exams and prescription eyewear. Qualified optometrists evaluate vision at three area locations, fitting faces with designer frames and lenses that enable eyes to see near, far, and that distance in the middle where cars are.
SVS Optical 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 50 locations sprawled across 10 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 Optical Center’s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.