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Family Eyecare Center of Optometry:
Dr. Harold Ashcraft OD

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12 Tips for Optimal Eye Health

Good Eye Care Habits & Hygiene

By practicing good eye care habits and hygiene, you can prevent many vision problems from occurring. Eye problems and the risks associated with vision loss only grow as you age. By neglecting eye care, you place yourself at a higher risk of suffering from cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and low vision.

So make sure you maintain great eye health by following these 12 tips for optimal eye health.  

1. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Itchy eyes can be a hallmark symptom of allergies, and though rubbing may bring temporary relief, it ultimately increases swelling and worsens the itch. If you wear contact lenses, rubbing your eyes can also dislodge or even break a lens, causing the lens to get lost or scratch the cornea. Plus, eye rubbing can lead to eye infections, since our hands are typically covered with a host of germs.

2. Regularly wash your hands

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is often caused by germs and bacteria carried to your eyes by unclean hands. Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water helps keep bacteria away and prevents eye contamination. Prior to inserting or removing contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands with mild soap and dry them using a lint-free towel. 

3. Beware of UV rays

By exposing yourself to sunlight and UV rays, you increase the risk of developing macular degeneration and corneal sunburn. Beyond just adding some style and zest to your look, sunglasses should protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Speak to your optometrist about the different options available for people who wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses too, to keep your eyes safe in the sun.

4. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial for your body’s overall health and wellbeing — and that includes your eyes. Among other complications, if you don’t have enough fluid in your body, it impacts tear production and can cause dry eyes and irritation. Drink up!  

5. Don’t smoke cigarettes

Need some extra motivation to quit smoking? 

Smokers are more prone to developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions. Cigarette smoking can also destroy optic nerves, which can adversely affect your vision over time. So think twice before you light up, and speak to your doctor about getting help to quit. 

6. Eat a healthy diet

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C. These can be found in leafy greens (your mom was right about spinach!), orange vegetables (think, carrots and sweet potato) and citrus fruit. Furthermore, fatty fish like salmon contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which also promote excellent eye health. 

7. Keep a healthy distance from screens

Nip digital eye strain in the bud by positioning your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from the eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Ideally, work in a room with enough diffused lighting to reduce stress on your eyes from the computer light.

8. Remember the 20-20-20 rule 

Speaking of computers, have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? When using digital devices, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 continuous seconds. 

Once you’re at it, blink 20 times in succession to prevent dry eyes, and make it a habit to rise from your seat and take 20 steps to promote good posture and blood circulation, which helps your vision too.  

9. Be careful with eye make-up 

Make sure that your eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner don’t cause your eyes an allergic reaction. Get in the habit of removing your make-up before going to sleep in order to avoid bacterial build-up from residual make-up left in the eye area. And, from time to time, clean your make-up brushes, especially those used to apply cosmetics around the eye area.

10. Sleep is golden

Just as with the rest of your body, your eyes need a break. So make sure that you get sufficient shut-eye (8 hours) each night to keep your eyes revitalized and healthy.

11. Wear protective eyewear 

Whatever you do, make sure your eyes are well-protected. If you’re swimming, wear goggles to prevent chlorine from entering your eyes. If you’re gardening or engaged in a DIY project at home, wear safety glasses to keep dust particles and bacteria at bay and prevent eye injuries. Ask your local eye doctor about protective eyewear for sports and other activities.

12. Regularly visit your eye doctor

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a routine eye exam, whether you need an updated prescription or not. Even if you can see well today, a comprehensive eye exam can pick up early signs of eye diseases and conditions before symptoms become noticeable, such as glaucoma, diabetes, retinal holes which could lead to retinal detachment, and cancers like melanoma. Early detection and management can prevent further complications and serious vision loss down the line.

Only an eye doctor has the required knowledge, experience, tools and techniques to determine whether you have these or other eye conditions.

It is recommended that everyone gets a comprehensive eye exam once a year (or at least every two years). Children, whose eyes are rapidly developing, and people at higher risk for developing eye problems such as diabetics and older people, need to undergo eye exams even more frequently: at the minimum, yearly. 

During the evaluation, the eye doctor will check for things like: 

  • Farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia
  • Eye coordination 
  • Optic nerve and eye pressure tests to spot glaucoma

It’s also important to be on the look-out for any changes in your vision. If you experience hazy or double vision, worsening eyesight, red eyes, eye pain, swelling or floaters, contact Dr. Harold Ashcraft.  

Incorporate these tips and habits into your lifestyle to maintain healthy eyes and a high quality of life. Family Eyecare Center of Optometry offers comprehensive eye exams in Los Angeles, California, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about ways to maintain healthy vision.

5 Tips to Relieve Digital Eye Strain

5 Tips to Relieve Digital Eye Strain

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

Sound familiar?

Perhaps you can identify with this after putting in long hours at your work desk, or after too much browsing through social media. With laptops, tablets, and smart phones becoming a part of our everyday lives, digital eye strain is becoming more problematic among adults and children.

Eye strain is caused by fatigue of the eye muscles after intense usage. This can occur during activities such as reading or using a computer for too long. While it is unrealistic to completely eliminate the use of technology, here are a few tips to remember to keep your eyes in check:

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 give your eyes a much needed break and allow them 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: 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. Additionally, minimize glare and excessive lighting coming from windows or overhead fluorescent lights.

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: 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. Talk to Dr. Ashcraft about if you are a good candidate for computer eye glasses. He will determine which prescription and frames will work best for you and your needs.

At Family Eyecare Center, we want to help you alleviate symptoms of eye strain and help meet all your other eye care needs. To schedule an eye exam with Dr. Ashcraft, call us today at 310-670-4411.

Video Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vT1N1Pwc50w

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