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Tips to Relax Your Eyes and Find Relief From Eyestrain

Do your eyes hurt after spending a significant amount of time reading, playing video games, driving, or staring at a screen? These visually intense activities can sometimes be hard on the eyes, causing uncomfortable symptoms like headaches and blurry vision. Other symptoms of eye strain can include light sensitivity, neck and shoulder pain, trouble concentrating, and burning or itchy eyes.

Fortunately, preventing painful computer vision syndrome and eye fatigue symptoms can be as simple as trying a few of these eye exercises. To learn more about digital eye strain and discover the best relief options for you, call Family Eyecare Center of Optometry at 310-620-6495 and schedule an eye exam with Dr. Harold Ashcraft.

Relax and Relieve Your Eyes with These Techniques

Many of these exercises are designed for computer users. Eye strain resulting from long drives, reading, or other activities, can be alleviated by modifying some of these recommendations.

The Clock Exercise to Relieve Overworked Muscles

The clock exercise relieves strain on overworked eye muscles and can help you avoid headaches and eye pain, among other symptoms. Begin the exercise by imagining a large analog clock a few feet in front of you. Keep your head still and move your eyes to the imaginary 9, then to the imaginary 3.

Keep moving your eyes to the opposite pairs on the clock — 10/4, 11/5, 12/6, and so on. Hold your gaze for a second or two on each number before moving on to the next one. Continue doing this for 4-5 minutes.

The 20-20-20 Rule for Reducing Eyestrain

The 20-20-20 rule helps you avoid dry eyes and eye strain by giving your eyes frequent breaks. After about 20 minutes of screen time or doing close-up work, focus on an object at least 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives the eyes a much needed rest and helps them relax. There are also free apps available that provide pop-up reminders that notify you when it’s time to shift your gaze.

Screen Ergonomics

The American Optometric Association recommends placing computer monitors 20 to 28 inches, or 50-70 cm, away from your eyes and the top of the computer should be at eye level or right below for optimum eye comfort. Glare filters can reduce the amount of glare produced by digital devices and improve your viewing experience.

Poor sitting posture can also contribute to eye strain. Your chair should be situated so that your feet are flat on the floor, or use an angled footrest for additional comfort.

Consider Computer Glasses and Blue Light Filters

Since regular prescription lenses or glasses may not adequately meet your visual needs for lengthy computer use, you may benefit from wearing computer glasses. These prescription glasses are customized to your needs and also reduce glare and block blue light.


You don’t have to live with the discomforts of eye strain. If symptoms persist, it may be time to visit Family Eyecare Center of Optometry and get the relief you seek. Call our office to schedule a convenient eye doctor’s appointment.


What is Astigmatism?

So, you found out you have astigmatism.

(This whole time I actually thought it was called a “stigmatism”. Anyone else think the same?)

This is one of the most common vision problems and luckily, it can be corrected!

Here are some of your most commonly asked questions about astigmatism.

What is astigmatism?

Astigmatism is not an eye disease, like macular degeneration or glaucoma. Rather, astigmatism is a refractive error. This means that the eye does not focus light at the back of the retina like it should.

What causes astigmatism?

To put it simply, it has to do with the shape of your eye.

It is most commonly caused by an irregularly shaped cornea, which is the clear curved layer covering the front of the eye. The cornea is like a window that lets light into the eye.

A normal cornea is symmetrical and spherical, like a baseball. When light enters the eye of a symmetrical cornea, the light bends evenly and can focus on one spot at the back of the retina. This allows you to see clearly.

When there is astigmatism, the cornea may be flatter and stretched out in certain areas, like a football. This causes light to focus in more than one spot on your retina, leading to blurred vision.

The retina is the back wall of the eyeball which contains light-sensitive cells called rods and cones. The retina creates impulses based on what we are seeing and sends those messages along the optic nerve to the brain. The brain interprets those messages into images.

Astigmatism can also be caused by an irregularly shaped lens.

Hear The Eye Doctors explain, “What is Astigmatism?”

What are the common symptoms of astigmatism?

  • Blurred vision (both near and far)
  • Distorted vision
  • Headaches
  • Squinting
  • Eye strain

How is astigmatism detected?

Astigmatism can be diagnosed through an eye exam. Pay attention to any changes in your vision and give Dr. Ashcraft a call if you notice any different symptoms.

Astigmatism affects both children and adults. For this reason it is especially important for children to get their eyes checked regularly. Undiagnosed vision conditions may affect your child’s ability to perform at their prime in school and sports.

How can I correct my astigmatism?

Luckily, there are a few options to correct astigmatism.

  1. Eyeglasses

This is the most common way to help you see your very best. Dr. Ashcraft has a wide selection of children’s and adult frames to choose from. With the correct prescription lenses and a good fitting frame, you will be able to see without the blurriness, squinting, headaches, and eyestrain.

  1. Contact Lenses

For those who prefer contact lenses to eye glasses, there are uniquely made contacts lenses designed to help correct your astigmatism. Toric contact lenses, gas permeable contact lenses, and hybrid contact lenses are some of the more popular types. Talk to your eye doctor about if you are a good candidate for contacts. You will need to have a contact lens fitting to ensure you find the right lenses for your needs.

  1. Refractive Surgeries

The purpose of refractive surgery (i.e. photorefractive keratotomy, radial keratotomy, etc) is to permanently change the shape of your cornea so that light can focus properly on the retina.



All About Vision. Astigmatism.

All About Vision. Contact Lenses for Astigmatism: Toric, GP and Hybrid Lenses.

American Academy of Ophthalmology. What is Astigmatism?

Bausch + Lomb. Astigmatism.

National Eye Institute. Facts About Astigmatism.

Youtube. What is Astigmatism?

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5 Explanations For Your Eyelid Twitching

Every now and then, my upper eyelid starts to twitch at random times. The worst is when I am talking to someone and I am positive that they can see the tiny movements of my eyelid quivering. It usually does not last very long, but it is a nuisance and I am happy when it stops.

There are various triggers that can cause eyelid twitching, which is an involuntary spasm of the muscles of the lower or upper eyelid.

Some eye conditions with neurological origins result in eye twitching, including blepharospasm and hemifacial spasm. However, most eyelid twitching is common and will resolve on its own.

Here are 5 of the most common triggers for eyelid twitching:


Our bodies react in different ways to stress and we can usually recognize when we need to lighten our load. Find ways to relax and de-stress, whether it be spending time with friends or family, taking a walk, having some alone time to meditate, or enjoying a favorite hobby.

2. Not enough sleep

Getting adequate sleep is vital to your physical health. Those precious hours are when your body heals and rejuvenates itself. Not all people need the same amount of sleep, but try to find the right amount for you. Put away your smartphone and limit how much TV you watch at night so that you can get a good night’s rest.

3. Dry eyes

If you get the gritty, uncomfortable feeling of dry eyes, this may be contributing to your twitching eyelids. At your next eye exam, ask Dr. Ashcraft about dry eye syndrome and see what can be done to moisturize your eyes. This condition may be connected to computer vision strain, contact lens usage, allergies, or a side effect of certain medications.

4. Caffeine and alcohol

The stimulants in coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas may be contributing to your overactive eyelid muscles. Take a break from these substances, as well as alcohol, and see if your twitching subsides.

5. Eye strain

Overuse of the eyes—especially from spending too much time on your computer or your smartphone—can lead to eye strain. It may feel like your eyes are tired and dry, or you may experience headaches. This eye strain may contribute to increased twitching.

Practice the 20-20-20 rule. Talk to Dr. Ashcraft about whether you are a good candidate for special computer glasses, which reduce the amount of strain on your eyes. (My computer glasses have been a lifesaver for me—fewer headaches and tired eyes after being on the computer.)

Hear what Dr. Matthew Palmer, O.D., says about the causes and cures for your twitches.

If your eye twitching persists for more than a few weeks, give us a call! We will help you schedule an eye exam with Dr. Ashcraft to see what is going on.


American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). How To Stop Eye Twitching.

All About Vision. Eye Twitching And Eyelid Twitches.

Eyelid Twitching: Causes and Cure.


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5 Tips to Relieve Digital Eye Strain

5 Tips to Relieve Digital Eye Strain


laptop tablet

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.

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