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.

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.