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.

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.

The Evolution of Eyewear – How Glasses Have Changed Through the Decades

Fashion trends come, go, and come back again, and eyewear trends have proven to be just as variable. Here is a retrospective of the different eyewear fashions that dominated the eras throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Although eyewear serves a practical purpose – correcting imperfect vision and protecting eyes from damaging ultraviolet rays – it is also a fashion statement. Like all fashions, eyewear designs and trends are reflective of the eras in which they become popular. While earlier decades throughout the 20th century had easily identifiable eyewear styles, today we like to incorporate some of those elements into our modern eyewear choices to create a timeless appeal. Here are a few of the hallmarks of eyewear styles through the decades.

Turn of the 20th century to the 1920s

The beginning of the 20th century ushered in a more egalitarian age of eyewear. Whereas corrective eyewear was largely inaccessible to the underclasses of the 19th century, more efficient manufacturing processes and materials made eyeglasses more affordable and practical. The pince-nez glasses (eyeglasses that had no ear pieces, but were instead worn balanced on the bridge of the nose) and the lorgnettes (glasses with no ear pieces that were held up to the eyes using a long handle) were replaced by spectacles that were held in place with temples and temple tips that anchor to the sides of the face more securely. While there was a bit of variation in the frame styles, the vast majority of frames were round and made of thin metal wire.

1920s to 1930s

Eyewear became more comfortable and was offered in lifestyle-specific designs, such as driving goggles. By the 1930s, there was even more variation with frame styles. Frames became less round, and there was a greater diversity in materials with plastics having recently been invented.

1940s to 1950s

The post-war era saw a robust variety of eyewear fashions, from the iconic women’s cat-eye shape to the browline style that became the hallmark of 1950s erudite masculinity.

1960s to 1970s

While the eyewear fashions from the 1950s continued to be de rigueur in the early-to-mid 1960s, pop artists who embraced the “hippie” aesthetic started to harken back to the 1920s and thirties with small round or rectangular wire-framed “granny” glasses. As the 1960s drew to a close, eyewear had become as radical and psychedelic as the fashion, art, and design of the era. By the 1970s, eyewear had become bigger and bolder, with large geometrically shaped frames and tinted lenses.

1980s to 1990s

By the end of the 20th century, eyewear styles were largely leaning towards previous decades and celebrating the iconic looks of the 50s, 60s, and 70s with a few modern twists. Sports eyewear also began to take off, with highly durable frames favored by athletes becoming standard for the rest of the population.

The 21st Century

While the aesthetic of previous eras is continuing to inform current trends, today we are seeing a greater emphasis on technology that optimizes eyewear, like polarized lenses that reduce glare, blue light blocking features, transition lenses that automatically go from clear to tinted when the wearer heads outdoors, and much more.

At OptiExpress, we offer the latest eyewear fashions using state-of-the-art materials and design elements. Visit our designer eyewear gallery to view our selection.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington has been 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.

4 Fabulous Future Eyewear Trends

Looking for the latest eyewear trends? Here are a few that should be taking the world by storm! From innovative materials to tech-forward features, these glasses offer improved functionality and heightened style. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Fashions and trends are dynamic, so eyewear styles change and evolve constantly. As technological innovations become more accessible, greater variations in designs and features will begin to appear in all types of eyewear. The following features will certainly start to change the eyewear landscape in the coming seasons.

Blue Light-Blocking Lenses

We’re spending the majority of our waking hours staring at some kind of digital screen. This constant exposure is leading to increases in migraines, disordered sleep, dry eyes, and other discomforts that range from minor to significant. Blue light-blocking lenses offer relief from the barrage of blue light waves from LED screens that can trigger adverse physical responses. These lenses aren’t just for wearing in front of a laptop, TV, or smartphone – they’re designed to be worn everywhere, so you don’t have to switch glasses for different activities.

Activity-Specific Eyewear

Hikers, climbers, bike-riders all have individual eyewear needs, and the eyewear design industry is taking those needs seriously. New technology allows for eyewear design that accommodates a diverse assortment of lifestyles and pursuits. These might include glow-in-the-dark frames, highly resilient shades for rugged terrain activity or contact sports, or eyewear that can float during water activities.

Custom 3D Printed Glasses

We might shortly see a trend of ordering specific, unique eyewear styles that can be produced via 3D printer. Some designers offer 3D design templates that allow customers to print their own eyeglasses and install prescription lenses or sunglass lenses themselves. While this is not yet a widely available feature, as 3D printing technology and materials become more affordable and commonplace, we can expect 3D printed eyewear to become increasingly accessible.

Clip-On Lenses

Clip-on eyeglass lenses are a nostalgic trend for people who enjoy a retro eyewear style. While transition lenses are the 21st century equivalent of clip-on lenses, not everyone can necessarily afford this feature, as the price of transition lenses can range from $100 to $400 in addition to the prescription price. Clip-on lenses are a budget-friendly and fashion-forward alternative.

OptiExpress offers a full gallery of designer eyewear brands that can suit any style. Visit our Cape Coral or Ft/ Myers showrooms and select the best pair for your needs and lifestyle today!

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.

Eat with your Eyes – Foods to Avoid for Healthy Vision

A nutritious diet is critical for achieving optimal eye health. Unfortunately, it’s very easy to let junk food dominate our meals, which can lead to significant health issues that affect our vision. Here are a few categories of food you should keep off of your plate to ensure strong and healthy vision for the long-term. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

We know that it’s important to eat a wide variety of foods to enjoy peak physical health. We also know that limiting our diets to highly processed, caloric, low-nutrition foods makes us susceptible to cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and other preventable illnesses. However, many of us aren’t necessarily aware of how an unhealthy diet compromises our vision. Here are a few of the types of foods we should severely limit to keep our eyes healthy.

High-sodium foods.

Excessive amounts of sodium raise your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and also type 2 diabetes. All of these medical conditions take a toll on eye health. High blood pressure increases risk of retinopathy, which can lead to vision loss.

It can be very easy to eat excessive amounts of sodium if your diet consists of processed convenience foods – even ones that seem healthy. According to the American Heart Association, 70 percent of American’s sodium intake comes from processed convenience foods and foods eaten at restaurants. When you cook food at home from scratch, you end up eating significantly less salt.

Sugary foods and beverages.

Most of our sugar intake comes from beverages – soda, juices, and soft drinks. However, sugar from desserts and candy should also be avoided. Sugary foods, and especially foods with high fructose corn syrup, contribute to the extremely high incidences of type 2 diabetes in the U.S.

If you’re a sugary soda drinker, switch to water with cucumber slices, which is refreshing and contains healthful antioxidants, too.

Also, don’t think that diet sodas are a healthy replacement for regular sodas. Diet sodas have been shown to contribute to insulin spikes and metabolic syndrome, and might put you at risk of diabetic blindness.

Saturated fats.

Overindulgence in saturated fats – animal fats, margarine, and dairy fat – can lead to a variety of health conditions. Some studies link macular degeneration to the consumption of dietary fats. Reduce your overall fat intake, and switch to healthy fats high in antioxidants and omega-3 fatty acids, like avocados, olive oil, and canola oil.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is widely considered one of Ft. Myers’s leading eye care 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.

If You Have Perfect Vision, Should You Wear Reading Glasses?

Some people who don’t require prescription vision correction will nonetheless wear reading glasses for small text. Is this advisable? Here’s what you should know. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

For people with presbyopia – age-related far-sightedness – reading glasses are effective tools for performing delicate tasks up close and reading comfortably. But if you don’t technically have presbyopia or require prescription lenses, is it safe to wear reading glasses?

While reading glasses are designed to reduce eye fatigue in people with varying degrees of presbyopia, people with normal vision can wear reading glasses perfectly safely for a variety of tasks that could lead to eye strain. If, for example, you have to read very small or difficult-to-decipher text (like hand-written text), reading glasses can significantly enhance the text size so you can see it with ease.

However, while it is fine to use reading glasses for magnification, your eyes will probably need a moment to adjust if you’re not used to looking through the lenses, particularly if they’re stronger than a 4.0 power magnification.

If you find yourself more comfortable wearing reading glasses, you should likely have your eyes checked by an optometrist – you might discover that you’d be better served by prescription eyewear.

Alleviating Eye Strain

Although you can use readers for near vision tasks to reduce eye strain, there are other things you can do to help prevent or lessen eye discomfort. These include:

  • Make lighting adjustments. Keeping your light at a comfortable brightness is key to alleviating eye strain. Moreover, the position of the light source is a factor, too. If you are reading physical text from a book or document, move your light source behind you and focus the light directly on the text. If you’re working from a table or desk, a properly positioned shaded lamp will direct light onto your work and away from your eyes.

  • Take periodic breaks. It’s important to give your eyes relief when you’re focusing on close work for extended periods of time. This reduces the stress of continued focus and helps prevent eye fatigue and headaches.

  • Use a humidifier. Dry eyes are a symptom of eye strain, largely due to the fact that it’s common to blink less when focusing on close work. If your eyes become dry after prolonged close work sessions, you could find relief by keeping the air quality moist. If a humidifier isn’t practicable, artificial tears can help keep your eyes comfortably lubricated.

  • Use blue light blocking glasses. If you’re working at a computer, blue light blocking glasses can help reduce eye strain symptoms by reducing LED glare that can contribute to eye fatigue.

OptiExpress founder Dr. J. Michael Witherington is widely considered one of Ft. Myers’s leading eye care 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 to Wear a Face Mask with Glasses

Wearing a face mask is a crucially important part of stopping the spread of COVID-19, but if you wear eyeglasses, it can be a challenge to wear both comfortably. Here are a few tips for wearing both a face mask and eyeglasses. OptiExpress provides comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

With face masks being essential to containing the COVID-19 crisis, it is critical to learn how to wear them effectively and comfortably. If you also wear eyeglasses, wearing a face mask can be particularly difficult, since it is very easy for the lenses to fog up due to the fact that the breath is channeled upwards through the mask and towards the eyes. It is particularly common when going from a warm outdoor environment into an air-conditioned shop. You might have to remove your glasses to clear them, but if you don’t have access to hand sanitizer or can’t wash your hands, it might not be safe to touch your face.

Nevertheless, it might be safer to wear glasses than contact lenses in the current climate, so knowing how to wear your glasses with a face mask can help reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. Here are a few tips that will help you wear your mask and your glasses safely.

  • Find a mask with a built-in nose bridge. Because standard medical masks and homemade masks tend to be structured in a way that encourages the breath to flow upwards towards glasses. However, masks with nose bridges fit more securely on the face, so that the breath doesn’t escape upward and fog up glasses.

  • Make sure your glasses are over your mask. If you don’t want to buy a new mask or masks, try to wear your glasses over the mask material so that your breath doesn’t escape.

  • Place a tissue inside your mask across your nose. The tissue can help to block and absorb the moisture from your breath and prevent fogging.

  • Cleanse your glasses with a mild soap. If your glasses don’t have a special coating that could be easily damaged (check with your optician), an effective trick for anti-fogging is washing your glasses with a gentle soap and carefully drying them completely. The film that is left on the lenses acts as an anti-fogging agent.

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

What Are the Benefits of Mirrored Sunglasses (Besides Looking Unbelievably Cool)?

Mirrored sunglasses have been a fashion trend for decades, but do they offer any real benefit to eye health, or do they just look great? Here are a few of the pros and cons of mirrored sunglasses styles. OptiExpress offers comprehensive eye exams, contact lens fittings, a gallery of designer frames, and a one-hour onsite lab.

Most people opt to wear mirrored sunglasses because they appreciate the aesthetics, but they also offer optical benefits. The mirrored surface, which is a thin metallic veneer, alters how light is reflected and filtered through the lenses, so they can improve your ability to recognize different colors outdoors. But there are other benefits to mirrored sunglass lenses. Here are a few.

Mirrored Sunglasses Benefits

  • Mirrored lenses offer enhanced UV protection. The mirrored surface is better at reflecting UV rays away from the eyes than standard lenses, which is why mirrored surfaces are often used in sunglasses and goggles designed for use in high altitude environments, while engaging in activities in bodies of water, or in snowy conditions.
  • Mirrored lenses are very sturdy. This is due to the fact that they require several layers of reflective coating to achieve the desired result and finish. This makes them exceptionally resistant to scratches.
  • Mirrored lenses are great at reducing glare. This makes mirrored sunglasses especially good for driving, when glare can compromise safety.
  • Mirrored lenses hide eyes effectively. If you happen to be in circumstances where you’d prefer not to have your eyes visible, mirrored sunglasses are essential. They are often used by high-stakes poker players for just this reason.

While mirrored lenses are great for a variety of conditions, there are also a few drawbacks. Here are some of the disadvantages of mirrored sunglasses.

Mirrored Sunglasses Drawbacks

  • Mirrored lenses reflect light. While this is great for the person wearing mirrored lenses, it might not be so great for people in the vicinity of the reflected light. If you are going to be in circumstances where the light from your lenses might make people around you physically uncomfortable, you might want to avoid wearing them.
  • Mirrored lenses can make the coating extra dark. Mirrored surfaces enhance the darkness of tinted lenses. If you don’t want your lenses to be extra dark for safety reasons, mirrored lenses might not be for you.
  • Mirrored lenses show mild scratches. While mirrored lenses are more durable than standard lenses, in the event they do get scratched, the reflected coating makes the scratches far more visible than they are with tinted lenses. This can destroy the look of your sunglasses.

Whether you prefer standard tinted lenses or mirrored lenses, OptiExpress offers a wide variety of fabulous eyewear brands in both South Florida locations.

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