Modern Optical International proudly marks its 50th Anniversary. The company’s history spans five decades, from humble beginnings to emerging as a respected industry leader. Modern’s “Cheers to 50 Years!” celebration invites friends and customers to join them for a year of nostalgia, giveaways, and special promotions.

Modern Optical was founded in 1974 by two dedicated entrepreneurs, Yale Weissman and Don Ellefsen. Modern’s mission was clear from the beginning: Provide affordable, fashionable eyewear to ECPs that their patients will be proud to wear. Their initial offerings were limited to two double-bar styles aptly named The Yale and The Don. Weissman hit the road with a tray of samples, an ordering pad, and a stack of road maps. The phones started to ring, and Modern Optical was officially in business.

Yale’s son, Ken, joined Modern Optical in 1991 and for the next 25 years they expanded the company’s footprint building their reputation in the market. When Yale passed in 2016, Ken assumed the role of President and CEO. Modern became a third-generation family business in 2021 when Ken and Paula’s son, Jonathan, came on board. They feel incredibly blessed to mentor and learn from Jonathan every day.

Wins and losses marked the passage of time – tracking ever-evolving eyewear fashion, onboarding thousands of loyal customers in the US and abroad, and growing our home office with a dedicated customer-centric team. Throughout the past fifty years, Modern Optical’s original mission has remained unchanged. The need for value-oriented eyewear proved timeless and ubiquitous.

From two styles in 1974 to over 1,200 today, Modern’s value-oriented selection is unmatched. The company also offers essential optical kits/supplies and, with a nod to the future, developed a suite of virtual try-on technology services.

Ken Weissman reflects on the company’s milestone, “We are beyond grateful to have served thousands of eye care professionals all these years. My father would be so proud of how Modern has stayed true to its mission and values. We thank everyone who has contributed to our longevity as we usher in the next 50 years with relentless commitment and passion.”


About Modern Optical International

Founded in 1974, Modern Optical International (MOI), is a suburban Chicago family-owned and operated wholesaler of quality, affordable eyewear. An industry leader in value eyewear and managed care expert, Modern offers an extensive, inclusive selection of over 1,200 styles. Summit Optical Supply provides cases, parts, cleaning cloths and more. OCHO Vision offers virtual try-on services and e-commerce solutions to help independent ECPs grow their practices. Modern Optical Canada and Modern Optical Africa, both wholly-owned subsidiaries of MOI, distribute all product lines of MOI. Please visit or call 800.323.2409 for more information.