From Boston to Duluth to Idaho, Dr. Justin Sparhawk has spanned the continent to strengthen his optometry prowess. Now firmly ensconced at Icare Optical, he oversees eye exams that assess visual fuzziness and scope for glaucoma and intermittent twinkles. His staff offers sage advice as patients try on designer frames from Coach, Jones New York, and Adidas, ensuring everyone walks out with the most face-flattering eyewear.
After starting out in immunology—and collaborating on discoveries that are still used in cancer research today—Dr. McNeel found himself drawn to another calling: optometry. Nearly two decades later, he has racked up more than 30,000 office visits with LASIK and cataract surgery patients and is still counting, even though he ran out of fingers and toes after patient no. 1,000. In addition to providing surgical aftercare, Dr. McNeel assesses eye health during regular exams and treats patients for concerns such as dry-eye disease, an area in which he specializes.
Eyewear specialists help clients navigate a wealth of frames from brands including Prada, Versace, and Maui Jim. The also perform fittings to ensure that contact lenses don’t need to be hemmed by hand. In addition to caring for eyes, McNeel Eye Center thickens lashes with Latisse and combats wrinkles with Botox.
As an offshoot of Sierra Trading Post, Derailed.com holds fast to the same business model as its parent company: bargaining with top brands to procure overstocks at heavily discounted prices. But like a youngest sibling taking up juggling cats, it strives to differentiate itself from its older counterparts. It stands out with a youthful vibe thanks to skate, surf, and SUP apparel and the staff's laid-back attitude. They'll happily answer questions and make recommendations on their throngs of camping gear, running shoes, collegiate attire, and bicycle accessories from brands including Hurely, Billabong, and Teva. Though their merchandise boasts an average discount of 48% off the retail value, shoppers can save even more—customers receive a $10 coupon when they sign up for emails, and clients of the Give & Go Referral program get a $20 egiftcard when the friend they referred uses their own $10 email coupon.
Dr. Lindsay Hamlin doesn’t despise humble beginnings. As a college student, she served as a receptionist at a local optometry clinic, where she worked with patients during the prescreening and frame-selection processes. After graduation she enrolled in Pacific University College of Optometry, which landed her an internship at a veterans' hospital. Nowadays she and her staff tend to ocular regions by performing eye exams and selling contact lenses. They also snap photos of retinas to detect diseases such as hypertensive retinopathy.
Headed by Rob D. Christensen, OD, Envision Optical's optometrists and ocular decorators engineer flattering, vision-correcting eyewear and lenses that are made in local labs to support the economy. During a 30- to 45-minute eye exam, vision experts test patrons for nearsightedness, farsightedness, or the ability to see through walls. Afterward, fit unseeing eyes with vision-clearing contacts ($30+/box) or lenses ($78+) set into designer frames by Nautica ($150+), Ted Baker ($175+), or Vera Wang ($185+). Sunglasses maintain stylish depth of field at the beach or within a desert fortress made out of magnifying glasses by hosting tinted lenses ($128+) in frames from designers by Nike ($79+) and Smith ($99+). All glasses come with a full warranty.
With an experienced optometrist on staff and a selection of more than 500 frames and a variety of lens types, Pinnacle Vision Care offers a fix for almost every bout of blurry, foggy, or x-ray vision. Eye exams ($105, or $155 with contact-lens fitting), each performed by a licensed doctor, serve to screen the eye for diseases and engineer lenses for sharp lines and clear images. Frame droppers and cactus battlers can feel secure in the knowledge that every eyewear purchase at Pinnacle Vision Care includes a two-year warranty against breakage. A large variety of basic frames are available for around $47–$100, and can be filled in with basic lenses (starting at $60), upgraded single-vision lenses ($100–$185), or progressive lenses ($200–$600).