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.
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 Laser Center. There, a team of seven board-certified ophthalmologists, optometrists, and surgeons put Elizabeth and other clients 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."
Since Dr. Stanley Pearle opened the doors to the first Pearle Vision in 1961, the franchise has expanded to more than 800 stores nationwide including the Springfield location, where Drs. Kostelnik and Gericke—known as Drs. K and G around the office—draw on more than 60 years of combined experience to assess the ocular health of patients no longer able to discern between aunts and ants in flowered dresses.
In the store, opticians help customers to navigate the assortment of frames from brands such as Armani, Nine West, Eddie Bauer, and Nicole Miller. They also help to focus the world with contacts from Acuvue, allowing cyclops to throw away their anachronistic monocles and fit in with the 21st century's hip, nonprescription spyglasses.
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.
The eye center boasts a collection of frames for adults by Prada, Juicy Couture, and Armani Exchange, as well as kid-friendly frames from Disney and Nickelodeon. It also offer patients eye exams, contact lenses, and Latisse eyelash-growth serum, and once a year its optometrists show their support for military personnel and veterans with complimentary eye exams and multiple pats on the back.