Growing up in Benton, Kansas, fourth-grade pals Monte Ysidro and Jason Bell were probably more focused on seeing the chalkboard clearly than opening a collection of high-end fashion optical boutiques. And yet, beginning in 2002, that's just what they did, starting out humbly in a 10'x10' kiosk at a local mall. Today, friendly eyewear experts at each Specs location point guests in the direction of designer frames and prescription sunglasses by brands such as Gucci and Versace. The crew also employs advanced technology to create lenses with high-performance coatings, custom-fit curves, and high definition, which allow wearers to make out the moon's facial expression.
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.
SVS Vision 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 60 locations sprawled across 8 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 Vision Center?s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.
After scouring Manhattan in search of affordable eye care for his six children, Dr. Richard Presley decided to take matters into his own hands. He had already spent years in practice when he founded Success Vision in 1999, and he drew on this experience to pair accurate prescription lenses with stylish frames. Rather than restrict himself to the latest whims of designers, Dr. Presley reduces costs for his customers by offering his own brand of frames. At Success Vision?s speedy on-site laboratory, technicians fit these frames with prescription lenses and x-ray capabilities within an hour.
At Insight Vision Center, optometrists Neal D. Troyer and Justin E. Weigel manage and treat a range of ocular diseases and co-manage all surgical cases. The doctors lead a bilingual staff of skilled opticians who treat customers in English and Spanish. They also delve into continuing education and test up-to-date optical instruments such as goggles with underwater x-ray vision. Drawing from their extensive training, they perform a range of services such as diabetic, pediatric, contact-lens, and comprehensive eye exams, as well as LASIK procedures and corneal-refractive therapy. They also fit faces for designer frames by Ray-Ban, Gucci, Vera Bradley, and Michael Kors and eyes for contact lenses by brands such as Acuvue, CooperVision, and Bausch & Lomb.
Boasting vibrant, inviting décor speckled with fashionable frames, Wink Eyewear helps outfit customers with functional ocular accessories. Inside the bright eyewear boutique, frames by international designers wait anxiously to cling to cozy facial structures while improving the vision and appearance of Wink Eyewear's shelves. Stop UV rays from obfuscating oglers with prescription Ray-Ban Wayfarers ($278+), or try on a pair of handmade-in-Spain prescription Etnia Barcelona frames ($468+) that endow irises with striking colors such as red, blue, and checkered. Imported from Paris, prescription glasses by Alain Mikli ($918 on average) are made with ultra-light titanium and organic plant-based acetates, which appeal especially to green eyes and eyes that have publicly announced that they are going green.