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Can Wearing Blue Light Glasses Help You Sleep Better?

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Are you having trouble sleeping at night? Blue light exposure before bedtime can prevent you from getting the restful sleep your body needs to feel refreshed in the morning.

If you’ve made a habit of checking your phone, using your computer or watching your favorite TV show before you turn out the lights, you may want to consider purchasing a pair of blue light glasses.

What Is Blue Light?

Sunlight consists of a rainbow of colors, known as the visible light spectrum, which ranges from red to blue light. On this spectrum, blue light, also called high energy visible (HEV) light, has the shortest wavelength and emits the highest amount of energy into the atmosphere.

While blue light naturally radiates from the sun, it’s also emitted by interior lighting, computer screens, tablets and all other digital devices.

Healthy doses of daytime blue light exposure can be beneficial to your physical and mental health, as it boosts alertness, improves cognitive function and memory, can elevate your mood, and regulates your circadian rhythm – the body’s natural sleep/wake cycle.

However, overexposure to this high energy light, especially before bedtime, can interfere with your natural sleep cycle and prevent you from getting a good night’s rest.

How Does Blue Light Affect Sleep?

The darkness of night stimulates the body to produce melatonin, the sleep hormone that helps your body relax and fall asleep.

Exposure to blue light in the evening hours, and especially before bedtime, can delay melatonin production and even impact the amount of melatonin your body produces. These lower-than-usual levels of melatonin signal to your brain that it’s still daytime and confuses your body’s natural sleep-wake cycle.

So, scrolling on your phone or using your computer before bedtime can actually increase alertness and lead to problems with falling and staying asleep, resulting in poor sleep quality and daytime tiredness.

Can Blue Light Glasses Help?

If you’re having trouble sleeping at night, wearing blue light-blocking lenses for evening screen time may be the solution you’ve been searching for.

Blue light glasses are designed to filter out blue light to reduce the negative effects associated with blue light exposure.

A study published in the Journal Of Adolescent Health (2015) reported that teenagers who wore blue light glasses in the evening while using a digital device had healthier circadian rhythms than those who didn’t wear blue light glasses.

If you spend a significant amount of time in front of your computer or other digital device during the evening hours, wearing computer glasses or adding blue light filters to your lenses can help you get the good night’s sleep you’ve been dreaming about.

Computer glasses are available with or without a prescription, and are customized to meet your visual needs and lifestyle.

To learn more about computer glasses or about adding blue light filters to your lenses, call Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today. Your rested self will thank you.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can blue light cause computer vision syndrome?

  • A: Yes. Due to its high energy and shorter wavelengths, blue light causes an inconsistent flow of light emissions. This creates a glare or flickering on the screen that can result in eye strain, headaches, blurred vision, dry eyes, and mental and physical fatigue — a condition known as computer vision syndrome. That’s why many eye doctors recommend wearing blue light glasses any time you use a digital device, and not just in the evening.

Q: What are the long term effects of blue light exposure?

  • A: Scientific studies are underway to determine whether long-term exposure to blue light can damage the retina at the back of your eye and increase your risk of developing age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and other sight-threatening eye conditions.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Top Sunglasses Styles For Men in 2022

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If you’re looking for the perfect final touch of “cool” for your 2022 wardrobe, you can’t go wrong grabbing a pair of sleek sunglasses at our Jacksonville optical. We offer just the right pair of shades to complement your personal style while protecting your eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation.

Here are some of our top men’s sunglasses styles for 2022:

Square Wire Frames

If you’re looking for that casually sophisticated look, you can’t beat square wire frames. You’ll want box wire metal frames that fit symmetrically square lenses. These stylish eyeglasses look especially good on people with round faces. They’re lightweight and comfortable, which is why they’re loved by celebrities like David Beckham.

Aviator Sunglasses

Invented in the 1930s to protect the eyes of American airmen, iconic Aviator sunglasses have never gone out of style. From Elvis Presley to Tom Cruise in Top Gun, Aviators have been synonymous with “cool” for more than three-quarters of a century. While today’s Aviators are as classic, strong and lightweight as ever, there are more varieties to choose from, including frames in a wide range of colors.

Eco-Friendly Sunglasses

Saving the planet one pair of glasses at a time! If you’re environmentally conscious, you’ll be happy to hear that sustainable eyewear is a real option today. The market for eyeglasses made from renewable materials has expanded, and it’s now possible to find frames made of plant-based acetate and even bamboo. What’s more, certain eyeglass companies promise that for every pair of sunglasses sold, they will donate a pair of glasses to someone less fortunate.

Sporty Wraparound Sunglasses

Hit the road with oval lenses and wraparound frames! Not only do they offer an especially striking retro look, wraparound sunglasses also provide more eye protection by screening out the sun’s rays from all directions.

Sunglasses With Mirrored or Tinted Lenses

Reflective coatings aren’t just for hiding from the flash of the paparazzi. They’re a fun and stylish way to make a statement. Invest in a high-quality pair of mirror-lens sunglasses because cheaper coatings tend to wear off quickly.

Various colored lenses are also a great option for athletes looking to keep their eye on the ball by increasing visual definition, eliminating visual noise and decreasing glare.

Retro Round Sunglasses

You may feel like you live in a Yellow Submarine when wearing retro round sunglasses!

These may evoke fond memories of the 1960s rock era — think John Lennon’s signature frames. But don’t worry, they’re just as cool today as they were back then. In addition to being fashionable, round sunglasses are also functional: their ample lenses provide a completely unobstructed view.
Who’s wearing them today? Elijah Wood and Ryan Gosling are just two of the many men who wear these retro shades.

Cool Clip-Ons

Clip-ons don’t have to be tacky! Many designers now create cool and convenient clip-ons or magnetic lenses that attach to regular glasses, which provide a seamless connection to the eyeglass frame.

Sunglasses are not only a great way to protect your eyes from the harmful effects of UV radiation while you’re out and about. They can also be an essential part of showing off your personal sense of style. Speak to our friendly and experienced optical staff at Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today for help finding the right sunglasses to show the world just who you are.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How can performance and sport sunglasses enhance vision?

  • A: Many performance and sport sunglasses are tinted, with each kind of tint improving specific aspects of your vision that are vital to your sport of choice. Amber tints help you if you’re skiing or snowboarding by allowing you to better detect contrast between objects. Gray lenses reduce glare without compromising color detection, and photochromic lenses start off clear and become darker once you step out into the sun. Anti-reflective coatings help you keep your eye on the ball by reducing glare. In sports, every advantage helps, and performance and sport sunglasses may just give you the edge you need.

Q: Which non-prescription sunglasses should I choose?

  • A: Non-prescription sunglasses provide sun protection but don’t correct vision. Even without a prescription, quality sunglasses should block 100% of UV rays and have durable frames. If you play sports, consider buying a pair of non-prescription sports sunglasses or sports goggles that have been designed to withstand harsh conditions.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


5 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Vision Benefits

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Given how much we rely on our eyesight, it’s surprising that only half the people who have insurance or benefits that cover eye care schedule an annual eye exam. In many cases, policy holders don’t realize that their health benefits cover eye care, or what types of eye care.

The good news: most vision plans cover not only eye exam but also offer full coverage or discounts on eyeglass frames, contact lenses and, in many cases, specialized screenings and treatments.

Make the most of your vision benefits to maintain your family’s eye health.

Learn More About Your Plan

While getting coverage for vision care is a priority for most households, it’s easy to ignore the details of your policy. Taking the time to learn about your coverage translates into money you can save on eye exams, lenses, frames and treatments.

Research your policy’s details, including:

  • Co-payments
  • Deductibles
  • Lens enhancement
  • Frame allowance
  • Screening for eye conditions
  • Eye treatments
  • Family vs. individual coverage

Obtain a membership card or keep your membership information handy, so you can use it during your next eye doctor appointment.

Locate an Eye Doctor in Your Network

If you don’t already have an eye doctor who accepts your eye care insurance, choose one in your network, in your geographical location. Do some research to determine if the in-network eye doctor offers all of the services you require.

It is important to establish a relationship with a specific practice whose eye doctors will perform eye exams and provide eye care to you and your family. Steer clear of out-of-network retail eyecare services or websites that claim to accept your insurance or benefits, but only for temporarily discounted services that may not benefit you.

Schedule an Annual Eye Exam

Annual eye exams are covered by most insurance plans and benefits, and are one of the most important steps you can take to protect your family’s eye health. Eye Exams can spot refractive errors like nearsightedness in children before they negatively affect a child’s performance in school.

Annual eye exams can also detect potentially sight-threatening conditions like cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma early, before the patient experiences any symptoms and significant vision loss sets in. Additionally, yearly eye exams assess whether your current prescription for contact lenses or eyeglasses is still suitable, and whether you need an upgrade.

Take Advantage of Discounts and Premium Plans

Most benefits and insurance plans have premium versions that may cost a bit more but can maximize savings. Premier programs can offer:

  • A wider selection of eye doctors in your area
  • Access to eye care specialists
  • A wider variety of frames and lenses
  • Alternative and high-tech treatments
  • Special bonus offers

Look for New Deals on Frames and Lenses

Eyeglasses and contact lenses can be a significant investment and, without eye care coverage, can strain your budget. Learn whether your benefits plan includes recently reduced prices on frames and lenses.

Receive updates from your provider to stay current on discounts for special items, such as photochromic lenses, prescription sunglasses, anti-reflective coatings and designer frames.

Many plans offer a deep discount on a second pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses – often as much as 20%. A spare pair ensures peace of mind when glasses are broken or misplaced.

Dr. Merritt at Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville accepts various eye care plans. We offer annual eye exams for the entire family, diagnostic screening and treatments for eye conditions and a full range of frames, lenses and contact lenses to improve your vision.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What type of eyewear do insurance plans generally cover?

  • A: Although every type of insurance or vision benefits plan is different, most cover an annual eye exam and prescription eyeglasses and contact lenses. Coverage of additional or replacement glasses will depend on the plan, but some offer one replacement pair of glasses annually.

Q: Are photochromic lenses covered by vision benefits plans?

  • A: Photochromic lenses are clear indoors and darken when they are exposed to sunlight. They shield eyes from exposure to glare and potentially damaging UV rays. Photochromic features can be added to prescription eyeglasses, but they raise the cost of the lenses. Fortunately, photochromic lenses are at least partially covered by many vision benefits plans, but the amount will depend on the plan, your eye condition and type of photochromic lenses and eyeglasses you choose.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


4 Great Reasons to Wear Sunglasses in the Winter

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Sunglasses conjure up images of fun in the sun, but don’t retire your specs during the winter. Glare and UV rays, which can damage your eyes, can be even more intense in the winter than in the summer.

Sunglasses also shield your eyes from harsh, wintry winds and flying debris. Whether you’re taking a stroll on a winter’s day or hitting the slopes, don’t forget your sunglasses or UV-protective goggles.

1. Your Eyes Need Protection from UV Rays Also in the Winter

Even though we don’t feel as much heat from the sun’s rays in the winter, and there are fewer hours of sunlight, we still need to protect our eyes from UV rays when the weather is cold.

According to the National Eye Institute, UV rays play a direct role in the development of cataracts, the clouding of the lens of the eyes. In addition, ultraviolet rays can increase the risk of other eye conditions, including:

    • Age-related macular degeneration – a leading cause of vision loss and blindness
    • Corneal sunburn (photokeratitis) – can cause temporary vision loss
    • Pterygium – a growth that can develop on the cornea and limit vision
    • Skin cancer – can affect the eyelids

2. Sunglasses Shield Your Eyes from Glare

A winter landscape may provide a breathtaking view and shareable photos, but when sunlight bounces off snow and ice it can interfere with your ability to see clearly. Glare created by reflected light can make it dangerous to drive and difficult to enjoy winter activities like skiing, ice skating and snowboarding.

Even if there’s no snow or ice, glare can be more severe in the winter because the sun is lower on the horizon, making it appear brighter.

By reducing glare, sunglasses make driving easier and safer, and winter activities more fun. Consider wearing Polarized protective sunglasses, which block glare that reflects off surfaces.

3. Sunglasses Keep Out Wind and Debris

Even the tiniest slivers of dust, stone or ice can cause corneal abrasions. Harsh winds also cause tears to evaporate more quickly, resulting in dry eye symptoms.

To prevent wind and flying debris from entering your eyes, choose close-fitting sunglasses with wrap-around frames or protective goggles especially if you’re hitting the slopes or working outdoors.

4. Protective Eyewear Prevents “Snow Blindness”

“Snow blindness” (photokeratitis), can occur any time of year, even on the beach, but it’s most often associated with the glare created when the sun reflects off white, snowy surfaces. This exposure can cause the eye to become sunburned, even on the coldest days. This sunburn causes temporary partial or total vision loss. The risk is greater at higher altitudes, where UV rays are more intense.

To avoid snow blindness, wear wraparound sunglasses or UV protective sports goggles.

Choosing the Right Winter Sunglasses

Don’t be tempted to pick up a random pair of sunglasses. Be sure to select quality sunglasses that screen out 100% of UVA and UVB rays and are durable enough to wear all year long.

Talk to our eye care professionals about prescription sunglasses and protective eyewear. At Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville we help our customers choose the right eyewear so you can look your best while protecting your eyes.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why Choose Prescription Sunglasses?

  • A: The following are some of the benefits of prescription sunglasses:With made-to-order sunglasses, patients can choose custom features, such as tinted, thin, or anti-glare lenses
    • Polarized prescription lenses block glare
    • For people who need vision correction, there’s no need to buy two pairs of glasses
    • Protection from UV rays
    • Durability and high-quality materials

Q: What are Photochromic Lenses?

  • A: If you get tired of switching between regular eyeglasses and sunglasses or using clip-on shades, photochromic lenses will darken as your surroundings become brighter. These lenses are activated by exposure to UV rays.Photochromic lenses can correct a wide range of vision problems, including nearsightedness and farsightedness, and are also available in bifocal, high-index, and progressive lenses. To enhance the protection provided by photochromic lenses, choose a pair with an anti-reflective coating that blocks glare.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Is Your Covid Mask Causing Dry Eyes?

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Since the COVID-pandemic began, mask-wearing has been an essential strategy to prevent the spread of the virus. While masks help protect us against exposure to infection, they can also cause dry eye symptoms.

If you are experiencing dry eye syndrome, consult with an eye doctor, who will determine the cause and treat the problem.

What Is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by either a low volume of tears or poor tear quality. A reduced volume of tears is most often caused by excessive tear evaporation, which can occur when air flows across the eyes, such as in a windy environment.

Poor quality tears occur when the oil layer of the tears is insufficient, which also leads to higher than usual levels of tear evaporation.

How Protective Masks Contribute to Dry Eyes

Masks certainly protect us against infectious droplets, but they can also cause fluid in the tears to evaporate more quickly. When a mask doesn’t fit properly, the breath we exhale can flow upward, causing more tear evaporation and dry eye symptoms.

In a study published in Ophthalmology and Therapy (2021) researchers from the University of Utah noted a marked increase in dry eye cases among mask wearers. These included people who were diagnosed with dry eye syndrome for the first time as well people who already had dry eye syndrome.

The problem is so common that eye care professionals have coined the term Mask Associated Dry Eye (MADE).

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

If you experience any or all of these symptoms, you may have dry eye syndrome:

  • Eyes feel dry
  • Red eyes
  • Eyes that feel sandy or gritty
  • Itchy or irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes

Risk Factors for Developing Dry Eye Symptoms

The following are risk factors for dry eye symptoms:

  • Being over 50
  • Spending hours a day in front of a computer or other digital screens
  • Being immunosuppressed
  • Sjogren’s syndrome
  • Wearing contact lenses
  • Extended face mask-wearing

How to Keep Your Eyes from Drying Out

Since there is a connection between protective masks and dry eye symptoms, here are some tips to preserve eye moisture while wearing a mask:

Choose a Secure Fit

Since breath, which can dry out the eyes, escapes the mask from the top, select a mask with a soft, flexible wire that allows you to fix it securely over the bridge of your nose. Or, simply fasten a piece of medical tape along the top of the mask around the bridge of your nose to secure it in place.

Consider Wrap-Around Glasses or Eye Goggles

To keep your eyes sealed from wind, debris and your own breath while donning a mask, consider wearing glasses with wrap-around frames, or eye goggles. Some types of goggles are regular glasses with silicone cups behind the lenses to keep them securely in position.

Take Frequent Screen Breaks

When we sit in front of screens, we blink much less. Blinking is essential for spreading moisture around the eye’s surface.

For people who need to wear a face mask while working on a computer, dry eye symptoms can be compounded, so screen breaks are a must. Try the 20-20-20 rule: For every 20 minutes in front of a screen, focus on something 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds. This will give your eyes much needed rest breaks — and an opportunity to replenish moisture — during the day.

Practice Conscious Blinking

Throughout the day, monitor your blinking. Closing your eyes fully when you blink will completely coat the surface of your eyes with moisture. Here’s one exercise:

  • Close your eyes completely
  • Take a two-second pause
  • Open your eyes
  • Close your eyes again
  • Pause two seconds
  • Squeeze the lids together for two more seconds
  • Open your eyes

Use Eye Drops

You can give your eyes extra moisture by purchasing over-the-counter eye drops, also known as artificial tears. Apply these according to directions on the bottle. Choose a preservative-free formula that will be gentler on your eyes.

Relax with Warm Compresses

Warm compresses not only soothe the eyes; the heat applied directly to the meibomian glands can stimulate the secretion of eye fluid. Make sure the water is warm but not too hot and place the compresses directly on closed eyelids.

See an Eye Doctor

If your symptoms of dry eye persist, schedule an eye exam at Bob Ham Eyewear. We will give you a thorough eye exam and recommend a course of treatment, based on the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms. Call Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today to schedule your eye exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are Diagnostic Eye Exams for Dry Eye?

  • A: A dry eye evaluation by your eye doctor begins with questions about your family health history, general health and any previous eye problems. The eye doctor may evaluate tear production using the Schirmer Test, which involves placing small pieces of blotting paper under your lower eyelids for five minutes and measuring the amount of tears. The phenol red thread test is similar to the Schirmer Test, but uses a thread soaked with PH-sensitive dye rather than blotting paper.

Q: Can You Wear Contact Lenses with Dry Eyes?

  • A: Dry eye syndrome can be uncomfortable, but it isn’t necessarily a reason to forgo wearing contact lenses. Regular cleaning prevents the buildup of proteins on the lenses that can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. Some contact wearers find daily lenses that can be disposed of after each use more comfortable and convenient than monthly lenses.Silicone-based hydrogel lenses can slow down the rate of the contact lens drying out and can be beneficial for dry eyes. Scleral lenses, which are gas-permeable, allow more oxygen to reach the cornea and sit above the eye, creating a space for tears to collect and refresh the eye.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


The Importance of Wearing Sunglasses for Winter Sports

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Although the sun may not shine as many hours a day in the winter, that doesn’t mean the cold months are a time to retire your sunglasses. Wearing sunglasses is as important in the winter as it is in the summer, especially while engaging in winter sports like skiing, sledding, snowboarding and ice skating.

Here are some reasons you should put on your sunglasses before going out, even on the coldest days.

Eyes Need Protection from UV Rays, Even in the Winter

The sun’s ultraviolet rays are not just harmful to the skin; they can also lead to eye diseases. According to a 2014 study by the National Eye Institute, there is a direct link between UV radiation from sunlight and the development of cataracts. Other studies have found a similar connection between UV rays and age-related macular degeneration.

Ultraviolet rays can do harm even on cloudy wintry days, especially when light bounces off of ice, snow and wet surfaces, creating intense glare.

This is why it’s crucial to wear sunglasses in the winter, especially while enjoying the great outdoors. Be sure to choose sunglasses that screen out 99%-100% of UVA and UVB rays for maximum eye protection.

Sunglasses Protect Against “Snow Blindness”

Extended exposure to glare can bring on headaches and eye strain.

Glare can also cause snow blindness (photokeratitis), temporary blindness that results from sunburned eyes. This is particularly dangerous at higher altitudes, where UV rays become more intense. To prevent sunburned eyes and snow blindness, wear performance snow goggles geared to your sport, or protective sunglasses.

Try photochromic lenses that correct vision and automatically adjust the lens tint to match the level of brightness. The lenses become darker when exposed to bright light without requiring a change of glasses.

Protective Eyewear Shields Eyes from the Elements

If you enjoy winter sports, keep your eyes safe with protective sunglasses that not only shield them from the glare but also from wind and debris. Harsh winds on the slopes or anywhere on a wintry day can evaporate tears and result in dry eyes. Plus, wrap-around sunglasses can prevent debris from flying into the eyes and causing corneal abrasions.

Close-fitting sunglasses with wrap-around frames and sports goggles help amateur and professional athletes protect their eyes even in the harshest conditions.

Finding the Right Winter Sunglasses

At Bob Ham Eyewear, we are dedicated to helping people select eyewear that enhances their vision and protects their eyes. If you want to learn more about prescription sunglasses, contact Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today to schedule your eye exam.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Is Snow Blindness Caused Only By Snow?

  • A: Photokeratitis is the sunburn of the eyes caused by the intense glare reflected off of reflective services like ice, snow and bodies of water. Although temporary, the condition comes on suddenly and is painful. By the time an individual notices the problem, the damage to the eye has occurred.While photokeratitis is commonly known as snow blindness, it can also occur on a sunny summer day at a sandy beach. The best way to prevent it is with UV protective sunglasses or goggles.

Q: What are some advantages of prescription sunglasses?

  • A: Although you could pick up a pair of sunglasses at the store, consider the advantages of prescription sunglasses:
    • Custom-made for the patient – you can choose the features you want, including lenses that are tinted, anti-glare and/or ultra-thin
    • Polarized prescription lenses can eliminate glare
    • Vision correction – no need to wear contacts underneath sunglasses, or clip-ons over glasses
    • Prescription sunglasses block 100% of UV rays
    • Quality – prescription sunglasses are made of durable, high-quality materials.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What You Should Know Before Buying [Colored] Contacts

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If you want to experiment with a new eye color, consider a pair of colored contact lenses. Whether you’re looking for subtle highlights or want to make a splash with a bold new look, here are the things you should know before purchasing colored contacts.

You Need a Prescription

Although some colored contact lenses are designed only to change the color of the eye and not to correct vision, anyone purchasing contact lenses in the U.S., even if they are purely cosmetic, need to have a prescription. This is true even if you have perfect vision.

The FDA places all contact lenses in the category of medical devices and they cannot legally be sold in the U.S. without a prescription, regardless of their use. Purchasing cosmetic contact lenses online, in costume stores or kiosks without a prescription is not only illegal; many of these lenses do not meet safety standards and can potentially damage your eyes.

Whether you want to get fitted for colored lenses just to spice up your appearance or need vision correction and also want to alter the way your eyes look, you will need to schedule an appointment with an eye doctor, who will assess your vision and eye health, and use their training to prescribe the best lenses for you.

At Bob Ham Eyewear we can give you an eye exam and answer your questions about colored contacts. We serve patients in Jacksonville,and provide convenient and comprehensive eye care.

What Are Colored Contact Lenses?

There are two types of colored contact lenses: those that are meant to correct vision and change the way the color appears, and those that are purely cosmetic.

Colored contact lenses alter the way the iris, the colored part of the eye, appears. Although the part of the lens that covers the iris has color, the very center of the contact lens is transparent. This allows the front of the pupil, which controls how much light enters the eye, to function properly.

Colored contact lenses come in different types of tints:

Visibility Tint

Although the visibility tint has a slight green or blue portion, it does not change the color of the eye at all. Rather, it allows contact lens wearers to see the lens more clearly during insertion or removal, and especially if it is dropped.

Enhancement Tint

The enhancement tint is translucent and is darker than the visibility tint. This level of tint does not drastically change the color of the eye. Rather, it intensifies natural eye color, and is ideal for people who have light-colored eyes and want dramatic highlights, such as brighter blue, darker green or violet accents.

Opaque Tint

Opaque tints have solid colors and are not transparent. They are ideal for changing the perceived shade of the eyes from a darker to a lighter shade, or dramatically changing the perceived color of the eyes. These tints are available in:

  • Grey
  • Brown
  • Blue
  • Green
  • Violet
  • Hazel
  • Amethyst

Blending Tint

Blending tints are able to combine opaque and transparent tints because they are transparent on the outside and gradually become more opaque towards the middle. The intention is to make the new eye color look more natural.

Custom Tint

Custom tint lenses are designed specifically for individual wearers and, since they are suited to their natural eye color, have a more natural look. In some cases, custom tint lenses are designed for people who have suffered from eye injuries or have eye imperfections and want a more natural looking iris or pupil.

Athletes can benefit from custom tints, which are called “sport tints,” because they can minimize glare, improve depth perception and sharpen contrast sensitivity for heightened sports performance.

Choosing the Right Colored Contact Lenses

The type of colored contact lenses you choose will depend on whether or not you need vision correction, the natural appearance of your eyes and the effect you would like to create.

If you have nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism or another eye condition and also want to change the shade of your eyes, choose colored contact lenses that correct vision and alter eye color.

Transparent or enhancement tints bring out the color in light-hued irises. Opaque tints can transform the color of dark eyes. For medium-shade eyes, blending tints create a more subtle change.

Are there Any Special Risks with Wearing Colored Contacts?

The risks of wearing colored contact lenses are not that different from the side effects that can arise from wearing regular contacts. According to the FDA, some possible side effects of wearing contact lenses:

  • Eye irritation
  • Corneal abrasion
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Eye infections

In many cases, eye infections are caused by improper cleaning and disinfecting of the lenses. It is important to [familiarize] yourself with contact lens care and to ensure that your hands are clean before inserting and removing your lenses. You should discuss any symptoms of an eye infection, such as eye swelling, excessive tearing, red eyes or blurred vision, with your eye doctor

In addition to problems associated with regular contact lenses, there are a few that can be caused specifically by colored contacts. These include:

  • The colored portion of the contact may slide over the pupil, which could interfere with aesthetics and vision
  • As pupils expand at night, they may extend into the opaque portion of the lens, obscuring vision

To be fitted for colored contact lenses, schedule an appointment with Dr. Merritt at Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville. See better and look your best with colored contact lenses that suit your style, vision and lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How Do I Get Fitted for Colored Contacts?

  • A: The fitting process for colored contact lenses is the same as for regular lenses, except that you may want to consider first what kind of tint and shade you are looking for. The eye doctor will measure your eyes to determine the power, curve and diameter of the lenses. They will then measure your iris and pupil, and with a tear film evaluation, check that your eyes produce enough tears to stay moist. This is important because if the eyes are too dry, contact lenses will cause discomfort.Some eye doctors can also provide a trial of these contact lenses, allowing you to see the actual changes and enhancements to your eye’s color and whether they meet your expectations.

Q: Are Colored Contacts More Expensive Than Regular Lenses?

  • A: Colored contact lenses cost more than regular contacts. This makes sense, considering that it requires extra craftsmanship to make natural-looking lenses that will alter the appearance of the eye. However, many people are pleased with the way colored contacts look and are willing to make the investment to enhance their eye color.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


7 Tips For Keeping Your Eyes Healthy During The Pandemic

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COVID-19 and the accommodations needed by the virus are taking a toll on our eyes. Here are our top 7 tips for keeping your eyes as healthy as possible during the pandemic:

1. Drink water to reduce dry eye symptoms and discomfort

Wearing a face mask and working at a computer can both result in dry eye symptoms.

When the mouth and nose are covered with a mask, breath can rise toward the eyes and dry them out. People who spend time staring at a computer or digital screen — a practice that has increased since the start of the pandemic — can also experience dry eye symptoms due to a lower rate of blinking.

In order to avoid dehydration and keep your eyes properly hydrated, health professionals recommend that you drink at least six to eight 8-ounce servings of water every day. Your eye doctor may suggest using artificial tears or prescribe another dry eye treatment.

2. Make adjustments to your screen time

As we spend more time stuck at home, many of us are also spending more time in front of computers, tablets and phone screens.

Studies have shown that people who look at screens blink much less than they do at other times. The reduced blink rate often leads to dry eye syndrome, whose symptoms include blurry vision and dry, itchy, irritated eyes. Digital eye strain, which can cause headaches, eye fatigue and neck and shoulder pain, is another concern.

Tips on how to reduce symptoms include:

Adjust the distance you sit from your computer screen. According to eye doctors, the ideal distance from your eyes to the monitor is somewhere between 40 and 70cm, depending on the size of the monitor. You should also place your monitor slightly below eye level so that you’re looking slightly downwards at the center of the monitor at about a 20-degree angle.

Take scheduled screen breaks. Set an alarm so that you can remember to give your eyes a rest by getting away from your screen every 20 minutes or so. Take a walk and look around, to give your eyes a chance to “stretch.”

Adjust lighting and contrast to match your surroundings. Uneven lighting between the screen and your surroundings, and poor contrast can strain your eyes. Don’t place computer and television screens in front of an outside window to prevent the sun from shining in behind the screen. Also be sure to use “night mode” on your computer, tablet or smartphone in dark environments. This will automatically adjust screen brightness, color and contrast to optimum levels for viewing in the dark.

3. Ease Eye Strain With Simple Eye Exercises

Being stuck at home during the pandemic also creates more opportunities for increased time reading, watching television or doing other activities that require concentrated near vision. Extended time on these activities can cause eye strain, headaches, blurry vision and more.

The following eye exercises can help relieve eye strain:

The figure-eight. Start out looking at the floor. Focus on a point around 10-15 feet away from where you’re sitting, and trace a figure-eight pattern with your eyes. After 30 seconds, reverse the direction of your figure-eight. Repeat this twice.

Moving near-vision focus. For this exercise, you simply hold your finger an inch or so in front of your eyes and focus. Then, slowly begin to move your finger away while maintaining focus. Once your finger is at arm’s length, stop. Give your eyes a 10-second break. Then re-focus on your finger at arm’s length, and slowly bring it back in, again maintaining focus all the way in.

Moving distance focus. This exercise is similar to the previous one, except you’ll now focus on an object roughly a foot away from you, and slowly shift your focus to an object 15 to 20 feet away. This exercise works best if repeated a few times in a row.

4. Wash Your Hands

Our hands are our primary tools for interacting with the world around us. We’re constantly touching, holding and grabbing things as we’re out and about. So, it should be no surprise that our hands are among the most bacteria- and virus-laden parts of our entire body.

When our hands come into contact with our eyes, viruses and bacteria can sometimes be introduced that may cause infection, including pink eye.

The COVID-19 coronavirus can be detected in the conjunctiva, the front part of the eye. Even though this could be a source of COVID infection, there is no conclusive evidence yet that the virus will spread from the eye to infect the lungs or other parts of the body..

Especially when you’ve been out and about, it’s important to keep your hands clean with frequent hand washing and use of [sanitizer]. Use a clean tissue or handkerchief instead of your finger or hand to wipe away irritants or excess tears.

5. Be Cautious With Your Contact Lenses

If you wear contact lenses to correct your vision, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly before inserting or removing your lenses.

Proper cleaning and storage of your contact lenses is essential to prevent a build-up of pathogens that can cause infection. Be sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions exactly regarding care of your lenses and eyes, and wear your contact lenses according to their intended schedule, and not past their expiry date. Monthly contact lenses should be changed monthly and dailies should be changed daily.

You may also consider simply switching to eyeglasses until the pandemic has passed, in order to simplify your health considerations.

6. Eat Right For Good Eye Health

It can sometimes be tempting to calm the stress of the pandemic by relying on comfort foods. However, it’s also important to make sure that you’re eating right to stay healthy. Foods that will help keep your eyes in good shape include:

Salmon, tuna and other fatty fish. These and other kinds of seafood are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for preventing dry eye symptoms and long-term risk of macular degeneration and glaucoma.

Dark leafy greens. Vegetables such as kale and spinach are high in vitamins C and E. These are great for maintaining long-term eye health and preventing eye conditions such as cataracts and age-related macular degeneration.

Orange fruits and vegetables. The orange color of foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes and cantaloupe comes from a type of vitamin A called beta carotene. This vitamin helps improve night vision.

7. Don’t Wait Until the Pandemic is Over to Visit Your Eye Doctor

COVID-19 doesn’t appear to be going away anytime soon. At the same time, it’s essential for you and your family’s eye health to maintain regular visits with your [eye_ doctor] so that any problems can be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

Our eye care team at Bob Ham Eyewear is aware of the difficulties presented by the pandemic and has worked hard to create a safe place for you to come for all your eye care needs. If you have any questions or concerns about how we’ve prepared our office to meet these challenges, give us a call at 904-268-5949

For more info on how you can keep your eyes healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, visit Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why is it important for my child to have a comprehensive eye exam every year?

  • A: For children, annual exams can ensure that any problems with their eye health and vision will be identified and treated quickly, and won’t impede their ability to learn. This extends beyond simply checking for 20/20 vision.Unless they’re treated early, childhood conditions such as amblyopia and strabismus can cause severe vision problems later on. Other conditions, such as convergence insufficiency and eye-tracking problems, can cause blurry vision and headaches, and make it difficult to read or do homework for long periods of time.Because children’s eyes are constantly changing, it is also important to come in for an annual eye exam to see if they need glasses or contacts, or to ensure that their existing prescription is still correct.

Q: How can my eye doctor help me reduce symptoms of computer vision syndrome?

  • A: The first step is coming in for a comprehensive eye exam. Your eye doctor will thoroughly examine your (or your child’s) eyes and discuss ways to alleviate computer vision syndrome, also called digital eye strain.Your doctor may recommend specialty computer glasses. These glasses may include specific prescription lenses and prisms to help reduce or prevent eye strain and other symptoms by allowing the eyes to function without excessive effort and strain. Computer glasses also have special anti-glare and anti-blue light coatings that further reduce harmful light rays from entering your eyes.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


What To Do If You Have Eyelid Cellulitis?

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Cellulitis of the eyelid, also called periorbital cellulitis, is an infection of the eyelid and surrounding soft tissue. Although anyone can contract eyelid cellulitis, it is most often found in children under the age of 5.

Knowing what signs may indicate eyelid cellulitis can help you seek prompt treatment for the fastest recovery and best outcome. Here’s what you need to know if you suspect that you or your child has eyelid cellulitis.

What Are Causes and Symptoms of Eyelid Cellulitis?

Eyelid cellulitis is often contracted through a cut or insect bite near the eye where bacteria can enter, so you may notice a scratch near the eye along with other symptoms.

The main symptoms of eyelid cellulitis include:

  • Swelling and redness of one or both eyelids
  • Swelling of the tissues around the eye
  • Tenderness of the swollen tissues
  • Difficulty opening the affected eye

If any of the above symptoms are accompanied by eye pain, especially with eye movements or changes in vision, seek emergency eye care. This may indicate orbital cellulitis — a more serious infection that requires prompt treatment.

How is Eyelid Cellulitis Treated?

The type of treatment for eyelid cellulitis will depend on the patient’s age and degree of infection, but will include either oral, injected or intravenous antibiotics.

Infants less than a year old, and children and adults with a severe infection, will need to be admitted to the hospital for intravenous antibiotics.

Oral antibiotics are used to treat periorbital cellulitis in older children and adults.

We Treat Eyelid Cellulitis and Other Eye Emergencies

If you suspect you or your child has eyelid cellulitis, contact Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville for a prompt appointment.

Our optometric team offers emergency eye care and treats a wide range of ocular conditions and emergencies.

Whether you have eyelid cellulitis or another condition, we can help. To schedule your eye exam or learn more about our services, call Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does eyelid cellulitis affect vision?

  • A: No, because the eye has an effective barrier that prevents the infection from spreading to the tissues within and behind the eye. However, if eyelid cellulitis isn’t treated in time, it can spread to other parts of the eye, leading to a serious sight-threatening infection inside the eye, known as orbital cellulitis and long-term problems with vision.

Q: What are other types of eye emergencies?

  • A: Eye emergencies consist of eye infections, inflammations, severe allergies, pain, trauma, burns and foreign bodies in the eye. You should also contact your optometrist without delay if you experience a sudden increase in floaters or flashers, or any other changes in your vision.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.


Tips for Healthy Eyes If You’re Over 40

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If you’re in your 40s, you may have noticed physical changes that affect many aspects of your life, including your vision. Like the rest of your body, your eyes may need some extra care to function efficiently as you enter middle-age. The following tips will help you keep your eyes healthy from age 40 and beyond.

These tips do not replace a comprehensive eye exam and professional advice from your eye doctor.

1. Be Aware of Age-Related Changes in the Eyes

Understanding the way your eyes change after the age of 40 is the key to being proactive with eye care. For instance, if you find it more difficult to read the fine print in a book or computer screen than in the past, the problem is likely presbyopia, age-related farsightedness.

The lens inside the eye is responsible for changing focus, allowing us to see objects clearly both far away and up close. As the lens becomes harder and less flexible, it impairs the ability to focus up close. This makes it difficult to read the text in books or to see the images displayed on digital devices or computer screens. That’s why most people need reading glasses, multifocals or bifocals in their forties.

You should also be on the lookout for any changes to your vision, such as blurry night vision. Most often, this is due to cataracts — which cause blurry or cloudy vision due to the denaturation of protein in the eye’s natural lens — or macular degeneration, which is blurry or distorted vision caused by a deterioration of the central part of the retina. Glaucoma, which is caused by high eye pressure and results in tunnel vision, usually has no noticeable symptoms until vision loss has occurred.

Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Merritt at Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville, who will assess your eyes for these sight-threatening eye diseases. Early diagnosis can prevent or minimize vision loss.

2. Watch for Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye syndrome is usually caused by the impaired functioning of the meibomian glands, located inside the eyelids. These glands produce oils that create a protective film for the tears that lubricate and protect the front surface of the eye. When there is a malfunction in these glands, tears can evaporate easily and the eyes can become dry, red and itchy.

Once over the age of 40, these tiny glands are more prone to becoming blocked, or the oils may become thicker.

Women who have undergone menopause have a higher likelihood of developing dry eye than younger women or men. In a study published in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, dry eye symptoms were reported by 17.9% of aging women compared with 10% of aging men.

Menopausal women should be aware of dry eye symptoms and consult their eye doctor, who may prescribe eye drops or other ways to [moisturize] their eyes. Wrap-around eyeglass frames protect the eyes from dry, windy weather, allergens and irritants.

3. Keep Your Optical Prescription Up-to-Date

Since eye changes tend to occur more rapidly among people over 40, it is important to ensure that your prescription glasses and contact lenses are still suitable for your eyes. This means consulting with an optometrist if you notice any difficulties seeing and reading, which may necessitate an updated prescription.

4. Schedule Regular Eye Exams

The older you get, the more important it is to have regular eye exams, particularly if you have symptoms of eye problems or have been diagnosed with diabetes. Even if you are not experiencing symptoms, keeping your eyes healthy after the age of 40 requires consistent care. Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Merritt at Bob Ham Eyewear in Jacksonville today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What Are Risk Factors for Macular Degeneration?

  • A: Macular degeneration often occurs among adults over the age of 60, although it can also occur in younger people. Since women tend to live longer than men, they have a higher rate than males of developing MD. Certain medications, such as vasodilators and oral beta blockers, can also increase the risks. Lifestyle also plays a significant role: Smoking, poor nutrition, obesity, high blood pressure and a sedentary lifestyle can all increase the chances of developing macular degeneration.

Q: Can the Progress of Macular Degeneration be Slowed?

  • A: Over the past several years, there have been significant advancements in the treatment of MD, and extensive research shows that specific nutrients can slow its progression. Omega 3 fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin can act to prevent the disease from developing to an advanced stage. They can lower the risks of the “dry” form of MD transforming into “wet” macular degeneration, a rarer but faster-developing form of the disease that can cause sudden and significant vision loss. Certain treatments, such as eye injections and laser therapy, can often delay MD’s progression. Eye injections for the “wet” form may even be able to restore lost sight.

Quality Frames For Prescription Eyeglasses & Computer Glasses. Visit Bob Ham Eyewear for an eye exam and eyeglasses that match your style.