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Summer Heat Wave and Your Eyes

This summer, heat waves with scorching temperatures have hit communities nationwide, making an already hot summer even hotter. With high temps and heat waves in certain areas, it’s now more important than ever to protect yourself.

For best practices and tips for maintaining healthy vision in the summer heat, talk to the Family Eyecare Center of Optometry.

How Can Heat Affect Vision?

Staying out in the sun too long can give you a sunburn and make you feel exhausted. Did you know that it can affect your vision, too?

If you get dehydrated, lack of moisture can make it hard for your eyes to naturally produce enough tears, which can contribute to seasonal dry eye. If you already have dry eye, extremely dry heat can exacerbate your symptoms of itchy, red, sore, and irritated eyes.

Do you sit in front of a fan or air conditioning system? That may feel great, but it can also contribute to dryer and less comfortable eyes.

To give your eyes some temporary relief, keep artificial tears on hand. If your eyes still feel dry or uncomfortable, contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry.

If You Love the Sun, Read This

Golden sunshine may sound dreamy, but too much isn’t a good thing.

The sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can be very harmful, and your eyes are no exception. UV radiation, which can gradually contribute to eye conditions like cataracts and macular degeneration. Dr. Harold Ashcraft recommends that you always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection. There’s no shortage of trendy and sunglasses, designed with a flair for fashion, so you won’t have to compromise on style while protecting your eyes from dangerous UV rays.

Excessive sun exposure can cause headaches, blurry vision, eye pain, and eyestrain. So while you’re out at the pool, hanging out at the beach, sunbathing, or at a backyard barbeque, pay close attention to how much time you’re outside.

If you love the sunshine, you just need to protect yourself. Wear hats, sunscreen, and, of course, 100% UV protective polarized sunglasses. But if you experience discomfort or symptoms that don’t go away on their own, then it’s time to visit your eye doctor.

Computer Vision Syndrome in the Summer

There’s nothing quite like a family road trip or flying to a vacation getaway over the summer. Yet something about being stuck in the backseat of a car or inside of an airplane makes kids feel closed in and restless. It’s then that many kids will play on a smartphone, iPad, or gaming device over many hours to help pass the time.

When it comes to kids and computer use, they’re just as susceptible to the effects of digital eye strain, also called Computer Vision Syndrome, as adults are. In fact, studies show that 25% of children spend more than 3 hours each day on digital devices.

In the summer, when the heat is sizzling, it’s tempting for kids to spend more time than usual watching TV, using a computer, or playing games on their smartphones. To help ease the effects of digital eyestrain, Dr. Harold Ashcraft suggests following the 20-20-20 rule: Every 20 minutes, take 20 seconds to look at something at least 20 feet away. It’s a great way to counteract the effects of Computer Vision Syndrome and let the eyes rest.

This summer, however you choose to beat the heat, don’t forget to protect your vision and keep your eyes strong and healthy. The Family Eyecare Center of Optometry is always here to help if you have any questions.

Have a great summer!

Live in Los Angeles? Data shows why your eyes need extra protection from UV rays

We are lucky to live here in Los Angeles where we have so many beautiful sunny days throughout the year!

While there are many perks to our beautiful weather, we also have to be aware of the dangers of the sun’s UV rays.

Looking at data from the National Weather Service and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Vision Council compiled a list of the top 25 cities in the United States with the highest exposure to UV rays.

This data took into account climate, ozone concentration, strength of solar radiation, elevation, cloudiness, and seasons.


That’s right, Los Angeles ranks 10th with highest levels of exposure to UV rays.

Prolonged sun exposure increase your risk for skin cancer, developing cataracts, macular degeneration, and other eye conditions.

And we all would really love to avoid those, right?

Wearing appropriate sunglasses is one of the easiest ways to protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, but not all sunglasses are created equally.

See how much you know about sunglasses and UV protection by answering these four True/False statements:

1. You are less likely to be exposed to harmful UV radiation on cloudy days than clear days.

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You are exposed to harmful UV radiation even when the weather is cloudy or overcast.

Make sure to include sunglasses in your outfit on those days.

2. Children are more susceptible to UV damage than adults

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Between playing outside, school recess, and sports, children typically spend more time outdoors than adults. This additional sun exposure increases children’s risk for UV damage.

Additionally, the lenses in children’s eyes are not fully developed and cannot filter out UV rays as effectively as adult eyes.

Follow these tips on how to find the best sunglasses for your child so that they will be worn regularly.

3. All sunglasses include protection against UV radiation.

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Not all sunglasses are made equally.

Before buying sunglasses, look for a sticker or label indicating UV protection. It should block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB rays and screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light.

4. The darker the color of your sunglasses lenses, the more UV protection it provides.

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The color or tint of your lenses is not related to UV protection. In fact, the UV coating in lenses is actually colorless!

It is possible to wear very dark sunglasses that do not have adequate UV protection. This can be more dangerous than wearing no sunglasses at all because it will cause your pupils to dilate, which increases exposure to unfiltered UV rays.

If you are unsure whether your sunglasses have adequate UV protection , you can bring them into our office and we can do a quick test to check!

Looking for an updated pair of sunglasses? We also have a variety of styles, brands, and prices to choose from for men, women, and children.

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Surprising Health Problems That Can First Be Detected In Your Eyes

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It is amazing how much you can learn about someone in just a few seconds.

A facial expression quickly lets you know if a person is happy or sad, bored or EXCITED, stressed or carefree. Your first impression may suggest if this person is friendly and likeable, or something on the contrary.

You have heard the saying, “Eyes are the window to the soul”. It sounds cliché, but it has some truth to it.

Not only can you get a sense of another’s feelings just by looking at them, but looking into their eyes with a microscope provides important information about his or her overall health.

National Geographic’s “Eyes: The Windows To Your Health” shows there is more beyond what meets the eye.

Warning signs of certain conditions may be visible in the eyes before other parts of the body.

Changes in blood vessels or arteries in the back of the eye may indicate hypertension, or high blood pressure. There may be leakages or hemorrhaging in the blood vessels, a narrowing or change of color of the arteries in the retina, or even microscopic spots of blood on the sclera (the white part of the eye).

Signs of diabetes can also be detected. Chronic high blood sugar levels damage tiny retinal blood vessels, which can cause these vessels to leak a yellowish fluid or blood. This may be a sign of diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of blindness among working individuals in North America.

Other health problems that can be detected in your eye include:

1) Autoimmune disorders

2) High cholesterol

3) Nutritional deficiencies

4) Thyroid disease

5) Certain cancers or tumors

Many eye conditions develop without immediate or noticeable symptoms, so early detection is key to prevent possible damage to your sight.

Dr. Ashcraft uses various tools during your annual eye exam to check for these warning signs, including digital retinal photography. This camera takes a detailed photo of your retina and is available within seconds, giving you the opportunity to see what Dr. Ashcraft sees in your eye. Taking these photos annually helps Dr. Ashcraft monitor any changes in your eye health.

At Family Eyecare Center, we want to make sure your eyes are as healthy as can be. To schedule your annual eye exam and retinal photos, give us a call at 310-670-4411.

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