How Often Should I Have an Eye Exam?

You know you’re supposed to have a dental checkup every six months or twice a year, but how often are we supposed to have our eyes checked? The following article will discuss eye exam frequency and what you need to know about the risk factors for eye diseases. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

The health of our eyes isn’t the same as the health of our mouths, but every part of the body needs good, consistent preventative care. Regardless of whether you need, or think you need, a newer prescription for your corrective lenses, having your eyes checked periodically is always a good idea.

Human eyes are extremely intricate and complex, and there are very many ways something can go wrong with their health or functionality. Having regular eye checks is essential to ensure optimal eye health.

What are regular eye exams?

Regular eye exams are comprehensive checks of eye health and visual acuity. Patient age, and risk factors for certain eye diseases, or certain cardiovascular diseases, will determine the optimal frequency of comprehensive eye checks. It is recommended that children are brought in for their first eye exam at approximately six months, they should have their eyes checked again by their third birthday, and again before they start school. Again, this is whether or not there appear to be any issues with the child’s vision or overall eye health. Having childhood eye examinations is extremely important for identifying and correcting issues with vision before they might have impeded their scholastic efforts.

The majority of adults should have their eyes examined approximately every other year until the age of 60, regardless of whether or not there are issues with vision. Over the age of 60, those visits should increase in frequency — patients should come in every year. Nevertheless, your optometrist and even General Practitioner will tell you what the best strategy for your health would be.

What are some of the risk factors for eye disease?

If you are someone whose vision is at-risk, your eye examinations should be more frequent than the average person’s. However, you might not realize that you even have “at-risk” vision. If you have relatives who have struggled with macular degeneration, glaucoma, or cataracts, you might be at risk for vision problems. Likewise, if you have a family history of diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease.

If you regularly take prescription medications that cause dry eyes, you might be at risk for vision complications. Such side effects must be monitored so that you are not at risk for eye infections. People who wear contact lenses regularly are also at an increased risk of eye infections and eye injury. Smokers are at very high risk of vision and eye health complications. If you smoke, you are at a significantly higher risk for glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and diabetic retinopathy.

When is it urgent to see an optometrist?

If you keep to your recommended schedule for eye examinations, you probably won’t have any emergencies, and your regular visits should mitigate your risk factors. However, eye injury might still occur for which you need immediate assistance. Also, if you notice any minor changes in your vision, you should see an optometrist immediately. Please visit your optometrist if you notice any of the following:

  • Blurred vision. Having blurry vision might simply mean you need a new corrective lens prescription. Nevertheless, the sooner you have your eyes checked, the sooner you will be able to see clearly.
  • Repeated or severe headaches. Having headaches frequently is often a sign of eye strain or eye distress. If you spend a lot of time in front of a screen, whether it’s a computer or TV screen, you might experience digital eye strain. An eye exam can help you effectively manage the symptoms.
  • Bright flashes or floaters. If you notice an increase in floaters or if you see bright flashes, this may be a symptom of a detachment of the retina, which must be treated immediately.
  • Increased sensitivity to light. This is often a symptom of an eye infection and should be treated as soon as possible.
  • Night vision loss. Again, this might be a symptom of an eye infection, but it could also be a signal of deteriorating vision. See your eye doctor immediately.

Prioritize your high exam schedule — it may help you maintain optimal vision, and even optimal health!

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is pleased to be among Ft. Myers’s most respected optometry specialists, with more than two decades of experience serving the South Florida community. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Want Colored Contact Lenses for Your Halloween Costume? Here’s What You Should Know

If you’re thinking about adding colored contact lenses to your wardrobe, here’s what you need to know about getting the right pair. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

It’s about that time of year! It’s time for costumes and makeup and ghoulishness … In short, it’s time for Halloween!

Getting all dressed up for Halloween is certainly fun, and the more elaborate the costume, the more points you win at your next Halloween party! One of the best and most creative accessories for great Halloween costumes is colored contact lenses. They help create a full, immersive character. However, not all contact lenses are made to the same standards.

Unfortunately, there are some colored contact lenses that aren’t manufactured according to stringent safety protocols. If you’re planning on creating a spectacular Halloween costume complete with scary eyes, here are some tips for finding, wearing, and maintaining colored contact lenses.

Remember, all contact lenses are medical devices.

Regardless of whether the contact lenses are for vision correction or just cosmetic purposes, all contact lenses, because they come in contact directly with the eyeball, are classified as medical devices. Even if you see colored contact lenses being sold over the counter at a beauty supply store or a costume shop, it doesn’t mean that these are just normal accessories like earrings. You must have a prescription to buy colored contact lenses, even if your vision is perfect.

Contact lens prescriptions are required because everyone’s eyes are different, and contact lenses have to fit precisely. If you don’t wear contact lenses that fit you, you run the risk of eye infection or eye injury.

Only visit the best retailers.

One of the biggest red flags when looking for retailers of costume contact lenses is not requiring buyers to have a prescription. If they require evidence of a contact lens prescription before selling to you, then it is likely a reputable retailer.

Selling contact lenses of any kind without a prescription is illegal in the United States.

All eyes are shaped differently.

We mentioned this in the previous paragraphs, but human eyeballs are not all a standard size. You cannot find one size fits all contact lenses, even if they are only for cosmetic changes and not vision correction.

Follow careful maintenance guidelines.

Once you’ve purchased a pair of colored contacts from a reputable retailer, you must maintain them properly and only use them according to the directions given to you by your optometrist and on the package. This is to ensure your risk of eye infection is always low. Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Make sure your hands are always thoroughly washed before you touch, insert, or take out your contact lenses.
  • Do your best not to touch or scratch your eyes while you are wearing your contact lenses.
  • Do not ever clean your contact lenses with any fluid or cleaning agent other than the appropriate fresh contact lens solution. You must never even get your contact lenses wet with water!
  • Always read your contact lens instructions very carefully. Never wear them for a longer period of time than the instructions indicate, and always replace your contact lenses as per the recommended replacement schedule.
  • Always remove your contact lenses before going to sleep. Regardless of whether you’re Wearing corrective or cosmetic contact lenses, you must always remove your lenses, and store them properly every night before you go to sleep.

If spooky colored eyes are a part of your costume this Halloween, let OptiExpress be your holiday eyecare resource! We’ll be more than happy to give you a full eye exam and contact lens fitting just in time for your next costume party! OptiExpress was recently given the distinction of being Southwest Florida’s number-one Fitter of Acuvue Contact Lenses.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is one of Ft. Myers’s most respected optometrists, and has practiced in South Florida for more than two decades. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

What You Should Know About Prescription Sunglasses

Prescription sunglasses are a handy addition to your eyewear collection, and here’s why! OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Is it a good idea to purchase prescription sunglasses? Yes, and here’s why.

If you spend a lot of time driving during periods of maximum glare, hunting for your tinted attachments for your prescription glasses while you’re supposed to be focusing on the road could be a hazard. Even if you are considering transition lenses – a convenient investment for numerous circumstances – you should be aware that their effectiveness might be compromised by the UV protection of your windshield. Moreover, many forms of transition lenses aren’t polarized because polarization inhibits visual clarity when looking at digital screens. Lenses that aren’t polarized don’t offer glare protection.

Additionally, prescription sunglasses are a great resource for people who wear contact lenses and spend a lot of time participating in outdoor activities. Wind, water, and sand can cause eye irritation and damage your contacts. They’re available in readers too, so if you want to spend your weekends by the pool or lounging on the sand with a novel, they’re a great and affordable option.

Prescription sunglasses are great for almost all corrective prescriptions, and are available in progressive lens and bifocal styles. You can even get prescription swim goggle sunglasses!

Prescription Sunglasses Frame Styles

Prescription sunglasses are available in virtually any frame you desire with the exception of some wraparound styles that might distort vision due to dramatic lens curvature. If wraparound sunglasses are your favorite style, discuss your options with an optician, because certain designers offer wraparounds for mild prescriptions.

Prescription Sunglasses Lens Materials

No matter what lens materials you prefer, they are available in prescription sunglasses. These include glass and a wide variety of thermoplastics.

While corrective eyewear lenses in glass offer exceptional correction and are considered the superior option when it comes to overall lens quality, they are not the ideal choice for prescription sunglasses. This is because they are not as durable as thermoplastic alternatives, like polycarbonate, and are considerably heavier. Nevertheless, if you prefer glass lenses and do not plan on wearing them under highly active circumstances, you can request glass lenses.

Transition lenses, also called photochromic lenses, are a good option for outdoor activities, though they aren’t ideal for driving (windshields can interfere with the lenses’ response). However, because they adjust to UV intensity, they can offer more intensive protection in brighter conditions.

Prescription Sunglasses Glare and UV Protection

UV protection is the most important characteristic when purchasing sunglasses, whether they are prescription or non-prescription. While we are largely aware of the damage UV rays can do to our skin, we are less aware of the damage UV exposure does to our eyes over time. Sun damage can make you more susceptible to numerous eye conditions, including cataracts and even ocular melanoma (eye cancer). You want to be sure that you get 100 percent UV protection.

Lens color is not related to UV protection – light tints can block 100 percent of UV rays, and darker lenses can offer less protection. Additionally, polarization is more effective in blocking glare than lens darkness. This feature is especially important for highly reflective environments, like the beach or in the snow.

OptiExpress offers a huge selection of prescription eyewear from some of the world’s most renowned designers, including Ray-Ban, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Coach, Prada, Versace, and more.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is one of Ft. Myers’s most respected and distinguished optometry specialists. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

How Ultraviolet Radiation Affects the Eyes

We know that overexposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause significant damage to the skin – the most significant damage being skin cancer. But UV rays can be extremely harmful to the eyes as well. Here’s what you should know about how UV rays and your vision. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Protecting the eyes from harmful UV rays is just as important as protecting the skin from sunburn. UV exposure can lead to noticeable symptoms, including irritation, blurred vision, swelling, and redness. Moreover, it can damage the eyes dramatically over time. Fortunately, protecting the eyes from UV exposure is fairly straightforward. Here are a few things you need to know about UV exposure.

UV Exposure Risks

UV rays are emitted by the sun, and depending upon your location, the levels can be high enough to be quite damaging. Tropical areas and high-altitude regions tend to have the highest UV concentrations, making sun protection exponentially more important. Additionally, certain medications can make you more vulnerable to sun damage, as can sun exposure in places where there are large areas of reflective surface, like snowy or white sand environments.

Overexposure to UV rays can trigger numerous serious eye conditions, including but not limited to:

  • Cancer. Research from the Skin Cancer Foundation found that approximately 10 percent of all cases of skin cancer are formed on the eyelid. Additionally, intraocular melanoma is diagnosed in almost 3,000 patients in the United States yearly.

  • Cataracts. According to estimates from the World Health Organization, roughly 20 percent of all cases of cataracts were caused or made worse by exposure to UV rays.

  • Macular degeneration. The leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60 is age-related macular degeneration. Early macular degeneration is typically triggered by excessive UV exposure.

  • Photokeratitis. This condition, also called snow blindness, is effectively a sunburn of the eyes. The resulting inflammation causes temporary loss of vision, and it gets its name because it is a common condition among skiers, though it can occur in a variety of environments.

It isn’t unusual for people suffering from the above conditions to not have recognized that sun exposure was a considerable – if not the main – contributing factor. Nevertheless, it is never too early to start protecting your eyes from UV rays. UV protection in the form of sunglasses is the best, most effective method for preventing long-term damage, but there are some brands of contact lenses that offer considerable protection, too. OptiExpress offers designer sunglasses, prescription sunglasses, transition lenses, and contact lenses that provide protection as high as 100 percent (though certain contact lenses offer between 85 and 95 percent protection).

If you’re looking for fabulous eyewear, OptiExpress offers a tremendous selection of designer sunglasses in the Cape Coral and Ft. Myers eye care centers.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is one of Ft. Myers’s top eye care providers, having practiced in South Florida for over 20 years. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Is 20/20 Vision Perfect Eyesight? Not Necessarily – Here’s What You Should Know About Eye Health

You might think your eyesight is perfect because you have 20/20 vision, but there are other considerations that aren’t related to refractive error. Here’s what you should know about possible undiagnosed eye conditions. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Numerous vision issues aren’t caused by nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they have a vision issue, and this lack of attention can lead to problems in the long-term.

Vision Conditions in Children

Certain vision problems are fairly obvious – lazy eyes and crossed eyes are two of the most noticeable conditions – but numerous issues are easily missed. Vision problems in very young children are often undiagnosed for a variety of reasons. These reasons the inability of small children to articulate what they’re seeing and feeling, and the possibility that they don’t know that there’s anything wrong because the symptoms have always been there.

Sometimes, vision issues in children are interpreted as behavioral problems. Challenges with concentration, short attention span, lack of depth perception, and physical complaints like headaches and neck pain are often misinterpreted. Some children with undiagnosed vision issues might be thought to have learning disabilities, when the problem is really their ability to see.

Binocular Vision and How it Affects Your Sight

Our eyes must function as a pair in order to perform optimally. Each eye captures an image at a somewhat different angle because of the way both eyes are set from each other. It’s the combination of images that achieves a three-dimensional picture of the environment, giving us special awareness and depth perception. Both eyes’ ability to work together is called binocular vision. Problems with binocular vision can be due to the following issues:

  • Amblyopia: This is the medical term for “lazy eye,” a condition where one eye’s acuity diminishes because the brain begins to favor the image capture of the other eye.

  • Convergence Excess: This is when the eyes involuntarily turn inwards too much when focusing on close objects.

  • Convergence Insufficiency: This is when the eyes lack the ability to turn inward to focus on close objects.

  • Divergence Excess: This is when they eyes turn outward to excess when focusing on distant objects.

  • Divergence Insufficiency: This is when the eyes are incapable of adequately turning outward when focusing on distant objects.

  • Strabismus: This is when the eyes do not align with each other, and instead turn outward or inward. Also commonly known as crossed eyes.

These conditions can be successfully treated with corrective eyewear, with special therapies, or surgically, depending upon severity.

Regular, comprehensive eye examinations are essential for ensuring optimal vision. Having your eyes checked by a qualified optometrist can help you identify these and other potential concerns with your eyesight and overall health. Eye exams are particularly important for school-aged children, because the standard test with the eye exam chart doesn’t always catch binocular dysfunction or other vision issues.

OptiExpress offers thorough eye examinations in a family-friendly atmosphere. In addition to being one of South Florida’s top eye care centers, we also offer a wide variety of designer eyewear. If you have concerns about your or your child’s eye health, please don’t hesitate to contact the specialists at OptiExpress today!

For more than two decades, OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been one of South Florida’s favorite optometrists, being named Cape Coral’s Best Optometrist as a write-in candidate. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Does Your Job Require a Lot of Screen Time? Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes

The coronavirus crisis has forced many people to rely heavily on computer screens and digital devices, not only to complete work projects, but to connect with friends and family and shop. How does this increased dependency on digital screens affect our eyes? Here’s what you need to know about digital eye strain. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Thanks to the novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent social distancing and working from home, we are more dependent upon our digital devices than ever before. Whether you are working from home, using your computer or phone to connect socially, or binge watching new shows, you are exposing yourself to a significant amount of blue light from the LED screens. Two hours of blue light exposure can trigger digital eye strain, so what happens when we spend nearly every waking hour in front of a computer?

Digital Eye Strain Symptoms

While digital eye strain does cause blurry vision, itchy eyes, and light sensitivity, other symptoms can be difficult to attribute to digital eye strain because they affect other functions apart from the eyes. These include:

  • Headaches
  • Neck aches
  • Sore shoulders
  • Sore back
  • Trouble concentrating

Although digital eye strain seems like more of an annoyance than a serious medical event, over time, digital eye strain can seriously diminish your productivity. According to the Kazi Personal Control Lighting Study, continual exposure to digital screens results in a 15-minute reduction in work time per day, with some estimates indicating up to a 20 percent loss in daily productivity!

To avoid digital eye strain, you must take a few precautions that help to minimize the impact of blue light on your vision. Unfortunately, reducing the amount of screen time isn’t necessarily possible, but there are other effective options.

Make your workstation more eye-friendly.

Your computer screen’s angle isn’t in a comfortable position, you’re more susceptible to digital eye strain. Make sure your screen is approximately 20 inches from your eyes, with the screen angled upward and below your eye level. If you’re using additional materials, have them alongside your computer in a position that doesn’t require continual head movement to read them.

Make your lights comfortable.

Continual squinting is a sign of poor lighting. Make sure the brightness of your screen is roughly the same level as your ambient light. Also, position your room light source in a way that the glare isn’t in your eyes.

Adopt the 20-20 rule.

Have you ever noticed that you don’t blink as often when you’re looking at a computer screen? Blinking serves to keep your eyes lubricated and moist, and also clears the debris from the ocular surface. You can make sure your eyes are properly moist and flushed by taking a break every 20 minutes and close your eyes for 20 seconds.

The 20-20-20 rule also helps reduce eye strain. This rule involves taking a 20-second break every 20 minutes to focus on an object 20 feet away. This action helps to refocus the eyes, and can alleviate symptoms of eye strain, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Try blue-light-blocking glasses.

Computer glasses, also called blue-light-blocking glasses, filter the blue light from LED screens that contributes to digital eye strain. These are a great tool for people whose work mainly involves reading and writing text. However, these glasses might be less-than-optimal for graphic designers or people who work with photographic images. This is because blue-light-blocking glasses affect the way color is perceived.

OptiExpress offers eye care services, designer eyewear, and accessories that help keep your eyes comfortable and healthy. If you think that blue-light-blocking glasses could be right for you, or if you suffer from eye strain, please visit one of our South Florida eye care centers and discuss your concerns with one of our certified optometrists.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been one of Ft. Myers’s distinguished optometry specialists for more than 20 years. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Eye Protection for Active Lifestyles – What You Should Know

Whether you enjoy running, hiking, fishing, or playing hoops with your friends, the proper eyewear is crucial for keeping your eyes comfortable and protected from injury, the sun and the elements. Here’s what you should know about protecting your eyes while playing sports. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

At OptiExpress, we are huge ambassadors for proper eye protection, particularly when participating in high-energy outdoor activities, like sports, exercise, or when working in the sun.

Approximately 90 percent of all eye injuries are preventable. Simply wearing proper eye protection could have prevented 27,000 eye injuries experienced from sports in the United States alone.

Certain activities are particularly dangerous to the eyes because they involve projectiles. Sports such as paintball, airsoft, tennis, soccer, baseball, and softball cause the most injuries, followed by skiing, snowboarding, hockey, football, and archery. However, playing any sport without the proper protective equipment can be hazardous, particularly if the game is high energy and aggressive.

How to Select the Proper Eye Protection

All sporting goods retailers offer different types of protective equipment for the eyes. You can find specially made goggles, glasses, and face shields designed to be worn for specific activities and sports. The best options are lightweight, polycarbonate goggles that can withstand a variety of contact activities and even be worn safely over glasses. Polycarbonate goggles are highly shatter-resistant, even more so than standard plastic, and can be worn snugly around the head. These goggles are multi-purpose, so they can be used for other activities, too, such as eye protection during DIY home projects such as lawn maintenance, plumbing, or carpentry.

If you need significant vision correction and play a lot of sports, having prescription protective goggles might be a cost-effective and convenient solution, because you won’t be risking your everyday eyewear during play.

If you are considering playing organized aquatic sports like water polo, eye protection can be a bit complicated, because eyewear can be jostled significantly during the course of normal gameplay. If you require corrective eyewear but would like to play casually, it might be safer to play without goggles. However, do not ever wear contact lenses while playing aquatic sports, even under goggles.

Make Sure Your Eyewear Offers UV Protection

In addition to shielding your eyes from injury, your protective eyewear should shield your eyes from damaging UV rays. If your favorite sports activities are in environments where there is a lot of glare, such as beach sports or winter sports, sun protection is just as important as impact resistance and shielding. Look for 100 percent UV protection for your goggles in addition to resilience, comfort, polarization (which minimizes glare), and a wide field of vision. Polarization is particularly important, because glare can affect your ability to see your gameplay, making you susceptible to injury.

If you would like prescription protective eyewear for the sport or activity of your choice, the team at OptiExpress will be more than happy to discuss the best options for your lifestyle and concerns. OptiExpress offers the Ft. Myers, Florida community eye care services in a family-friendly environment.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been one of Ft. Myers’s most distinguished optometry specialists for more than two decades. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Pink Eye: How to Recognize It and Address It

Pink eye can appear suddenly, and last for days or even weeks if unaddressed, depending upon the type. Here is what you should know about this common eye infection. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Conjunctivitis – commonly known as pink eye – is an eye infection that causes inflammation and discomfort. Here is what you need to know about this eye disease.

Conjunctivitis can be viral or bacterial.

The principal types of pink eye are viral conjunctivitis and bacterial conjunctivitis. Both forms are extremely contagious, and both can cause significant discomfort.

  • Viral conjunctivitis causes redness, discomfort, and thin, watery secretions from the eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is extremely contagious, and can be spread by the coughs of an infected person. There are no medications for viral conjunctivitis, and it can take up to two weeks to clear up on its own. However, warm compresses can help mitigate the inflammation and the pain.

  • Bacterial conjunctivitis is characterized by pus-like discharge from one or both eyes, slight swelling, redness, itching, and discomfort. Bacterial conjunctivitis spreads via direct contact from an infected person. It can be treated quickly with antibiotics, but can last a few weeks if untreated.

Some forms of conjunctivitis stem from allergic reactions.

Occasionally, conjunctivitis can be the result of an irritant or allergy. Generally, allergy medications and limiting exposure to certain allergens will prevent the onset of allergy-triggered conjunctivitis (known as Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis), but it can also be caused by failure to maintain contact lenses properly.

You can reduce your risk of conjunctivitis by following a few basic guidelines.

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly after touching any surface.
  • Always cough or sneeze into your arm.
  • Do not touch your eyes with your bare hands – use a tissue if possible.
  • Do not ever use anyone else’s contact solution, eye makeup, or eye drops.
  • Always take out your contact lenses before swimming.

If you are experiencing any symptoms of conjunctivitis – discharge, pain, itching, inflammation — don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with an optometrist to determine the best course of action. OptiExpress is one of South Florida’s leading eye care centers, providing thorough eye care services in addition to having a designer gallery of eyewear and one-hour on-site services.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted best optometrist by the community of Cape Coral, Florida. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Thinking of Wearing Costume Contact Lenses This Halloween? Here’s What You Should Know

Costume contact lenses seem like a fun addition to a well-thought-out Halloween costume, but before you buy a pair of lenses at your local beauty supply store or online, here’s what you need to know. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Halloween is just around the corner! It’s the time of year when we channel our inner ghouls and goblins (or sexy pirates) and celebrate the beginning of fall.

If you’re planning a dazzling costume this Halloween, a set of super spooky eyes might add a final flourish to your bold holiday look. However, before you start shopping for the perfect vampire, demon, or cat’s eye contacts, take the following into consideration – or you just might find a raging eye infection in your trick-or-treat bag.

All Contact Lenses Are Medical Devices

Regardless of whether they are prescription corrective lenses or non-prescription colored contacts, whether they’re soft contacts or rigid gas permeable lenses, or whether they’re daily disposable or non-disposable, all contact lenses are medical devices. While fashion eye glasses that offer no corrective power are accessories and not considered medical devices, contact lenses must be fitted to the individual eye in order to assure optimum effectiveness and safety.

Contact lenses must be specific to the curves and size of your own eye, otherwise they could fall out or cause injury.

All Contact Lenses Should Be Purchased From a Reputable Vendor

Never purchase costume contact lenses from any retailer that doesn’t require a prescription. This might be disappointing, because most people don’t want to bother getting a prescription for a once-yearly wardrobe enhancement, but it’s important to ensure a safe experience. If the retailer doesn’t require a prescription prior to purchasing contact lenses, they are violating the law.

Costume Contacts Require Proper Maintenance

Once you have a prescription for your contact lenses, you must learn how to care for them correctly. Correct contact lens maintenance significantly reduces your risk of eye infection. Here are a few basic tips for contact lens care:

  • Always wash your hands thoroughly before handling your lenses.
  • Avoid rubbing or touching your eyes while wearing your contacts.
  • Don’t clean with, or expose your contact lenses to, any solution other than the contact lens cleaner recommended by the contact lens manufacturer. NEVER expose your contact lenses to water.
  • Never store your contact lenses in anything other than fresh contact lens solution. Do not reuse solution after removing them from their case.
  • Remember to remove your contact lenses before you go to sleep. Sleeping with contact lenses – particularly scleral contact lenses that are less breathable than standard lenses – can irritate the eyes.
  • Keep optometrist-recommended eye drops handy to ensure your eyes and lenses stay hydrated.

If your Halloween costume could use the added glamour of costume contacts, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment for a contact lens fitting and prescription at OptiExpress!

  • The founder of OptiExpress, Dr. J. Michael Witherington, is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s leading optometry specialists, having practiced in South Florida for over 20 years. To schedule an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.