Do Your Contacts Make Your Digital Eye Strain Worse? Here’s What You Need to Know

You have spent more time in front of video screens than there are hours in a day. (Or, at least it feels that way!) While you might be familiar with digital eye strain symptoms, do you think your contact lenses might be making your digital eye strain worse? Before you participate in another video call, here’s what you need to know about eye fatigue and your contact lenses. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Although there might be some benefits to working from home and attending classes from home — including not having to get dressed, easy access to the refrigerator, and spending more time around the family — there might be a few costs to take into consideration. Spending multiple, uninterrupted hours in front of a digital screen, whether it’s a computer, laptop, tablet, or smartphone, can put your eyes at risk for digital eye strain.

If you wear contact lenses, you might be particularly sensitive to the symptoms of digital eye strain, because they can cause noticeable irritation and require you to remove and lubricate your lenses more frequently. The following tips can help you combat digital eye strain if you wear contact lenses.

  • Make sure your contact lens prescription is up to date. If your prescription isn’t up to date, new contact lenses might exacerbate your eye strain. Even extremely minor changes to a contact lens prescription can make a significant difference in comfort. Moreover, you want to make sure that your contact lenses provide the best possible fit for optimum vision correction.
  • Think about changing to a different contact lens design. Corrective lens technologies are constantly evolving. The newest designs and materials maximize comfort. If you haven’t upgraded your contact lenses in a while, now might be the time!
  • Consider wearing blue light protection. Blue light blocking corrective or non-corrective lenses can help keep your eyes comfortable, and even reduce the effects of digital eye strain. While blue light blocking glasses are very common, many corrective contact lenses offer blue light protection as well. Talk to your optometrist to find the best solution for your lifestyle and vision.
  • Take breaks. Periodic breaks away from a computer screen can help relieve digital eyestrain, just so long as you’re not taking a break from your computer to go look at your smartphone! A good rule of thumb is to take a break every 20 minutes to look add an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.
  • Schedule regular eye exams. Your eye care professional can provide you with tips, techniques, and tools that can help alleviate digital eye strain. Most importantly, he or she can rule out other, potentially serious, eye conditions.

OptiExpress offers an exhaustive assortment of eye care services, designer eyewear, and corrective lens options. If you are experiencing digital eye strain, please visit one of our South Florida eye care centers for a comprehensive examination.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is considered one of Ft. Myers’s most accomplished and trusted optometry specialists, having practiced in South Florida for more than twenty years. To schedule a contact lens fitting or an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

What You Need to Know About How Ultraviolet Radiation Affects Your Eyes

You probably know that skin cancer is associated with ultraviolet radiation exposure, but did you know that ultraviolet radiation can harm your eyes as well? 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.

Too much ultraviolet light exposure significantly raises your risk of skin cancer. Protective clothing and sunscreen can shield us from the damaging effects of ultraviolet rays, but we might not realize that our eyes are vulnerable to damage, too. It is estimated that more than 1/3 adults have suffered from symptoms related to ultraviolet light exposure, including swollen or red eyes, impaired vision, and eye irritation.

Fortunately, it is just as easy, if not easier, to protect your eyes from ultraviolet radiation as it is to protect your skin. Here are a few facts you should know.

What is ultraviolet radiation?

There are several different categories of ultraviolet radiation from the sun, and two of them are broadly believed to be the cause of significant health risks, including skin cancer. These rays, UVA and UVB, enter the Earth’s atmosphere without having been filtered or altered, meaning that they can cause significant harm to the skin and eyes. The amount of damage can vary, depending upon numerous considerations, which include your location, the altitude, and the time of day.

Your vulnerability to UVA and UVB damage might also depend upon other factors, including your physical health, the medications you are currently on, and your environment. If you are surrounded by surfaces that are highly reflective, like water, snow, or sand, you will experience significantly higher UV exposure.

While you might think that you are exposed to less direct sunlight in the wintertime or when it is cold than you are when it is hot, temperature conditions have very little to do with the amount of UV rays entering the atmosphere. You are more likely to get a sunburn on a snowy mountain top in winter than you are in a shady city park in the summer.

What puts eyes at risk?

There are very many eye conditions that are directly linked to ultraviolet light exposure. These include cataracts, cancer, and macular degeneration.

Here is a breakdown of some of the most common eye health conditions caused by overexposure to UV radiation:

  • Cancer. It is estimated that approximately 10% of all skin cancer diagnoses originated in the patients’ eye areas. It is believed that the most common cause of tumors of the eyelid is ultraviolet radiation exposure.
  • Cataracts. Approximately 20% of all cases of cataracts stem from ultraviolet radiation, according to reports from the World Health Organization.
  • Macular degeneration. This is the number one cause of vision loss for adults over the age of 60, and consistent UV exposure is one of the main triggers.
  • Photokeratitis. This condition, more commonly known as snow blindness, is essentially a corneal sunburn. It leads to inflammation and occasionally temporary vision loss.
  • Pingueculae and pterygia. This condition leads to observable growths on the surface of the eye, which can cause visual distortion and corneal abnormalities.

The UV radiation exposure you experience in your youth can lead to vision problems later on. This is because the effects of ultraviolet radiation exposure are cumulative, and cannot be undone. Nevertheless, it is possible to reduce your personal risk and avoid worsening the condition.

Contact lenses and UV protection.

Did you know that approximately 45% of ultraviolet radiation from the sun can still reach your eyes through the sides top and bottom of your sunglasses?

Contact lenses give your eyes extra protection from harmful UV radiation. Researchers have found that ultraviolet radiation-blocking contact lenses might help reduce exposure to UV rays more effectively than sunglasses alone. This could possibly reduce the risk of developing UV radiation-related eye diseases, such as cataracts.

OptiExpress offers a wide assortment of contact lenses, both corrective and cosmetic, that provide ultraviolet radiation protection. However, it is important to note that the combination of ultraviolet light-absorbing contact lenses and sunglasses with 100% UV protection lenses offer the best possible amount of protection for your eyes. OptiExpress provides a Gallery of designer sunglasses, both prescription and non-prescription, that deliver 100% UV protection lenses.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted top optometrist by members of the Cape Coral, Florida community. To schedule a contact lens fitting or an eye examination at either or Ft. Myers or Cape Coral location, please visit our contact page.

Talking to Your Eye Care Professional: 5 Questions You Should Ask

Want to make the most out of your next eye appointment? Here’s what you need to discuss. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Having healthy vision is extremely important. It helps us perform our job tasks well, it ensures that we are capable of driving, and it just helps us live our lives happily and healthfully. So, it’s important to check the health of our eyes periodically — just to ensure everything is working as it should.

However, most of us only schedule eye exams every other year, so making sure that those eye examinations are as thorough and helpful as possible is critical. Do your best to be prepared so that everything that affects your vision is addressed during your visit.

Here are a few questions you should ask your eye care professional during your next appointment.

  1. Is there anything that I should do to improve my vision and the health of my eyes? It isn’t unusual for patients to wonder if they can play a more active role in the health of their eyes. If you already have an eye condition, such as glaucoma, cataracts or macular degeneration, your eye doctor has already probably given you guidelines, tips, and instructions for keeping your eyes as healthy as possible and managing your condition effectively. However, if you don’t currently have issues with your vision, it might not occur to you that there are things that you can do to make sure your vision stays excellent for the long term. Being as proactive as possible about your health and wellness can help you stay strong, active, and happy throughout your life.
  2. What do you consider to be the best corrective lenses for my eyes? It isn’t unusual for doctors to struggle with making recommendations for certain products, simply because they don’t want to appear to have any financial interests in any particular brand. However, most consumers want and expect their eye care professional to suggest medical devices and corrective lenses that are the best for their needs, regardless of how much those lenses and devices cost. Ask your eye care professional what the absolute best vision correction options are so that you can decide how to proceed.
  3. Is my computer use affecting my vision? The overwhelming majority of Americans use computer screens and digital communications devices for more than two hours every day. This frequent use can lead to symptoms of digital eye strain, such as dry eyes, eye pain, itchy eyes, headaches, and backaches. Your eye care provider can recommend treatments, preventative measures, and possibly blue-light-blocking glasses to address this issue.
  4. Should I take steps to protect my eyes in my workplace or at home? This question opens the door for a conversation about eye safety. The topic of eye safety will encompass your lifestyle choices as well as your professional obligations, and your eye doctor will suggest strategies or tools to help keep your eyes protected. Some of these tools might include certain types of protective eyewear, ultraviolet light protection, types of contact lenses, and contact lens maintenance. Work-related injuries to the eyes are extremely common in numerous professions. Every day, approximately 2,000 workers require medical intervention due to eye injuries suffered at workplaces in the United States, according to records from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Discuss the conditions at your place of work, in addition to your duties, so that you and your eye care professional can determine whether or not additional eye protection is necessary. Additionally, if you participate in outdoor activities, you might need eye protection. If you play a lot of sports, go skiing, or spend a lot of time near the water, you will likely need protective eyewear with 100 percent UV protection.
  5. When should I schedule my next appointment? Your eye care appointment schedule will be based upon your eye health, your age, and medical history. It’s important to maintain your eye care schedule so that you can diagnose and address any medical abnormalities quickly.

If you need to make an appointment for a comprehensive eye exam, the professionals at OptiExpress will be more than happy to accommodate you.

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

Reading and Eye Strain: What Students Need to Know

The fall semester is already upon us — are your eyes ready for their new workload? Here’s what you need to know about how to prevent digital eye fatigue. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

We’ve just entered the fall semester — you’re probably spending even more time in front of digital screens than you had during the lockdown … And that’s a lot of screen time! You might have experienced some eye strain, visual fatigue, or even headaches after spending too much time binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix or gaming with your friends. Now that you’re going to be doing a lot of work in front of your computer, you might notice even more symptoms of digital eye strain. Before the symptoms become a distraction and affect your ability to study, here are a few things you should know about how to prevent or relieve digital eye strain.

What you need to know about digital eye fatigue.

If you are noticing any changes to your vision, if you’re having pain in your eyes or other symptoms like redness, dry eyes, or repeated headaches, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with your optometrist to determine the cause and to receive treatment. Nevertheless, if you’re spending hour after hour in front of a computer screen studying and doing school projects, symptoms like itchy and watery eyes, headaches, blurred vision, or backaches might not be anything new. These are all symptoms of digital eyestrain.

The use of digital communications devices — whether it’s a laptop, computer, tablet, or smartphone — has increased remarkably in the past 10 years as such products became more commonplace and affordable. It is estimated that over 60 percent of Americans have symptoms of digital eye strain when they use their digital communications devices for more than two hours per day. Digital eye strain is associated with a reduced blink rate, which is thought to trigger numerous symptoms, including dry eyes and eye sensitivity.

How to reduce digital eye fatigue.

Having digital eye fatigue isn’t necessarily an emergency situation, but it can influence your ability to concentrate and perform delegate tasks that require visual acuity. Therefore, it is important that you address your symptoms quickly once you notice them. Here are a few tips for reducing digital eye fatigue:

  • Practice the 20\20\20 rule: The 20\20\20 rule posits that taking a break for approximately 20 seconds every 20 minutes so that you can focus on an object that is 20 feet away can help alleviate eye strain.
  • Make sure to blink regularly: You might not be aware of the fact that you’re blinking less when looking at a digital screen. Blinking helps to keep the eyes moist and lubricated. Make sure to blink a few times per minute while working on your computer.
  • Stretch your legs: Getting up and moving around can help you optimize your blood circulation and also rest your eyes.
  • Make sure your lighting is appropriate: Overhead lighting can exacerbate digital eye fatigue. Make sure your lighting is comfortable with no obvious glare. Also, make sure your computer screen brightness is it the same level as your ambient light.
  • Adjust your computer position: Your computer screen should be approximately 24 inches away from your eyes. It should also be angled roughly 20 degrees below your eye level.

If you’re experiencing eye fatigue, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your local eye care professional. There are numerous strategies, including certain types of eyewear, that can significantly reduce digital eye strain symptoms. You might find that this not only helps your comfort, but it improves her academic performance! OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye care services, including eye exams, contact lens fittings, and a one-hour on-site lab.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s most respected optometry specialists, having 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.