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 Vision Center. There, a team of board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and surgeons put Elizabeth and other patients 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."
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).
Dr. Hegyi and his staff of ocular experts use digital refraction technology to examine peepers and determine proper eyesight prescriptions. During 30-minute vision analyses ($92) optical examiners submit patients’ eyes to a series of eyesight tests, prompting them to read letters and identify members of the Partridge Family, before trained technicians dilate pupils to get behind-the-scenes access inside eyeball command centers. After studying the findings, digital phoropters bestow each patient with a nearly perfect prescription for lenses with secret powers that range from anti-reflective coatings to transitions that automatically darken when worn in sunlight to freeform HD lenses, which grant seers visual sharpness without distortion or purchase of an HD–compatible face. After attaining precise prescriptions, patients can apply a $175 store credit toward frames ($85–$325), including designer frames from Vera Wang, Armani, and Juicy Couture.
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.