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 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 opticians about the best solution for you. See you soon!

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 54 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.

MUST HAVE SUMMER TREATS IN MICHIGAN

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.

Once you sink your teeth into these snacks, you’ll be ready for some unforgettable summer adventures.

Blueberries

Michigan is one of the leading producers of blueberries in the United States! We love their versatility, you’ll find them in everything from pies to jam to bratwursts. Blueberries are a sweet treat all on their own but if you’re looking for a tasty recipe check out these from The Blueberry Store.

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.

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:

Mackinac Island

Filled with old-world charm, Mackinac Island is the ideal place to unwind. If you’re looking to relax: take a carriage ride, dine at one of the many restaurants on the island or wander the Surrey Hills Carriage Museum or Fort Mackinac. If adventure is what you’re looking for try bike riding around the island, golfing at one of 3 golf courses or take a kayak tour. Don’t forget to pick up some fudge at one of the 7 island fudge shops!

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.

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 contact 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!

SPORTS EYE SAFETY MONTH

Our Sports Frames

April is Sports Eye Safety Month, making it the perfect opportunity to share some of our favorite sports eyewear with you! We love providing comfortable, stylish, and effective solutions that are guaranteed to protect your eyes whether you are on the court, field, or even in the pool.

Our sport safety frames come from two main manufacturers: Leader Sports (HILCO) and Wiley X.

LEADER SPORTS (HILCO)

For more than 30 years, the Leader Sports line by HILCO has offered a high-quality line of innovative sports eyewear. The company’s products have been worn by top athletes around the world, and they are known to provide exceptional performance and durability.

Whether you’re at the beginning stages of your athletic journey or you’re at the top of your game, Leader products can help you achieve peak performance. All Leader eye guards and shields include.

  • High impact, scratch resistant polycarbonate lenses
  • Optically correct lenses for minimal distortion
  • 100% UV protection

Leader Sports also has a line of swim protection offering exceptional solutions with the same guaranteed safety for underwater activities.

sports glasses sports glasses sports glasses

WILEY X

Since 1987 Wiley X has positioned themselves as a world leader in researching, developing and selling protective eyewear. Originally they focused on military and law enforcement markets, with high-profile partnerships in the U.S. Armed Forces and elite Special Forces units.

Wiley X soon evolved into commercial markets, and their tremendous reputation has only continued to grow. From sport hunting, shooting, motorcycle riding, fishing, hiking, biking, extreme sports, and traditional sports, Wiley X is a worldwide leader in sports eyewear.

With their entire adult line exceeding OSHA safety standards,100% ANSI ratings, and distribution into some of the toughest environments worldwide, Wiley X is providing sporting goods, industrial safety, tactical and optical commercial retailers the ultimate level of protection.

Additionally, Wiley X believes that eye protection for everyday life only works if people want to wear it, so they remain committed to making stylish eyewear that is desirable and appropriate for every occasion. This includes great youth line with fun styles and colors that kids will enjoy wearing.

WX Flash WX Victory

Stop in at your Rx Optical office and try on these great sports protection options today!

A girl wearing colored contacts with pink chapped lips. She is wearing a hat.

Contact Lenses and Cold Weather

This time of year is perfect for wrapping up in a blanket, sipping hot chocolate and spending time with family. However, with the season comes cold and bitter weather, and these conditions can be extremely harsh on your eyes and contact lenses.

But don’t worry. Like always, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to ensure your eyes stay happy and healthy during even the chilliest days.

Winter and Dry Eyes

Michigan winters are packed with snow, wind and bitter temperatures. We love how beautiful our state gets in cold weather, but these harsh conditions can often irritate eyes.

The winter months are drier than others, which can stimulate a tearing reflex in our eyes. That’s why you might find yourself blinking away tears when the temperatures drop.

When the whipping winds make contact with the eyes’ surface, even if you’re wearing contact lenses, the moisture of your eyes gets stripped. As a result, your eyes try to counteract the dryness by producing more tears.

To help cut down on random crying while still keeping your eyes moisturized, try artificial tears, contact lens specific lubricating drops, a humidifier, or some of these tricks!

Eye Protection

Yes, even in the cold months, it’s important to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

You might be surprised to learn that your eyes can suffer from sunburn. You might be even more surprised to learn that the light reflecting off the snow and ice can evoke some very powerful UV rays, even on a cloudy day!

If your eyes do suffer from sunburn, the condition generally clears up after a few days, but during that time, you can’t wear your contacts.

Protect your eyes this year by making sure you wear sunglasses all year round. Not only do sunglasses protect you from UV rays, but they can act as a barrier between your eyes and the wind. That can help reduce dry eyes and irritation from winter breezes.

Contact Care

Despite what you may have heard, we can confidently tell you your contact lenses won’t freeze to your eyes even on the coldest of days.

Although you won’t be in danger of frozen lenses, it is important to keep your contacts moist. You’ll also need lenses that are best suited for your eyes. If you have naturally dry eyes, specialized lenses may be a good option for the cold months. Our team can help you find the right fit to keep your eyes happy all season long.

So what are you waiting for? Make sure to schedule an appointment with us to prepare for the upcoming cold weather. We can help you find properly fitted lenses that will suit all of your winter needs.

rx optical blog image sunglasses in the winter 121217 1

Wear Your Sunglasses – Even in the Winter

If there is one thing us Michiganders know, it is how to do winter. When we step out in the winter, we don’t leave home without multiple layers, a scarf, a hat, and waterproof, insulated boots.

But, what many of us are missing is a crucial part of our winter wardrobe; sunglasses. Frigid temps and feisty flurries do not mean your eyes are protected from the sun. If you’re heading out the door and wondering, “Should I grab these super stylish, fantastic sunglasses I got from Rx Optical?” your answer should always be yes. Here are a few reasons why.

More Exposure

In the winter, the sun actually sits lower in the sky and at a different angle than it does in the summer. This means your eyes might be getting more exposure to harsh rays. You’re also getting more exposure the more the snow falls. Snow can reflect up to 85 percent of the sun’s UV Rays which can lead to a troubling condition called, “snow blindness.” This condition primarily affects skiers and those who participate in winter sports but everyone is susceptible without protection and it can damage your cornea for up to a week. Look out skiers, the risk gets higher for every 1,000 feet you go above sea level.

Eye Damage

Sun Blindness isn’t the only condition caused by winter rays. Research has shown that the sun’s UV Rays can contribute to various ailments such as cataracts and macular degeneration. UV light on your eyelids can also lead to skin cancer.

Early Aging

Nobody wants to look older than they are, but if you’re not protecting your eyes, you might be susceptible to premature aging. UV rays can cause wrinkles, fine lines, scaly red patches, and tough, leathery brown spots. The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate and is more prone to damage from the sun than other areas.

Protect Your Eyes

So, add one more item to your winter attire and grab a pair of sunglasses from any Rx Optical location. Our Sun Solutions Program allows our patients to own the very best (and coolest if you care) prescription and non-prescription sunglasses at a great value. Be sure to contact your local Rx Optical for discounts on lens and frame options.

Your sunglasses should block 100% of harmful UV rays and be large enough to completely protect the skin around your eyes.

Want to check out our selection? Schedule an appointment at any location or give us a call with any questions you might have (800) RX-CARES.

rx optical blog image glaucoma awareness month 010818

Glaucoma Awareness Month: The Silent Thief of Sight

Have you heard of the “silent thief of sight”? And no, it’s not a new comic book or movie villain; it’s Glaucoma.

What is Glaucoma

Glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness in the world, has earned this infamous title as it can steal your vision without warning or symptoms. The best way to fight this tricky foe is with education, since it’s Glaucoma Awareness Month, we want to take the time to educate you on this disease and what you can do to fight off its effects.

Since as much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing, glaucoma can go undetected and, experts estimate that of the 3 million people that have it, half them are not aware.

Glaucoma is actually a group of eye diseases, but the two main types are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. These are marked by an increase in pressure inside the eye and can cause optic nerve damage. The optic nerve acts like a wire carrying images from the eye to the brain so if this wire is damaged, vision will be lost.

Risk Factors

You are at a higher risk for glaucoma if:

  • You are African-American
  • You are Hispanic
  • You are over 60
  • You’ve had siblings diagnosed with glaucoma
  • You are diabetic
  • You are severely nearsighted

Everyone (but those in these groups especially) need to make sure they are seeing Rx Optical regularly. While there is no cure for glaucoma, various medications and surgery can slow or prevent vision loss if it’s caught in time. This is why early detection is key and a great relationship with your eye doctor is so important. Vision loss can begin with peripheral or side vision that may not be obvious at first. This vision loss can be detected by an eye exam.

A comprehensive exam will check your inner eye pressure, the shape and color of your optic nerve, and angles in the eye.

Don’t let this sneaky disease steal your sight. If you meet any of the above criteria or are just ready for your next eye exam, give us a call at (800) RX CARES or request an exam and let’s take on this villain together.

An image of a doctor working on an eye testing machine.

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

Happy 2021, Rx Optical readers! Like many of you we are extremely excited for the new year.

Did you know that January is Glaucoma Awareness Month? Let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of this tricky condition.

What is Glaucoma?

You’ve probably heard of glaucoma, but you might not know what it is. Well, glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve. This nerve is located at the back of the eye and is what connects the eye to the brain. It sends light signals to your mind and allows you to see.

One type of glaucoma, called primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG), typically happens gradually, when eye fluid doesn’t drain as well as it should. Because of this, pressure is built up within the eye and the optic nerve gets damaged.

Another type, angle-closure glaucoma, happens rather quickly and is the result of the iris being too close to the drainage angle in the eye. This then blocks the eye from its draining capabilities, which causes eye pressure to rise quickly.

Symptoms

Those who suffer from angle-closure glaucoma may experience no symptoms prior to an attack, so it’s best to call your doctor if you experience blurred vision, mild headaches or eye pain.

Other glaucoma related symptoms may include:

  • Blind spots: Glaucoma causes lack of sight and frequent blind patches in your peripheral or main line of vision.
  • Tunnel vision: In advanced stages of POAG, tunnel vision, or trouble viewing objects that are not close to the center of the field of view, may occur.
  • Halos: Halos are circular and bright shapes that surround lights. These are a known indicator for glaucoma.
  • Eye pain: Glaucoma can cause pain both on the surface and deeper within the eye as a result of the disease. This should not be taken lightly. If you’re experiencing pain, schedule an eye appointment

Additional symptoms of glaucoma include headache, nausea, vomiting, seeing rainbows, redness of the eye, and more.

Did you know that glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States? If you experience any of the symptoms above, come see us. We want to make sure we can help you identify the symptoms of glaucoma, take appropriate preventative measures, and receive necessary treatment.

The earlier we can detect the disease, the earlier we can help treat it. Make sure you’re scheduling an annual eye exam so that we can be certain to check for any signs you may not have noticed.

Some things change with the coming of the new year, but the consistent and reliable care found at Rx Optical never will. Schedule an exam with us! We are always ready to take care of you and your eyes.

Additional Resources:

Mayo Clinic

Glaucoma Research Foundation

National Eye Institute

"If you're someone who struggles with red and irritated eyes brought on by springtime madness, this blog's for you.

Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

Spring is one of our favorite times of the year. If you’ve lived here in Michigan for a while like we have (73 years), then you know nothing compares to spring in this beautiful state. And while we love the season, its beautiful flowers, crisp air, and freshly cut grass, we know the allergies that come with it can be a total downer.

But never fear! We here at Rx Optical are seasoned pros and have come prepared to share all of our tips and tricks for combating whatever the season might throw at you. If you’re someone who struggles with red, irritated eyes brought on by springtime madness, this blog’s for you.

Why Your Eyes Itch 

When the seasons change, so do the particles that blow around in the air. As this happens, seasonal allergies can often pop up. It might mean a bunch of new flowers, but it also spells trouble for your eyes.

Eye allergies happen when your body overreacts to its surroundings. When this happens, your immune system starts to create antibodies. Those make your eyes release histamine, a chemical that helps your body to get rid of the things that bother it. That results in an allergic reaction, redness and all that fun stuff.

Allergies are never a good thing, but even though they can be uncomfortable, they normally aren’t a big cause for concern. So don’t worry! Still, if your symptoms get bad, call your doctor. Infections and other conditions can also have similar symptoms.

Types of Allergies

There are two types of allergies that can irritate your eyes: seasonal and perennial.

Seasonal allergies are very common and typically stay true to their name. That means they occur whenever the seasons change. Common triggers include pollen from grass, trees, flowers, weeds and mold.

People with perennial allergies unfortunately deal with their allergies year round. If you have perennial allergies, you’re probably allergic to common things like dust mites, feathers, and animals.

How to Help Your Eyes

Your eyes do a lot for you, so treat them right, especially when dealing with allergies. The best thing you can do for your eyes is to avoid your triggers! Once you’ve identified what sets off your allergies, help your eyes out by avoiding things that cause irritation.

For example, if you’re someone who suffers from pollen allergies, try staying indoors when pollen counts are highest. This is normally around mid-morning and early evening.

When you do go outdoors, make sure to wear sunglasses. Not only will they help protect your vision from harmful UV rays, but they can also help block some of the pollen from getting to your eyes. When driving on a warm sunny day, keep your windows up, too. That will keep your eyes from getting additional pollen exposure while you’re driving down the road.

Last but not least, don’t rub your eyes! If they’re irritated, adding additional pressure and disturbance will only increase your discomfort. Soothe your eyes with some of these methods, like removing your contacts and using a saline rinse.

 

Some over-the-counter and prescription medications will give you short-term relief, but it never hurts to talk to a general health professional and your eye doctor. Schedule an appointment with us! We would love to talk more about keeping you and your eyes happy and healthy.

 

 

Rx Optical Blog Image Indoor UV 03.04.20

Protect Your Eyes from Indoor UV

If you’ve read any of our blogs, you’ve probably noticed that we love to tell you to wear sunglasses. Why? Well, because they’re good for your eyes.

Still, a lot of people think you only need sunglasses in the summer. And even more people think you only need them when you’re outside. That’s why we’re jumping into the wonderful world of indoor UV. Buckle up. This’ll be a ride.

UV Indoors

UVA radiation comes from the sun. These rays are invisible, and they’ve been tied to a lot of negative effects on the human body, like cancers and vision damage. That’s why it’s important to protect yourself from them all year round.

However, a lot of UVA rays can still pass through windows. Have you ever gotten a sunburn during a long car ride? That’s why! The rays pass through the glass and hit your skin, even when you’re not outside. Ouch!

Protect Your Vision Inside

So how do you make sure your eyes don’t get damaged? It’s hard to get rid of all of the UVA rays in your life. In fact, even fluorescent bulbs emit it! But you can cut back on the amount that reaches you.

Try hanging up curtains over large windows and making sure that you aren’t sitting in or staring into direct sunlight. If you have to sit in a sunny space, toss on a pair of shades, just like you would if you were outside. If you have to squint to see, it means your eye is straining and your sunglasses could provide some much-needed relief.

Keep in mind that polycarbonate and Trivex lenses offer 100% protection from UV light. We recommend these lens materials to most of our patients. This means that just by wearing your glasses, your eyes could already be protected indoors!

Protect Your Vision in Cars

When you’re on the road, it’s important to keep your eyes focused. We’ve all had a moment when we’ve squinted at oncoming traffic because of the sun. It’s not a fun experience!

Make sure to keep a pair of sunglasses in your car for whenever you’re driving, even in the winter. Although we are all used to the doom and gloom of Michigan winters, the glare from the white snow when the sun does come out can be blinding. Go above and beyond by packing some shades for your family, too, especially on long car trips.

Are you taking a road trip for Spring Break? Try wearing a hat with a brim along with your glasses. This can shade your eyes and keep harmful rays from hitting your vision. That way you can arrive at your vacation safely and in style.

 

Need help finding a pair of polarized or unpolarized sunglasses that fit your look? Our team is ready to help. Schedule an appointment with us, and we’ll take care of you and your eyes.

Rx Optical Blog Image Spring Break Eye Safety 02.24.20

Spring Break Eye Safety Tips

Spring break is right around the corner, but before you take off for your well-deserved vacation, we want to make sure you’ve packed all the essentials. If you are anything like us, you have your checklist ready to go. While the bathing suit, towel and sunscreen are wildly important for enjoying the sun and sand, we have a few last-minute items we need to make sure find their way into your carry on.

It’s time to learn all the best ways you can protect your eyes this spring break.

Sunglasses

It wouldn’t be an Rx Optical blog if we didn’t encourage you to wear some form of eye protection, right? And since spring vacation is best associated with time spent by the ocean or pool, it should be no surprise that we are asking you to pack your sunglasses. They help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays.

Water often has a glare that can damage your eyes if they aren’t properly protected by polarized eyewear. Excessive UV exposure can cause severe damage and eye pain. It can even lead to macular degeneration and cataracts. If that’s not enough reason to wear sunglasses, just remember: sunglasses are also a great poolside accessory.

Contacts

If you are a contact wearer, be sure to remove your contact lenses before heading into the pool or ocean. Soft lenses can change shape in water. That can cause discomfort and potential damage to the cornea and eye. Along with discomfort, having water trapped under you contact lens can increase your chances of infection, since microorganisms floating in pools can get trapped between the contact and your eye.

To be safe, remove your contact lenses and pack your goggles! It’s a sure way to protect your eyes and enjoy your vaction.

Pack the Eye Care Essentials

We know packing for vacation can be stressful, but whatever you do, don’t forget to pack your eyecare essentials. We’re talking contact solution, extra contacts, and a lens cleaning cloth. Though these aren’t the most glamourous items in your suitcase, you will thank yourself later for being able to enjoy your trip without a hassle.

We’ve already mentioned it, but don’t forget your sunglasses. If you don’t have a pair, come see us!

Before you leave, schedule an eye exam with us. We can’t wait to hear all about your upcoming plans and to ensure you are fully prepared for the adventure ahead. So, schedule an appointment with us, pack your sunglasses and enjoy your spring break! We will be sending you happy and warm wishes from each of our 56 different locations.

Rx Optical Blog Image Spring Festivals 02.12.20

Upcoming Michigan Spring Festivals

What’s that? It may be February, but we’ve heard that spring is on its way! While the snow is putting a damper on things, our team is still excited and looking forward to warmer days, flowers, and rainbows.

But that’s not all we’re excited for! Our great state of Michigan is known for being a destination throughout the year, and spring is no exception. That’s why we’ve put together a list of some upcoming seasonal festivals that we can’t wait to attend. Break out your calendars, it’s time to start planning!

Maple Syrup Festival – Lansing

If your family has a sweet tooth, this is the festival for you. The Maple Syrup Festival is the perfect event for the whole family. Stop by Lansing on March 14th so you and the family can learn about how maple sap is turned into syrup, all while munching on some sweet treats.

The festival even hosts a fundraiser that features pancakes flying through the air. Grab a fresh plate of hotcakes, drizzle them with pure maple syrup, and start making some memories.

Since the festival is mostly outside, be sure to pack some hats with wide brims or your sunglasses. These can help shield your eyes from the harsh rays of the sun while you’re out enjoying nature.

Fool Moon – Ann Arbor

That’s right. You heard us. It’s time to get foolish! Every year, Ann Arbor hosts a fun festival that celebrates all things silly. We’re talking about Fool Moon.

When you visit Ann Arbor from April 3-5, you’ll be greeted by over-the-top costumes, wide smiles, and fun for the whole family. Make a massive puppet, take part in a community workshop, and find a reason to laugh!

While you’re packing, be sure to bring nutritious snacks so you and your family don’t get hungry. After all, it’s hard to be in a good mood when your stomach is growling.

Tulip Time ­– Holland

If we’re going to give you a blog about spring, we have to mention one of the biggest festivals in our state! Holland’s Tulip Time has been called “America’s Best Small-Town Festival,” and we couldn’t agree more.

This year’s festival is scheduled for May 2-10, and it’ll be filled to the brim with the sights and smells of tulips. This celebration of Dutch heritage and spring beauty is always a hit. Make sure to stop by for the carnival, Dutch heritage exhibits, and more.

While you’re there, be sure to pack sunglasses for you and your family. It’s important to wear your sunglasses all year round, but May can also bring even more sunshine than the months leading up to it. Pack those shades to protect your vision from harmful UV rays.

 

What’s your favorite Michigan spring festival? We’d love to hear all about it when you schedule an appointment with us. We’ll get you the eyewear you need so you can enjoy spring to the fullest.

 

A blue graphic that reads "Age-related macular degeneration is the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over sixty."

What You Need to Know About Age-Related Macular Degeneration

It’s February! You know what that means. The groundhog saw his shadow, love is in the air, and it’s time to talk about age-related macular degeneration (AMR).

If that last one tripped you up a little, you’re not alone. It turns out that February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration Month! Who knew? A lot of people haven’t heard of the condition, and even fewer people know what it is. So in honor of the season, we decided to give you a rundown of all the things you need to know.

How It Happens

Although you might not have heard of it, age-related macular degeneration is actually the leading cause of permanent vision loss in people over sixty.

This condition happens when the center of your retina (which in case you didn’t know, is the thin layer of tissue that covers the inside layer of the back of your eye) wears down over time. The retina is the part of your eye that senses lights, and the center of your retina, also known as the macula, is the most sensitive part of the whole thing.

Age-related macular degeneration is when the macula breaks down over time, which means it normally affects people in the second half of their lives.

What to Watch For

It’s common for vision to change as you age. That’s why it’s important to get regular comprehensive eye exams. They can help find important warning signs of a whole bunch of vision conditions before it’s too late.

It’s important to visit your eye doctor regularly, but you may want to make another appointment soon if you’re experiencing:

  • Blurry or dark areas in the center of your vision
  • White areas in the center of your vision
  • A change in how you see color

Keep in mind that people with age-related macular degeneration might not experience any symptoms until the condition has progressed. That’s why it’s important to have your eye doctor test for the condition if you’re over the age of sixty.

We want to make sure you have clear, healthy vision for as long as possible. Make sure to schedule an eye exam with us so we can make sure you have great eye care from a team you can trust. We can’t wait to see you soon!

A photo of Elizabeth Cooley, Rx employee, receiving an eye exam.

Bifocals, Astigmatism, and Clear Vision

As you know, our blogs are here to entertain you, but more importantly, they are here to teach you about your eyes. While “what’s the definition of an astigmatism?” may never be a question you find yourself asking on a daily basis, it’s a good idea to have a basic understanding of your eyes. After all, they’re the things that guide you through life.

Come join us on our educational journey. It will be filled with fun times and eye care knowledge.

Bifocals

Let us guess. When you hear bifocals you think of Ben Franklin and your grandparents, right? But what if we told you they are far more common and exciting that you really think?

Any multifocal lens contains two or more lens powers that are positioned according to a person’s vision needs. So, bifocals are exactly that: they have two different lens powers. Typically, the top portion of the lens helps people see far away, while the bottom half of the lens is a different power that can help improve vision when things are close.

Bifocals are typically associated with people who are over 40 because that’s the age that most people notice symptoms of presbyopia. Presbyopia is when someone naturally loses the ability to see things that are close to them clearly. So next time you catch yourself holding your menu or newspaper an arm’s length away, it might be time to ask us about bifocals.

And if you are worried about a harsh line with multifocal lenses, don’t be! A progressive lens gradually changes its lens power as it goes from the top to the bottom of the lens without any chunky transitions between.

Astigmatism

Next up, astigmatism.

Astigmatism is a common vision condition that occur when the cornea, which is the clear cover on the eye, or the curvature of the eye is shaped irregularly. The shape prevents light from properly reaching the retina, which is the light sensitive surface located at the back of the eye. And that makes vision blurry at a distance.

Astigmatism can be hereditary and present at birth, so there aren’t many ways to prevent it. However, scheduling a comprehensive eye exam is a great place to start. If necessary, we can even prescribe lens or contacts to fix the astigmatism and alter the way light reaches your eye.

Okay, ready for the fun part? A lot of people think that people with astigmatism can’t have progressive lenses, but that’s not true! If you have trouble seeing up close and far away, bifocals can help you out, even if you have an astigmatism. So don’t doubt your eyewear possibilities! Schedule an appointment with us and let us help you see clearly, no matter what the distance is.

Your eyes do a lot for you. They even helped you read this blog. Take your self-care routine one step further and treat your eyes to a pair of BluTech lenses, sunglasses and a comprehensive eye exam. We can’t wait to see you soon.

An image of a phone against a black table.

Is Dark Mode Better for Your Eyes?

If you have a smart phone, laptop, tablet or other electronic device, you have probably been forced to make the decision between the dark and light mode screen setting. Even if you haven’t shifted your phone’s theme, individual social media apps are offering dark mode settings nowadays, too.

Well, as you know, we are all about eye health here at Rx Optical. That’s why we wanted to talk about the new dark mode option and answer the big question: does dark mode actually help your eyes?

Readability

Let’s talk about reading on screens. Black text on a white background is best, since the color properties and light are best suited for the human eye. That’s because white reflects every wavelength in the color spectrum.

The reason it’s easy to see white isn’t unlike why we recommend wearing sunglasses when there’s snow on the ground. Because of the reflection, our irises don’t need to open as wide to absorb the white light. That leaves our irises in a neutral position and allows us to see with better clarity. This is especially true when white light is contrasted against black, which absorbs wavelengths instead of reflecting them.

White text on a black background, or “dark mode,” makes the eye work harder and open wider, since it needs to absorb more light. When this happens, the white letters can bleed into the black background and cause the text to blur, which is also known as the “halation” effect.

What’s the moral of the story? For our e-readers out there, we recommend sticking with “light mode,” or dark text on a light background.

Eye Strain

The jury is still out on whether or not dark mode is better for reducing eye strain, but we can confirm a few things:

  • Dark mode can reduce eye strain in low-light conditions.
  • 100% contrast (white on a black background) can be harder to read and cause more eye strain.
  • It can be harder to read long chunks of text with a light-on-dark theme.

In essence, we recommend using a dark theme when you’re in low light or when you don’t plan to read for long periods of time.

If you do a fair amount of reading, stick to light mode. Even though black text is easier to read, it might be a good idea to try a gray background and control your screen’s brightness. Test out a dark theme at night and a light theme during the day or just experiment.

So What’s the Verdict?

You might have clicked on this blog hoping for a straight answer about whether or not dark themes are good for your eyes. Unfortunately, like we just described, it’s not so black and white. In fact, depending on how you use your device, each mode has its own advantages.

No matter what mode your device is set to, we recommend BluTech Lenses, which help to prevent excess exposure to blue light emitted off of tech devices. Despite whatever mode your devices are in, your eyes will be protected.

Also, come see us. The best way to keep your eyes safe and healthy is to get them checked regularly.

An image of a doctor administering an eye test to another woman.

Eye Care Basics for All Ages

Protecting your eyes is simple and easy if you know the best practices. Even if you don’t, we’ve got you covered! While our tips and recommendations may seem too simple to be true, good habits can help promote healthy vision, no matter what age you are.

Eat Right

Yes, you really are what you eat!

Good health and healthy eyes all begin with the foods you eat. You’ve probably heard that carrots can help to improve your vision, but did you know eating fish, leafy greens, eggs, citrus fruits and legumes can also positively benefit your eyes? Yup! They all contain nutrients that help benefit eye health. By adding, Vitamin C, A, Zinc and Omega-3 rich foods into your diet, you’re helping to protect your eyes and promote clearer vision.

Next time you’re browsing the grocery store aisle, try to avoid reaching for those fatty foods! Your eyes will thank you.

Wear Sunglasses

You knew it was coming! Sunglasses are essential for maintaining healthy eyes because they protect against harmful UV rays.

Wearing sunglasses is a good idea during all seasons, even winter! No matter the weather, UV rays can still peek through the clouds and cause severe eye damage later on in life. For most people, we recommend using polarized lenses. They can provide glare protection, along with UV protection to keep your eyes happy and healthy.

If you work as a pilot or spend time on the ice, we might recommend a different type of lens for you. Stop in to learn more!

Take a Break

Since technology is so easily accessible, it can be hard to find time in your day when you aren’t looking at a screen. Taking time to avoid the screens and the blue light that projects off of them is good practice for your eyes’ wellbeing.

If you’re looking for additional measures to help protect your vision against blue light, try Blutech Lenses. These will block the blue light from reaching your eyes. By reducing your exposure, you will likely find you sleep better, suffer from less eye strain and become more productive.

Use Eye Protection

Never forget to practice healthy eye habits and protect your eyes when playing sports or working with airborne materials.

Sports like hockey and lacrosse can lead to eye injury without the proper protection. The same can be said for common household chores like mowing the lawn, which can stir up dirt and dust near your eyes. By wearing safety goggles or sports glasses, you can protect your eyes from the unpredictable.

We can tell you to eat your veggies, look away from the screens, and to wear sunglasses, but the best thing you can do is schedule your annual checkup! Do you need help getting started? Try scheduling an exam with us. Just click here!

Rx Optical Blog Image BluTech Lenses 01.13.20

Combating Blue Light with BluTech Lenses

Think back on your week. Better yet, look at your past month or even the past year. How much time have you spent staring at a screen? We aren’t here to alarm you, but we are here to tell you that all that digital exposure can be damaging your eyes and affect your vision.

Digital screens emit blue light, and that can have a negative impact on your vision. Luckily, there’s a simple solution to your blue light blues: BluTech Lenses. It’s time to break down what blue light is, how it can affect your eyes, and how these lenses help.

Blue Light Basics

Have you ever been staring at a screen for a while, only to find that you have a headache? It’s easy to bring on a headache from eye strain while using screens that emit blue light.

Blue light is one of the shortest wavelengths of visible light, and it also has some of the highest energy. When you stare at a digital screen, it produces massive amounts of blue light so you can see the images that it projects. That’s all good, except it can really take a toll on your vision, since our eyes can’t block out blue light well.

The other problem with blue light is that it can keep you awake. If you’re stuck staring at a smartphone late into the night, you might have a harder time falling asleep, and we all know lack of sleep can bring on a whole host of other side effects.

Blue Light and Vision

As we mentioned, if you get overexposed to blue light, you might find yourself suffering from sleep problems, headaches, Computer Vision Syndrome or eye strain. It’s time to take a break from your screen if you have dry eyes, blurred vision, a headache, or any other sort of vision change. Schedule a visit with us, too, so we can make sure there isn’t any other underlying cause.

We know that you can’t function in today’s society without spending at least some time on a digital screen. Don’t worry. We have a solution.

BluTech Lenses and You

BluTech Lenses are designed to filter out the blue light that your eye can’t block on its own. They cut back on exposure so you can protect your eyes, all while typing away at your desk or browsing on your phone. Plus, since they filter out that light, they can help you sleep better and feel ready to take on your day.

Many people don’t realize that they need protective eyewear while working. Our team is happy to offer BluTech Lenses that can match your lifestyle and help reduce your symptoms, so you can get back to enjoying your day.

Are you ready to stop suffering from blue light? Want to learn more about BluTech Lenses? Schedule an appointment with us today. We can’t wait to see you.