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Family Eyecare Center of Optometry:
Dr. Harold Ashcraft OD

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Dry Eye

Are Face Masks Causing Dry Eye Symptoms?

woman wearing a mask 640Face masks and social distancing have become the first line of defense in COVID-19 prevention.

While these protective measures are essential to combating the virus’ spread, eye doctors are seeing an increase in dry eye cases among people who wear masks. If you are seeking relief, contact us.

What is Mask-Associated Dry Eye (MADE)?

Mask-associated dry eye (MADE) was first described by an ophthalmologist in May 2020 based on the higher rate of dry eye he was seeing in his practice among patients who wore masks. Patients with existing dry eye reported worsening symptoms when wearing a mask.

When a face mask doesn’t fit securely, it can push air from the nose and mouth upward, onto the eyes, causing the tear film — the liquid layer that coats the eyes’ surface — to evaporate more quickly. This leads to MADE.

Dry eye leaves the eyes feeling sore, gritty, dry and irritated. Left untreated, dry eye can cause damage to the cornea.

There are many causes of dry eye, including eye and health conditions, age, gender and certain medications. Insufficient blinking when looking at a digital device or book, poor indoor air quality and pollution can all play a role. Situations that increase how quickly the tear film evaporates can quickly and significantly dry the eye’s surface, leading to more pronounced symptoms.

What Causes Dry Eye When Wearing a Mask?

Wearing a face mask significantly reduces the spread of air when breathing out from the mouth and nose. Instead of moving out, the air moves upwards towards the eyes’ surface. This forces a stream of air over the surface of the eye, causing the tears to evaporate more quickly.

This is the same reason that eyeglasses fog up when wearing a mask.

When masks are worn for long periods of time, this repeated evaporation may lead to dry spots on the eyes’ surface.

 

How to Prevent or Alleviate MADE?

Here are some simple measures to help reduce dry eye while wearing a mask:

  1. Ensure your mask fits well, and consider taping the top edge to prevent air from rising from your mouth toward your eyes.
  2. Limit your time in air-conditioned or heated environments when possible. Also, take regular breaks from digital devices.
  3. Consult your eye doctor, who will examine your eyes and prescribe the best treatment.

Having to wear a face mask to prevent COVID-19’s spread may cause dry eye, but relief is available. Contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry if you are experiencing dry eye symptoms. We will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye and offer you the best solution so you can get back to having comfortable eyes and vision.

 

Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo and Playa Del Rey, throughout California.

 

How to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites

How to Get Rid of Eyelash Mites 640What if we told you that there are tiny critters living on your face? Would you believe it?

The truth is that just about every person on earth has Demodex mites living in their facial pores.

But before you run to the bathroom sink and start scrubbing your cheeks, read on to learn what these microscopic mites are, and how they can affect your eyes.

What are Demodex Mites?

Demodex mites are tiny 8-legged arachnids that make their home in the pores and hair follicles of your face. Fortunately, they’re too small to see with the naked eye, measuring only 0.4 mm long.

There are 2 types of Demodex mites: Demodex folliculorum and Demodex brevis. Both types can be found all over the face, but Demodex folliculorum mites tend to concentrate around the eyelash area.

Demodex mites live inside hair follicles, where they feed on dead skin cells and oily sebum that is secreted onto the hair shaft. That’s why they’re found in higher numbers around greasier areas of the body, like the eyes and nose.

The mites come out of the hair follicle at night to mate and then return in the morning. For this reason, symptoms of a Demodex infestation may be worse in the morning.

Demodex mites can be transferred from one host to another through facial skin or hair contact. They can also be introduced to a new host through shared makeup and cosmetics.

Having a small amount of Demodex mites seems to be harmless, but an overgrowth of mites — called “demodicosis” — can cause a host of symptoms affecting the eyes and other areas of the face. A Demodex infestation can also exacerbate pre-existing skin conditions like rosacea and acne.

How Can Demodex Mites Affect Your Eyes?

Too many Demodex mites can cause uncomfortable symptoms that may include:

  • Itchy or burning eyes, especially in the morning
  • Swollen eyelids
  • Crusty eyes
  • Red, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurred or decreased vision
  • Falling eyelashes
  • Infected eyes

If you experience a yellowish discharge on your eyelashes mainly in the mornings, this could be a sign of a Demodex mite infestation.

Severe cases of demodicosis can lead to blepharitis — an inflammation of the eyelids. Blepharitis often leads to an inflammation of the cornea called keratitis, a serious condition that can lead to blindness if left untreated.

Risk Factors For Demodicosis

You’re more likely to have a Demodex mite outbreak if you:

  • Have oily skin
  • Wear makeup
  • Sleep overnight without properly removing makeup
  • Have poor personal hygiene

Some pre-existing conditions that increase the possibility of a Demodex outbreak include:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Alopecia
  • Inflammatory acne
  • Dermatitis

Your Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

The good news is that Dr. Harold Ashcraft can provide safe and effective treatment for your demodicosis.

Because Demodex mites are so small, they’re impossible to diagnose on your own. Only a comprehensive eye exam can determine the source of your symptoms.

Treatment for a Demodex mite infestation typically involves a medicated ointment that can prevent the mites from reproducing. In severe cases, oral medication may be prescribed. Your eye doctor may also manually clean the margins of your eyelids or recommend over-the-counter products that can help soothe irritation and promote healing.

If you suspect you have demodicosis or experience any of the symptoms listed above, contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to schedule an eye exam.

Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and throughout California.

 

How Warm Compresses Can Relieve Dry Eye

protect your eyes 640x350What Is Dry Eye?

Our tears are made up of water and oil layers. Dry eye (also known as dry eye syndrome) occurs when the eyelids’ meibomian glands do not secrete enough natural oil into the tears. This causes the eyes to become dry, itchy, red, and painful. Dry eye can also occur when not enough tears are produced. Environmental conditions like dry or windy air, and staring at a screen or book for a long time, can also dry out your eyes.

What You Can Do About Dry Eye

One of the best ways to make dry, irritated eyes feel refreshed is with a warm compress. A warm compress will open the oil glands and soften oil blockages, allowing oil to flow into the tears. Wet a clean washcloth or place it in a microwave for 20 seconds. Touch it to your wrist to make sure it’s not too hot, then place the compress on your closed eyelids for a few minutes while tilting your head back or reclining. When the compress cools, reheat and repeat.

Washcloths often do not stay warm enough for long enough to help that much. We have commercial "eye spa pads" that are better because they hold the concentrated heat better.

Compresses slow the evaporation of tears. Their warm moisture provides relief by stabilizing the eyes’ tear film and improving the meibomian glands’ production of oil. With your eyes now hydrated and lubricated, they can also expel bacteria more efficiently.

Certain prescription eye drops also address dry eye, and steroids can provide relief. Others provide additional lubrication. Please consult with Dr. Harold Ashcraft, who can recommend or prescribe the best drops for your eyes.

Other home remedies include:

  • An air filter to eliminate irritants
  • A humidifier to increase moisture in the air and decrease evaporation of your tears
  • Drinking water to stay hydrated
  • Wearing sunglasses to deflect ultraviolet rays and wind that dry the eyes

Special Considerations for Dry Eye Treatment:

  • Don’t make the compresses or washcloths too hot.
  • Use a different compress for each eye to prevent spreading an infection between the eyes.
  • We recommend lightly cleaning with a swab or cloth, then wetting and wiping your eyelids several times each day. Doing so can prevent bacteria from entering your eyes.

If you are experiencing dry eye, please bring it to our attention. Untreated, dry eye can sometimes cause corneal abrasions or ulcers, inflammation, and even vision impairment.

 

 

At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, Dr. Harold Ashcraft will treat patients with dry eye from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and throughout California.

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Does Your Job Place You at a Higher Risk For Dry Eye?

Higher Risk For Dry Eye 640Dry eye symptoms such as red, watery, stinging eyes can negatively affect your work. But could your work environment actually be causing or exacerbating your symptoms? Recent research shows that where you work can heighten your risk of developing dry, irritated eyes. 

Which Work Environments Increase Your Risk of Developing Dry Eye Symptoms?

Offices

Several factors appear to contribute to dry eyes. In fact, a survey of American and European office employees found that a third suffered from dry eye symptoms. 

Research has shown that prolonged physical inactivity and staring at computer monitors increases a person’s susceptibility to developing dry eye syndrome. 

Staring at a computer screen can reduce the number of times a person blinks by 30%. That’s problematic because blinking is essential for lubricating the eyes and keeping the protective tear film that covers the eye intact. If you find your eyes becoming irritated or uncomfortable at work, try blinking more, especially while using the computer and reading.  

The humidity level of the air in the office also plays a role. Overuse of air conditioning and heating can cause the air to become dry, increasing the rate of tear evaporation. Having insufficient tears is a leading cause of dry eye symptoms. If you find that your work environment is too dry, try using a humidifier to add some moisture back into the air. 

The Great Outdoors

Certain outdoor jobs can expose the eyes to eye-drying elements like wind, debris, and direct sunlight. Wind and heat can cause the eye’s tear film to prematurely evaporate, leaving the eye unprotected and susceptible to dryness. 

Other factors that contribute to dry eye syndrome include pollution and exposure to harmful UV rays. Outdoor workers such as construction workers, farmers, and lifeguards should always use protective eyewear while working.

How Your Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

Dry eye symptoms can range from mildly bothersome to debilitating. A comprehensive eye exam with Dr. Harold Ashcraft will determine the underlying cause of your symptoms so the most effective treatment can be offered. 

Relief from dry eye symptoms extends far beyond the options available at the drugstore. If you’re experiencing dry eye symptoms of any degree, contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to discover how you can achieve long-lasting relief. We look forward to hearing from you. 

 

Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and throughout California. 



Managing Dry Eye Symptoms While Enjoying Outdoors

couple on a field of flowers 640As the weather gets warmer and Covid-19 restrictions gradually ease, many people want to spend as much time outdoors as possible. But for those with chronic dry eye syndrome, uncomfortable symptoms may deter them from enjoying Mother Nature. Some of these symptoms include:

  • Dry eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Grittiness
  • Watery eyes
  • Irritated or burning eyes
  • Blurred vision

While the only sure way to diagnose and treat your eye condition is having an eye exam with Dr. Harold Ashcraft, the following tips may offer some relief until your next appointment — especially while you’re spending time in the open air.

Bring Along a Water Bottle

A dehydrated body can mean dehydrated eyes. Drinking plenty of water can help your eyes produce the healthy amount of tears needed to maintain lubrication. Even if you are spending time in a humid environment, be sure to drink water or other hydrating fluids. Try to avoid alcoholic beverages and sugary drinks, as they can be dehydrating and exacerbate dry eye symptoms.

Pack Some Lubricating Artificial Tear Eye Drops

One of the main causes of dry eye syndrome is insufficient or poor quality tears. Lubricating eye drops, also known as artificial tears, can compensate for the lack of tears and offer temporary relief. The drops’ tiny containers make them travel-friendly and perfect for almost any outdoor activity. There are many kinds of eye drops on the market, but Dr. Harold Ashcraft can recommend or prescribe the most suitable type for your eyes.

Always Wear Protective Eyewear

Exposure to the elements can leave your eyes feeling dry and uncomfortable. Wearing protective eyewear, such as sports goggles or wrap-around sunglasses, can protect your eyes from harsh winds, debris in the air, and sunlight. Even a light breeze can strip the eyes of their protective tear film and accelerate the rate of evaporation.

Visit Dr. Ashcraft for Dry Eye Relief

While the above recommendations can provide temporary relief, a dry eye evaluation with Dr. Harold Ashcraft can help identify and treat the underlying cause of your symptoms. Dr. Harold Ashcraft will recommend the latest and most effective dry eye treatments for long-lasting relief and optimal comfort. If you or a loved one is suffering from dry eye syndrome, call Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to schedule your consultation today.

Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and throughout California.



Ever Wonder What Causes Eye Twitching?

Dry Eye Africam American Man 640×350Many of us have experienced an involuntary eyelid spasm but didn’t give it much thought. These eyelid spasms, or twitches, are a repetitive and involuntary spasm of the muscles in the eyelids. The twitch most frequently occurs in the upper eyelid, but can occasionally occur in both upper and lower eyelids.

The twitch sensation is generally painless and harmless. It can be caused by several factors and rarely indicates a more serious underlying condition. One condition, however, that can contribute to eyelid twitching is dry eye syndrome (DES). Below, we’ll briefly explain DES and how it can trigger eyelid twitching.

What Is DES and Do You Have It?

Dry eye syndrome is characterized by the chronic lack of sufficient ocular lubrication and can be caused by allergies, irritants, and insufficient or poor quality tears. Some symptoms of dry eye include:

  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Blurry vision
  • Grittiness
  • Stinging or burning sensation

If you suspect you have DES or experience any of the above symptoms, speak with Dr. Harold Ashcraft about finding relief and regaining the quality of life you seek.

How Is Eyelid Twitching Related To DES?

When the eyes lack lubrication, the nervous system compensates by increasing the eyes’ blink rate to try and refresh the tear film. If the brain sends too many signals to increase the blink rate, the eyelid’s muscles may begin to twitch due to the overload of signals fired from the brain. Eventually, as the eyelid muscles become more fatigued from the excess blinking, twitching becomes more noticeable and irritating.

What Can Be Done To Ease The Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome and Reduce Twitching?

Eyelid twitching can be bothersome and can even interfere with performing daily tasks. Though twitching episodes usually subside after a minute or two, there are some steps you can take to shorten their duration or eliminate them altogether.

Try using lubricating eye drops to bring some moisture back to your eyes, thus reducing the signals sent to the nervous system to increase the blink rate. Dr. Harold Ashcraft can recommend which over-the-counter drops best suit your eyes’ needs, or prescribe more potent eye drops.

Try gently massaging your closed upper eyelids to suppress the twitching when it occurs. The light pressure can help relax the surrounding muscles. You can also apply a warm eye compress when the lid is twitching or whenever your eyes feel irritated.

Additionally, if you experience twitching or cramping in other muscles, such as in your legs, taking some magnesium may help reduce the frequency of the spasms.

How We Can Help You

Mild eyelid spasms and twitches are generally not something to be concerned about, unless they are prolonged, frequent, or distract you from your normal routine. At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, we aim to provide you with relief from any dry eye symptoms using the latest treatments available. If you or a loved one suffer from eye twitches or any other DES symptoms, let us help you manage your ocular condition for a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.

Family Eyecare Center of Optometry provides dry eye relief and other services to patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and California.

 

Your Eyes Can’t Focus? It Could Be Dry Eye!

photo of woman using laptopYou have been working on a report for weeks and your deadline is tomorrow morning. It’s the end of a long day at the office, and you need to check the numbers one more time. When you do, the figures on the spreadsheet appear blurry, and you just can’t get your eyes to focus.

But why? You recently had your eyes examined and the optometrist assured you that your current contact lens prescription is fine. What could be wrong with your eyes?

Why Can’t Your Eyes Focus?

Many patients come to us at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry with similar complaints about eye focus problems. After examining their eyes, we often diagnose them with dry eye syndrome.

When working long hours on the computer or spending a significant amount of time staring at a mobile phone screen, the eye’s blink rate decreases significantly, causing the protective tear film that covers the eye to evaporate faster. To retain visual acuity, the tear film needs to spread smoothly and evenly over the eye surface. Insufficient fluid makes this impossible.

What is Dry Eye?

With people spending more and more hours on digital devices, the increasing prevalence of dry eye is not surprising. As mentioned earlier, dry eye occurs when tears don’t provide sufficient lubrication to the eye or are of poor quality.

Mild dry eye can affect up to 50% of the adult population in the USA, with more than 16 million adults suffering from severe dry eye.

Dry eye can be caused by infrequent blinking, hot and dry air, certain medical conditions, medications, eyelid problems, or damaged tear glands. Age is another factor, as tear production decreases with age. Long-term use of contact lenses is another possible cause. Furthermore, simply being exposed to today’s polluted air can make your eyes feel very dry.

Additional symptoms of dry eye include redness of the eyes, itchy eyes, a burning sensation in the eyes, eye fatigue, and increased sensitivity to light.

What Do Tears Have to Do With Eye Focus?

Poor tear quality can also cause blurry vision. Tears are a mixture of water, fatty oils, and mucus. If the balance is off between these three essential layers, the tears will no longer produce the necessary smooth cover over the front of the eye. Even though your eyes focus perfectly well, the uneven film of tears will distort your vision, and the numbers on your spreadsheet will appear blurry.

When your eyes can’t focus, it could be dry eye from EyeCarePro on Vimeo.

How to Treat Dry Eye

Artificial tears can provide relief for mild dry eye. Make sure to use only preservative-free drops. Consult Dr. Harold Ashcraft to get more information on the ideal treatment for your dry eyes.

We can run simple diagnostic tests to determine the cause of dry eye and evaluate your tear quality. If you wear contact lenses, the optometrist can recommend different types of lenses made from materials that retain more moisture.

Schedule an eye exam with Dr. Harold Ashcraft at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry today and talk to us about your focusing issues and dry eye concerns.

Visit our practice if you are from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Del Rey, and throughout California.



How Tears Do More Than Prevent Dry Eye

tearsTears literally enable us to see. They lubricate our eyeballs and eyelids, thus preventing our eyes from dehydrating. They also provide a smooth surface for refracting light, supply oxygen, and are a vital component of the ocular defense system that protects against a range of pathogens. Below we'll delve into the composition and types of tears, and further explain why they are so beneficial to our physical and emotional well-being.

The 3 Layer Structure of Tears

Tears are made up of three layers: lipids, aqueous and mucous.

The lipid layer is the outermost layer and prevents the evaporation of tears. The lipids are produced by tiny glands in the eyelids called the meibomian glands.

The aqueous layer, which is the middle layer, makes up 95% of our tears. This layer supplies nutrients to the cornea, prevents infection, and heals ocular damage. This layer is effectively made up of water and is produced by the lacrimal gland.

The mucous layer is the one closest to the eye. It coats the cornea and provides a level platform that allows for an even distribution of the tear film over the eye. This layer is produced by even smaller glands called goblet cells.

Three Types of Tears

Tears are composed of water, salts, amino acids, antibodies and lysozymes (antibacterial enzymes). However, there are several types of tears, and their composition varies. For example, the tears we shed while crying are different from the tears that flood our eyes in the presence of irritants like onions, dust or allergies.

Humans produce the following three kinds of tears:

  1. Basal - these tears are constantly at the front of the eyeball and form the liquid layer over the eyeball to keep it lubricated.
  1. Reflex - these tears appear when the eye is irritated, such as when the eyes feel gritty or when we get dust, sand or other small foreign objects in our eyes.
  1. Psychogenic - these tears are sparked by emotion. They possess a higher protein level than basal and reflex tears, which makes them thicker, causing them to stream more slowly. Psychogenic tears are made up of higher concentrations of stress hormones such as adrenocorticotropic hormone and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller). This suggests that emotional tears play an important role in balancing stress hormone levels.

Tears Serve the Following Functions

Prevent dryness
Tears prevent dryness by lubricating the surface of the eye. Each time we blink we spread this cushioning layer of tears across the front of the eyes.

Supply oxygen and nutrients
Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the cornea through our tears.

Prevent infection
Not only do tears wash away foreign bodies that enter the eye, but they can also prevent infection thanks to an antibacterial property contained within tears called lysozyme. This antibacterial agent fights off the germs we pick up in our surroundings.

Heal ocular damage
Tears are made up of substances that heal damage to the surface of the eye. Damage can be caused by foreign objects and even high exposure to UV rays.

Create a smooth surface on the eye
Tears lubricate and smooth our eye’s surface, leading light to be correctly focused and enabling us to see clearly.

Remove Toxins
Emotional tears contain more toxic byproducts than reflex tears (caused by irritation), and can thus flush out many toxins and stress hormones.

Dull pain and improve mood
Crying for extended periods of time releases oxytocin and endorphins. These feel-good hormones can help diminish both physical and emotional pain. Once the endorphins are released, your body may enter a more relaxed stage, with oxytocin providing you with a sense of calm and well-being.

As you can see, tears are invaluable for clear vision, protecting your eyes, flushing out irritants, and soothing emotions.

If your eyes feel dry or tear all the time, you may not have enough tears or you may not have the right quality of tears.  Prescription dry eye treatment with Restasis or Xiidra drops may help you. There are also many choices in over the counter drops.  They are not all the same. Dr. Ashcraft can help you choose the right drops for you condition to help your eye feel much better.

If you feel that your eyes are not as comfortable or your vision is not as clear as usual, contact Dr. Harold Ashcraft at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Los Angeles today.

Why You Should Not Rub Your Eyes

Dry Eye Girl 640×350Though it may seem harmless, rubbing your eyes is something many of us do from time to time. Doing so feels good because it stimulates tear flow and eye lubrication, which offers relief for dry eyes and helps remove dust and other irritants. Furthermore, rubbing your eyes can be therapeutic, as pressing down on your eyeball stimulates the vagus nerve, which decreases your heart rate, thus relieving stress.

So why do eye doctors advise against rubbing your eyes? That’s because rubbing your eyes poses a threat, especially now, as COVID-19 can be spread through the eyes' mucous membranes. Moreover, rubbing can potentially damage your eyes’ structure and vision.

How is Rubbing Your Eyes Harmful?

  • Continuous eye rubbing in susceptible individuals can cause the cornea to thin and weaken, leading it to bulge forward and become more cone-like. This is known as keratoconus — a serious condition that can lead to distorted vision and ultimately the need for a corneal transplant or specialized contact lenses, such as scleral lenses.
  • If you have a foreign object in your eye, your natural instinct is likely to rub it in an attempt to remove the object. However, this can potentially cause more damage as the object can scratch the cornea. Instead, try flushing it out with saline solution or artificial tears.
  • From a hygienic perspective, it’s important to remember that your hands are covered in germs and bacteria. Therefore, sticking a finger that hasn't been thoroughly washed with soap and water into your eyes can cause an infection, such as conjunctivitis, to flare up. Recent evidence shows that the coronavirus can also be transferred from the hands to the eyes.
  • Rubbing is harmful to people with certain pre-existing eye conditions. If you have progressive myopia (short-sightedness caused by a lengthened eyeball) or glaucoma (a condition that damages the optic nerve), rubbing your eyes can exacerbate the condition and worsen eyesight. Eye rubbing is particularly bad for a glaucoma patient with already heightened eye pressure. It can engender nerve damage and permanent vision loss.
  • Retinal tear or detachment can occur due to the heightened eye pressure caused by the rubbing.
  • Excessive eye rubbing can negatively affect your appearance. It can cause tiny blood vessels to break, resulting in bloodshot eyes, dark circles and wrinkles around the eyes.

Why Do You Rub Your Eyes?

When your eyes are feeling itchy, it is natural to rub them. Sometimes you do it and are not even aware you are rubbing your eyes. But this can cause some big problems.  Sometimes rubbing your eyes just makes it worse because they itch and bother you even more. This happens because rubbing your eyes causes the release of histamines. Histamines can start the itching and allergy response. Allergy medicines are commonly called anit-histamines because they block histamines. This is the way they stop itching.

Rubbing your eyes isn’t all bad, sometimes it can temporarily help. It releases more tears, which in turn causes the meibomian glands, situated within your eyelids, to secrete much-needed oil into our eyes. That adds moisture and protects your tears from evaporating.

However, if you frequently rub your eyes because they are dry or irritated, contact Dr. Harold Ashcraft immediately.

What You Can Do To Stop Rubbing Your Eyes

Keep your eyes hydrated by using artificial tears or eye drops. They can be found over the counter at the pharmacy, and are especially effective against dry eyes. Certain eye drops, such as antihistamines and mast cell stabilizers, can be prescribed by Dr. Harold Ashcraft to help prevent the itchy feeling that leads you to instinctually rub your eyes. In more severe cases, such as in allergy sufferers, steroid eye drops can be used to avoid chronic eye rubbing.

Excessive eye rubbing, whether due to chronic dry eye, itchy eyes, or habit, should be addressed to prevent any ocular and vision damage. Contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry at  Los Angeles to schedule a visit, determine the cause of your itchiness, and find out which drops to use in your specific case.

 

5 Tips to Reduce Digital Eyestrain

Has Working From Home Been Taking Its Toll On You?

Here are 5 Tips To Make It A Bit More Bearable

Friends,

It has been a time of transition for all of us as we find our new normal amid COVID-19. We know many are struggling financially, emotionally, and physically as this pandemic takes its toll. We are thinking of you during this unprecedented time.

With the number of you who have transitioned to working from home, you may be noticing more symptoms of digital eye strain.

The headaches. The dry, tired eyes. The blurry vision. The neck and shoulder pain.

Sound familiar?

Eyefamily

Perhaps you have children who are now doing school online, as are some of my grandchildren. They may be voicing similar complaints.

Just like any other muscle that tires or feels sore after intense exercise, our eyes fatigue after looking at screens for too long. While it is unrealistic to stop using your laptop or smartphone, you can implement a few tricks to give your eyes a much-needed rest.

  1. Practice the 20/20/20 rule: After every 20 minutes looking at a screen, take a rest for 20 seconds by looking at something 20 feet away. This quick activity will allow your eyes to relax and refocus.
  2. Adjust the position of your device: Bad posture may be contributing to your neck, shoulder, or back pain. Sit up tall and prop your screen up so that it is about 10 to 15 degrees below eye level. This will reduce the strain from your eyes and neck and may lessen the frequency of headaches. Additionally, there should be about an arm’s length between you and your screen. Holding a device too close to your face will increase the likelihood of eye strain.
  3. Check the lighting: I’ve been going on walks outside and noticed more people setting up their work space in their dimly-lit garage. Lighting is very important for reducing eye strain. If possible, I recommend setting up a bright lamp near your work space. Just as reading a book in low lighting forces your eyes to work harder to see, so will looking at a dimly lit screen. Adjust the brightness settings on your device so that it is neither too dark nor too bright. It should be about as bright as the light surrounding your space.
  4. Don’t forget to blink: You may not realize it, but many people forget to blink frequently when in front of a screen. Blinking is essential for keeping the eye moist, and not doing it may contribute to your eye irritation, dryness, and red eyes. Making the extra effort to blink more often can make a big difference.
  5. Consider computer glasses: We recognize this may not be possible immediately while we have restrictions for going out, but getting glasses specifically for computer use is a good option if you are prone to digital eye strain. Not only will glasses provide extra comfort in front of your screen, but they can help you see clearer and with fewer side-effects of eye strain.

I’d love to talk to you to see if you are a good candidate for computer eye glasses. (Truth be told, most people notice a huge difference for the better).

Video: How to reduce computer-related eyestrain:

We hope you are staying home and staying healthy.

All the best,

Dr. Ashcraft and Staff

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COVID-19 ReOpening—Expectations
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the safety and well-being of our patients, staff and doctors is our first priority. Read Safety Protocols.

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