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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Optical Options: Welcome Sight for Sore Eyes

One look around Moscow shows that more and more, classics of socialist optical design -- like the Soviet scientist look of thick-rimmed square-shaped frames with even thicker lenses -- are becoming a thing of the past. Even cheap imported frames are becoming more popular than vintage Soviet ones.

Moscow has in fact become a mecca for eye-catching and expensive glasses from abroad, but more reasonably priced spectacles are also available. It is possible to walk into any optician with a prescription from abroad to have lenses made.

Interoptika, Ulitsa Krasikova 16a, Metro Profsoyuznaya. Tel: 128-5717. About the most impressive supplier of glasses in Moscow is Interoptika, just off Profsoyuznaya Ulitsa. Occupying 1,700 attractive square meters of space, this is a shop that will delight even those with perfect vision, for it offers a choice of fashion accessories like Loewe scarves, interesting gift items and even china sets. There is also a cafe that caters to waiting clients.

Interoptika's vast selection of brand-name frames is incomparable to any other in Moscow. They have a staff of 150, including optometrists, lens grinders and other specialists.

The store offers "fashion consulting," carried out by a video computer that reproduces a photographic image of the client wearing the glasses of his/her choice to check if the style is flattering.

The store is open seven days a week and glasses can be ordered to be ready within half an hour at no extra charge.

Virtually every designer brand is represented at Interoptika -- from the most prominent names in the eyeglass industry, including L'Amy, Safilo, Cazal, Neostyle, Menrad and Roman Rothschild. Haute couture is also represented, with styles by Armani and Yves Saint Laurent, for example.

But all that service and all of those beautiful frames -- from the simple wire-rimmed to jewel-encrusted combinations and wacky triangular numbers in improbable colors -- cost dearly.

The least expensive pair is about $60, going up to well over $1,000 for a Cartier. The average price for popular designer frames ranges between $100 and $300: L'Amy frames cost $169, Christian Dior , $290, while sparkling gold frames with encrusted rhinestones by Tiffany can cost up to $450.

Interoptika also supplies all varieties of lenses. Russian lenses can start as low as $1.50, Korean and German lenses start at $5, while lenses by the more exclusive Rodenstock start at $15.

The store also provides a guarantee, repairs glasses and sells all maintenance products. Vision can be tested for $10.

Moscow Centre Optics, Frunzenskaya Naberezhnaya 54, Metro Frunzenskaya. Tel: 242-3069. Despite its lackluster exterior, this shop has most of the same brands as Interoptika but on a smaller scale.

The shop specializes in plastic lenses which can be treated with anti-glare and anti-ultra violet coatings. Lenses can be ground in a matter of hours and start at $58. Lenses can also be made very thin, which can cost approximately $300. For more severe cases of visual disorder, the cost of the lens can reach up to $575.

Specialists are also available for consultation and advice on how to care for eyeglasses. Lenses can be ordered from abroad and are delivered within two to three weeks.

Karstadt Optik, Metro Ploshad Revolutsii. Conveniently located in GUM, Karstadt, along with its token selection of very expensive Cartier frames, has a good choice of middle-range European frames at more competitive prices. Service is not as personalized, nor does the store convey such a sense of exclusivity as the others. Frames, however, are affordable and start as low as 40 Deutsche marks. The selection includes many German, Austrian and Italian frames which range from 200 to 300 Deutsche marks. Lenses are German and start at 40 marks, but can go as high as 700 marks.

All of the stores mentioned above sell contact lenses and offer a good choice of children's glasses.