SVS Optical 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 50 locations sprawled across 10 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 Optical Center’s frames can also hold sunglass lenses as well, eliminating squinting during summer months and tropical vacations.
Dr. M. Farooq Ashraf mastered the excimer laser as a member of the faculty at Johns Hopkins University, and he now wields the ultramodern tool as he adds to his career tally of more than 35,000 LASIK procedures. As founder and medical director of Atlanta Vision Institute, he draws upon his skills as a board-certified ophthalmologist to correct nearsighted, farsighted, and astigmatic vision with refractive surgery. In addition to giving the gift of sight, Dr. Ashraf gives back to the community by supporting local charities and providing discounted services to financially strapped Cyclopes.
Doctor of Optometry T. Matthew Brown has seen all that can happen to an unhealthy eye. In his more than 10 years of clinical experience, he’s worked in practices specializing in such eye diseases as glaucoma and cataracts. Today, he runs a practice that focuses on each individual patient, conducting thorough tests to ensure the health of each eye. During exams, he sits patients in front of a Humphrey Matrix machine that investigates both eyes for retinal, vascular, and neurological conditions. Then, a special laser scans the back of each eye, looking for early signs of glaucoma and evidence of having read someone’s diary without permission. When it’s called for, Dr. Brown welcomes patients to peruse the shelves of Visionary Eyecare’s extensive frame boutique, which stocks such name brands as Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Coach, and Nike.
Husband and wife team Andy and Gazal Tabrizipour started Atlanta Vision Optical because of dissatisfaction with the low-quality lenses they’d found elsewhere. “When typical one-hour shops make lenses,” explains Andy, “they add the non-scratch coating afterward, which tends to peel and come off.” Rather than adding the coatings onto the surface of the lens, Atlanta Vision’s own private lab custom crafts each lens with the coating blended into the material itself. The scratch-resistant properties then become part of the lens.
Inside the boutique, guests meander among shelves of frames from brands including Hugo Boss, Chanel, Tom Ford, and Sama. Soothing music and aquamarine walls give one the feeling of having wandered into a spa or the relaxing room that scientists have to keep Mothra in. Mahogany-trimmed furniture cradles patrons, who sip coffee or tea or chat with opticians and specialists about frame design. The team is trained in-house, and their style-savvy eyes can also select frames befitting each individual’s facial shape or proclivity to whip off sunglasses and shoot a suave glance straight into the nearest camera.
Within the onsite optical lab at each Eyeworks location, opticians perform virtually any act of optical alchemy, whether forging new bifocals, mending bent or broken frames, or glazing lenses in protective coatings that cut down on glare and scratches. Armed with a knack for style, opticians cull from the stores' collection of designer frames—including popular models from Dakota Smith and Lafont and exclusive lines from Soho and Okki—to match each customer with a look to suit their personality and facial structure. Before either can get to work, however, optometrists conduct comprehensive eye exams, helping patients maintain healthy, focused vision by honing new prescriptions and diagnosing potential diseases such as cataracts or early-onset googly eyes.
Ansley Eye Care’s trained eyebrarians pair customers with designer eyewear and sunglasses to suit both bookish looks and Dewey Decimal System–rejecting lifestyles. Designer frames provide couture window-boxes to the soul, with names such as Gucci, Prada, and Marc Jacobs parading over ears and nose bridges like supermodels stranded on a head-shaped planet ($95+). Kate Spade and Banana Republic frames equip eyes with chic peeps, and Ray-Ban’s and Roberto Cavalli’s signature styles help wearers to communicate a devil-may-care attitude toward pillow tags and junk mail. Ansley Eye Care also offers durable plastic prescription lenses, ensuring that customers will be able to admire their reflections with the utmost clarity ($99+).