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Ocean Optometry blends eyewear with fashion

When deciding what frames to carry, John Wilson said he always looks first for independent designers, and keeps an eye out for options that bring something unique
John Wilson, optometrist and co-owner of Ocean Optometry, with his mug.

This week’s midweek mugging recipient is John Wilson, co-owner and optometrist at Ocean Optometry.

Located at 5240 Blowers St., Ocean Optometry is an open, sunlit space, accented by a brick wall with frames neatly lined on the shelves. The shop provides frames, lenses, sunglasses, contact lenses and eye exams.

“It’s a full scope optometry office,” Wilson said.

Wilson said he and his co-owner, Euan McGuinty, decided to open the shop after perceiving an opportunity to bring something new to the city.

“We felt there was a niche in Halifax for really good quality eyewear, independent eyewear...that wasn’t really loud and brash, but really, really well-made,” he said. “So that’s what we did.”

The store offers glasses for both men and women. When deciding what frames to carry, Wilson said he always looks first for independent designers, and keeps an eye out for options that bring something unique.

“We look for things that are a little bit more unusual but not really zany,” he said. “We look for how well-made they are…and what kind of material they are.”

The most popular glasses at the shop are from the Tom Davies collection, which gives customers the ability to design the frames themselves. 

“It’s fully customizable, so nose fit, temple size, eye size, colour, material… so then the fit’s better,” Wilson said.

The shop takes appointments for eye exams throughout the day, with room for the occasional walk-in. Those who are not patients but interested in new glasses are able to bring their prescription into the store.

Wilson, who wears glasses himself, said being surrounded by different frames all day can be like being a kid in a candy shop.

“I wear a different shirt every day…I don’t wear different glasses every day, but it’s nice to change things up a bit, so I definitely have multiple pairs,” he said.

Wilson said the store sees a wide variety of customers, including a high number of students.

He said cultural forces, such as the hipster movement and celebrity endorsement, have made wearing glasses more trendy in recent years.

“The fashion side of eyewear definitely has blossomed,” Wilson said. “So that it’s not as uncool now to have glasses, people aren’t as embarrassed…it’s more oh yeah, I’ve got these glasses, and I’m rocking them.”


Nicole Bayes-Fleming

About the Author: Nicole Bayes-Fleming

Nicole Bayes-Fleming is a freelance reporter and digital editor based in Halifax. She graduated from Carleton University in 2017.
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