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.
  • Experiencing Eye Fatigue? Here are a Few Tips for Keeping Your Eyes Comfy During Screen Time

    Eye fatigue can cause multiple symptoms, from blurred vision to head and neck pain. Here are a few effective tips for reducing and even preventing eye fatigue when looking at a computer, phone, or TV screen. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    If you spend hours every day staring at a digital screen, eye fatigue probably isn’t unknown to you. Eye strain, watery eyes, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and even back pain are all symptoms of eye strain. Fortunately, there are several solutions that can reduce the severity of these symptoms, and even prevent them from appearing altogether. Here is what you can do.

    Visit an eye care professional for a comprehensive eye exam.

    While eye fatigue is very common among people who work on computers for hours at a time, it is nonetheless important to make sure that the symptoms you are experiencing are due to eye fatigue and not some other issue. However, if eye strain is discovered to be the cause, your optometrist can suggest treatment and mitigation strategies that can alleviate your symptoms, particularly if they are severe.

    Make adjustments to your computer monitor.

    The distance of your screen can make a tremendous difference in your overall comfort. Make sure the screen is approximately an arm’s length away from your face, with the monitor positioned at slightly below your eye level.

    Additionally, the screen brightness should be adjusted to roughly the same level as your ambient light. If your screen seems like it’s the principal light source in the room, it is too light. If it is challenging to read the text, it is probably too dark.

    Filter the blue light.

    Blue light filtering glasses can be enormously helpful in reducing symptoms of eye fatigue. Continuous blue light exposure can inhibit the optimum function of the retina, leading to discomfort and – over time – possible nearsightedness.

    Make sure your lighting is comfortable.

    If your room’s light is too bright, or if there is a light source that is in your line of vision, eye fatigue could be exacerbated. Make sure the lighting in the room is comfortable and that any lamps or light sources aren’t directed at your eyes so that you aren’t exposed to glare.

    Take breaks.

    Stepping away from the screen every so often can significantly lessen eye fatigue symptoms. The general rule is a break every 20 minutes where you focus on an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds.

    If you experience persistent symptoms of eye fatigue, please visit an eye care professional for a thorough eye exam. OptiExpress is one of the premier eye care centers in South Florida, providing family eye care services, designer eyewear, and a one-hour on-site lab.

    OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted South Florida’s top optometrists by the Cape Coral community. To schedule a comprehensive eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral eye care center, please visit our contact page today.

    Should You Wear Prescription Sunglasses? Yes – and Here’s Why

    You might not think much about prescription sunglasses, but they’re a great addition to any wardrobe. Here is how they can help you preserve your eye health in all environments. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    While many people who require corrective lenses also wear sunglasses, not all people who require corrective lenses wear prescription sunglasses. Prescription sunglasses are a great option for protecting your eyes from potentially harmful UV rays while helping you keep your vision strong and sharp.

    Here are a few reasons why you should consider prescription sunglasses.

    Prescription sunglasses are budget friendly.

    One of the biggest concerns for people who are considering prescription sunglasses is the price, but modern prescription sunglasses are relatively low-cost – provided you purchase them at OptiExpress!

    OptiExpress offers prescription sunglasses at deeply discounted rates from some of the most celebrated brands. Make sure to check the OptiExpress special discounts page for great deals on eyewear, exams, contact lenses, and more.

    Prescription sunglasses are very convenient.

    Prescription sunglasses are a great resource for outdoor environments where contact lenses aren’t practical. If you enjoy going to the beach, for example, prescription sunglasses correct your vision and protect you from the glare from the sand and water. Contact lenses, on the other hand, aren’t ideal in these circumstances, because sand and water exposure can be irritating and potentially harm contacts. Prescription sunglasses are a much better option.

    Prescription sunglasses come in a huge variety of styles.

    No matter which frame shape, material, or color you prefer, you can find prescription sunglasses in the style of your choice. Additionally, you can find polarized lenses that help reduce glare while driving.

    You can have sunglasses in any prescription.

    No matter what outdoor activity you participate in, you can find prescription sunglasses that help your maintain clear vision. These include reading glasses, progressive lenses, distance correction, and more.

    OptiExpress offers prescription sunglasses as well as transition lenses, another fantastic UV protection option that can be worn in both indoor and outdoor conditions.

    OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is proud to be one of Ft. Myers’s distinguished 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.

    Video Conference Eyewear Tips: How to Look Great on Camera

    If you’re spending a lot of time attending Zoom video meetings, you want to make sure you look your very best. Here are a few strategies for making sure your eyewear helps you look fantastic! OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    Remote working has become the norm rather than the exception, so standard meetings that would traditionally take place in an office or conference room are now taking place in our dens and kitchens in front of a web cam. While we might be able to wear jeans or pajama bottoms during these on-camera meetings, we have to maintain a professional exterior from the waist up. Eyewear plays a significant role in preserving a tidy and attractive appearance.

    While clothing and overall grooming are important for presenting an appropriate video conference appearance, eyewear is also an important factor. Wearing glasses that compliment the shape of your face is critical. Eyewear that emphasizes your best facial characteristics can actually make the glasses themselves appear less obvious.

    Professionalism is another major consideration. While you might have highly colorful or fun glasses that are your fashion signature in everyday life, they might only be distracting in an on-camera context. You want to make sure your audience is listening to you, not wondering about your bright green glasses.

    Lens coating is another feature that merits serious consideration. If you spend a good chunk of your day on your computer, whether it’s on camera or performing other tasks, a blue light-filtering lens coating can help you avoid eye fatigue. Additionally, anti-reflective coatings can help minimize and even eliminate distracting glare from your lenses.

    Here are a few quick tips that can help you optimize your eyewear for your next on-camera meeting.

    • Check the lighting. Adjust your lighting to make sure that the light doesn’t produce a glare from your lenses or hit your glasses in such a way that it casts a shadow over your eyes.

    • Make sure your eyes are visible. Keep your glasses properly centered on your face so that your frames don’t obscure your eyes. If your glasses continually slip downward, consider having a fitting for new glasses.

    • Make sure your lenses are clean and clear. The camera can accentuate fingerprints and smudges on lenses. Using a moistened wipe designed specifically for cleaning lenses and clean your lenses before your video conference to ensure clarity.

    OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is a trusted optometrist with a practice spanning two decades, who was voted one of South Florida’s top eye care specialists by the residents of Cape Coral. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral eye care center, please visit our contact page.

    Selecting the Best Eyeglasses for Your Child

    Getting your child used to the idea of wearing glasses can be a challenge. If your child needs corrective eyewear, here are a few things to consider when selecting the right pair of glasses. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    Even though corrective lenses will help your child concentrate on her schoolwork and comfortably complete assignments, she might not be thrilled with the prospect of wearing glasses. However, involving your child in the selection process will help her become comfortable with the idea of wearing glasses and even embrace the unique frame styles.

    Here are a few tips for choosing a great pair of glasses for your child.

    Get the best possible fit.

    Once the eye exam has been conducted, you have to select a pair of glasses that provide the best, most secure, and most comfortable fit for your child’s features. Moreover, the glasses have to withstand her normal activities. She might need additional support along the bridge of the nose so that the glasses do not slide down. Flexible spring hinges are also good for children’s glasses, because they can withstand aggressive use.

    Find a durable material for the frames.

    For children’s glasses, the strongest frame materials are best. Firstly, they tend to be lighter and easier for children to wear. Secondly, they’re strong! They can withstand highly active use and maintain their integrity.

    The most widely available glasses frame materials are plastic and metal. Metal frames are very lightweight, and are generally fitted with nose pads, making them more stable and less likely to slip. Plastic frames – acetate in particular – tend to be more popular with children because they are available in a wide variety of vibrant colors. Kids love that their glasses can match or highlight their unique personalities.

    Start the selection process by having your child select frames in your child’s favorite colors.

    This helps make the selection process more efficient. Once you have a selection of frames in one or two colors, you can choose styles – round, cats-eye, square, etc. – that are the most complementary to your child’s features.

    Select the right lens material.

    Like frame materials, lens materials should be strong and durable enough to withstand your child’s activities. Impact-resistant materials, such as polycarbonate, are a good choice.

    Additionally, because kids are spending significant chunks of time in front of various screens, it’s important to integrate blue light filters to make sure their eyes do not become fatigued.

    OptiExpress offers an excellent selection of frame styles and materials for children and adults. Stop by our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral eye care centers and browse our collection of designer eyewear today!

    OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted one of South Florida’s top eye care specialists by the residents of Cape Coral. To book an eye exam at our Ft. Myers or Cape Coral eye care center, please visit our contact page.

    Healthy Body, Healthy Eyes! How Staying Fit and Active Helps Preserve Vision

    Maintaining a healthy overall lifestyle is the best way to ensure healthy vision for the long term. Here is why keeping fit and active can help you keep your eyes strong. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    What is the best way to keep your eyes healthy? Getting plenty of sleep, avoiding eye strain, and vigilant ultraviolet sunlight protection are important factors, but regular exercise and staying active might be the very best strategy for preserving eye health for a variety of reasons.

    Staying fit helps prevent chronic health conditions that compromise vision.

    A sedentary lifestyle contributes to numerous health issues that affect vision in the long term. High blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes can all put you at significant risk for macular degeneration, cataracts, retinopathy, and glaucoma.

    Regular, vigorous exercise is one of the best strategies for fighting the above degenerative illnesses and obesity. When paired with a healthy diet, consistent exercise can reduce your risk of developing ocular conditions, such as macular degeneration, by as much as 70 percent. Overall cardiovascular health helps reduce the risk of glaucoma by approximately 25 percent.

    Staying active doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym every day, either. Taking regular walks around the neighborhood can help preserve heart health and maintain optimal circulation. There are also fun ways of staying fit, such as taking dance lessons, playing a sport, learning self-defense or taking martial arts classes, where you break a sweat without realizing you’re exercising!

    While staying fit is great for keeping yourself healthy and your vision sharp, it’s important to get regular eye examinations, which can identify eye abnormalities and health conditions before they become problematic. This is important even if you don’t require prescription vision correction. Regardless of whether you wear glasses, make sure to schedule an appointment for an eye check annually.

    OptiExpress is a full-service eye care center, offering optometry services in addition to a wide selection of designer eyewear and a one-hour onsite lab, where you can have your corrective lens prescription filled during your lunch break!

    OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington was voted leading optometrist in Ft. Myers for three years running, 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.

    Glaucoma – What You Need to Know to Maintain Your Vision

    Glaucoma is an eye disorder that can progress to vision loss if left unaddressed. Here’s what you should know about the condition so that you can protect your eye health for the long term. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    It is estimated that over three million Americans have some stage of glaucoma, according to the Glaucoma Research Foundation. Unfortunately, only approximately half of the number of people with glaucoma have had a formal diagnosis, meaning that a startling number of people will experience partial or total vision loss due to lack of treatment.

    What is Glaucoma?

    Glaucoma is an ocular condition that must be diagnosed by an eye care professional in its early stages, since initial symptoms are often unnoticeable. Over time, if left unaddressed, glaucoma will damage optic nerve fibers, leading to progressively worsening vision and, ultimately, vision loss. One of the reasons why glaucoma sufferers don’t recognize symptoms is due to the fact that the first signs appear as reductions in peripheral vision, and it often starts in a single eye.

    There are different types of glaucoma, both of which can lead to vision loss, but each presents itself in different ways. Here are the two types of glaucoma:

    • Open-angle Glaucoma: This form of glaucoma is the most commonly diagnosed, and it generally appears in adults over age 40, though it is occasionally seen in patients in their 30s. The condition involves a disorder of the apparatus that produces and drains fluid from the eyes’ interior chambers between the iris and cornea.

    • Closed-angle Glaucoma: This type of glaucoma – also called narrow-angle glaucoma – occurs when fluid collects within the eye, resulting in a build-up of pressure behind the iris that causes a variety of symptoms, including pain, nausea, and vomiting. This is a potentially very serious condition, and should be addressed by an optometrist or ophthalmologist immediately.

    Fortunately, both open-angle and closed-angle glaucoma can be successfully treated, particularly when caught early. It’s important to have regular eye exams not only to check for vision abnormalities, but also eye and overall health concerns, too.

    OptiExpress provides complete eye care services, including eye exams, to the South Florida community. If you have concerns about your eye health or believe you need corrective lenses, please schedule an appointment at our Cape Coral or Ft. Myers locations for an eye exam.

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

    Is Your Vision Blurry, Even While Wearing Glasses? Here’s Why

    It’s not uncommon to experience blurred vision after getting a pair of corrective lenses. Here are a few reasons why you might be having blurry vision even when wearing your new glasses. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

    If you’re frustrated because your brand-new prescription glasses don’t seem to be working – if you’re experiencing blurry vision after putting them on for the first time – don’t worry. There are several reasons why your vision isn’t adjusting to the new corrective lenses properly.

    Your brain needs time to adjust.

    It is extremely common to have blurred vision after putting on a new pair of corrective lenses, and it is likely a sign that your eyes are adjusting to their new reality. Remember, your eyes are used to processing information differently, and the blurring is simply a form of compensation that will quickly recalibrate after wearing corrective lenses consistently.

    Your frames aren’t the best fit.

    The way your glasses sit on your face is a big factor in your eyes’ ability to adjust to correction. This is particularly true if you’re used to wearing glasses of a certain shape or size. When you change that shape and/or size, your eyes have to adjust to a different lens curvature and sometimes a different distance from the lens to the eye. You can check whether the shape of the frames is the culprit by positioning the glasses on your face in different ways. If you notice that your vision becomes clear when you hold the lenses a certain distance from your face, you can check with your optician to see if your glasses can be restructured.

    Your prescription is incorrect.

    If the blurriness persists after a day or two, the culprit may be an incorrect prescription, which occurs less often than the other two issues but still happens on occasion. This could be due to an issue with transcribing the prescription order or a problem during manufacturing. If you suspect the prescription could be at fault, contact your eye care professional to double-check the prescription, and perhaps undergo another eye exam.

    OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye health services, from thorough eye exams to contact lens fittings. If you are experiencing blurred vision due to any of the above issues or if you suspect something more serious, please don’t hesitate to contact our Cape Coral or Ft. Myers, Florida eye care centers for an evaluation.

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