By Jane Bartnett
Only Eyes Optical Boutique in Gulf Gate is a treasure trove for men and women who wear glasses. Walking into the bright and welcoming space that is filled with color, art and beautifully designed glasses is a feast for the eyes. Eyeglass frames on display designed for men and women, as well as unisex designs along with a large selection of sunglasses, are far beyond what a big box retail optical store offers.
Optician Diana Reason is the owner of the business on Superior Avenue and an artist in her own right, making it a special place.
“Eyeglasses are an extension of your personality,” Reason said. “I love it when my customers are able to see how good they look and how well they can see, as well.”
With 25 years of professional experience as a licensed optician, Reason opened the Only Eyes shop three years ago after relocating to Sarasota from Fort Lauderdale.
After selling her successful optical store there that she ran for 14 years, she was delighted to make Gulf Gate her new location. “This is a such a special community. We all help each other and work together here in Gulf Gate,” she said.
Before running her own business, Reason spent time working as a licensed optician for large optical concerns, giving her a multi-faceted understanding of the business. The daughter of an eye doctor, Reason has made the optical field her own. She brings a wealth of clinical as well as aesthetic experience to her patients.
“I’m like the pharmacist,” she said. “The patient brings the prescription and I fill it.”
Experience in the optical world, she explains, as in all fields of medicine, is important.
“Not all prescriptions are suitable for all frames. For example, a piano player has different lens needs than a golfer who needs sun protection,” she said.
Being able to inform the patient about the right kind of glasses for them, in addition to selecting an appealing design is what she enjoys.
As skilled as she is in her clinical duties, Reason brings the eye of an artist to her work. A talented painter, she enjoys creating and designing specialized eyewear for her customers that make the glasses a one-of-a-kind item.
“Glasses are art for your eyes,” she said, while holding up a pair of women’s Coco & Song Eyewear glasses that are delicately decorated with real dried flowers and recycled coins. “Why not make your glasses your own personalized accessory? People want to express themselves and your glasses say that I am unique, I am not one of the crowd.”
Selecting a pair of glasses that are flattering, comfortable and within budget can be challenging. While it is an individual decision, Reason enjoys helping her patrons to find the right pair for them. She noted that men often have trouble picking the right frame.
“I have an Italian line of glasses for ‘big men’ by Chemistrie Di Lusso. They are handmade in Italy and comfortable. I help them to find the frame that best fits their face,” she said.
Two of Reason’s favorite small brands in her Only Eyes collection are Mattisse, hand-painted Italian frames, and Mattew, architecturally inspired eyewear from Denmark, made from pure titanium.
She carries another popular titanium line from the German eyewear designer Cazal. A unisex line, Elvis once wore the line. Snoop Dog and Brad Pitt like them too, said Reason. “They never go out of style and they are very light on your face.”
The Caviar line of women’s glasses are sheer vintage glamor. Designs decorated with glittering Swarovski crystals and black cat eye frames are perfect for a night on the town. “Many of my customers have glasses for every occasion and to match their outfits,” she said.
For active men and women who fish and boat, protecting their eyes from the sun is very important and Only Eyes has a wide selection of glasses that can be worn to enjoy Siesta Key’s and Sarasota’s natural wonders.
“I carry a line of Maui Jim sunglasses that are specially designed for being on the water. I can also customize prescription sunglasses for men and women. The Wiley X line offers a good-looking combination safety and sunglass with cushioning around the inside of the frame,” she said.
Comprehensive eye examinations by Dr. Alex Brocato, a board-certified optometry physician, are available by appointment at Only Eyes. Reason also offers a large selection of free children’s frames suitable for kids from 5 to 15. She also fills prescriptions for definition progressives and contact lenses. Paying tribute to veterans such as her husband, son and daughter, Reason offers veterans 15% off prescription glasses.
Walk-ins are welcome. Appointments may be arranged by phone for frame selection and for eye examinations with Brocato. The Only Eyes website features many of the styles sold at the store. Visit onlyeyesopticalboutique.com or call (941) 444-7984. Store hours are Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.