Rx Optical Blog Image Last Minute Summer Fun 08.07.19

Last-Minute Summer Fun in Michigan

Can you believe that the summer is almost over? It seems like we just had our first beach day…and now it is back-to-school time! Don’t forget we are offering $19 exams for kids age 4 to 18 through September 30th.

Before we head into fall, we want to make sure you squeeze as much as you can out of your Michigan summer. We worked really hard on these awesome suggestions for making the most of your dwindling summer days.

Grab your family and hit the road, be sure to tag us in your photos – #myrxframes or #rxoptical.

Visit Your Nearest Garden

Our state is filled with so much natural beauty, did you know we have over 100 state parks? If you are looking for an easy to get to destination, head to one of our state’s amazing botanical gardens. No matter where you live, there’s one close to you. West Michigan has the Frederik Meijer Gardens, while Central Michigan should stop by the MSU Horticulture Gardens, and Ann Arbor residents can head to Matthaei Botanical Gardens.

Explore Underwater

We’ve already shared our favorite places to play in and on the water, did you know you can also explore under the water and learn all about shipwrecks.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is located in Alpena, and it’s one of the best places to learn all about what’s under the water. This location is complete with artifacts from shipwrecks, a 93-seat theater, and more.

Hop in a glass-bottomed boat with Alpena Shipwreck Tours to get an in-person look at sunken ships. Their boat tours will take you over some of the local shipwrecks to get up and personal with wrecks without diving in.

Pack polarized sunglasses for your trip. They’ll protect your eyes from UV rays and cut down on the glare from the water so you can see clearly.

Go on a (safe) Bear Walk

If your family love animals, Oswald’s Bear Ranch in Newberry is so COOL. It’s the largest bear ranch in the United States, and it’s located right here in Michigan.

They are home to over forty free roaming black bears, visitors are kept safe behind barriers. 4 p.m. is the bears’ regular feeding time, so you can observe them chowing down. Be sure to get your picture taken with a bear cub, when else will you get that up close and personal? It’s only $10, and the proceeds go towards rescuing more bears.

We sure do love the Mitten ❤️, we can’t wait to hear all about your excursions. Tag us in your photos, use the hashtags #rxoptical or #myrxframes.

While we’re reminding you of things, schedule your back-to-school eye exam.

Rx Optical Blog Image Little Known Facts About Glasses 08.02.19

Little Known Facts About Eyeglasses

What do you put on every morning? Wear all day long? Take off before you go to sleep? Here is a clue…they help you see clearer and you don’t leave home without them. Any guesses?

It’s your eyeglasses (obviously)! It is so natural for us to put them on in the morning, we don’t often give them anymore thought than that.

With our doctors being focused on vision every single day, they have lots of interesting facts about eyewear we thought would be fun to share.

The History of Glasses

Although the term “glasses” came along much later, the first vision aid was invented around 1000 AD. This was called, “the reading stone.” Unlike the glasses we know today, reading stones weren’t worn. They were set on top of small letters to magnify the text, which made reading easier.

It’s thought that the first wearable glasses were created in Italy in 1824. These were made using wood, copper, leather, or bone. They were usually held manually, since they came without any mechanism that would keep them on your face.

To make glasses actually wearable, Spanish eyeglass manufacturers tied ribbons around the lenses and looped them around their ears. This kept the wearer from having to hold their glasses up themselves.

Fun Eyeglasses Facts

Modern glasses are not made with glass. Instead, our glasses are made of high-tech plastics that can be treated to filter harmful UV rays. This makes modern glasses thinner, lighter, and more durable.

Founding Father, Benjamin Franklin, developed the bifocal lens when he grew tired of changing his glasses in order to see near and far. To make his life easier, he put two lenses in one.

Can you guess who has the most impressive collection of eyeglasses? It’s none other than the Rocketman himself: Elton John. It’s estimated he has anywhere between 2,000 and 250,000 eyeglasses!

If you are a glasses wearer, you are not alone – 25% of the world wears prescription glasses or corrective lenses. Stop in to find your new favorite pair of eyeglasses, to receive a comprehensive eye exam, or to chat with our doctors about the best solution for you. See you soon!

Rx Optical Blog Image Favorite Rivers in MI 07.25.19

Our Favorite Michigan Rivers

There’s nothing better than a Michigan river. That’s why we love to spend a day floating down or fishing on all sorts of streams across our beautiful state. Michigan’s rivers are perfect for everyone, no matter what your preferred water pastime is.

To help you enjoy these natural beauties, our team has rounded up our favorite rivers to float, paddle, and fish on. Check out our list and get ready for some late summer fun.

For Canoers

Whether you’re hopping in your canoe for a workout, to take in the scenic views, or to catch a few fish, you’ll want to visit the Huron River. The Huron River winds past Ann Arbor, Detroit, and all the small towns in between, so it’s a great mix of wild country and city life. There are plenty of places to drop your canoe in the water, as well as great picnic spots, so don’t forget to pack some snacks!

For Tubers

Whether you like skidding across the water or enjoying a relaxing float, you have to go tubing on the Muskegon River. It’s a great choice for tubers of all skill sets and ages, including families with young kids. In fact, there are plenty of options for short or long tubing routes, de-pending on your preference. Just make sure to take out your contacts before you hit the water to lower your risk of eye infections.

For Sightseers

Drive towards the Upper Peninsula and you won’t be able to miss Platte River. It’s located in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, and the water even winds into the Pere Marquette State Forest. That means the river is surrounded by 30 miles of awesome views. Wear your polarized sunglasses to ensure you can take in all the beautiful scenery without squinting or damaging your vision. Plus, polarized sunglasses help to reduce glare that will be glinting off the water. Trust us. You’ll want to see everything.

For Fisherman

A summer fly fishing trip isn’t complete without a stop on the Au Sable River. There is always a trout (or ten) ready to bite, and the other small fish in the system will test your patience and skill. We like to cast our lines on the Comins Flats because you can easily get in the water and wade. After all, fishing is always more fun when you can get up close and personal with the water.

If you need other river suggestions, we have plenty. Stop in to tell us your favorite spot and to find out where you need to go next. While you’re here, make sure you pick up a pair of polarized sunglasses so you can take in all of the views without straining your eyes. With how beautiful Michigan rivers are, you won’t want to miss a thing.

Rx Optical Blog Image Eyecare Essentials for College Students 07.18.19

Eyecare Essentials for College Students

It’s easy to get carried away when you’re packing for college. We know it’s important to make sure you have your fun pillows and your fancy mugs for your new Keurig, but don’t for-get to make your health a priority.

Our team of expert doctors wants you have the best college experience possible, and that includes great vision for the whole time you’re at school. We know how busy it can get those first few weeks (and how much sleep you won’t be getting), so we’ve put together some eye care advice and packing recommendations to set you up for that all-night studying.

Avoid Digital Eye Strain

You’re probably going to spend a lot of time in front of a screen. You’ll be using a computer to take notes, to participate in lectures, to read your textbook, and to catch up on your fa-vorite shows. Digital eye strain can create a lot of issues for your vision, like making your eyes feel tired and dry. It can even cause blurry vision. Give your eyes a break and follow the 20-20-20 rule.

What to pack: BluTech Lenses. These filter blue light and improve your vision contrast and clarity. In fact, since they filter out light from digital devices, BluTech Lenses can improve the quality of your sleep, too. They also don’t mess with your ability to use your favorite tech de-vices, so that’s a win-win.

Keep Contacts Clean

Make sure to practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with soap and water before placing your contacts in your eyes.

Our team recommends daily-wear contact lenses, so you don’t have to expose your eyes to a bacteria-ridden case. When you take your contact lenses out at night, make sure to give your eyes a break before you head to bed. You deprive your eyes of oxygen when you keep contacts in. Set them free!

While you’re at it, be sure to keep your contacts away from water, including when you shower, since it can cause irritation and dryness.

We know that with the late-night studying, you’ll be tempted to sleep in your contacts (ouch, talk about dry eye irritation), but make sure you never do. You also shouldn’t share contact solution with roommates. Sharing germs is as much fun as sharing a bedroom, are we right?

What to pack: Extra contact cleaning solution – and hide it, just in case your roommate tries to use it!

Sharing Doesn’t Equal Caring

If you wear makeup, we want you to imagine this: you’re about to head out to a party when you realize you’re out of mascara. A swipe of your roommate’s mascara on each eyelash won’t cause any harm, right?

Wrong. Not to scare you, but you should never, ever share makeup, since viral infections spread quickly. As much as you want to try that new eyeshadow palette your friend ordered, you’re better off sticking to your own makeup collection and replacing it every three months.

What to pack: Your own makeup and makeup remover. You’re probably gonna want to hide this as well.

Sport Safety

Whether you’re playing as a signed athlete or joining an intramural team, sports eye safety is a must. Protect your eyes with the right eyewear to avoid eye injuries. After all, sports-related eye injuries are the leading cause of blindness in those under the age of 18 in the U.S.

What to pack: Sports safety glasses. Try on a pair today! We have a bunch of different styles, so you don’t need to worry about function over fashion.

UV Protection

Not to scare you or anything, but the decisions you make now will affect you later in life, and we don’t just mean your career choices. Choosing to forego sunglasses now can lead to the development of cataracts, macular degeneration, or some eye cancers when you’re older. Don’t risk your vision now or later.

What to pack: Sunglasses with UV-400 protection and polarized lenses to eliminate glares. Whether they’re prescription sunglasses or non-prescription, pack more than one pair; everyone loves options, so you’ll never find yourself without them. Remember: it’s just as important to wear sunglasses on cloudy and snowy days as it is in the summer.

Regular Eye Exams

Last but not least, make sure to get a regular eye exam. Not only does this allow opticians to track yearly changes in your eye health, but it can give a glimpse into your overall health! You can even schedule an appointment over a break when you’re home from school to make it easy.

Remember that if you need to see an eye doctor while you’re away at school, you can stop by any of our 56 locations. If you go to West Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Michigan State University, or University of Michigan, we have offices directly in your college town. Even if you usually see our team when you’re back home, we have access to the same records and information, no matter which location you choose, so every location is convenient for you.

What to pack: Your eye doctor’s phone number. That way you won’t need to look it up on the fly. Stick it on your fridge with a fun magnet so it’s right there when you need to make an appointment.

While we’re talking about it, you can start prepping for college now by getting your comprehensive eye exam before you leave for the semester. Stop in or give us a call.

Rx Optical Blog Image 2019 Eyelash Trends 07.11.19

Eyelash Trends and Your Eyes

Lash enhancements are all the rage this year, if you haven’t noticed. And it’s no surprise why! Services like lift and tints, eyelash extensions, and magnetic or glue-on lash strips can provide some eye-catching beauty benefits…or at least they might at first. It turns out that the long-term effects of these enhancements can be unhealthy for your lashes and eyes.

Our expert team cares about you and your vision. We also want to help you feel your best! That’s why we’re breaking down how lash enhancements can hurt your eyes. Don’t worry – we’re also offering a beautiful alternative.

Lift and Tint

Also known as a “lash perm,” a lift and tint is a procedure that lifts your lashes for weeks. It’s like curling your lashes with a curling wand but without the extra effort. This service also colors your lashes so they’re bolder, allowing you to ditch the mascara.

Lift and tints are a new procedure, which means they aren’t well regulated yet. We also don’t know all possible side effects. However, we do know that skin irritation like rashes or blisters is very common with this procedure. The chemical solution used in lift and tints is also known to cause irritation in those who have a history of dry eye, allergies, and eye and skin sensitivities.

What if the solution lands in your eye? You are at risk for a corneal abrasion, burn, or ulcer. And that doesn’t mean just when the solution is applied. This could happen if you rub your eye, too. Altogether, it might seem like a convenient procedure, but a lift and tint can be incredibly risky.

Eyelash Extensions

Optometrists around the state and country agree that out of all lash enhancements, eyelash extensions will cause the most harm to your eyes. Salons may advertise the enhancements as a safe and beautiful alternative to mascara, but the extensions can cause more harm than good.

Eyelash extensions are applied one strand at a time. Extensions are attached to a single one of your lashes with formulated, semi-permanent glue. The glue and often the lash extension itself can cause allergic reactions, infections, or styes to develop on the eyelid. And because the procedure typically takes over an hour, dry eyes are the most common symptom that can occur.

Long-term effects from extensions can create serious damage on your lashes. The glue can cause your natural lashes to fall out more frequently, which means they can’t protect your eyes as effectively.

Long story short? Eyelash extensions cause immediate and long-term issues for your eyes.

Magnetic and Glue-On Strips

Lash strips are often seen as a safe and much less costly alternative to other lash enhancements. These are applied on the lash line to give eyes an extra oomph. Glue-on strips can create similar issues to what eyelash extensions cause, thanks to the glue that accompanies them.

While magnetic strips eliminate glue, they can still create pressure on your natural lashes. This causes stress, which can make your natural lashes fall out more frequently.

A Healthy Alternative

With all these side effects, you might be wondering what the best alternative is. It’s simple: your natural lashes! Your eyelashes are important for blocking dust and debris. They also protect your eyes from foreign objects (like eyelash enhancements). In fact, your natural eyelashes do their best work when nothing is in their way.

Stop in to learn more about your eyelashes and safe alternatives to these enhancements. Our team can’t wait to see you and help you protect your eyes and eyelashes.

Rx Optical Blog Image Water Sports Eye Safety 07.08.19

Water Sports Eye Safety

Sports are a fun way stay healthy, and in the summer, water sports are a great way to cool off. Athletic activities are a blast, but it’s important to be safe while you play. More than 25,000 people seek treatment for sports-related eye injuries every year. We don’t want you to be one of them!

Our team wants to make sure you and your kids have fun, no matter what you’re doing. That’s why we’re sharing the best ways to protect your eyes while playing in the water.

Common Eye Injuries from Water Sports

According to Prevent Blindness, more eye injuries occur from water and pool activities than any other sport! The most common injuries your eyes can suffer from water sports and activities are:

  • Infections
  • Irritations
  • Scratches
  • Trauma from other swimmers
  • Corneal abrasions
  • Eye socket fractures
  • Swollen or detached retinas
  • Traumatic cataracts

If you experience eye irritation or have suffered eye trauma, seek medical help immediately, and be sure to speak with your optometrist as soon as possible.

Proper Protection

To prevent eye injury, it’s important to wear protective eyewear when playing sports, whether they’re on land or not. Did you know that regular glasses and eyewear aren’t effective at protecting your eyes from sports-related injuries? When it comes to water sports, normal goggles are great, but they won’t keep all pool chemicals or bacteria from oceans and lakes out of your eyes.

That’s why you need safety goggles. When you get safety goggles from an optical office like ours, you’ll get lenses that have protection provided by built-in high-quality polycarbonate. These lenses can also be altered to include your prescription. Not only will your eyes be protected, but you’ll have clear vision so you can perform your best!

Be Prepared

In order to prevent eye injuries, prepare your eyes before you jump into the water. We know it can be hard to wait to get into that pool, but taking a few seconds to prepare yourself now can save you a trip to the doctor later.

As tempting as it may be, don’t wear contacts in the water. When you wear contacts in a pool, lake, ocean, or river, it can increase your risk of getting an infection in your cornea. Bring a travel case and contact solution to store your contacts safely while you wear your goggles.

Speaking of goggles, keep yours in your pool, gym, or beach bag so you’re never left without them. That way you’ll never have to choose between swimming safely and seeing clearly.

Stop in to learn more about our prescription safety goggles and glasses and start protecting your vision today. We can’t wait to see you!

Rx Optical Blog Image Best Michigan Lakes 07.01.19

The Best Michigan Lakes for Summer Fun

While Minnesota may be the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” their state can’t boast about the Great Lakes like we do. Lake days are simply a part of Michigan living. A week in the summer without going to a lake is a week wasted.

Our team absolutely loves exploring our state, from hiking trails to the summer treats of Michigan, so it’s only right that we pay homage to our favorite lakes in Michigan. While we love all 5 of the great lakes, we had to choose our absolute favorite, and it was a struggle! But we made sure to also include three inland lakes that are ready for you to discover:

Lake Michigan

We may be partial to Lake Michigan since it’s so close our main office, but we mostly love that anyone on the west side of the state can enjoy this great lake with ease. The coast of Lake Michigan is dotted with great small towns, so no matter where you end up near Lake Michigan, adventure is sure to follow.

Torch Lake

Named as the Third Most Beautiful Lake in the WORLD by National Geographic, Torch Lake is Michigan’s longest and deepest lake. The water is crystal clear and when you are floating on it you truly feel like you are in the Caribbean. Several different boat rentals around the lake mean that everyone can have fun on Torch Lake! There are multiple sandbars you can float your boat to. You can even get lunch from a vendor boat. And yes, they are often around the sandbars at lunch or dinner time.

Seriously, can Northern Michigan get any better?

Lake Superior

The answer is yes, when you cross the Mackinac bridge into the Upper Peninsula to reach Lake Superior. Like Torch Lake, the water is clear and you can even see old shipwrecks if you take a paddle-board, canoe, or kayak out. We highly recommend doing one of those three things on a guided tour so you can learn more about the history of the area. It can get cold up there, so grab some blankets and your camping gear. You can even set up camp right on the shore!

Lake Leelanau

If you are headed to Traverse City this summer or fall for a wine tour, make it a point to stop by Lake Leelanau. This lake is great for swimming and fishing. You can pretty much plan on reeling in a walleye. Plus, this lake is on the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, so there are views for miles.

Lake St. Clair

We would be doing the east side of the state a disservice if we did not include Lake St. Clair on our list. If you have a layover, consider spending some time at this lake, since it’s the closest lake to Detroit and the airport. There are also many ports at Lake St. Clair, and some have more of a beach vibe while others are perfect for water sports. There’s so much to explore at this lake, including lagoons and estuaries!

Did we leave your favorite lake off the list? Make sure you stop in to one of our 55 locations to let us know which lake you love to visit in the summer! While you’re in our office, make sure to grab some sunglasses to protect your vision from the UV rays that will reflect off of the water during your lake day.

Rx Optical Blog Image National Sunglasses Day 06.20.19

National Sunglasses Day

It’s that time of the year again (finally!). The doctors at Rx Optical are excited and ready to celebrate our favorite eye-related holiday of the year: National Sunglasses Day.

The sun’s rays are extremely dangerous and harmful to your vision. We are passionate about preventative eye care. That’s why we provide our patients with helpful tips to protect their sight throughout the year (even in the winter!).

Wearing sunglasses is the best way to protect your eyes from the sun. This year, we’re protecting our eyes and celebrating eye health at the same time on National Sunglasses Day. National Sunglasses Day is held on Thursday, June 27. This celebration spreads awareness of how sunglasses can protect your eyes from UV rays.

Facts About Harmful UV Rays

UV rays are harmful rays that are produced by the sun. They’re broken into three different types: UVA, UVB and UVC. Both UVA and UVB rays reach the Earth and are dangerous to our eyes, but UVB light is the most dangerous. Since these rays are produced by the sun, they can be stronger when it’s highest in the sky. That means rays are most harmful between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but you still need protection throughout the whole day.

Many people believe that they’re only at risk on sunny summer days, but that isn’t true. Since the rays are capable of passing through clouds, you also need to wear sunglasses when it’s overcast. Surprisingly, snow can reflect up to 80 percent of UV light, which means that these rays are still damaging even in the dead of winter.

Although UV rays can harm your vision in any weather, keep in mind that UV light can be increased by humid conditions, which means it’s easier to get UV damage when you’re on the coast or somewhere else that’s humid.

Why Wear Sunglasses?

Sunglasses help protect our eyes from irreversible damage like cataracts or macular degeneration. While we all know that looking directly at the sun isn’t safe, being outside without sunglasses still hurts your eyes almost as much. UV rays take no days off, so always bring sun-glasses with you, even on cloudy, snowy, or rainy days.

At Rx Optical, we offer prescription sunglasses so that you can always have clear vision, even when you’re protecting your eyes from damaging sunlight. Who knew healthy living started with stylish frames?

Did Someone Say Giveaway?

We did! In order to celebrate National Sunglasses Day 2019 in all its glory, we need your help. Post a photo of yourself rocking your favorite sunglasses on social media.

Be sure to tag our page and to use the hashtag, #nationalsunglassesday and #sunglassselfie and like or follow our page. The contest will close on July 1, so start snapping those selfies! Once it’s closed, we’ll randomly select participants to win one of our amazing prizes: two $249 Sunglasses Certificates and five PHD-50 Lens Cleaning Kits.

If you don’t have a pair of prescription sunglasses, stop in for a pair! Schedule your comprehensive eye exam today and get the most up-to-date prescription for your eyes.

Already have a recent prescription? Great! Visit one of our 55 locations to find the perfect pair of sunglasses for your summer adventures.

Rx Optical Blog Image Swimming Pool Eye Safety 06.17.19

Eyes Burning? Swimming Pool Eye Safety Tips

Summer weather is synonymous with fun in the sun. On days when you don’t have time to make it to the lakeshore but still want to cool off, pools are the obvious way to go.

Whether you prefer to jump in, cannonball, or float, it’s extremely important to keep your eyes and vision protected. You’ve probably noticed that while pools are great, you can sometime walk away from them with irritated eyes.

Irritated eyes are very uncomfortable and can ruin a day of fun in the sun. Luckily for you, our team of doctors is here with helpful tips to keep your summer fun going swimmingly.

Danger of Pool Chemicals

Many pools use chemicals to keep the water clean and sanitary. However, these same chemicals can be very dangerous to your eyes and vision.

Coating the surface of your eyes is something called a tear film. This is a thin layer of tears that protects your eyes from irritants.

Chemicals found in pools, especially chlorine, can wash away the moist layer of tear film. This can irritate your eyes. There are a few different health concerns that can develop from this exposure to pool chemicals: swimmer’s eye, dry eye, or pink eye.

Swimmer’s Eye

Swimmer’s eye is the most common of the three health concerns and most recognizable. Symptoms of swimmer’s eye include:

  • Redness of the whites of your eyes
  • A stinging or burning sensation
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision

Dry Eye

If you experience dry eyes and spend a lot of time swimming in a pool, this can sometimes be attributed to the chemicals washing away that thin layer of tear film. Symptoms of dry eyes include:

  • The feeling of grit in the eye
  • Blurry vision
  • Not producing enough tears
  • Not producing the right kind of tears

Pink Eye

When chemicals wash away the thin layer of tear film, eyes are left fully exposed to all the pool chemicals and any lingering bacteria. Bacteria that survive on your eye can lead to an eye infection, most commonly, pink eye.

  • Common symptoms of pink eye include:
  • Redness of the whites of your eyes
  • Changes in eye discharge
  • Burning or itching eyes
  • Blurred vision

Protect Your Eyes

Goggles are an important part of taking care of your eyes in and around pools. Goggles create a barrier against harmful pool chemicals while also keeping your tear film healthy. Did you know you can get prescription goggles?

After you get out of a pool, be sure to wash your eyes immediately with fresh water. While it might seem fun to lounge in the sun after you’re done swimming, that won’t help to keep your vision and eyes protected. Washing out your eyes with fresh water will remove chlorine and other chemicals from your eyelids and eyelashes.

You should also stay hydrated while swimming, no matter if you are swimming for leisure or for a workout. You can also help to keep your eyes moist and comfortable by drinking water during your pool day.

If you begin to experience eye discomfort after swimming in a pool, it’s always smart to con-tact your doctor. We know how to treat your eye irritation and can help you avoid future eye problems. Reach out to our team of doctors today to learn more!

 

Rx Optical Blog Image Summer Treats 06.06.19

Must-Have Summer Treats in Michigan

No matter where you are in the country, there are certain tastes that scream, “Summer!” Michigan is no different. Our state has some of the most tantalizing and nostalgic delights for foodies of all ages.

We know summer isn’t quite here yet, but once you sink your teeth into these snacks, you’ll be ready for some unforgettable summer adventures.

Classic Corndogs

What better way to celebrate summer afternoons than with a corndog from Pronto Pups? This cash-only restaurant has been a staple of Grand Haven for the past 60 years. They’ve never changed their recipe, and they clearly don’t have to. Grab your sunglasses, hit the beach, and make sure to get in line early if you want one of these for lunch. Pronto Pups is incredibly popular!

Craveable Coney Dogs

How could we talk about Michigan classics without mentioning Coney Dogs? Although it’s not clear where they originated, Coney Dogs have been a Michigan staple since the 1900s. Swing by your local hotdog joint and ask for one of these delights, slathered in chili, mustard, and onions. Our mouths are already watering.

Homemade Cherry Pie

It’s no secret that Michiganders love cherries, and it’s even less of a secret that we all love cherry pie. In fact, our state has two of the largest cherry pie tins in the world on display in Traverse City and Charlevoix. It’s no wonder the northern part of the state makes some killer confections. Make sure you stop by to taste one (regular-sized pie) for yourself.

Cool Chillers

If you haven’t tried a Boston Chiller yet, you’re missing out. Despite the name, this incredible milkshake was created in Detroit. It’s the perfect blend of Vernor’s (another Michigan staple) and vanilla ice cream that’s bound to cool you down on even the hottest of days. This shake was created by Frank Sanders (yes, the same Sanders that popularized hot fudge sundaes) to showcase some of the best that Michigan has to offer.

We want you to enjoy the tastes and sights of summer. Schedule an exam today before you start on your culinary road trip.

 

A zoomed in photo of an eyeball with a blue iris.

Cataract Prevention and Awareness

June is Cataract Awareness Month! That’s why our doctors are committed to providing you with the advice, resources, and helpful tips you need to know about cataracts.

A cataract occurs when an eye’s lens becomes clouded. This condition inhibits or complete-ly blocks vision. Almost all cataracts are caused by age, so the people who are most at risk for cataracts are people over the age of 60.

Since we know that cataracts are age-related, there are some steps you can take to pro-tect your vision as you age.

What Causes Cataracts?

When you look at something, there is a lens in your eye that focuses light to the back of your eye. This light goes to the retina, where images are received. Your lens also adjusts the eye’s focus, which allows you to see images clearly, no matter how close or far they are.

As we age, the protein may clump together, creating a cloud. This makes it harder for light to pass through the lens onto the retina, which means it’s harder to see images clearly.

Symptoms of a Cataract

The most common symptoms of a cataract are:

  • Cloudy or blurry vision
  • Seeing faded colors
  • Glare, often from headlights, lamps or sunlight
  • Halos appearing around lights
  • Poor night vision
  • Double vision or multiple images in one eye
  • Frequent prescription changes in your eyeglasses or contact lenses

How to Prevent Cataracts

The best way to monitor for cataracts is by receiving annual, comprehensive eye exams. Eye exams are key indicators of your overall health, and when you get eye exams consistently, doctors are able to track changes in your eye health more accurately.

UV exposure has also been linked to cataracts, so along with receiving annual eye exams, always make sure to wear sunglasses. UV rays can still impact you even in cold months, so be sure to wear sunglasses year round! The more protection the better. A wide-brimmed hat paired with sunglasses is a great way to keep your eyes and vision healthy.

 

Want to learn more about protecting your vision as you age? Our doctors have the information you need and the important tips you can put into practice starting today. Visit one of our 55 locations or schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to see you!

An image of a girl wearing a backpack, hiking in the woods.

Get Outside: Best Hiking Trails in Michigan

Our state is so beautiful, and we love exploring it! One of the best ways to enjoy all that Michigan has to offer is by hiking trails all over the state. Each trail offers something different, whether it’s dunes, waterfalls, forests or beaches. Let’s be honest: Michigan truly has some of the best trails in the country.

When you hit these paths, you might even run into one of our doctors. We love exercising and staying active because it’s a great way to improve vision. Check out our team’s top picks for hiking Michigan, and say hi if you bump into us!

An image of a bridge in Warren Woods Park, Michigan.

Warren Woods State Park

We may be a little bias about the Warren Woods trail because it’s only an hour away from our main office, but it’s also an easy trail to hike with your family. This is a short walk with great views and perfect picnic spots.

tahquamenonfalls

Tahquamenon Falls Route

Take a trip to the Upper Peninsula to see the Tahquamenon Falls. Plus, you can take the Tahquamenon Falls Route to see multiple other waterfalls in the area. Did you know this trail will allow you to see one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi? That’s something you can’t miss.

We love this trail because there is so much to see, from leafy foliage to multiple waterfalls and the occasional moose. If you hike this route, stop in to one of our 55 locations to tell us all about it!

A photo of Minong Ridge Traverse at sunset.

Minong Ridge Traverse

Ready for a hike of a lifetime? Take a trip all the way up to Isle Royale National Park to hike Minong Ridge. You’ll have to take two ferries to get there, but the views are worth it. This hike is for the experienced traveler, so start training now!

Pack plenty of water and your sunglasses when you go. This is a long hike, and you’ll need to protect your health. Keep your eyes shaded so you can see the trail with ease and make sure to stay hydrated.

Green Trail

Green Trail

Travel to southeast Michigan and get lost in the forest at Haven Hill Natural Area in the Highland State Recreation Area. The Green Trail is an easy hike that’s perfect for beginners. As if that wasn’t great already, you can also bring your dog! The trail is only 45 miles out from Detroit, so it’s a great place to visit in order to escape the city.

Make sure you bring bug spray with you. Green Trail is in a swamp forest, but it’s also home to over 100 species of birds. Make sure your glasses are clean for this hike so you don’t miss anything!

Before you take off on your next hiking adventure, stop in for a comprehensive eye exam. We want you to enjoy all the views Michigan has to offer with clear vision.

Schedule an appointment with one of our skilled doctors today, and then go hit the trails.

An image featuring two trendy styles of sunglasses.

2019 Summer Sunglasses Trends

The sun is returning to Michigan! An increase in sun exposure means that the harm from UV rays is raised, so it’s important to protect your eyes. While you’re shielding your vision from the sun, you might as well do it in style. Our trendsetting team has handpicked the latest and greatest sunglasses for summer 2019.

Hollywood Glam

A photo of hollywood glam style sunglasses.

Do you want to feel like a movie star anywhere you go this summer? You’re in luck! Hollywood glam is in for summer 2019 and sunglasses

are not left out of mix. Look for over-sized, round frames with decorative embellishments. We can’t get enough of Chloé, a designer brand that has perfected the Hollywood glam style. Stop in to try on this pair today!

A picture of geometric style sunglasses.

Geometric

Not feeling the over-sized round frames? Don’t worry. The sharp and bold style is also hot this summer! Geometric-style frames like angular, square, or rectangle frames have never been more popular. We like these Polo frames that have a double bar in between the lenses for added geometric effect.

Floral

A photo of floral style sunglasses.

Last summer, we kicked floral prints to the curb, but they are back and better than ever. Mix a floral print with an edgier style frame and you’ll be the talk of the beach! Check out these Coach frames for inspiration. Better yet, try them on for yourself by visiting on of our 54 locations.

UV Protection

No matter what current design is calling your name, there is one trend that will never go out of style: UV protection. Please make sure that you are choosing a lens with 100-percent UV protection, lenses that are impact resistant, and lenses that are wide enough to shield your eyes from the sun from most angles.

Not sure where to begin? We get it. With over 40 designer brands, it can be overwhelming to find your perfect pair of sunglasses. Our knowledgeable (and stylish) team of eye doctors and opticians are up to date on the latest trends and have the expertise you value when it comes to finding a comfortable fit. Stop in and try a few pairs on. With over 50 locations statewide, we’re never too far away.

Grass grows out of the dunes by Lake Michigan while font over them reads, "SUmmertime in Michigan means driving to the nearest lakeshore with your loved ones and spending the day on the coast."

Michigan’s 5 Best Summer Getaways

Summertime in Michigan means driving to the nearest lake shore with your loved ones and spending the day on the coast. The doctors on our team are no different than you; they love the sand between their toes, wearing cool shades, and hanging out with their favorite people.

Whether you prefer “glamping” or setting up camp in the middle of the forest, our Michigan summer getaways have a little something for everyone. Check out our expert doctors’ favorite places to go in the summer:

Charlevoix

If you want to be surrounded by clear blue water (and, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want that?) then Charlevoix is the getaway for you. With Lake Charlevoix, Round Lake, and Lake Michigan all nearby, there is never a shortage of water activities. Shop downtown boutiques and try local restaurants after a long day in the water. Charlevoix has a great mix of outdoor fun and city life.

Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior

Isle Royale is the place to go when you want to get off the grid and be one with nature. This national park is a remote island positioned right near the Canadian border. The island has no cars and lots of green scenery, which makes it perfect for hiking or jogging. Explore the Greenstone Ridge Trail that links the island’s east and west sides or visit the Rock Harbor lighthouse.

Bad Axe

Set up camp in the thumb when you visit Bad Axe. This small town is just a quick drive from Lake Huron or Saginaw Bay. Like Charlevoix, Bad Axe has a great balance of outdoor exploration and downtown entertainment. If you don’t want to camp, Bad Axe also has options for the glamper on your trip, including everything from cabins to hotels.

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

If you are a fan of fast-paced adventure, buckle up and race over to Silver Lake Sand Dunes. With over 2,000 acres of dunes on Lake Michigan and Silver Lake, you’ll have plenty of room to walk or ride the dunes. Bring your own off-the-road vehicles or rent a dune buggy from a local business, and then get out there.

Where will your summer adventure take you? Stop in, tell us about it, and grab some sunglasses to protect your vision! With over 50 locations statewide, we’re never too far away.

A woman runs while listening to an iPhone. White text in front of her reads, "You have to be proactive in order to keep seeing the world clearly throughout your life."

Exercise and Eyesight

Contrary to the popular saying, your eyes are actually the window to your body’s health. A comprehensive eye exam can give a snapshot of your overall general health and wellbeing. What happens to your body also affects your eyes. That’s why changing your diet and exercise regimens can have a positive impact on your vision, as well as on the rest of your body.

Great vision doesn’t occur by itself. You have to be proactive in order to keep seeing the world clearly throughout your life. Our expert team of doctors has exercise tips that will help to kickstart a healthier you – vision and all.

Make Exercise a Priority

Although it can be difficult, making exercise a priority is essential to preserving your vision. Regular exercise has been found to reduce the risk for several eye diseases, including cataracts and glaucoma, two diseases often related to aging eyes.

Exercise Tips

The best kind of exercise to help improve your vision is cardio. Our doctors recommend at least 30 minutes of cardio every day. Make sure to switch up your exercise regularly so you don’t get bored of the same old things.

Cardio exercises like running, aerobics, or cycling help to increase blood flow to all areas of your body, including your retina. Since many vision and eye problems stem from high blood pressure or cholesterol, getting regular cardio in can help keep blood pressure levels where they need to be.

Diet and Exercise

Of course, exercise coupled with a healthy diet is the best way to feel better and see clearly. Try to shop for food that’s rich with Vitamin C, zinc, and omega-3. To learn more about what to add to your shopping list, check out parts one and two of our blogs about good foods for eye health. While you’re at it, make sure you avoid these 5 foods.

Get Involved

One of the best ways to motivate yourself to get active is to involve yourself in an event. Sign up for a marathon or a competition to really get yourself moving. While you’re hitting the pavement, you might even bump into our team. We’ll be running in, and sponsoring, several different upcoming events, including the Girls on the Run 5k, the Amway River Bank Run, and the Kalamazoo Marathon. Sign up to get yourself moving or stop by to cheer on the runners!

Not sure where to start when it comes to exercise and eye health? Schedule a comprehensive eye exam so that our doctors can evaluate your vision and your vision needs. Our team is here to help you stay healthy and ensure your vision is clear.

 

A brand shows blossoming flowers while text reads, "'50 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies.' - American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology."

Itchy Eyes? It Could Be Spring Allergies

Ah, springtime in Michigan. The smell of flowers is in the air, birds are chirping, the sun actually feels warm as it shines, and…what’s that? You can’t see the birds or the flowers because your eyes are itchy? Sounds like all that spring weather also brought out your seasonal allergies.

Our team of experts knows how frustrating it can be when you’re trying to enjoy all spring has to offer, despite battling itchy eyes caused by your seasonal allergies. That’s why we have the tips you need to help you see spring in Michigan comfortably.

How Do I Know If I Have Seasonal Allergies?

Seasonal allergies are very common. In fact, the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology estimates that 50 million people in the U.S. suffer from seasonal allergies and that it affects 30% of adults and 40% of children.

The most common seasonal allergy symptoms are eye allergies. Symptoms of eye allergies include having red, itchy, or watery eyes. If you have seasonal allergies, you will also likely have a runny nose and have frequent sneezing fits.

What Causes Seasonal Allergies?

The most common airborne allergens that cause eye irritation are pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. These are typically harmless substances, but in people who are predisposed to allergic reactions, these substances become allergens. Those allergens become a threat to comfortable vision.

All of these allergens are fairly small, but because of the nature of these substances, seasonal allergies tend to affect the eyes with more severity than food allergies or other allergic reactions.

How Can I Relieve My Seasonal Allergies?

Begin by trying to avoid allergens. If you limit your exposure to the allergens that cause you the most discomfort, you will experience less severe reactions. Because pollen can irritate allergies, make sure you’re particularly careful on days with high pollen counts.

However, we know that it’s next to impossible to sit inside and stare out the window at beautiful Michigan spring weather. Start by wearing glasses instead of contacts when outdoors, since contact lenses can cause your eyes to become more irritated by allergens. Invest in a pair of sunglasses that have wide sides in order to help shield your eyes from pollen when you are out and about. You should also avoid driving with the windows down (I know, I know, we’re no fun) to keep out the buildup of debris and pollen.

One of the best ways to relieve your itchy eyes is to get prescription eye drops. When you schedule an eye exam with one of our doctors, we can help you get on the road to an enjoyable spring season – itch-free!

The hallway of a museum features blue text that reads, "Michigan has a wide variety of great museums that cover topics like art, natural history, and even the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks!"

4 Must-See Museums in Michigan

When we aren’t picking out the perfect frames for our patients or performing expert eye exams, we are exploring our great state. Michigan has a wide variety of great museums that cover topics like art, natural history, and even the history of Great Lakes shipwrecks!

We’ve rounded up our favorite museums to share with you. Check out our favorite places to visit, including one museum that just opened recently.

University of Michigan Natural History Museum

This museum is brand new and is truly out of this world. Head over to Ann Arbor and enjoy the exhibits that range from a trail of Mastodons to flying reptiles. If you want to get out of this world for a night and view the stars in the sky, check out their planetarium dome and theater.

The museum is open every day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with late night admittance on Thursdays. What’s even better is that the museum is free, and the planetarium is only $8 per person.

Detroit Institute of the Arts

Did you know that the Detroit Institute of the Arts (DIA) is considered to have one of the best art collections in the United States? There is so much culture in the city of Detroit and the DIA captures the culture of the city very well. From mummies and modern art to European art and African masks, the DIA has it all. One of our favorite showcases at the DIA is the General Motors Center for African American Art which contains over 400 pieces by African American Artists.

The DIA is open Tuesday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Friday from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., and on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees range from free to $14.

Grand Rapids Public Museum

Ready for three floors of fun and discovery? The Grand Rapids Public Museum features core and traveling exhibits that focus on science, history, and culture. The museum is in the heart of the downtown Grand Rapids area, so after you visit the museum, you are just a few steps away from great dining and more adventure.

The Grand Rapids Public Museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission fees range from $2 to $12.

Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum

If you are planning a trip up north, definitely make a stop at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise (yes, Paradise) Michigan. Learn about the history of ships on the Great Lakes and about current underwater research. There are many interesting artifacts in the museum from shipwrecks and also from ships who sailed the Great Lakes unscathed.

The museum is open daily in May through October from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are family pricing packages and single person admission fees that range from free to $13.

Our team of optometrists and doctors want you to be able to learn about our great state with clear vision. Stop in for an eye exam before you explore these great Michigan museums.

 

A pair of glasses sits on top of a laptop while text next to them reads, "It is helpful to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds."

How to Avoid Eye Strain While Reading

Eye strain is a common condition that can occur when your eyes become tired from heightened use. This is usually caused by driving, reading, or the continual use of digital screens. Although eye strain can be very uncomfortable and annoying, it is generally not a serious condition and often goes away once you take a break to rest your eyes.

However, there are measures you can take to avoid eye strain altogether. Our expert team has put together a few suggestions on how to prevent straining your vision in your day-to-day routine.

Symptoms

You are most likely suffering from eyestrain if your eyes are sore, itchy or burning, especially if your eyes are also notably watery or dry. Vision often becomes blurred or doubled because of eye strain. Your eyes may become sensitive to light, you will typically have trouble concentrating, and you won’t be able to keep your eyes open. Headaches, back pain and neck pain are other common symptoms.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, schedule a visit with your optometrist so that they can properly diagnose you.

Reducing Strain at Home or Work

There are simple remedies to help alleviate eye strain, no matter where you are. Began by reducing the light in your room. To do this, try positioning your light source behind you or try using a shaded light. The shade will keep the light from shining directly in your eyes, which will help decrease symptoms.

Digital Screens

If you use a digital screen often, whether it be for reading or typing away in spreadsheets for work, there are ways to keep eye strain at a minimum.

Blink often to refresh your eyes and prevent them from drying out and take a break from your work every 20 minutes. In fact, we find it helpful to follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds.

It might also help if you adjust your laptop to be at least an arm’s length away. Position the top of the screen so it is at or just below your eye level. You can also adjust your screen settings to enlarge the font in order to make reading from that distance easier.

The digital world can cause more than eye strain. Learn all about how devices are impacting your sight on our recent blog.

Eye Exam

The best thing you can do for your vision is schedule an eye exam. Before your exam, start keeping a log of the time you spend on activities that strain your eyes and note what symptoms you have been experiencing. Your doctor will be able to diagnose and provide treatment to alleviate your eye strain.

Our team of optometrists knows how annoying eye strain can be when you are just trying to enjoy your favorite book, newspaper, or TV show. Follow our tips for improving your symptoms, and stop in for an eye exam so that we can help you further.

 

Several baseballs sit in grass while white font over them reads, "Out baseball-loving opticians have put together everything you will need for a day at the ballpark so you can see the game clearly and protect your vision."

Love Baseball Games? Here’s How to Get the Best View

The true sign that spring is upon Michigan is not the snow melting. It’s Tigers’ Opening Day, of course! Michiganders can finally crawl out of hibernation to go celebrate the start of the spring season by cheering on our beloved Tigers in Comerica Park.

Our baseball-loving opticians have put together everything you will need for a day at the ballpark so you can see the game with clearly and protect your vision.

The Best Seat in the House

To enjoy the game, you’ll want to have great seats, which is why we’ve conducted extensive research on Comerica Park to find the perfect spot. Our studies show that the best view of the diamond is on the lower level, between the dugouts, in sections 120-135. Or, if you prefer an elevated view and a padded seat, head to sections 321-333 for your ideal tickets.

If you are headed to another ballpark (we won’t judge you unless you’re headed to Cleveland), keep in mind while buying tickets that the best view for almost all ballparks is on the lower level between the dugouts.

Baseball Binoculars

No matter where you are sitting, binoculars are a game day must. The game is much more exciting when you can see the reaction of players’ faces. Plus, binoculars make following the position of your favorite player much easier. Having binoculars will keep you from squinting your eyes at the large screen or down at the field, which we all know isn’t good for your vision.

Because we are avid baseball fans, we researched the best binoculars for viewing baseball games. These binoculars give you a wide field of vision, meaning that you can see what is happening across the whole field instead of zeroing in on one section.

Stylish Sunglasses

Protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays with a pair of prescription sunglasses and see the game without glare. Even though it may not be a high of 75 on opening day, the sun will still be shining and putting your vision at risk. A quality pair of sunglasses will help you enjoy the game even more.

Stop in and ask our opticians about which frames are the best for watching the game. 

The Perfect Hat

Continue to protect your vision with a hat. The bigger the brim, the better for your eyes. What better way is there to support your team than wearing a hat with the iconic “D” on it? Shield your eyes from the sun and cheer on the Tigers, all in one go.

Your Baseball Glove

This is a game day essential. If you don’t bring a baseball glove into the stadium, are you even a true baseball fan? Not only will a glove increase your chances of catching a fly ball, it can help to protect you from any rogue fouls that may be aimed for your face. It sounds far-fetched, but accidents happen! Keep your glove with you to protect your eyes, and you might even leave with a game day souvenir.

Our expert team is here to ensure that you are able to see the game with clarity, even if you’re a Cleveland Indians fan. Are you headed to Detroit for Opening Day? Stop in for an eye exam to make sure that you have the best vision for the game. While you’re here, grab some sunglasses, too. Stop in to one of our 54 locations or call us to set up your appointment today!

 

 

A closeup of a blue eye has text over it that reads, "If you have a lighter eye color, your eyes are more sensitive to light because you have less pigment and melanin in your irises to protect your eyes from the sun."

How Eye Color Impacts Your Vision

Your eye color is unique to you. In fact, no two people have the exact same color of eyes. Because of this, eye color is one of the most distinguishing characteristics for people and is often a big part of identity. We’ve already written about the science behind how you get your eye color, but does that color also affect your vision?

Our expert doctors have shared how your eye color affects your vision:

The Science of Eye Color

In order to understand how eye color affects your vision, it will be helpful to understand how eye color develops. The iris is the colored part of the eye, and the amount of pigmentation within the iris determines your eye color. There are three genes that are responsible for determining the pigmentation. These genes are tied to your melanin levels.

Less melanin in the iris means lighter eye colors, like blue and green, and more melanin makes for darker eye colors, like hazel and brown. Check out our eye color science blog to learn more about determining eye color.

Light vs. Dark

Whether you have light or dark colored eyes, your eye color does actually have an impact on your vision.

If you have a lighter eye color, your eyes are more sensitive to light because you have less pigment and melanin in your irises to protect your eyes from the sun. This means that you could have a greater risk of macular degeneration, and that you might find yourself squinting more when you go outside during the day.

If you have a darker eye color, your eyes can often withstand high glare lights better than light colored eyes can. This is thanks to the greater amount of pigment and melanin in your iris. You could potentially be better at driving at night because your eyes allow for less light to reflect and cause glare. Despite your high light tolerance, though, you should still be wearing sunglasses to protect your eyes from UV rays.

Sports Performance

There are a few studies that have looked at the impact of eye color on sports performance. The University of Louisville found that people with dark eye colors perform better at reactive tasks like hitting balls and playing defense, while people with light eye colors do better at self-paced tasks like hitting a golf ball, throwing a pitch, or bowling. However, there are not enough studies yet to fully support this theory. For now, it’s just a fun discussion to have with your teammates.

Speaking of teammates, our expert team is here to ensure that you are able to see clearly, regardless of your eye color. An annual eye exam will help you take care of your eyes, whether they are dark or light-colored. Stop in to one of our 54 locations or call us to set up your appointment today!