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What Happens If You Don’t Treat Dry Eye Syndrome?

girl sitting in the pool 640×350Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a condition where your eyes either produce low-quality tears or don’t produce enough tears to keep your eyes hydrated. Sometimes the meibomian glands inside your eyelids, which produce the oily layer of your tears, don’t function properly or are blocked, causing your tears to dry out. Environmental factors, certain medical conditions and several medications can also cause DES.

Tears are essential for maintaining eye health and comfort. They moisten your eyes and remove debris. In severe cases, untreated dry eye syndrome can actually damage your cornea and cause vision loss.

The amount of dryness varies in severity from person to person. If you have a minor case of dry eye, you may be able to manage it with over-the-counter eye drops. However, if the problem persists or appears to be getting worse, it’s time to visit your eye doctor, who will assess your eyes, find the underlying problem and offer treatment for lasting relief.

Below is a list of complications that may occur if chronic dry eye syndrome isn’t treated:

Conjunctivitis

Conjunctivitis refers to infected or inflamed conjunctiva — the clear layer of cells that covers the white part of your eyeball and the inner surface of your eyelids. Symptoms include grittiness, redness and sensitivity to light.

Keratitis

Keratitis refers to an inflammation of the cornea. It can be caused by different types of infections, abnormalities of the eyelids, injury and dry eye. If the deeper layers of the cornea are involved, scarring or a corneal ulcer may result, particularly if left untreated.

Corneal Ulcer

A corneal ulcer is an open sore that develops on the cornea—the clear, protective outer layer of your eyes.

While corneal ulcers typically develop following an injury, they can also be caused by severe dry eye.

On a daily basis, debris, like dirt and sand particles, enter your eyes and scratch the surface of the cornea. When your tear glands don’t produce enough tears to wash away the particles, bacteria can infect the scratch and cause an ulcer.

Luckily, corneal ulcers are easily treated with antibiotic eye drops. Left untreated, however, these ulcers can spread and scar the eyeball, causing partial or even complete blindness.

Inability to wear contact lenses

Unless your eyes produce enough good-quality tears, your contact lenses can become overly dry, leading to a gritty sensation, irritation and redness. Without sufficient moisture, your contacts may stick to your eyeball, making it difficult to remove them.

Though chronic dry eye syndrome may prevent you from wearing standard contact lenses, certain specialized contact lenses can improve ocular hydration and comfort.

Difficulty keeping your eyes open

Depending on the severity of dry eye, it may be difficult to keep your eyes open. This may occur if dry eye syndrome causes extreme light sensitivity or a chronic sensation that something is stuck in your eye.

While artificial tears may provide enough moisture to partially open your eyes, you may still feel the urge to squint, especially when exposed to a computer screen or sunlight.

Difficulty reading or driving

While blurred vision often signals that you need a stronger prescription, it’s also a common symptom of chronic dry eye syndrome.

Left untreated, the blurriness may worsen and even lead to double vision. Naturally, this makes driving and reading a real struggle.

Headaches

While there’s room for more research, studies have shown that there may be a connection between headaches and dry eye. A population-based case study of more than 72,000 patients published by JAMA Ophthalmology (2019) found that people who suffer from migraine headaches are more likely to have dry eyes compared to the general population.

It’s not clear why. According to the paper, being female and of advanced age play an important role in determining the strength of this association.

Depression

A 2015 study, published in the journal Cornea evaluated the connection between dry eye disease and depressive symptoms in more than 6,000 women. Researchers found that women diagnosed with dry eye had a higher likelihood of developing depressive moods, anxiety, and psychological stress.

While the connection isn’t fully understood, researchers noted that some medications for treating depression have a drying effect on the eyes, and that dry eye syndrome may limit a person’s participation in activities, to the point where they may become anxious, withdrawn and even depressed.

If you have dry eye, we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in order to find the best treatment options and thus increase the quality of your tears and life.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: How do I know if I have dry eye syndrome?

  • A: If you experience itchiness, light sensitivity, tearing and tired eyes, it could indicate that you have dry eye syndrome. Get your eyes checked by an eye doctor, who will thoroughly diagnose your symptoms and offer lasting treatment.

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Various things can cause dry, itchy eyes. Some of the most common causes include blocked glands, environmental factors (wind, air pollution), infrequent blinking, certain medications, standard contact lenses and Demodex mites.


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5 Important Eye Care Tips For Kids

Your child’s ability to see the world relies on healthy eyes. By teaching them how to care for their eyes, you help protect them from injury and ensure their eyes and vision remain healthy in the long run. Here are our 5 top eye care tips for kids.

Good Eye Care Habits for Children

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Drink Plenty of Water

A nutritious diet and healthy eyes go hand in hand. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and prioritize foods rich in vitamin A found in green leafy and yellow vegetables. Eggs are also rich in important nutrients, containing vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, all vital for eye health.

Another thing to look out for is hydration. Proper hydration plays a key role in maintaining healthy eyes and a healthy body, so make sure your child drinks plenty of water (the appropriate amount will vary according to your child’s age, level of physical activity and weather conditions).

2. Wear Eye Protection

Physical activity is enjoyable and healthy, but make sure your child is wearing the right protective eyewear, like safety goggles, anytime they participate in sports or activities that could cause an eye injury (i.e. playing ball, hockey, carpentry). Wearing a helmet for sports like riding a bicycle protects against concussions, which can result in lingering vision problems, and are usually preventable.

Furthermore, provide your child with good UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. Staring directly at the sun, or the light rays reflecting off water and snow, can potentially cause retinal burns, in addition to long term damage.

3. Give The Eyes a Rest

Staring at the school board and school books all day, followed by playing video games or watching TV in the evening can cause eye strain. Be sure your child gets sufficient sleep to allow their eyes to rest. Replace evening activities with those that don’t require intense eye focusing: going to the park, playing outdoors with friends, or simply lying down with their eyes closed while listening to music or an audiobook.

4. Reduce Time Spent on Digital Devices

Spending time on digital devices and staring at screens is an integral part of our lives. Playing video games, watching videos on their smartphones and playing computer games, all require the eyes to fixate for extended periods of time, which can lead to digital eye strain, headaches and even dry eyes.

Experts believe that the number of hours spent on screens is the driving force behind the myopia pandemic. Try to reduce the amount of time your child spends on the screen by getting your child to participate in other activities, such as sports. If you are worried about the hours your child is spending on a screen myopia management can mitigate their risk of developing future eye problems.

5. Get Their Eyes Checked Regularly

School-aged children’s vision can change often, and unexpectedly, until the late teenage years. Left uncorrected, poor eyesight can interfere with learning, and cause behavioral and attention issues.

Getting a routine eye exam is important as it can uncover vision problems, detect eye conditions early on, and significantly increase the odds of preserving long-term eye health. For those who wear glasses or contacts, it’s important to check for any changes and update the prescription as needed.

Ensure your child’s eyes are being cared for properly by scheduling an eye exam with Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles today. Your child’s eye doctor can further educate them on eye safety and answer any questions you or your child may have.

Q&A

My kid frequently rubs their eyes. Is that bad?

Kids often rub their eyes, especially if they have allergies, irritated eyes, or they feel like something is stuck in their peepers. Rubbing can scratch the cornea, and transfer bacteria from the child’s hands to their eyes, causing an eye infection.

Instead of rubbing, have them wash their eyes with cool water to flush out any foreign body or irritant, and ease inflammation. If the problem persists, contact your child’s optometrist.

Other than reducing screen time, is there anything else I can do to maintain eye health & safety?

When you’re at home, keep an eye on your children’s playtime and make sure that none of their toys — or the toys at their friends’ homes — are sharp. Sharp plastic swords and toys with jagged edges can cause serious eye injuries.

Reading Tips For Those With Low Vision

Senior Woman Reading 640×350

For people with low vision, reading can feel like running a marathon. Many stop reading altogether because what used to be enjoyable and effortless now requires effort and adjustment to using peripheral vision.

Fortunately, there are many low vision devices that can make reading easier and more rewarding for people with glaucoma, retinitis pigmentosa, macular degeneration and other low vision conditions.

Below is a list of low vision magnifiers, aids, devices, and strategies that can help people with low vision read more easily and comfortably.

Low Vision Devices for Reading

Reading Magnifier

The most commonly used visual aid for reading is a hand-held magnifier.

Magnifiers with the appropriate power enable people with low vision to read the text of medicine bottles, food labels and oven dials, among other things. Magnifiers come in a variety of sizes and shapes, including compact pocket magnifiers, full-page illuminated magnifiers, and magnifiers with adjustable supports.

Magnifiers are not well suited for continuous reading, like books or newspapers. They work well for spot reading, like labels, dials and medicine bottles. In general, the larger the magnifier, the less powerful it is. Also, the power markings on the magnifier are not standardized, so two magnifiers both marked “3x” are probably not the same.

It is best to have your low vision optometrist recommend the right magnifier for your needs.

Video Magnifier

While traditional optical magnifiers are generally helpful, some people benefit more from a video magnifier.

A video magnifier, also known as closed-circuit television (CCTV), is a device that uses a camera to send magnified images (up to 50x or greater) to a large desk monitor or television screen.

Video magnifiers have many advantages over optical magnifiers in that they have variable magnification and can improve contrast. However, they are not as convenient as optical devices and are much more expensive.

Portable Electronic Magnifiers

A portable electronic magnifier resembles a tablet or iPad. When holding it in front of your reading material you can see the magnified version of the text on the device’s LED screen.

High-Power Reading Glasses

A person with significant visual impairment may be able to use strong magnifying reading glasses to view fine print. These eyeglasses magnify the print size to allow easier reading.

Strong reading glasses or “microscope” glasses are more convenient for continuous reading, like newspapers and books.

Microscope reading glasses require a closer reading distance which does take some adapting. However, they allow much greater comfort and speed when reading for enjoyment.

Tele-Microscopic Glasses

Tele-microscopic lenses are prescription lenses that are installed in a telescope-like device and placed on top of the glasses. They can be prescribed for one or both eyes and enable a person with low vision to read, write, use a computer, and accomplish other activities from a comfortable distance.

Certain low vision devices are custom-made for a patient’s specific needs. A prescription from your eye doctor may be required.

Tele-microscope glasses, or “reading telescopes” afford a much greater reading distance, which some find more comfortable. They are a bit heavier than microscope glasses but are much more versatile in their use.

More strategies to help your reading

Increase Contrast

When reading, it’s best to have a sharp contrast between the text and its background. Newspapers, for example, don’t have much contrast because the grey characters are set against an off-white background.

Many electronic screens allow users to adjust the contrast according to their preferences, such as black lettering on a yellow background or black lettering against a white background.

Increase Lighting

Increasing the amount of lighting and choosing the appropriate lighting for the setting can considerably improve reading ability and boost comfort. For example:

Direct light – Using an adjustable gooseneck lamp that allows you to focus the light directly onto the reading material can be helpful. We recommend “gooseneck” with lower strength bulbs for better lighting and less heat.

Sunlight – Sitting near a window to get natural sunlight while reading a book or other written text is ideal.

Large-Print Books or Larger Fonts

Large-print books include larger fonts, better contrast and more spacing, making it easier and more enjoyable to read.

Adjust Settings on Your Smartphone

Smartphones feature special settings for people with low vision. These features are wide-ranging and include the ability to select larger lettering to SMS messaging that the phone can read out loud.

Coping with low vision isn’t simple. However, developing your own life hacks and methods can make reading easier. Take your time to find what works best for you. Eventually, you’ll find the best solutions for your specific needs.

Contact The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to find out which low vision aids and devices are right for you.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: What is a low vision exam?

  • A: A low vision exam includes components that are not usually part of a standard eye exam. Dr. Harold Ashcraft will analyze the nature of your vision loss after testing your visual acuity. This will aid the doctor in determining how low vision is affecting you and your ability to perform day-to-day activities. Dr. Harold Ashcraft will then describe how certain low vision glasses and various low vision aides can help you regain as much daily function as possible.

Q: Does low vision mean blindness?

  • A: No. Low vision is vision loss that can’t be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or surgery. However, it’s not considered blindness, as some sight remains. This allows a person to still use the sight available and benefit from various low vision devices.

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


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How Much Time Should My Child Spend Outdoors?

child outdoor 640The benefits of outdoor play are well known. It allows children to exercise, socialize, develop skills like problem-solving and risk-taking and lets them soak up some vitamin D.

A lesser-known benefit of outdoor play is its effect on myopia (nearsightedness). Numerous studies have confirmed an association between increased “sun time” and lower levels of myopia.

Below, we’ll explore why this is and recommend ways to keep your child’s eyes healthy, whether or not they are nearsighted.

Why “Sun Time” Helps Control Myopia

While researchers haven’t yet pinpointed the exact reason, some believe that the sun’s intense brightness and increased vitamin D play a role. Others theorize that children who spend time looking into the distance while outdoors prevent myopia from progressing or even developing.

How Much Outdoor Time Is Recommended?

There isn’t a unanimous opinion on an exact amount of time, but the general recommendation is that children ages 6 and up should spend 2 or more hours outdoors per day.

It’s important to note that UV rays can be harmful to the eyes and skin. So before you send your little ones out to play, be sure to hand them a pair of UV-blocking [sunglasses], a wide-brimmed hat and sunblock lotion.

What Can Parents Do For Their Children’s Vision and Eye Health?

Encourage your children to spend time outdoors whenever possible. It is also important to follow local health guidelines pertaining to the exposure of children to sunlight. Limit their daily screen time, and offer minimal screen time (if any) to children under the age of 2.

Make sure your child takes frequent breaks whenever doing near work like homework, reading, and spending time on a digital screen. A 5-10 minute break should be encouraged for every hour of near work.

However, the best thing you can do for your myopic child is to provide them with myopia management treatments, all of which have been scientifically proven to reduce the progression of myopia and risk of sight-robbing eye diseases later in life.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, call The Myopia Management Center At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry today!

Q&A

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: What is myopia?

  • A: A: Myopia is the most common refractive error among children and young adults. It occurs when the eye elongates, and rays of light are focused in front of the light-sensitive retina rather than directly on it. For those with nearsightedness, distant objects appear blurred while nearby objects remain clear. Although eyeglasses and standard contact lenses can correct a person’s vision, they do not treat the underlying cause of myopia or slow its progression.

Q: Why is myopia management important?

  • A: A: By 2050, half of the world’s population is expected to be diagnosed with myopia. That’s worrying because having myopia raises the risk of developing serious eye diseases later in life. Myopia management, which entails the use of eye drops, specialized contact lenses or multifocal glasses, can help slow the often rapid visual deterioration caused by myopia in children. If you’re concerned that your child’s vision is deteriorating, contact us today. We can help.



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

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Call Us 310-620-6603

 

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

What’s a Chalazion?

What is a Chalazion 640Finding a lump on your eyelid can be scary, but it doesn’t have to be. Luckily, a chalazion isn’t a serious condition and is rather simple to resolve.

In most cases, a chalazion can easily be treated and will completely disappear following treatment. However, if non-invasive treatments don’t work, your eye doctor may need to remove it through an in-office surgical procedure.

At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry we can diagnose and help treat your chalazion so that you can see comfortably.

What is a Chalazion?

A chalazion, also known as a meibomian cyst, is a small fluid-filled cyst.

Eyelids contain meibomian glands, which produce oil to lubricate the surface of the eye. When one of these glands becomes blocked, it may cause swelling and lead to a small painless lump called a chalazion.

What Causes a Chalazion?

A chalazion occurs when the gland in the eyelid is clogged. Exactly why the gland becomes clogged isn’t known, but some individuals appear to be more susceptible to developing a chalazion than others.

A chalazion may be associated with dry eye syndrome, which is often caused by meibomian gland dysfunction.

People exhibiting certain risk factors are more likely to develop a chalazion. This includes people who have:

  • Blepharitis, an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Conjunctivitis, also known as pink eye
  • Thicker oil or meibum than normal consistency
  • Ocular rosacea, a skin condition adjacent to the eyes
  • Seborrhea, or dandruff, of the eyelashes
  • Styes or a history of styes

What Are the Symptoms of a Chalazion?

Common symptoms of a chalazion include:

  • A bump on the eyelid that sometimes becomes swollen and red
  • An entirely swollen eyelid, although very rare
  • Vision issues (such as blurred vision) if the chalazion becomes large enough to press on the eyeball

While a chalazion is not an infection, it may become infected. In the rare event that this occurs, it may become red, more severely swollen, and painful.

Chalazia are often mistaken for styes since they have a similar appearance.

What’s the Difference Between a Chalazion and a Stye?

It can be difficult to differentiate a chalazion from a stye.

Styes develop along the edge of your eyelid and can at times be seen at the base of an eyelash. In contrast, chalazia usually occur closer to the middle of the eyelid. A stye is more likely to be painful and tends to have a yellowish spot at the center that may burst after a few days.

Basically, the most noticeable difference between a chalazion and a stye is that a chalazion tends to be painless while a stye is usually painful and may cause the eye to feel sore, itchy or scratchy.

How to Treat a Chalazion

Most chalazia require minimal medical treatment and some may even clear up on their own in a few weeks to a month. When a chalazion first appears, you can try doing the following for 1-2 days:

  • Apply a warm compress to the eyelid for 10 to 15 minutes, 4 to 6 times a day. The warm compress helps soften the hardened oil that blocks the ducts, allowing drainage and healing.
  • Gently massage the external eyelids for several minutes each day to help promote drainage.

If the chalazion does not drain and heal within a few days, contact your eye doctor. Don’t attempt to squeeze or pop the chalazion, as it may inadvertently cause more damage.

To learn more about chalazion treatment and the other eye care services we offer, call Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to schedule an appointment.

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

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: Can a chalazion spread from one person to another?

  • A: Since a chalazion is not an infection, it cannot spread from one person to another or even to the other eye of the affected person.

Q: Can a chalazion affect my eyesight?

  • A: A chalazion doesn’t affect vision. In rare cases, if the lump is large enough to distort the ocular surface it can cause temporary astigmatism, blurring vision. However, vision will return to normal once a medical professional removes the chalazion or once it diminishes in size.


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Can People With Dry Eye Syndrome Wear Eye Makeup?

Eye Makeup 640×350If your eyes feel dry and irritated after wearing eyeliner—you aren’t alone. Many patients report symptoms of dry eye syndrome after rocking a smoky eye look, especially for extended periods of time.

The good news is those makeup lovers who have dry eye syndrome can continue to put their best face forward with the guidance of their dry eye optometrist.

What is Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome (DES) is a chronic lack of ocular hydration that can be caused by several factors, including genetics, environmental irritants, allergies, certain medical conditions, specific medications and hormonal fluctuations.

Symptoms of DES may include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Itchy eyes
  • Red or irritated eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Mucus around the eyes
  • Discomfort while wearing contact lenses
  • Light sensitivity
  • Blurred vision
  • Eyes that ache or feel heavy

DES treatment depends on the underlying cause of the problem. Your dry eye optometrist will thoroughly evaluate your eyes to find and treat the source of your symptoms.

Can Eyeliner and Other Eye Makeup Cause Dry Eyes?

Our eyes are lined with tiny glands, known as meibomian glands, at the edge of both the upper and lower eyelids that secrete nourishing oils into our tears to help prevent premature tear evaporation. Any blockages or irritation in these glands can lead to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD), a leading cause of dry eye symptoms.

A recent study published in The Journal of Cornea and External Disease found that the regular use of eyeliner can cause the tear film to become unstable as the eyeliner can clog these small meibomian glands.

An important measurement, known as tear film breakup time, was much lower in the eyeliner-wearing group in the study, indicating that their tears evaporated more quickly. The same group also had reduced meibomian gland function and more symptoms of MGD.

The good news is that you can still wear eyeliner and other eye makeup products, despite having dry eyes. Here’s how:

Tips for Safely Wearing Eyeliner With Dry Eyes

  1. Only use eye makeup products that are intended for use around the eye area.
  2. Keep your makeup and applicators clean. Sharpen your eyeliner pencil and clean your brushes before each use to avoid contamination.
  3. Replace your eye makeup as often as recommended by the manufacturer.
  4. Never share your makeup with friends or family members.
  5. Avoid liners or shadows with glitter, as the particles can easily disrupt your tear film.
  6. Try to stick to cream-based products for the least amount of irritation.
  7. Apply eye makeup to the outside of your eyelashes. Lining the inner rim of your eyelids can clog or irritate the meibomian glands.
  8. Be diligent about eye hygiene. Always thoroughly wash your face and eyes before bed with eye-safe cleaning products.
  9. Visit your dry eye optometrist!

Our Dry Eye Optometrist Can Help

At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, we know that our patients want to look and feel their best. That’s why we tailor your dry eye treatment to suit your lifestyle and needs.

If you or a loved one suffers from symptoms of DES to any degree, we can help. Our optometric team will determine the underlying cause of your dry eye symptoms and offer the relief you seek.

To schedule a dry eye consultation, comtact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry today!

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

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: Are there any vitamins I can take to prevent or relieve dry eye disease?

  • A: Yes, certain foods help the eyes stay properly hydrated. Specific vitamins, fatty acids and trace elements are good not only for our overall health but also for our tear film. These include Omega 3 fatty acids, Vitamins A, B, C, E, as well as Lutein and Zeaxanthin.

Q: Is dry eye syndrome dangerous for eye health?

  • A: When chronic dry eye isn’t treated, several eye conditions can occur: pink eye (conjunctivitis), keratitis (corneal inflammation) and corneal ulcers. DES can also make it difficult or impossible to wear contact lenses, cause difficulty with reading and trigger headaches.

 

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5 Adjustments To Make Around The House For People With Low Vision

senior couple at home 640×350

Home improvement can upgrade the look and feel of your living space. But for those with low vision, the right setup can be the difference between constantly relying on others and functioning independently.

At The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, we understand the importance of feeling self-sufficient and continuing to do the things you love after vision loss. To that end, we’ve shared a few tips to help you adapt your home and help you live a higher quality of life.

1. Increase the Color Contrast

Make sure you strategically place bright contrasting colors around the house to help identify and locate items. For example, keep your phone, keys or wallet in a bright tray or dish so they’re easy to find.

Consider replacing cabinet and doorknobs with colors that stand out. For instance, choosing black knobs on white cabinets and doors will make it easier for you to find and grasp them. You can also add brightly colored tape to kitchen utensils and remote controls. We further recommend you place brightly colored non-slip tape or a contrasting or textured strip of flooring in front of a staircase to alert you to the stairs.

Contrasting colors are just as useful for preparing food and beverages. Pour dark liquids (like coffee or tea) into white mugs, and light liquids (like milk) into darker colored mugs. If your mugs blend in with the color of your countertops, consider purchasing new ones in a contrasting color.

2. Furnish Thoughtfully

People with low vision may struggle to maintain eye contact or recognize faces of those who are far away. For this reason, it’s worth moving sofas and armchairs close together.

Moreover, when choosing furniture, focus on differences in texture and size. It’s often easier for someone with low vision to identify a piece of furniture through touch rather than sight.

3. Bring in More Light

Think floor lamps, desk lamps, and sheer window curtains — anything that increases lighting will make it easier to read, cook, do crafts and other activities.

Desk lamps should be bright and be fitted with a lightbulb that’s at least 75w.

4. Use Technology

Consult with your low vision optometrist regarding which optimal low vision digital aids and devices you can use to help you read and identify household items with ease. Some options include closed caption television video magnifiers, handheld video magnifiers and wearable digital headsets.

5. Make Your Space Hazard-Free

Consider removing rugs or securing their edges to prevent accidental trips and falls, and ensure that all pathways are free of electrical cords and clutter.

If your home has a tiled floor, be sure there aren’t any loose, uneven or broken pieces that can easily be overlooked. Additionally, when washing your floors, opt for non-glare detergents that don’t leave a waxy finish.

Living with low vision can be difficult, but making your home more suited to your visual needs will make daily living easier.

Your low vision optometrist at The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry makes it a priority to provide personalized care and attention to ensure the best possible outcome. After thoroughly examining your eyes and assessing your degree of vision loss, Dr. Harold Ashcraft will recommend low vision aids and devices to help you maximize your vision and enjoy a better quality of life.

If you or a family member live with low vision or have been diagnosed with a sight-threatening eye condition, call The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to schedule a low vision consultation today.

The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, and Playa Del Rey, California and surrounding communities.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: What is low vision?

  • A: An individual is defined as having ‘low vision’ if their fully corrected vision is insufficient to do what you want to do. Fortunately, there’s hope for those with low vision. A low vision eye doctor can offer vision aids and devices to maximize remaining vision.

Q: What are low vision aids and devices?

  • A: Low vision aids are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision to help patients recognize faces, watch TV, read and carry out daily tasks. Common low vision aids include low vision glasses like microscopes, telescopes, filters and prisms. There are also electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers.


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Why Myopia Is Much More Than An Inconvenience

Mom Daughter Child Eye HealthFor some parents, having a nearsighted child simply means frequent visits to the optometrist and regular eyewear purchases. But the truth is that nearsightedness (myopia) is more than an inconvenient eye condition that frequently requires correction.

Taking the short-sighted approach to myopia by simply updating a child’s lens prescription every year or two doesn’t help them in the long run.

Below, we explore the connection between myopia and eye disease, and how myopia management can help your child maintain healthy eyes throughout their life.

How Can Myopia Lead To Eye Disease?

Myopia is caused by the elongation of the eyeball. When the eyeball is too long, it focuses light in front of the retina instead of directly on it, causing blurry vision.

As childhood myopia progresses, the retina (the light-sensitive tissue lining the back of the eye) stretches and strains, making the child more prone to serious eye diseases, including macular degeneration, glaucoma, and retinal detachment, in adulthood.

Having medium to high myopia (-3.00 to -6.00) also increases a child’s chances of developing cataracts fivefold, compared to a child with little to no myopia.

Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness in adults around the world. Medium to high myopia makes a child 5 times more likely to develop this sight-threatening eye disease as an adult. Several studies have also shown that the higher the myopia, the greater the risk of developing glaucoma.

Retinal detachment is also heavily linked to childhood myopia. A child with low myopia (-1.00 to -3.00) is 4 times more likely to develop retinal detachment, while children with high myopia are 10 times more likely to suffer from retinal detachment.

Highly myopic children are also at a significantly greater risk of developing myopic macular degeneration — a rare condition where the retina thins so much, it begins to break down and atrophy, leading to visual impairment. This condition occurs in 10% of people with high myopia (-6.00 and higher).

The fact is that most parents aren’t aware of these risks. That’s why we’re here for any questions you or your child may have about myopia and how to slow its progression.

What Is Myopia Management?

Myopia management is an evidence-based treatment program that slows or halts the progression of myopia in children and young adults. These treatments reduce the ocular stress that contributes to the worsening of the child’s myopia.

Our optometric team will take the time to sit with you and your child to learn about their lifestyle and visual needs in order to choose the most suitable treatment.

Once a treatment plan is chosen, we will monitor your child’s myopia progression over a 6-12 month period to assess the plan’s effectiveness.

With myopia management, we bring your child’s future into focus.

To schedule your child’s myopia consultation, contact The Myopia Management Center At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry today!

 

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: How old does my child have to be to begin myopia management?

  • A: Children as young as 8 years old can begin myopia management. In fact, children who are at risk of developing myopia or high myopia should ideally start before the age of 10 for optimal results, but it’s never too late to start! Either way, your optometrist will help determine whether your child is ready.

Q: Do children with very low myopia need myopia management?

  • A: Yes, definitely. Taking the ‘wait and see’ approach runs the risk of allowing your child’s prescription to rise as they grow older, increasing their risk of developing serious eye diseases in the long run.
The Myopia Management Center At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, and Playa Del Rey, California and surrounding communities.

 

 

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Living With Legal Blindness

Living With Legal Blindness 640

Being legally blind affects how you go about your daily tasks and how you navigate the world around you. Legal blindness is defined as having best corrected vision of 20/200 vision or less. This means that an object that appears clear to a person with a perfect vision from 200 feet away, is only clear to a legally blind person at a maximum distance of 20 feet away.

A person who has a high prescription and sees less than 20/200 without their best corrected contacts or glasses, but can see better than 20/200 with a prescription is not legally blind. Being legally blind is only concerned with the best possible vision a person has, not their uncorrected vision.

Legal blindness is also defined as having a visual field of 20 degrees or less. Those with this type of vision have severe difficulties in mobility, yet see sharply with their central vision.

Depending on the underlying cause of your condition, you may experience a lack of color contrast, color distortions, loss of depth perception, difficulty with excessive glare, sensitivity to bright light or night blindness. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to keep doing the things you love, even with low vision.

Tips for Living With Vision Loss

Having low vision demands certain adjustments. Here are some tips to help you stay safe and be able to engage in the tasks you most enjoy.

Cooking Safety

Being unable to see a cutting surface or an oven rack can be dangerous, but there are several ways to adapt your cooking techniques.

  • To avoid burns from reaching into a hot oven, use an oven rack grabber or long oven mitts. You can also place tape over the knobs for the back burners to avoid using them altogether, then you don’t need to reach over a potentially hot flame.
  • Try to fry or grill foods with a small indoor air fryer or grill; it’s much safer than pan-frying on the stove.
  • Instead of using your stovetop or oven, use a slow cooker.
  • Use a pair of scissors instead of a knife to cut food and packaging.

Lighting

Ample lighting is crucial for people with significant vision loss. When lighting your home and work areas, remember to implement the following tips.

  • Keep all rooms evenly lit so that your eyes don’t have to adjust to changes in lighting when walking from one room to another.
  • Use compact fluorescent or LED bulbs instead of incandescent light bulbs. They’re more energy-efficient and produce a brighter light.
  • Depending on your lighting needs, use task lamps that you can move closer or farther away from your work.
  • When writing, avoid shadows by positioning your work lamp on the other side of your writing hand, with the paper sandwiched between your hand and the lamp.
  • In general, move the lights close to you instead of using a brighter bulb.

Hobbies/Activities

Being legally blind doesn’t mean you have to give up on your favorite activities or hobbies. Here are a few tips to help those with low vision enjoy taking part in various activities and hobbies:

  • Enjoy playing cards or Bingo? Purchase large print or Braille cards.
  • Enjoy going to the movie theater? Ask whether they have an audio description service—headphones that play the sounds of the movie along with a narrator that describes the characters and scenes.
  • Sports lover? Listen to sporting events on the radio. Radio announcers provide a more detailed description of the game.
  • Enjoy arts and crafts? Use a tactile ruler or tape measure.
  • Like sewing? Anchor your sewing needles in a cork or bar of soap to thread them.

Computer Use

Nowadays, computers offer many features to enlarge text or add contrast for easier readability. In addition, you can also:

  • Purchase stickers to place over the keys on your existing keyboard
  • Use a large print or Braille keyboard.
  • Learn keyboard shortcut commands to help you rely less on the mouse pointer.
  • Use additional accessibility software, like speech-to-text software or a screen reading program.
  • Use a larger monitor.

While experiencing vision loss may at first seem like the end of the world, there are so many ways you can still live a full and productive life. People with low vision or partial vision can benefit from a variety of visual aids to maximize their remaining vision. Regardless of one’s degree of vision loss, a person can benefit from accessible smartphone apps, e-readers, and many other types of adaptive technology.

Contact The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to learn more about low vision devices, eyewear and technologies that can help you live life to the fullest. Our low vision optometrist will work with you and prescribe the best devices to suit your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: What is low vision?

  • A: An individual is defined as having ‘low vision’ if their fully corrected vision is insufficient to do what you want to do. Fortunately, there’s hope for those with low vision. Please call and discuss you situation with Dr. Ashcraft. He can offer vision aids and devices to maximize remaining vision.

Q: What are low vision aids and devices?

  • A: Low vision aids are a combination of special lenses and devices that maximize any usable vision to help patients recognize faces, watch TV, read and carry out daily tasks. Common low vision aids include low vision glasses like microscopes, telescopes, filters and prisms. There are also electronic visual aids and optical magnifiers.
  • The Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry serves patients from Los Angeles, Westchester, El Segundo, and Playa Del Rey, all throughout California.

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Why is My Dry Eye More Severe in the Mornings?

sleepy mornings 640Waking up in the morning is hard enough, but waking up with stinging, burning eyes is even worse! If your eyes feel itchy and scratchy, this miserable morning sensation may be caused by dry eye syndrome. Your tear glands may be clogged or producing insufficient tears and oils to retain moisture.

But why do certain people experience more acute dry eye symptoms in the mornings? Here are some reasons:

What Causes Red, Itchy or Painful Eyes Upon Waking?

Nocturnal Lagophthalmos

Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the inability to close one’s eyelids completely during sleep. Since the surface of your eye is exposed at night, it becomes dry. Left untreated, this condition can damage your cornea.

Blepharitis

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition of the eyes caused by bacterial overgrowth. These bacteria are active at night, causing dry eye-related symptoms of redness, soreness and irritation upon waking.

Environment

A gritty sensation in your eyes can also be caused by the environment. For example, sleeping directly in front of or under an air vent, heating units, or ceiling fans can dry out your eyes. In addition, sensitivity to allergens like dust that accumulate in the bedroom can cause your eyes to become dry and irritated.

Medications

Some types of over-the-counter and prescription medication can dehydrate the eyes. These include:

  • Antihistamines and decongestants
  • Antipsychotic medications
  • Antidepressants
  • Hypertension drugs
  • Hormones
  • Drugs for gastrointestinal problems
  • Pain relievers
  • Skin medications
  • Chemotherapy medications

In the majority of cases, medication-related dry eye symptoms will resolve once you discontinue the meds. However, it may take several weeks or months for symptoms to completely disappear.

Age

Many people develop dry eye symptoms with age, as tear production tends to decrease and becomes less efficient as we grow older.

How to Treat Morning Dry Eye

Depending on the cause, morning dry eye can be treated with sleeping masks, lubricating eye drops and ointment applied right before bed. To ensure that you sleep in a moisture-rich environment, consider using a humidifier. In severe cases of nocturnal lagophthalmos, eyelid surgery may be necessary.

If you are tired of waking up to red, burning eyes, visit your eye doctor for long-lasting relief. Contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry to determine the cause of your morning dry eye and receive an effective treatment plan.

Frequently Asked Questions with Dr. Harold Ashcraft

Q: What causes dry eye?

  • A: Dry eye can occur if the glands in your eyelids don’t produce enough oil to keep your tears from evaporating, or if you don’t produce enough water for healthy tears. No matter the cause, it’s important to have your condition diagnosed and treated to protect your vision and ensure good eye health.

Q: Can dry eye be cured?

  • A: Dry eye is a chronic condition, so there’s is no cure for it. However, many treatment methods can help you manage this condition for long-term relief. If you have dry eye syndrome, we invite you to contact us to discover the best treatment for your needs.


 

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

 

Book An Appointment
Call Us 310-620-6603

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