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

Seasonal Allergies and Your Eyes

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

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

Why Your Eyes Itch 

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

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

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

Types of Allergies

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

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

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

How to Help Your Eyes

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

Rx Optical Blog Image Indoor UV 03.04.20

Protect Your Eyes from Indoor UV

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

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

UV Indoors

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

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

Protect Your Vision Inside

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

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

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

Protect Your Vision in Cars

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

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

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

 

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

Rx Optical Blog Image Spring Break Eye Safety 02.24.20

Spring Break Eye Safety Tips

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

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

Sunglasses

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

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

Contacts

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

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

Pack the Eye Care Essentials

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

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

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

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.

Sunglasses sitting next to plants.

Why Sunglasses are Important in the Winter

When winter hits, Michiganders all know the drill: break out the hats, scarf, gloves and sunglasses. Yes, you read that right! While sunglasses are traditionally associated with the warmth of the summer sun, they are actually a year-round accessory.

Don’t believe us? Let’s talk all about the importance of wearing sunglasses in the winter. Trust us. We will have you convinced to break out your shades by the end of this blog.

Harmful UV Rays

You have probably been warned about harmful UV rays before, but we’re going to warn you again!

The three different kinds of UV rays, UVA, UVB and UVC, can cause severe eye damage and pain. Too much of this exposure can even lead to macular degeneration and cataracts.

While UVB rays are the most damaging of the three, polarized sunglasses can make them far less scary. See, polarized sunglasses provide glare protection, as well as UV protection, which can help to ensure your eyes stay healthy. So, note to self: when buying sunglasses, invest in a pair with polarized lenses.

Reflection of Light

Have your ever stepped outside to see a fresh, new layer of snow, only to find yourself blinded by the glare? Snow reflects up to 80 percent of UV light, which is exactly why sunglasses are so important during the snowy white months.

Most objects in nature absorb some of the natural light that hits their surfaces. This is what gives them their color. Snow, however, is different, since it reflects most of that sunlight. That makes it bright white, but it’s also why you squint when you step outside.

Since we’re surrounded by ice and snow for at least a quarter of the year, it’s important to keep sunglasses at the ready. When you step out for some winter wonderland fun, be sure to bring shades for everyone in your family.

Even if you’re just commuting to work, the reflection off of a snowy road can damage your eyes and impair your vision. Pop on some polarized shades so you can cruise with confidence and keep your eyes safely open.
While we love polarized lenses, it’s worth noting that there are a few occasions when non-polarized lenses are best. If you’re skiing, driving a motorcycle, or driving in particularly icy conditions, it might be best to use sunglasses that don’t have polarized lenses. That way, you can see the reflections off of the ice and proceed with caution. Plus, if you’re an airplane pilot, it’s best to avoid polarized sunglasses, since they can make LCD instruments hard to read.

Not sure if you need polarized or non-polarized sunglasses? Come see us! We have a wide range of sunglasses frames and lens options! Hurry and schedule an appointment with us before the flurries of winter hit.

Rx Optical Blog Image Cosmetic Contacts 10.15.19

Cosmetic Contact Lenses and Your Eyes

Novelty cosmetic contact lenses seem to be all the rage around Halloween. Our team wants to make sure you have a safe holiday, no matter what you’re dressing as.

While these contact lenses might seem like a fun accessory for your costume, they can also hurt your vision.

In the spirit of a safe and fun Halloween, check out this quick FAQ about novelty cosmetic contact lenses, and learn how you can keep your vision safe this year.

Why do you need a prescription?

Did you know that in the United States, you have to have a prescription to order contact lenses? It’s illegal for a company to sell contacts to you unless you show them proof that you have a prescription from an eye doctor. That’s because the federal government classifies all contact lenses as medical devices, not just as accessories.

That means they have to be distributed by a licensed professional. So even if you just plan to use cosmetic or colored contacts for one night, you need a prescription from an eye care professional to purchase them.

This regulation ensures that there is oversight on novelty lenses. Without it, you’d be able to pick up lenses from anywhere, and that’s not safe at all.

What if you have 20-20 vision?

The prescription requirement might seem silly if you aren’t intending to purchase contacts for improved vision, but it’s more important than you think. That’s because there’s more to contacts than just clear vision. You have to think of safety.

Illegally sold lenses lack regulation, meaning they may not meet FDA standards. Those standards include a lack of sterilization or incorrect packaging, which can lead to huge problems for your vision. Non-prescription cosmetic lenses could even cut, scratch or infect your eye, which could result in permanent eye damage.

If you try to purchase contact lenses and you aren’t asked for proof of prescription, turn back! We know that the contacts might look cool, but the risks aren’t worth it at all!

Even if you do everything right, your eyes might still be irritated by the foreign object. In that case, remove the contacts immediately, call your eye doctor, and try some of these tricks for irritated and red eyes while you wait.

What about the fit?

If you get contacts that are made to fit your prescription, you are in good hands. When contacts are made to fit your prescription, that includes more than just the right power. Your contacts also fit the size and shape of your eye and are even made out of a material that suits you best.

Think of contact lenses like a pair of shoes. If they are too big or too small, the shoes cut into your heels and leave your feet irritated and uncomfortable. Contact lenses are similar, so they have to be the right fit for your eye.

Bonus tip: If you purchase cosmetic contact lenses with a prescription for a costume, be sure to still follow the standard rules of contact lens safety. Wash your hands before you apply your lenses and be sure to take them out before you go to bed. While you’re at it, remove all of your costume makeup before you hit the hay, too. Your eyes will thank you in the morning!

If you want colored or cosmetic contacts, visit an eye care professional like us for a prescription and an eye exam. Cosmetic contacts can be a fun way to add additional flare to your costume, as long as you acquire and wear them safely.

Rx Optical Blog Image 2019 Eyelash Trends 07.11.19

Eyelash Trends and Your Eyes

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

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

Lift and Tint

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

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

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

Eyelash Extensions

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

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

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

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

Magnetic and Glue-On Strips

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

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

A Healthy Alternative

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

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

Rx Optical Blog Image Water Sports Eye Safety 07.08.19

Water Sports Eye Safety

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

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

Common Eye Injuries from Water Sports

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

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

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

Proper Protection

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

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

Be Prepared

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

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

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

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

Rx Optical Blog Image Swimming Pool Eye Safety 06.17.19

Eyes Burning? Swimming Pool Eye Safety Tips

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

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

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

Danger of Pool Chemicals

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

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

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

Swimmer’s Eye

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

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

Dry Eye

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

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

Pink Eye

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

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

Protect Your Eyes

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

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

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

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

 

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

Michigan’s 5 Best Summer Getaways

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

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

Charlevoix

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

Isle Royale National Park, Lake Superior

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

Bad Axe

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

Silver Lake Sand Dunes

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

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

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

How to Avoid Eye Strain While Reading

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

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

Symptoms

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

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

Reducing Strain at Home or Work

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

Digital Screens

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

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

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

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

Eye Exam

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

The Best Seat in the House

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

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

Baseball Binoculars

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

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

Stylish Sunglasses

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

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

The Perfect Hat

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

Your Baseball Glove

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

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

 

 

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

How Eye Color Impacts Your Vision

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

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

The Science of Eye Color

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

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

Light vs. Dark

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

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

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

Sports Performance

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

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

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!

 

 

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 dark blue outline of the state of Michigan rests on a light blue background while text reads, "Rx Optical has deep roots in Michigan, and we love being in a state that has four distinct seasons, each bringing something new and exciting to try."

The Best Spring Staycations in Michigan

There is nothing quite like springtime in Michigan. The snow is starting to melt (hopefully), flowers begin to bloom, and it is one of the best times to explore our great state, as the full tourist season doesn’t hit until the summer months.

Rx Optical has deep roots in Michigan, and we love being in a state that has four distinct seasons, each bringing something new and exciting to try. We are sharing with you our favorite spring, in-state staycation spots, so start planning ahead and get ready for a great getaway:

Ann Arbor

Downtown Ann Arbor has great shops and tasty restaurants perfect for weekend exploring. Venture into the many book stores and unique gift shops, or check out the botanical gardens on the University of Michigan’s campus to watch spring plants bloom. You can rent bikes at the Campus Student Bike Shop and cycle down the streets of Ann Arbor or rent a canoe at Argo Canoe Livery on the Huron River and explore Ann Arbor by water.

Grand Haven

Visit southwest Michigan’s lakeshore in the scenic city of Grand Haven. A cozy beach town and U.S. Coast Guard station, Grand Haven is home to a stunning pier along the beach with two scenic lighthouses. You can bike down the boardwalk and stop in at all the different shops, or take a boat out on Lake Michigan and fish for salmon, steelhead, and trout.

Copper Harbor

Ready to travel to the far edges of Michigan? Buckle up and head to Copper Harbor! Located at the top of the Upper Peninsula on Lake Superior, this staycation will take you on an unforgettable Northern Michigan adventure. From the forest to the water, there is no shortage of exciting things you can do, and explore, in Copper Harbor. 

Traverse City

Not ready to venture all the way to the Upper Peninsula? Then be sure to check out Traverse City, which is a bit more central. This waterfront city has great water activities, including boating and kayaking, so stop by TC Watersports for a fun day in the Traverse Bay. If the water is too cold and you don’t want to risk being splashed, you can always hike the trails and enjoy the spring colors at Hickory Meadows Preserve.

Wherever you end up exploring in Michigan this spring, make sure to pack a pair of sunglasses! Protect your eyes from the sun’s dangerous UV rays and explore our great state in style! We would love to help you find the perfect pair of frames for your trip, so stop in and see us 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.