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!

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!

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.

 

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!

Yellow tulips stand against a blue sky while text reads, "Springtime is one of the best seasons for festivals in our great state."

5 Michigan Spring Festivals You Can’t Miss

Spring in Michigan is a great time to get outside out and explore. The temperature is just right, not too hot, not too cold; flowers are blooming, and the skies are finally clear of snow. Springtime is also one of the best seasons for festivals in our great state. Wherever you are headed, our team has a fun festival and city for you to discover.

Detroit Tigers Opening Day

While not technically a festival, Opening Day is quite the spring occasion, especially in Detroit. On Thursday, April 4th, the Tigers will play ball for the first time this season against the Kansas City Royals. Score tickets if you want to sit in on the action live, or take a trip to Detroit and stop into any restaurant or bar, as the whole city will be celebrating the start of the season.

Spring break for most schools falls during this week, so if you aren’t heading down to Florida with the rest of Michigan, take a trip to Detroit! Don’t forget to wear your Tigers gear and grab some sunglasses. Need a new pair? Our style-wise opticians would love to help you find the perfect pair for a day at the ballpark.

Tulip Time Festival

For 90 years, the lakeshore town of Holland has been celebrating its Dutch Heritage with their Tulip Time Festival. In 1929, the City of Holland planted its first 100,000 tulips; now there are tulips all over the city for you to enjoy. Although they are the highlight, the tulips are only just part of the Tulip Time Festival! There are Dutch dancers to watch, trolley tours to enjoy, and lots of other Dutch traditions to take part in.

This festival takes place May 4th  to 12th. With new activities happening every day, you won’t want to miss out on any of the fun.

Zingerman’s Camp Bacon

If you love food and history, make your way to Ann Arbor from May 29th to June 2nd to fill your stomach and brain. Appreciate bacon in a whole new way with this fun camp. Zingerman’s Camp Bacon is bringing in speakers to not only talk about the taste and flavor of bacon but also how to alter the flavor of the bacon by what you feed the animal.

We know you’re already salivating, so grab your tickets before they’re gone! 

71st Annual Mackinac Island Lilac Festival

This 10-day celebration on every Michigander’s favorite island is happening June 7th through 16th. This event kicks off summer on the island – and that’s why we included it! Head up north to start off spring the right way, at the Lilac Festival.

There are plenty of fun activities on the island, from the coronation of the Lilac Festival Queen and Court, a 10k run/walk, and horse-drawn carriage tours, to concerts and wine tastings! No matter who you go with, everyone will be doing something they love. And to top it off, you’ll be surrounded by beautiful Michigan lilacs.

Festival of the Arts 50 Year Celebration

This free, three-day event in downtown Grand Rapids is celebrating its 50th year and we are excited to take in all the art, music, and dancing. Did we mention there is amazing food from various cultures, too? There are countless interactive elements to the festival that kids (or adults!) of any age will enjoy.

If you aren’t able to make it up to Mackinac Island for the Lilac Festival, never fear, Festival of the Arts takes place from June 7th through the 9th, so you’ll still be able to enjoy a Michigan spring festival before spring turns to summer.

 

Ready to take on a Michigan spring adventure? Whether you need sunglasses, a cleaning and adjustment for your glasses, or new contacts, our expert team are here to ensure you see our great state clearly. Stop in to one of our 54 locations or call us to set up your appointment today!

 

A swimmer with goggles surfaces from the water while text reads, "Swimming with contacts in should always be avoided to prevent bacteria from contaminating your eyes."

Contacts vs. The Ocean: Your Eyes and Spring Break

Spring only seems to exist for two weeks in the Midwest, thanks to never-ending snow, and that’s why us Michiganders love spring break more than anyone else! This week of bliss allows us to take a break from miserably cold weather and relax under the sun, with our feet in the sand. If you’re planning a trip down south to the ocean, we are sure you are packing essentials like sunscreen and sunglasses.

Are you also packing your contacts? The ocean and your contacts can be a dangerous mix at times, and we want to help you protect your vision and enjoy your vacation! Our expert team has compiled all the information you need to know in order to keep your eyes and contacts safe this spring break.

Swimming and Contacts

Swimming with contacts in should always be avoided to prevent bacteria from contaminating your eyes. According to the FDA, contacts should not be exposed to any kind of water, including tap water, pool water, and ocean water.

Water is home to many viruses, including the dangerous Acanthamoeba organism, which attaches to contact lenses and can cause the cornea to become infected and inflamed. This can cause permanent vision loss or require a corneal transplant to recover lost vision.

Other eye infections can occur when swimming with contacts, like a corneal ulcer. Corneal ulcers occur when a bacterial infection invades the cornea, and contact lens wearers are the most susceptible to eye irritation, as the lens may rub up against the eye’s surface.

But I Will Wear Goggles!

If you choose to wear contacts while swimming, you can reduce the risk of bacterial infection and irritation by wearing waterproof swim goggles. Swim goggles will help to keep your contact from leaving your eye when swimming.

However, the best way to prevent your eyes from becoming infected while swimming is by taking out your contacts before jumping into the water and putting on a pair of prescription goggles.

Contact Care After Ocean Water

So, you decided to wear your contacts while swimming. Our expert opticians recommend discarding the lenses immediately after swimming, rinsing your eyes with artificial tears, and replacing your contacts with a fresh pair.

If you experience eye irritation or sensitivity to light after wearing your contacts in the water, you need to call your eye doctor immediately.

Do you have more questions about swimming and contacts, or need tips on what eye care essentials to pack for your spring break trip? We would be happy to help you out! Visit one of our 54 locations or give us a call.

Have a safe and fun spring break!

 

 

An eye stares at the camera while font over it reads, "Your diet impacts all parts of your health, including your vision."

Best Foods For Eye Health: Part 2

Your diet impacts all parts of your health, including your vision. In the top five foods for eye health, we shared the importance of a diet that consists of food high in omega-3 acids and how they benefit your vision.

Now we want to share five more foods we love that will support your eye health and vision – and make a tasty meal! Add these items to your shopping list and incorporate them into your diet:

Nuts and Seeds

While nuts and seeds both are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, they also contain high amounts of vitamin E. Vitamin E great at protecting against age-related eye damage.

Nuts and seeds also make for great on-the-go snacks, stash some in your desk drawer or your purse!

Carrots

Do you know why carrots are orange? It’s because they are full of beta carotene! Beta carotene is a nutrient that helps the body make vitamin A, which in turn boosts your vision in multiple ways.

Vitamin A plays an essential role in your vision health, vitamin A has a protein called rhodopsin. Rhodopsin helps your retina to absorb light.

Sweet Potatoes

Like carrots, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene and vitamin E. Vitamin E is an antioxidant which means it can help to lower the risk of infections throughout your body and protect your eyes from eye disease, most commonly, age-related macular degeneration.

Sweet potatoes are a great side for your main dish, just make sure you don’t dose it in brown sugar and butter!

Beef

Zinc has been linked to better long-term eye health, including age-related sight loss and macular degeneration. Beef is a meat that contains a high level of zinc, even more than chicken breast and pork.

Zinc will benefit your eye health and vision through strengthening your retina and the tissue around your retina.

Water

While it’s not a food, water should be a part of your everyday routine. Maintaining a healthy balance of fluid in the eye is vital to protecting your eyes. Your eyes are surrounded by fluid that washes away debris and dust every time you blink. When you are not well hydrated your eyes become dehydrated as well.

Remember, including Vitamin E, zinc, and omega-3 rich foods into your diet will help protect your eyes and allow you to have clearer vision, longer.

 

Interested in learning more about the foods you should add to your diet in order to boost your eye health? Schedule an exam with one of our doctors to discuss the steps you can take in order to achieve healthier eyes.

 

 

Dr.Mike Murphy talks on the news while font over him reads, "In the past year, the media has turned to our expert team of doctors and opticians to share our knowledge, resources, and tips with viewers and readers across the state of Michigan."

Rx Optical in the News

At Rx Optical, we understand the importance of educating both our current patient base and the general public on best practices surrounding eye care and your overall health. In the past year, the media has turned to our expert team of doctors and opticians to share our knowledge, resources, and tips with viewers and readers across the state of Michigan.

In addition to being experts in all things related to eye care and eye health, our team is also well versed in the latest eye wear tips and trends. Check out a few of our favorite media highlights, featuring our wonderful team members, from 2018:

A Guide to Glasses

Rose Denney, Optician and Office Manager at the Grandville Rx Optical location, sat down with West Michigan Woman in April 2018 to share insight into how she helps patients pick out the perfect frames that fit their face shape and overall style. Rose’s training and education make her an expert in both eye care and personal eye wear styling. Check out the full piece here.

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National Sunglasses Day

National Sunglasses Day, celebrated annually on June 27, is, unsurprisingly, one of our favorite days of the season. Anthony McConer, Office Manager at Rx Optical Breton Village, stopped by the FOX 17 studios to chat about why it is vital that you wear sunglasses with proper UV protection. He also covered different style trends and discussed how to pick the right frame size and shape.

Check out Anthony’s interview here. We can’t wait for National Sunglasses Day this year!

Rx Optical discusses the importance of sunglasses.

Back-to-School Tips

Getting ready to send your kids back to school in August can seem like a daunting task. From gathering new school supplies to learning how to fall back into a normal routine, there is a lot to take care of. One very important item that tends to be overlooked: a comprehensive eye exam for children. Dr. Sherah Eavey sat down with WOOD-TV to share a few of the red flags to be aware of when it comes to children’s eye health issues.

Check out the must-see, back-to-school segment here.

Rx Optical's Dr. Sherah Eavey talks about back to school tips for kids and their eyes.

Halloween Horrors

Our doctors always keep an eye out for potential eye health threats based on the season. Dressing up for Halloween in the fall is always a fun tradition, however, the trend of unregulated cosmetic lenses are posing serious threats to users. Dr. Mike Murphy shared the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses with the team at WXYZ-TV in Detroit.

Check out the vision-saving interview here.

Dr. Mike Murphy discusses the dangers of cosmetic contact lenses.

At Rx Optical, we are committed to educating and informing patients and the general public about the latest eye care news, tips or threats. We also love being the go-to experts for eye wear fashion trends. No matter the season, and no matter the topic, our team at Rx Optical has you covered.

Keep your eyes peeled for more of our doctors and opticians being featured in the media in 2019. Want to meet our talented team of media stars? Find a location near you or schedule your appointment online today.

A woman wearing pink holds up pink tortoise shell glasses while text next to her reads, "Ready to fall in love with your glasses?"

Falling in Love with Your Glasses

Whether you’ve been wearing glasses your entire life, or just got your first pair, it is important that you feel comfortable in your frames and love wearing them. Why? Glasses are an important part of your everyday wardrobe and something that you should be able to have a little fun with. Once you find a perfect pair of glasses that make you swoon, be sure to treat them with extra care.

Ready to fall in love with your glasses? Our team of experts are here to help you find the perfect match.

Finding the Perfect Pair

Just because glasses may be a necessity, or something you depend on, doesn’t mean they can’t also be seen as a fun accessory. With endless style options available, there is no doubt that every person can find a pair of glasses that perfectly suits them.

A great place to start is looking at frames that will complement your face shape, and lucky for you, we have created a guide to help you do just that.

If you’re unsure of what type of frame you are looking for, let our expert team of opticians, who have a great sense of style and knowledge of the latest eyewear trends, help you. By taking many different style factors into account, our team will be able to find you a pair of glasses that you not only love, but that will leave you with a renewed sense of confidence.

Our experienced opticians are dedicated to providing Rx Optical patients with the best experience possible and can help you pick from the more than 40 designer brands that we carry. Try on as many as you need, as we know finding the perfect match takes a little time!

Take Care

After you’ve fallen in love with your glasses, you’ll want to keep them safe and clean. It doesn’t matter if you’re a long-time glasses wearer, or just picked up your first pair yesterday, bad habits surrounding your glasses care can develop quickly.

When taking care of your glasses, don’t forget to:

  • Use both hands when putting them on or taking them off, as this will keep frames from becoming misaligned.
  • Keep them on your nose, not on top of your head.
  • Store them in a safe place at night. Whether it is on a level night stand, or in a case, make sure the arms are gently folded in and they are resting on the arms, never the lenses.
  • Clean your lenses regularly.

Keeping your lenses clean is important when it comes to ensuring you are getting the clearest view possible. We carry an effective lens cleaning kit at all of our locations. The Rx Optical PHD-50 Lens Cleaning Kit, which is included with our Worry-Free Warranty, contains a 6-ounce cleaner spray bottle, 30 pre-moistened lens cloths, and a microfiber cloth. Our cleaning solution is safe for all lenses and coatings, and was developed to work fast. The kit is available for $12.95 when purchased separately from our Worry-Free Warranty.

Speaking of our Worry-Free Warranty, it is always better to be safe than sorry. We offer a comprehensive 25-month warranty that will help ease your mind and keep your glasses safe. Our warranty covers scratched, broken, or lost eyeglasses.

Because we want you to love your glasses each and every day, our team at Rx Optical is dedicated to helping you find your perfect match! Not loving your current glasses or think you might need a change? Stop by and see us soon!

A person holds a basket of vegetables while copy over them reads, "Our eyes are vascular, meaning that it is important to have a heart-healthy diet to keep the blood vessels that service our eyes healthy."

The Worst Foods for Your Eye Health

You know the saying, “You are what you eat”? The food you eat plays a huge part in your health.

Our eyes are vascular, meaning that it is important to have a heart-healthy diet to keep the blood vessels that service our eyes healthy. Tiny capillaries provide your retina with nutrients and oxygen; because these vessels are so small, fatty deposits can easily cause blocked veins.

We’ve shared with you the foods that will boost your eye health. Now, our expert team of doctors have compiled a list of the foods that are harmful to the health of your eyes.

Condiments, Toppings, and Dressings

The toppings that you likely store in your refrigerator door like mayonnaise, salad dressing, or jelly, are all high in fat.

Rather than using these options for flavor on your next sandwich, burger, or salad, try using natural flavors like green vegetables or toppings that are packed with vitamin C, like a squeeze of fresh lemon. Get great flavor with natural foods without sacrificing your nutritional benefits!

White or Plain Colored Foods

Think about the white foods that you eat: pasta, white bread, rice, and flour tortillas. These foods offer almost no nutritional benefit, just simple carbohydrates that give a rush of energy that are followed by a crash.

If you are eating these foods, be sure to add greens and foods that rich with omega-3 to the meal to provide yourself with nutritional benefits. Or, swap them for healthier alternatives that use whole grains.

Fatty Meats

Red meats and sausages are often convenient to purchase, especially when you are buying from the deli. Lunch meats can seem healthy but are mostly full of chemical preservatives, salt, fat, and cholesterol.

Instead of consuming fatty meats, try adding in lean meats like fresh turkey, which is full of zinc and protein. Salmon is good alternative as well, as it is an omega-3 rich food.

Margarine

Margarine is often marketed as a healthy alternative to butter, but is full of trans fats that can adversely affect your cholesterol.

Instead, try using coconut, avocado, or olive oil as an alternative to both margarine and butter to avoid trans fats.

Unsaturated Fats

Junk foods are delicious but can cause serious issues down the line for your health if you consume too many. Rather than eating French fries, cookies, or potato chips, which are all full of unsaturated fats, swap them out for healthy saturated fats.

Lean meats, fish, fresh fruits and veggies, and low-fat or non-dairy products are the best way to receive healthy fats.

 

We want to help you eat healthy so that your vision remains clear and focused. Do you have questions about how to eat healthy for your eyes? We would love to see you! Stop in or schedule your appointment today.

 

A blue eye looks forward while text reads, "Eyes are unique to every individual person, almost like a fingerprint."

The Science Behind Eye Color

Eyes are unique to every individual person, almost like a fingerprint. But, have you ever found yourself wondering, for example, why your eyes are brown and your sister’s eyes are blue? Shouldn’t you have the same eye color if you are related? The science behind eye color is a little more complicated than what you may have learned in your high school biology class.

Basic Biology Breakdown

In high school biology you probably covered genetics and dominant and recessive genes. In order to fully understand this, you likely did an activity where you traced your eye color back to your parent’s. However, understanding how dominant and recessive genes play into eye color is just scraping the surface of the science behind your eyes.

Melanin and Genetics

Different eye color is caused by the melanin in your iris. The iris is a flat, colored, ring shape behind the cornea of the eye. Less melanin in the iris means lighter eye colors, like blue and green, and more melanin in the iris makes for darker eye colors, like hazel and brown. Melanin isn’t the only factor in determining eye color.

Like you learned in high school, genes do play a role, but it isn’t just the one gene you were taught. The gene OCA2 determines how much melanin you will have in the iris, because it produces protein. Less protein means blue or green eyes. The gene HERC2 limits the OCA2 gene. So, the more that HERC2 limits the OCA2 gene, means less melanin in the iris.

Melanocyte Activity

Melanocyte is the mature, melanin-forming cell. The activity level of melanocyte in babies can contribute to a change in eye color up until their 1st birthday. If melanocytes secrete only a small amount, a baby will have blue eyes. If melanocytes are very active, a baby will have brown eyes.

Did you know that most American Caucasian babies begin their life with blue eyes, but only 1 in 6 adults retain the blue eye color?

Anomalies

Sometimes, eye color is determined by anomalies in melanin and genetics. Heterochromia Iridium is a condition where each eye is a different color. Heterochromia Iridium occurs when there are anomalies in the iris. Only 6 in 1,000 have this condition.

Most people know that David Bowie has 2 different eye colors, so you may think that he has Heterochromia. Bowie’s condition, however, comes from eye damage from a fight as a teen over a girl, which led to a permanently dilated pupil, which is known as anisocoria. Max Scherzer, former Detroit Tigers pitcher, currently with the Washington Nationals, does, however, have Heterochromia.

 

At Rx Optical, we understand your eyes and the intricate science behind them. We would love to see you and learn more about your eye color and your eye health. Schedule your appointment with us online today.

A green ribbon with the words, "Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and it affects more than 2.7 million Americans every year."

4 Symptoms & Signs of Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases; the two main types are primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) and angle-closure glaucoma. These are caused by an increase in pressure inside the eye, which leads to optic nerve damage. The optic nerve is responsible for carrying images from the eye to the brain, and if it is damaged, vision will be impaired or permanently lost.

Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of blindness in the United States and it affects more than 2.7 million Americans every year. Glaucoma is known as the “silent thief of vision” because there are virtually no early warning signs to indicate glaucoma. The best way to detect glaucoma early on is through a comprehensive eye exam.

While there are no early warning signs, there are several symptoms, for the two main types of glaucoma, to be aware of:

Primary Open Angle Glaucoma (POAG) Symptoms

Blind Spots

Frequent patchy blind spots in your peripheral, or main line of sight, in both of your eyes can be an indication of glaucoma.

Tunnel Vision

In advance stages of POAG, tunnel vision will occur. Tunnel vision is when objects being viewed cannot be properly seen if they are not close to the center of the field of view.

Angle-Closure Glaucoma Symptoms

Halos

Halos around lights are an indicator of glaucoma. Halos are bright circles that surround a light source when you are viewing it, and that will ultimately interfere with your overall vision.

Eye Pain

Glaucoma can cause eye pain to occur on the surface of the eye or within a deeper structure of the eye. Eye pain should not be taken lightly, and if it persists, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Along with the above symptoms, severe headaches and blurred vision are also possible indicators of glaucoma. If you experience any these symptoms it is extremely important to visit an eye doctor as soon as possible. For those over 40 who are not yet experiencing any of these symptoms, it is still important to have annual comprehensive eye exams in order to detect eye diseases in their early stages and protect your vision.

 

At Rx Optical, we have a deep understanding of the key indicators and risk factors associated with glaucoma and other vision-stealing eye diseases. Our expert team of doctors are here to help you protect your vision and are committed to helping you see clearer, longer. Stop in, give us a call, or schedule your appointment online.

An instrument used to test eye sight with the phrase, "At Rx Optical, we are dedicated to helping you see clearly. Don't ignore the signs!" superimposed over it

5 Signs You Need to Get Your Eyes Checked

Are you straining to see at night or when working on a computer or your phone? Does your head hurt after being in front of a screen or reading fine print?

These issues are not something you should live with; in fact, they are all signs of vision problem. Scheduling a comprehensive eye exam might not be at the top of your to-do list, but it should be, especially if you are experiencing vision issues and/or optical discomfort.

These 5 signs are the most common indicators that your eyes need to be checked through a comprehensive eye exam.

Night Sight

Are you noticing you can see fine in normal lighting but as soon as the lighting dims or you are in darkness, you have issues seeing? Do you are having trouble driving at night and reading signs at night? Or, do you are feel uncomfortable driving at night?

These are indications that you should have your eyes checked. With these symptoms, you could be experiencing night blindness. Night blindness is very common especially in older adults and is the first symptom of a cataract.

It’s All a Blur

If you are experiencing sudden blurry or unfocused vision, it could be a sign of a bigger health issue. If you start to notice that text in books is becoming fuzzy when read up close it could be an indicator of farsightedness or astigmatism. In aging patients, this can also be a sign of presbyopia.

Screen-time Strain

Computer and phone screens can cause serious strain on the eyes and can create computer vision syndrome (CVS). Common symptoms of CVS are eyestrain, headache, difficulty focusing, itchy or burning eyes, dry eyes, blurred or double vision, and light sensitivity.

If believe you are experiencing CVS, you should schedule an eye exam to discuss the strain you are putting on your eyes. In the meantime, follow the 20-20-20 rule, position your screen and documents accordingly, reduce lighting and glare, remember to blink, and use BluTech Lenses. 

Frequent Headaches

Headaches can be common; however, reoccurring headaches can be an early warning of a change in vision. When the cornea and lens fail to focus, the small muscles in the eyes are forced to work harder, which causes eye strain and can result in headaches. Sometimes staring at a computer screen for too long or working in either dim or overly bright light may be the reason why.

If you are struggling with frequent headaches, set up an eye exam as soon as possible. If you work in front of a screen often or in a dimly light room, take breaks every hour to allow your eyes to rest. If this symptom goes untreated, astigmatism, near, or farsightedness could occur.

Flashes, Floaters, Obstructed Vision – Oh My!

If you see floaters or flashes of light in your vision, this could indicate a serious eye disorder like a hole, detachment, or retinal tear.

Small specks that move in your vision field are called floaters; they are deceiving because they often look like they are part of what you are looking at outside of your eye but they are floating inside your eye.

An eye exam evaluates your vision and is extremely thorough. A comprehensive eye exam can closely resemble a physical when you consider what an eye exam can detect. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to schedule an eye exam as soon as possible to eliminate a serious eye disorder.

 

At Rx Optical, we are dedicated to helping you see clearly. Don’t ignore the signs! Stop in, give us a call, or schedule your appointment online.

Rx Optical Blog Image What is Glaucoma 12.27.18

What is Glaucoma?

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, and while many people have heard of glaucoma, most don’t fully understand the seriousness of the condition, or realize that it is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in the United States for those over 60.

Glaucoma is quite common in the United States, so understanding how to detect the condition in its early stages is key for preventing vision loss.

What is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a condition that causes damage to the eye’s optic nerve and that gets worse over time. The condition is often caused by a buildup of pressure in the eye, referred to as intraocular pressure. The optic nerve is vital for clear vision, as it is responsible for transmitting images to the brain, meaning if the damage continues, glaucoma can lead to permanent vision loss. If left totally untreated, permanent blindness is possible within a couple years.

Symptoms

Glaucoma does not present any symptoms in the early stages, and the first sign is often a loss of peripheral, or side, vision. This loss in vision, due to increasing damage to the optic nerve, can go unnoticed for some time, which is why glaucoma is often referred to as the “sneak thief of vision.”

While less common, rapid onset glaucoma, caused by a sudden increase in pressure, has more noticeable symptoms, like blurred vision, severe eye pain, headache, rainbow-colored halos around lights, nausea and vomiting. This is an emergency, and if not treated immediately, could result in permanent blindness. 

Who is at Risk?

Anyone can develop glaucoma; however, it is more common in those who:

  • Are over the age of 40
  • Are of African-American, Irish, Russian, Japanese, Hispanic, Inuit or Scandinavian decent
  • Have a family history of glaucoma (if you have an immediate family member who has glaucoma, your risk in developing the condition increases four to nine times)
  • Have diabetes
  • Take certain steroid medications
  • Had recent trauma to the eye or eyes

Glaucoma is detected through comprehensive eye exams, so the importance of regular eye exams cannot be overlooked when it comes to protecting vision.

Living with Glaucoma

While there is no cure for glaucoma, if you have been diagnosed with the condition, there are available treatments to control the disease and prevent further vision loss. Treatments include medicines, in the form of eye drops or pills, laser trabeculoplasty, or conventional surgery. Having ongoing conversations with your eye doctor about treatment, and keeping up with regular comprehensive eye exams, is the best course of action.

With the new year comes new resolutions. This year, be sure to set aside time for annual comprehensive eye exams for you and your family members. Eye exams can detect a variety of different diseases in their early stages, including glaucoma.

At Rx Optical, we are dedicated to helping you enjoy life and see clearly. Stop in, give us a call, or schedule your appointment online. We can’t wait to see you!

Rx Optical Blog Image Dry Eyes in Winter 11.28.18

5 Ways to Prevent Dry Eyes in the Winter

Winter is coming! In addition to Michigan winters being rough on our cars and our roads, the cold air outside combined with dry indoor heat can be a perfect recipe for dry eyes and discomfort. Thanks to the climate here in the northern Midwest, one of the most common patient complaints during the winter months is dry eyes.

Harsh winter weather can reduce the moisture in your eyes, causing irritation. This eye irritation can create a burning or itching sensation, and most of the time, people will try to relieve this by rubbing their eyes, which will actually make things worse.

Here are five easy tips you can incorporate into your winter routine to help alleviate dry eyes: 

Drink Water

Drinking plenty of water not only helps keep your body hydrated and healthy, but it also helps maintain moisture levels in your eyes. Did you know that the average adult should drink about half a gallon of water each day? If you’re experiencing dry eyes, be sure to examine your water intake, as you may need to increase the amount of water you are drinking.

Keep Your Distance from Heat

While the warmth from a fireplace or a vent is nice and cozy during the colder months, the heat blowing onto your face will inevitably dry out your eyes. If you want to keep your eyes moisturized, don’t sit directly in front of the fireplace, a space heater, or a heat vent.

Give Your Contacts a Break

Do you wear contacts every single day? Are you remembering to give your eyes a break from contacts once in a while? Contacts create a barrier that prevent oxygen from getting to your eyes, which can eventually dry out your eyes.

If you’re suffering from dry eyes, take out your contacts for a few days to alleviate irritation and stick with your glasses. You should also consider talking to your optometrist about switching to contacts that are better suited for those with dry eye symptoms.

Wear Sunglasses

The sun doesn’t set with summer, so you should always remember to wear sunglasses in the winter. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from damaging UV rays and will help block out any harsh winds that could dry out your eyes.

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

One of the worst things that you can do to your irritated and dry eyes is rub them. We know it is tempting, and can feel like an easy solution, but it will only worsen the irritation and can even lead to infections if your hands aren’t clean.

 

At Rx Optical, we want to help you have fun and enjoy the winter months in Michigan. If your dry eyes are keeping you from your favorite winter activities, stop in for a comprehensive eye exam so that you can get back in the snow without dry or irritated eyes.

Rx Optical Blog Image Protecting Your Vision as You Age 11.26.18

5 Tips for Protecting Your Vision as You Age

As you age, you may notice your eyesight getting weaker.

You avoid dimly lit restaurants and the font is as large as it can be on your phone. That’s because your eyes start to struggle with seeing close distances in your mid-40s, especially when you’re on your phone or reading a book or menu.

This is a normal change in the eye’s ability to focus, and is called presbyopia. Presbyopia is among the most common eye problems in adults aged 41-60.

So, what should you do to keep your eyes and vision protected as you age? Here are 5 tips from our expert team:

Wear Sunglasses

While we all know that looking directly at the sun isn’t safe, being outside without sunglasses is also harmful. UV rays take no days off, so always bring sunglasses with you. Sunglasses will protect your eyes from UV rays, even on cloudy or snowy days.

At Rx, we offer prescription sunglasses so that you never have to be without clear vision while protecting your eyes from damaging sunlight.

Wear Prescription Glasses

Are you noticing your vision is strained when reading up close or using your phone? Updating your prescription in your glasses can help alleviate the strain in your vision.

If you don’t wear prescription glasses already, scheduling an appointment with Rx is a great first step in determining if you need to wear glasses.

Boost Your Diet

Simply changing a few areas of your diet can help to keep your vision sharp. Including foods like eggs, legumes, citrus fruits, leafy greens, and fish in your diet can help to protect your eyes and vision. This is because they contain healthy elements like zinc, omega-3, and vitamins C and A.

Interested in learning more? Check out our blog on the “Top 5 Foods to Boost Eye Health”.

Stay Active

An active lifestyle is good for the entire body, and that includes your eyes. Exercising regularly can help to reduce your risk of developing problems that can end up leading to eye disease.

Want to protect your eyes as you exercise? Ask your Rx optician about prescription sports frames.

Comprehensive Eye Exam

Scheduling a comprehensive eye exam is the best thing you can do to identify what is causing your eyes to strain. Our experienced doctors will be able to develop a vision plan for you and get your vision set up for success.

 

At Rx, we employ an expert team of doctors who are committed to helping protect your eye health. Schedule an exam with us today and take the first step in protecting your eyes from aging.

Rx Optical Blog Image Diabetes and Eye Health 11.09.18

Diabetes and Your Eye Health

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and according to the CDC, there are more than 100 million U.S. adults living with diabetes or prediabetes. The serious disease, which affects the body’s ability to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, can cause health issues such as heart disease, kidney failure, amputations, and vision loss.

Diabetes is a major risk factor for developing glaucoma and cataracts, but the most common and threatening vision problem facing diabetics is diabetic retinopathy.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, which is a leading cause of blindness in American adults, is caused by damage or changes in the blood vessels of the retina due to high blood sugar levels. In certain cases, retinal blood vessels can swell and leak fluid, while others may experience abnormal and new blood vessels growing on the surface of the retina. These changes in the eye can result in vision loss or blindness.

According to the National Eye Institute, nearly 7.7 million people age 40 and older have diabetic retinopathy, and this number is projected to increase to more than 11 million by 2030.

Symptoms of Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetic retinopathy can be very difficult to detect yourself, as there are no symptoms in the early stages. As the disease progresses, you may begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Increasing number of floaters
  • Blurry vision
  • Blank or dark areas in your vision
  • Poor night vision
  • Colors appearing faded or washed out

The symptoms of diabetic retinopathy typically affect both eyes.

Prevention & Treatment

While fully preventing diabetic retinopathy is difficult, you can greatly reduce your risks by controlling your blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes and experience any of the above symptoms, you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible. Catching and treating the disease in its early stages, before it causes vision loss or blindness, is key for protecting your eye health.

It is crucial that all people with diabetes get a comprehensive dilated eye exam at least once every year. Dilated exams allow for eye doctors to see more of the inside of your eyes in order to check for signs of the disease.

Our expert team of doctors at Rx Optical is committed to helping protect your eye health. Schedule an exam with us today and take the first step in ensuring that your vision stays clearer, longer.

Rx Optical Blog Image Top 5 Foods to Boost Eye Health 10.29.18

5 Top Foods to Boost Eye Health

Your diet has a large impact on your overall health, including your vision. In addition to drinking enough water, maintaining a balanced diet that is high in fruits and vegetables, and low in sugar and saturated fats, is one of the most beneficial things that you can do for your eyes.

Most people have heard that carrots and other orange-colored fruits and vegetables promote eye health, but you should also consider adding these five foods to your regular diet in order to keep your eyes healthy and your vision sharp:

Fish

Adding fish to your diet will help protect and improve your vision. Your retinas need two types of omega-3 fatty acids in order to work correctly: DHA and EPA. Both of which can be found in fatty fish like salmon, tuna and trout. Additionally, omega-3s will help protect your eyes from age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, dry eye and glaucoma.

Don’t like seafood? Try taking a fish oil supplements to get a boost of omega-3s in your system.

Leafy Greens

Dark leafy greens, like spinach, kale and collards, are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin and are a great source of vitamin C and beta carotene. These antioxidants will act like a natural sunscreen for your eyes and protect from harmful UV rays.

If you aren’t a fan of leafy greens, try peas or avocado.

Eggs

Egg yolks are another prime source for lutein and zeaxanthin, which will reduce the risk of age-related sight loss. Eggs are also a great source of eye-friendly vitamins E and C, and zinc. Opting for an egg breakfast a couple times a week will help boost your eye health.\

Citrus Fruits

Vitamin C is a key defender against cataracts and macular degeneration. You can find vitamin C in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and berries. If you’re not into fruits and are looking for a daily dose of vitamin C, try a simple vitamin C supplement that you can find at most grocery or drug stores.

Legumes

Kidney beans, black beans, and lentils are good sources of bioflavonoids and zinc. These two can help protect the retina and lower the risk of developing macular degeneration and cataracts. Zinc also helps to protect the eyes from damage from light.

Remember, including Vitamin C, A, zinc, and omega-3 rich foods into your diet will help protect your eyes and allow you to have clearer vision, longer.

Interested in learning more about the foods you should add to your diet in order to boost your eye health? Schedule an exam with one of our doctors to discuss the steps you can take in order to achieve healthier eyes.

Rx Optical Blog Halloween Eye Safety 10.19.18

Get Spooky: Halloween Costumes and Eye Safety

Fun costumes are one of the best ways to celebrate Halloween. Depending on the costume, sometimes it takes a bit of makeup and even crazy eyewear in order to fully pull off the look you’re going for. When you’re swept up in the excitement of dressing up, it is easy to forget about eye safety and the potential risks your costume may be creating.

Our treat to you this Halloween season is informing you of certain costume accessories that could cause you harm and potentially ruin your Halloween celebrations.

Cosmetic Contact Lenses

October is Contact Lens Safety Awareness Month, and, coincidently, a popular trend for enhancing Halloween costumes is cosmetic contact lenses. Cosmetic lenses can make quite a fashion statement, but when bought without a prescription at boutiques, tattoo parlors, and other nonprofessional retailers, they pose serious health risks.

All contact lenses, including prescription or cosmetic, are classified as medical devices and it is illegal for anyone to sell contact lenses without a prescription, because of the medical and health risks that this creates. Non-prescription costume contacts can cut, scratch, and infect your eye if they are not properly fitted. From this mis-sizing, corneal abrasions and bacterial infections are the most common injuries that occur. Unfortunately, treatment for these injuries can require surgery and sometimes the treatment does not work.

Why are costume lenses unsafe? The lenses are developed in a way that does not allow enough oxygen get through to the eye due to the paints and pigments used to create the colors in the cosmetic lens. There are about 13,000 emergency room cases each year due to the use of non-prescription cosmetic lenses.

How do you get safe, colored contact lenses? The only way to safely wear contact lenses is with a prescription. Our Optometrists would be happy to determine your prescription and contact fit at an eye exam. If cosmetic lenses will complete your Halloween costume, be sure to go the safe route and schedule an eye exam.

Costume Makeup, Paint, and Glitter

Makeup, paint, and glitter are quite common when it comes to Halloween costume essentials, but these also all pose a risk. It is important that when using costume makeup, paint, or glitter, you test a small area before placing the makeup on the entire face. It is especially important with costume makeup to keep it away from the eyes and eye area so that they eyes are protected from any irritation or stinging and burning.

After the costume comes off, don’t forget to take off your makeup, too. No matter how tired you are, the irritation from costume makeup can cause infection if left on for too long, so don’t go to sleep without washing your face. Be sure to look for swelling, rashes, and irritation on the face or around the eyes the day after the makeup is applied.

Masks and Accessories

Watch out for any costume items that could penetrate or scratch the eye. Think plastic masks that could break into the eye or tripping while carrying a prop sword. Any accessory or prop you use should be soft, flexible, and short, in order to avoid injury to the eye.

Signs of Infection

After your celebrations, watch out for these signs of infection:

  • Unexplained eye discomfort or pain
  • Redness of the eye and/or discharge
  • Watering eyes
  • Vision changes

Want to learn more about safe Halloween costume practices or interested in setting up an eye exam to get a prescription for colored contact lenses? Give our office a call or schedule your appointment online. One of our doctors would be more than happy to assist in your fun and safe Halloween!