Eyesight correction was popular among ancient Romans, who toted brick-heavy specs to gladiatorial contests to catch a glimpse of mascots catapulting togas into the crowd. Assess the modern version of vision with today’s Groupon: for $75, you get $180 toward frames and lenses at Colonial Opticians in Gaithersburg, Maryland.
Colonial Opticians' peeper pros have been fitting faces with frames and sculpting lenses on site since 1964. Having weathered decades of capricious eyewear trends, such as radiation-emitting x-ray specs and disorienting 1-D glasses, the family business brings noses into sharp focus with frames ($100+) for both sun and shade. Vibrant, hand-painted frames from Ronit Furst ($240+) are a favorite among cartoon parrot librarians, and share wall space in the showroom with the stark geometry of Kliik's Danish lens cages ($223+). Shoppers carrying a current prescription in hand can also order custom lenses—including single-vision lenses ($78), bifocals ($120), and progressives ($250)—or choose from different lens treatments that protect against scratches, create a mirrored surface, or inhibit glare. Turnaround time may be as short as a day, but varies depending on the prescription and specifications of each client.