Eye-wear dealer Optica opens second shop in Thika

Lucy Mwangi, Lewis Kamau & Wazeem Mohamed
Lucy Mwangi (left), Lewis Kamau (centre) and Wazeem Mohamed from Optica cutting a cake to mark opening of Optica's second branch in Thika located at Thika Bazaar along Kenyatta highway. NMG PHOTO 

Eye-wear dealer Optica has opened a shop at Thika’s Bazaar Mall, targeting to offer customers authentic products in an industry teeming with fakes.

This is the second branch that Optica has unveiled in the bustling town characterised by many optical service providers.

Head of retail Wazeem Mohamed said the state-of-the-art store brings to 32 the number of Optica’s branches countrywide. “Unfortunately today we have many optical shops operating in this region but without a qualified optometrist and our effort is to extend more options to the public to receive proper eyecare services,” he said.

Optica is a family-owned business started 59 years ago on Nairobi’s Moi Avenue. During its formative years, the bulk of clients were the well-to-do in society — mostly government officials and businesspeople who had knowledge of eyesight problems, the options available to them and the money to acquire them.

Today, the dealer offers a range of frames and sunglasses at a friendly price in an effort to protect customers from quacks selling counterfeit products at “unreasonable prices”. “We have frames retailing at a price as little as Sh890 and a vast range thereafter but at well within the range people of this region can afford,” he said.

Optica stocks about 10,000 different frames and offers all major ophthalmic lens brands.

Each frame comes in six options, addressing colour and size needs.

The firm sources its lenses from Essilor, a France-based company that produces ophthalmic lenses and attendant equipment.

Eight years ago, Optica ventured into making its own eyewear, launching a brand called Oxygene in the local market even as it continued stocking international brands.

The brand had been customised to fit African face shapes, the company said. Four years ago it introduced another of its own brands, Cactus, to build on the success of the first innovation. “Our lenses are similarly priced while not compromising on quality, which unfortunately is not the case with competitors we have come across,” said Mr Wazeem.

Recently, Optica introduced the blue block lenses in the local market to cater for users of computers and other digital screens.