“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.
At its three locations in Harvard Square, South End, and Jamaica Plain, the Eye Q Optical team works to outfit clients with original frame styles. Most designs are its own innovations, manufactured in-house with inspiration from iconic eras and modern designers visiting from a far-off future. The Aphrodite frames play subtly on traditional cat-eyed styles, and the Apollo frames accentuate faces with bold rectangular shaping and primary blue colors.
The Eye Q Optical team also carries frames by artistic independent makers including Rapp Eyewear, who hand-finishes its colorful frames in Toronto, and Rolf Eyewear, who manufactures frames and hinges entirely out of wood. In the Cambridge office, the Eye Q opticians collaborate with digital 3-D-fitting technology and a highly opinionated robot to select the perfect frames for each client.
The patient care subsidiary of The New England College of Optometry, New England Eye is an emporium of eyeglasses and sunglasses that specializes in exceptional eyecare and community outreach. The eye-friendly organization showcases more than 2,000 frames from 30 top brands, including Coach, Giorgio Armani, and Silhouette ($150–$350 for complete eyeglasses). The aesthetically trained optical curators at New England Eye can help you find the perfect fashion-forward, vision-correcting specs for any face shape, mood, Jeopardy ability, or fashion sense. Pick up a pair of Ray-Ban aviators ($160) or elegantly accent your façade with Coach or Oakley designer sunglasses ($200–$250), which can be upgraded to prescription lenses in the VIP booth for an additional $120.
Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, this nationally recognized and trusted eye-care center now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well-trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. They'll help navigate a nearly endless array of sight-enhancing options: house lines of simple, durable frames and lenses, designer frames from Versace and DKNY, prescription Ray-Ban shades, and contact lenses to suit the chemistry of even sensitive sets of eyes.
Established in 2010, EyeSpot is a one-of-a-kind eyewear destination: customers can meet with an optometrist for a comprehensive eye exam, have an ophthalmologist review the resulting diagnostic scans, and be fitted for new eyeglasses by an optician—all in a single visit.
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.