One nippy Tuesday morning, Oliver H. Gerry swung open a set of doors inside the Grand Avenue Temple in downtown Kansas City. It was January 23, 1912, and that unfurled entranceway symbolized the first day Gerry Optical was open for business. In the 100 years since, professionally trained technicians have prepared eyewear to complement the styles of countless clients, including President Harry Truman and Senator Nancy Kassebaum. Today, each of the store's nine locations carries between 800 and 1,200 frames from brands such as Calvin Klein, Ray-Ban, Prada, and BCBG, and the flagship store on 75th Street also houses its own grinding lab to quickly custom-craft lenses and fix cracks after cartoon eye-popping mishaps. To honor its deep community roots, Gerry Optical gives back by partnering with Lions Clubs International to provide discount eye exams and eyeglasses to underprivileged families.
With its showroom's contemporary setup and staff's personalized attention, Romanelli Optix diverges from the average optical center. Backed by more than 25 years of combined experience, Roman Beznovsky and Felix Milman opened the first Romanelli Optix in 2004. Today, the duo populates three Kansas City–area locations with frames in more than 60 brands such as Maui Jim, Tiffany & Co., and Fendi. At each location, customers are guided carefully through the options based on a variety of factors, including their prescriptions and facial features. Onsite adjustments make the process even easier, including meticulous custom-cut assembly performed in nearby boutiques.
Insight Eyecare Specialties equips patients with major brands of both European- and American-designer frames in various styles and colors. Each set of peepers is matched up with eyewear that provides the right look and fit while maximizing visual clarity. Browse top-flight designer frames such as Prada ($249–$349), Coach ($209–$369), and Versace ($219–$299) or alleviate a droopy brow with Nike ($209–$249) and Guess ($149–$209) eyewear. Insight Eyecare also boasts a selection of single-vision lenses ($65+) and assorted shades for shielding eyes against falling drops of sun. With frame materials ranging from titanium and stainless steel to plastic, customers can find blinkers to fit all budgets and lifestyles, whether they’re looking for glasses to wear occasionally or for a durable pair that can withstand territorial duels with bighorn rams.
Since 1909, Littlefield Eye Associates has provided top-notch eye care, offering comprehensive eye exams and sight-correcting prescriptions. Littlefield's sterling collection of eyeglass frames includes slick designer frames from Michael Kors, Sean John, and Armani Exchange ($180+), while value-line specs are available from Caravaggio ($95). Spectacle shoppers can also check out Littlefield's collection of Coach frames ($225+), Tag Heuer frames, and hand-made rimless glasses from Lindberg ($400+). This deal is also good for prescription sunglasses, so you can don a slick pair of shades without sacrificing eyesight. Littlefield's friendly, conversational staff can help you choose a pair of blinkers that'll complement your face shape and avoid the blurry vision that makes you walk into cactus farms.
Featuring a veritable fashion week of designer frames from Prada, D&G, CK, Armani Exchange, and more, as well as styles for children and inner-children from Nike, Disney, and Nickelodeon, In Vision converts playground and workplace shouts of “four-eyes!” into a fetching badge of pride. Led by doctors Heather Webster, and Lianne Innes, In Vision Eye Care Center offers an encyclopedic frame selection alongside all the services and expertise of an optometric practice, including a $50 eye exam for Groupon holders who need to freshen their prescriptions or simply want a professional diagnosis of their eye color. With today’s Groupon, spectacle-sporters can substantially defray the cost of their next set of frames (starting at $135) and lenses (starting at $75), leaving them with a spare set for the glove box or an emergency fire starter for the camping gear.
Perfect Sense Eye Care’s rock-star ophthalmologist, Dr. Stephen Wiles, has performed more than 30,000 ophthalmic surgeries to date, and that number keeps on growing. From removing cataracts to correcting blurry vision, the doctor's trusted hands can almost instantly eliminate the need for glasses and contacts. During his LASIK procedure, for example, he carefully reshapes the outermost layer of the eye⎯the cornea⎯thereby allowing the retina to better focus incoming light. Within 24 hours, patients who previously suffered from astigmatism or constantly forgot to open their eyes each morning can enjoy crisp, clear vision.