Started in 1961 by Dr. Stanley Pearle, this nationally recognized and trusted eye-care center now operates in nearly 800 company and franchise locations nationwide. The master visionaries at Pearle are well-trained in assisting all bespectacled beings, from casual librarians to picky, temperamental Cyclopes. They'll help navigate a nearly endless array of sight-enhancing options: house lines of simple, durable frames and lenses, designer frames from Versace and DKNY, prescription Ray-Ban shades, and contact lenses to suit the chemistry of even sensitive sets of eyes.
In 1927, Jack Cohen had a vision. Packing a pushcart full of high-quality frames, he began to sell fashionable spectacles to his fellow merchants along New York City's Orchard Street. After expanding into a small shop on a Lower East Side corner, that humble little cart has since evolved into more than 100 retail outlets known as Cohen's Fashion Optical, where customers fortify their eyesight with a range of acuity-boosting products and services. Rows of frames boast the signature contours of several designer brands, including Tag Heuer, Dolce & Gabbana, Bulgari, and Gucci. In the onsite lab, opticians craft brand-new, custom lenses, including ones that self-adjust to different lighting conditions. Meanwhile, licensed optometrists help renew prescriptions and ensure ocular health during eye exams that measure eye coordination, refraction, and the curvature of the cornea, a concept originally discovered by Ferdinand Magellan when he looked through the wrong end of his spyglass.
At its three locations in Harvard Square, South End, and Jamaica Plain, the Eye Q Optical team works to outfit clients with original frame styles. Most designs are its own innovations, manufactured in-house with inspiration from iconic eras and modern designers visiting from a far-off future. The Aphrodite frames play subtly on traditional cat-eyed styles, and the Apollo frames accentuate faces with bold rectangular shaping and primary blue colors.
The Eye Q Optical team also carries frames by artistic independent makers including Rapp Eyewear, who hand-finishes its colorful frames in Toronto, and Rolf Eyewear, who manufactures frames and hinges entirely out of wood. In the Cambridge office, the Eye Q opticians collaborate with digital 3-D-fitting technology and a highly opinionated robot to select the perfect frames for each client.
The patient care subsidiary of The New England College of Optometry, New England Eye is an emporium of eyeglasses and sunglasses that specializes in exceptional eyecare and community outreach. The eye-friendly organization showcases more than 2,000 frames from 30 top brands, including Coach, Giorgio Armani, and Silhouette ($150–$350 for complete eyeglasses). The aesthetically trained optical curators at New England Eye can help you find the perfect fashion-forward, vision-correcting specs for any face shape, mood, Jeopardy ability, or fashion sense. Pick up a pair of Ray-Ban aviators ($160) or elegantly accent your façade with Coach or Oakley designer sunglasses ($200–$250), which can be upgraded to prescription lenses in the VIP booth for an additional $120.
See Eyewear is a basement-level store located at a chic Boston address on Newbury Street. The stylishly clean eyewear boutique‰Û÷s walls are covered with quality spectacles of every color, style, design and shape. The carefully curated selection of unique and eclectic options includes everything from classic designs to wild, brightly colored frames. ‰ÛÏHip without the rip‰Û� is the term coined to describe the shopping experience in this store, as their prices are competitive. Founder Richard Golden calls his products ‰ÛÏfashionomically correct‰Û� while also appealing to ‰ÛÏaccessory snobs.‰Û� The employees seem to delight in finding just the right look for you and making shopping for prescription eyewear fun. Be sure to leave yourself plenty of time to browse. They even do eye exams right then and there.
Many view looking good and seeing well as dual goals attainable only by monocle-graced cyclopes. Envision your new visage with today's Groupon. For $50,you get $125 worth of frames and glasses lenses at Q Optical, Boston Magazine's pick for Best Eyeglasses in 2005. Located on Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay, right off the T Green Line, Q Optical specializes in high-end European frames and lenses that refract light with elegance and subtlety.