Suburban shop providing free protective, prescription eyewear to frontline

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CRETE, Ill. — As the coronavirus in Illinois pandemic continues, people have been trying to do anything they can to support healthcare workers. Everything from providing meals, making PPE and even holding parades. 

Now a small eyewear shop in the south suburbs is providing them with some highly specialized, critical equipment for free.

Katey Sylvester and her husband Louie operate Main Street Optical in Crete.

“Basically what we’re doing is supplying prescription safety eyewear,” she said.

The business was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic until a friend who is a nurse in an ICU asked them if they could make something that could make it easier for her to wear her glasses and her mask.

“We realize there’s a greater need for it,” Katey Sylvester said. “And since our business was currently shut down … We decided to get everything made for anyone that needs them.”

So the glasses that normally cost between $160 and $280 are now free of charge for frontline healthcare workers.

Amanda Harris is a registered nurse from the south suburbs who was struggling with her glasses and the personal protective equipment she has to wear.

“I can’t see without my glasses, so I must have them on,” she said.

But she said it can be painful.

“They dig into your ears, it was putting sores on my ears,” she said. “At the end of the shift my ear hurts so bad.”

A friend told Harris about the free prescription goggles.

“I tried them on. I can!” she said. “I didn’t have to put goggles over my glasses. I just popped them on, put my shield on and got to work. It was nice.”

Since word got out, orders are piling up.  Louie Sylvester makes the glasses by hand.

“I want healthcare workers to be able to go to work and feel confident in the work that they’re doing so that we can get this over with as soon as possible,” Katey Sylvester said.

“That gesture was just, it was everything to me,” Harris said. “I was like, ‘Wow, people care.’”

Katey Sylvester and her husband have made close to 500 glasses so far and requests for hundreds more are flooding in. 

Those interested in a pair can email the prescription to

Donation checks can be sent to:
SafetyRX Services, Inc
1322 Benton St.
Crete, IL 60417

Or on Paypal & Zelle at (708) 682-6998

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