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 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!

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.

 

 

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.

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

Know the Signs and Symptoms of Glaucoma

Happy 2020, Rx Optical readers! While we hope you had a great 2019, we are extremely excited for the new year. This coming year might even be our favorite, because it gives us the opportunity to make an insane amount of 20-20 vision references. So, stay tuned!

It may be a year full of jokes, references and subtle puns, but it’s also a year of eye education.

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.

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 We Care 10.02.19

We Care, and Here’s How We Show It

If you’ve ever visited one of our offices, you’ll see we do things a differently. Our team is overly enthusiastic and passionate about providing awesome experiences from the minute you walk in the door to exam to ordering to pick-up.

Our focus is on the experience, we build relationships with our patients and the communities we reside in. You are the reason we are here, and we couldn’t be more thankful for you.

We Work with You

Your eye health is just that—your eye health. We want you to know exactly what’s going on with your eyes, and we communicate through each step of your visit.

There is no substitute for an in-person eye exam, when we know how you spend your time, where you work and how you play, we can ensure nothing is missed and your eyes are protected. What’s even better? We’ll talk to you about it in a way that you understand—none of that doctor speak nonsense.

Regular eye exams are important to establish your prescription—and we’ll help you do that—but they’re also super important preventative measures. When you stop in, we’ll look at your overall eye health, which can go a long way towards catching conditions like glaucoma early on. Remember: early detection can help prevent or minimize complications like blindness.

We Find the Perfect Fit

Did you know that a good pair of glasses requires more than just the right prescription? Crazy, isn’t it? The frame material, shape, size, and lens material can all make a huge impact on whether or not your glasses work how you need them to.

For example, if you’re always hitting the gym, you need glasses that can keep up with you on the treadmill and won’t slide off your face throughout your workout. If you spend a lot of time running back and forth from inside to outside, you need glasses that provide UV protection.

Frame shape and size, along with lens material, play a big role in the thickness and weight of your lenses. That’s why our opticians are trained to design the best pair of glasses to specifically fit your prescription and lifestyle.

We want you to love how your glasses look on you, but we also want you to fall in love with how they fit into your day-to-day life. It’s just another way we show how much we care.

We’re There for You

The right eyewear can make a huge impact on your life. That’s why we’re here whenever disaster strikes, because accidents always happen.

Did you smash your glasses? Our Worry-Free Warranty has you covered. Want more good news? If you lose your lenses, we can help with that, too. Why? Because we care.

Everyone has different needs, which is why we offer a bunch of different eyewear options, from polarized prescription sunglasses to contacts and everything in between. If you need something, all you have to do is ask. We’re happy to help!

We’re Part of the Community

At the end of the day, we come to work every day because we love helping the people in our community.

We’ve been shopping local and giving back since long before your favorite farm-to-table restaurant existed. That’s because we love Michigan and the people who live here. How can you tell? You can see us all over the place, sponsoring local teams, running in marathons, and giving back in other ways.

Our team is made up of people just like you, which means we want to get to know everyone who sets foot in one of our offices. We want to build a relationship with you, not just treat you like another number. It’s what you deserve.
Ready for a whole new eye care experience? Schedule an appointment today. We’d love to get to know you.

A bright yellow background with blue text on top.

How to Soothe and Avoid Bloodshot Eyes

Red may be a primary color, but it shouldn’t be the primary color of your eyes.

Most people have probably experienced the discomfort that is a bloodshot or red eye, either from campfire smoke, a chlorinated pool, or just from the dirt and debris that floats in the air. As you know, this comes with pain, but also the unattractive appearance and the not so subtle red eye. Moral of the story: if you have ever experienced it, you know. It stinks.

The first thing we ask people when they tell us their eyes are red is, “did you remember to take your contacts out before you went to bed last night?” So, before you read any further, start there.

If you’re still with us, that means one of two things. One, you really love learning about blood shot eyes, or two, you have one and it most likely isn’t from your old contacts. Don’t worry. We will try and provide you with some helpful advice.

How to Avoid Red Eyes

While our list of items to avoid might not guarantee your eyes will be pain free, it’s a good place to start.

  • Avoid smoke – if you have easily irritated eyes, it’s best to stay away from smoke. Smoke can cause eyes to itch because of the toxins in the dirty air.
  • Wash your hands regularly – If you have to touch your eyes, always, always, always be sure they are clean before you do so. Your hands carry lots of germs that can cause irritation to the eye if they come in contact with one another.
  • Wash your pillowcase, towels, and clothes regularly – Keeping items that go near your eyes clean will help decrease the number of unwanted germs and bacteria that find their way to your eyes.
  • Makeup: If you have sensitive eyes, the makeup you’re using may be the root of your problem. Either lay off the heavy eye makeup or switch to a different brand. It might be worth investing in hypoallergenic products.
  • Wear glasses: One common cause of red and irritated eyes is dust that gets trapped in the eye. To help cut back on this discomfort, wear glasses in dusty situations. For example, if you are mowing the lawn, try a pair of polarized sunglasses or prescription safety glasses to help decrease the amount of dirt that comes in contact with your eyes. We can help you find the perfect pair. Ask us about our Home Safety solution program the next time you stop in!

At Home Suggestions

If your eyes are red and irritated, you can try a few tricks at home to keep the irritation to a minimum. Try gently pressing a warm, damp, clean cloth over your eyelid. Only hold it there for a few minutes before removing it. This can help reduce the swelling around your eye.

If you frequently get red or irritated eyes, ask your eye doctor about artificial tears. These can help wash out debris and sooth the burning, itchy sensation. Keep these on hand, so the next time you have irritated eyes, you’ll be ready to go.

Come See Us

While we may have given you some suggestions to avoid and lessen your symptoms, be sure to come see us if your eyes are irritated. Red and irritated eyes can be a sign of other underlying issues, which our team can check for. After all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

We want to ensure your eyes stay healthy and are given the help they need. Schedule an appointment with us today to learn more about protecting your eyes.

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.

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!