What is Blue Light, and How Does it Affect Your Eyes?

Excessive exposure to blue light from computer screens can lead to digital eyestrain, headaches, and dry eyes. Here’s what you can do to keep your eyes protected. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

There’s a lot of talk about blue light and how it can contribute to eye strain and discomfort. But what is it, really?

Natural light, or sunlight, consists of multiple colors that, when combined, ultimately produce the effect of white light. Each light – red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet – has a different wavelength and different energy that changes along the spectrum, which is why these lights appear in that order when refracted in a prism and seen as a rainbow. Red light has the longest wavelength and the lowest energy, while blue and violet lights have the shortest wavelength and the highest energy.

Constant exposure to blue light is thought to trigger sleep disturbance and eyestrain. Sunlight has the highest level of blue light, followed by fluorescent bulbs and television and computer screens. While there is more blue light in sunlight than other light sources, daily sunlight exposure is finite – the sun eventually sets, after all. Computer screens and television exposure can occur 24 hours per day and don’t necessarily vary in brightness or intensity. This type of constant exposure might cause headaches, fatigue, dry eyes, and other symptoms that can erode quality of life and compromise vision.

But blue light isn’t all bad – it elevates feelings of alertness and wellbeing, and daytime exposure to blue light regulates the body’s circadian rhythm. In essence, some daily exposure to blue light is essential. However, persistent exposure to digital forms of blue light can be problematic in the long term. Here are a few things you can do to minimize the symptoms of blue light overexposure.

  • Minimize screen time. While many of us can’t reduce the amount of time we look at a computer screen if our work depends upon it, we can significantly reduce our amount of recreational screen time. Limit video games, social media time, and Netflix binge-watching if you experience symptoms of digital eye strain.
  • Attach screen filters. Screen filters can be attached to laptops, computer screens, and smartphones, and they can effectively lower the amount of blue light the retina absorbs.
  • Wear blue light blocking glasses. Blue light computer glasses offer protection when looking at smartphones or digital screens, and offer the added advantage of being portable.
  • Wear anti-reflective lenses. If you already require corrective eyewear, adding an anti-reflective coating can help not only reduce screen glare, but also reduce blue light from both natural sunlight and computer screens.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometrists, having practiced for more than 20 years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Should you Ditch Your Contacts and Wear Glasses? Here’s What you Need to Know About Your COVID-19 Risk

Are glasses a safer option than contact lenses during the COVID-19 crisis? Here is what contact lens wearers should know about COVID-19 transmission. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Switching from contact lenses to eyeglasses might help reduce your risk of COVID-19 transmission, according to the Academy of Ophthalmology.

This group of eye doctors has suggested that glasses might provide a layer of protection – albeit minor – from airborne transmission from respiratory droplets, though there are no scientific studies verifying this assertion. Nevertheless, while the suggestion that glasses may act as a virus shield is somewhat controversial, it is true that contact lens wearers do touch their eyes more than non-contact lens wearers, and the virus can be transmitted by touching the eyes. This may make contact lens wearers more at risk for viral infection.

If you experience occasional itchiness or discomfort while wearing contact lenses, consider switching to glasses until the COVID-19 threat passes. Many of us touch our eyes or scratch automatically, and this can be a difficult habit to break, so if you can’t shelter in place and think that you could come in contact with a person infected with COVID-19, wearing glasses might be the safer option.

Wearing glasses instead of contacts is certainly the best option if you are already sick, even if you are not sick with COVID-19.

However, contact lenses are medical devices for vision correction, and they can be worn safely if proper contact lens protocols are rigorously maintained. Moreover, disposable lenses offer the best, most hygienic option, because they do not have to be stored and handled frequently.

If you must wear contact lenses – either due to personal preference or because you cannot wear glasses for work-related reasons – here are a few tips that can lower your risk for COVID-19 transmission.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly. Proper and frequent handwashing may be the best weapon against COVID-19 transmission. Wash your hands for a minimum of 20 seconds, and make sure you vigorously wash the palms, backs of the hands, between the fingers, the thumbs, and under the nails.

  • Care for your contacts according to manufacturer guidelines. Do not take shortcuts when caring for your contacts. If you wear daily disposable lenses, do not use them longer than explicitly stated on the package. If you wear two-week or monthly contact lenses, use an approved disinfectant solution every time you store them.

Regardless of whether you wear glasses or contact lenses, make sure you thoroughly disinfect anything that comes in contact with your face.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometrists, having practiced for more than 20 years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

What Contact Lens Wearers Should Know About Coronavirus

If you currently wear contact lenses, here is what you should know about your risk for coronavirus infection. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

The coronavirus crisis has necessitated numerous lifestyle adjustments from everyone – from social distancing, to working from home, to being vigilant about handwashing and face masks. However, not much is said about contact lenses, and how they may or may not contribute to coronavirus transmission.

It is important to note that contact lenses themselves to not make wearers more vulnerable to coronavirus. However, the fact that, by necessity, wearers touch their eyes far more frequently than non-contact lens wearers might raise the risk of coronavirus transmission. The virus can be transmitted through inhalation of infected respiratory droplets, from infected respiratory droplets getting into the eyes, and from touching an infected surface and then touching the eyes.

In order to minimize risk of coronavirus transmission, it might be a good idea to switch from contact lenses to glasses, particularly if you must go outdoors and are at risk of viral exposure. Wearing glasses while out in the open may also reduce the risk of infected respiratory droplets getting into the eyes, though eyeglasses won’t provide 100 percent protection.

If you decide to continue wearing contact lenses, here are a few things that can reduce your risk of coronavirus transmission.

  • Wash your hands thoroughly and frequently. Because many contact lens wearers inadvertently touch their eyes, it is extremely important to make you’re your hands are scrupulously clean. Always wash your hands carefully for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water before touching your face and handing your contacts.
  • Use artificial tears that are approved for contact lens wear. Dry eyes may encourage rubbing. If your eyes feel itchy or dry, add a few drops of artificial tears – don’t rub your eyes.
  • Follow contact lens maintenance best practices. Most contact lens wearers initially practice impeccable maintenance and hygiene, but after a few months or years many people become lax, either not washing hands thoroughly before handling the lenses or reusing solution, or taking other shortcuts. It is extremely important to be meticulous when caring for your lenses. Make sure you engage in proper contact lens maintenance every day. Do not use lenses beyond their manufacturer-suggested expiration date. Make sure to immediately replace lenses that have become cloudy.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometrists, having practiced for more than 20 years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Eye Safety During Coronavirus Crisis

Here are a few tips for optimizing your eye health during the COVID-19 crisis. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Eye protection – along with washing your hands frequently and shielding your mouth and nose – can help you avoid being infected by the coronavirus, also known as COVID-19.

COVID-19 is a virus that targets the respiratory system, causing sometimes fatal bouts of respiratory illness. COVID-19 infection symptoms include fever, body aches, cough, shortness of breath, and gastric distress in some patients. Though many patients are symptomless, those who do develop symptoms generally do so anywhere between two days and two weeks after being exposed.

There is still a great deal that isn’t known about the progression of COVID-19; it’s what is known as a novel virus, meaning that no human being has ever been infected with it, and no one was immune when it first spread. It is highly contagious, and can be spread via inhalation or eye contact from respiratory droplets being propelled when a person sneezes or coughs, and when a person touches something with the virus on it and then touches his or her mouth, nose, or eyes.

Because the virus can be transmitted through contact with the eyes, many optometrists are not seeing patients for routine eye examinations during the pandemic, though emergency services will still be available. Here are a few tips that will help you your eyes healthy during the COVID-19 crisis, until regular optometry services resume.

  • Try to wear glasses instead of contact lenses. While contact lenses themselves do not increase your risk for COVID-19, it is necessary to touch your eyes periodically – if only to put in, adjust, and remove lenses – which may transmit the virus to your eyes. Switching to glasses, particularly if you have to go out, will significantly reduce the risk of transmitting the virus. Additionally, glasses might help block respiratory droplets from your eyes, though they won’t provide 100 percent protection.

  • Try to stock up on eye medications if possible. If your insurance permits it, try to get a month’s worth of eye medications if you have glaucoma or other eye conditions that require treatment. Many insurance policies allow the purchase of up to three months’ worth of medications in the event of a natural disaster.

  • Be vigilant about your hygiene. While most of us believe that we are careful about our personal hygiene, we unthinkingly engage in behaviors that make us vulnerable to infection. Do not touch your mouth, nose, or eyes without first washing your hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds. When using hand sanitizer, rub vigorously and make sure it covers the palms, back of the hands, the space between the fingers, and under the nails. Disinfect doorknobs and common surfaces multiple times per day.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometrists, having practiced for more than 20 years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

What Kind of Lenses Do I Need? Part Two – Progressive, Workspace Progressives, and Transition Lenses

The following article continues the discussion of corrective eyewear types – progressive lenses, workspace progressive lenses, and transition lenses. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

What is the difference between progressive lenses, workspace progressive lenses, and transition lenses? Here is a breakdown of the three eyewear styles.

Progressive Lenses

Progressive lenses – also called multi-focal lenses – are similar to bifocals in that they are lenses engineered to correct more than one vision issue. However, they can correct more than two concerns, and there is no harsh line of demarcation that causes “image jump.” Progressive lenses address distance vision, intermediate vision (viewing objects at a distance of approximately an arm’s length), and close vision (reading).

Progressive lenses are designed for visual comfort; the visual field adjusts smoothly when the wearer moves their eyes. The upper-central portion of the lenses is designed for distance viewing; the region right in the middle is a small area for intermediate vision; the very bottom is for close vision, or reading. While most people find progressive lenses more natural than bifocals, there will be a period of adjustment, so it is wise to wear them around the house for the first few days before using them for driving.

Workspace Progressives

Although most wearers will be able to use their normal progressive eyewear for work purposes successfully, workspace progressives are designed to accommodate people who have specific work tasks. For example, close-range progressive lenses are more suited to people who spend a great deal of time performing workspace tasks like detail work (sewing), reading, or working on computers. These lenses have distance viewing and intermediate viewing, but the close-up field is bigger, so wearers can work in greater comfort.

Mid-range progressive lenses are designed for people who work in large spaces and need vision correction at approximately 14 feet. This range is good for teachers or people who frequently need to address a room full of people, but it’s also comfortable for computer use.

Transition Lenses

Transition lenses, or photochromic lenses, are any type of corrective lenses that become darker when exposed to sunlight and return to a clear state when indoors. They provide UV protection, and come in a wide variety of colors and frame styles. These are highly convenient and economical, since wearers won’t have to pay for prescription sunglasses and prescription standard glasses.

Whether you need progressive lenses, workplace progressive lenses, or transition lenses, OptiExpress in Cape Coral and Ft. Myers offers a huge selection of designer styles, as well as a convenient onsite one-hour lab. If you live in the South Florida region and think progressive lenses could be right for you, please visit our family-friendly eye care centers today!

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been one of Ft. Myers’s most respected optometrists for more than twenty years. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.