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Low Vision Optometrist in Los Angeles, California

Do You Suffer From Vision Loss?

Have You Been Told “Nothing More Can Be Done?”

If you or a loved one are having problems seeing and doing the things you enjoy, Dr. Ashcraft can help. If you have been told by your eye doctor that a change in your eyeglass prescription will not help you see better, call Dr. Ashcraft. He is trained to design special glasses that can make a difference.

Learn more about how Dr. Ashcraft can help you read,
drive, watch tv, see faces, and use a computer or phone.

How to Drive With Bioptic Telescopic Glasses

How To Watch Television and Recognize Faces

How To See Your Phone, Tablet and Computer

How To Read Mail, Magazines, & Other Printed Material

Suffering From Macular Degeneration? Told “Nothing More Can Be Done?” Hope is in Sight!

Our low vision doctor, Dr. Harold Ashcraft, helps patients in the greater Los Angeles area with Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Eye Disease, Cataracts, Stargardt’s Disease, and other vision problems see better so they can go back to doing the things they want to do such as driving, reading, watching TV, using a phone or computer, seeing faces and much more.

Driving with Bioptic Glasses for Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration causes central vision loss and makes it harder to drive. You need to get a lot closer to signs before you can read them. You may have trouble making out traffic lights. Night time driving may be even worse. These problems can make you very nervous and anxious while driving.

Nevertheless, low vision driving bioptic telescope glasses may help you continue to drive. Commonly called bioptics, these special glasses have miniature telescopes mounted above your eye level on a pair of prescription glasses. When you need to see a sign or a traffic signal, you take a quick look through the telescope.

The California DMV allows driving with Bioptic Telescope Glasses as long as certain vision requirements are met. You need to see better than 20/200 vision in the stronger eye. You may also need in the car training with the bioptic telescopic glasses.

Dr. Ashcraft can recommend a DMV certified trainer when needed. Dr. Harold Ashcraft has helped many patients drive safely in California, so they can be continue to be independent and live their life to the fullest.

Macular Degeneration Reading Glasses

Macular Degeneration causes a central blind spot which makes it tough to read small print. In addition, your eyes will struggle as you focus on new words. Words may jump in and out of your field of sight. Reading may be slow.

If you have macular degeneration, your current glasses are most likely not strong enough.

Using a hand magnifier is not much better. It can help when you need to take a quick look at small print but it is not practical for reading. It is hard to hold a magnifier stable for more than a few minutes at a time.

If you get new glasses, they may not seem much better than you old ones. Your eye doctor may have told you that your glasses are as strong as they can be made. That is usually not true. Custom Macular Degeneration Glasses come in higher magnifications which can help you read better.

To read better, you need more magnification and you need the right magnification.

Fortunately, custom low vision glasses for macular degeneration are available that have the magnification you need. These include prismatic reading glasses and Clear Image 2 microscope reading glasses. Other vision aids and devices are also possible.

During your examination at the Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, Dr. Harold Ashcraft will show you a variety of low vision macular degeneration glasses so you can see for yourself that reading is possible again.

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Watching TV With Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration can make it harder for you to watch TV. To see the TV better, you might do one of the following:

    • Sit closer to the TV.
    • Get a bigger TV with a high definition large screen.
    • Use telescopic glasses to make the screen bigger. This is similar to using a low power pair of binoculars to see better at the distance. These low vision glasses may have special tints and anti-glare treatments to reduce glare and improve contrast.

At the Low Vision Center at Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, you can see for yourself how these telescopic TV glasses will help you see and enjoy watching television again.

Using Your Phone and Computer With Macular Degeneration

Like other activities that require light, macular degeneration can make it very hard to see your phone and your computer. You may need to make the font a lot bigger, change the contrast or get very close to the device.

During your low vison examination, Dr. Harold Ashcraft will show you different magnifications in low vision glasses and near focused telescopic glasses to find the right vision solution to comfortably view your phone and computer.

Like other activities which require light, patients with macular degeneration may find it difficult to operate their phone. You may have to move your mobile devices very close to your eyes. You can also magnify your fonts to operate the phone. When you visit our low vision center, we will recommend low vision glasses that will help enhance your vision while improving light transmission and reducing glare.

How Can You Make Out Faces?

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Another serious challenge you can face as an AMD patient is making out faces. Due to the central blind spot, every image, object, or face directly in front of you will appear blurry.

Macular degeneration may make it hard for you to see faces until you get very close. Although you may still recognize people you know by their voice or shape, you might not be able to make out facial features or see if they have their eyes open or are smiling or frowning. Luckily, Dr. Harold Ashcraft has special low vision glasses to help you see faces.

Contact us Today

Because everyone’s situation is different, Dr. Harold Ashcraft offers a free telephone consultation to discuss your situation; what you are able to do and what you want to do. If he feels he can help you, he will schedule you for an examination.

During the examination, Dr. Harold Ashcraft will show you custom low vision glasses, telescopes, microscopic reading lenses and other aids and devices. You will see firsthand how these low vision aids can help you return to the activities your want to do, and enjoy your life to the fullest measure possible.

Call Dr. Ashcraft today at our toll free number 888-648-9525 (24 hours a day) to schedule your free telephone consultation.

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Family Eyecare Center of Optometry
8735 La Tijera Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045

Serving patients from all of Los Angeles County and the surrounding area- Los Angeles: Santa Monica, Mar Vista, Palms, Marina Del Rey, Playa Del Rey, Venice, West Los Angeles, Playa Vista, Westchester, CA; South Bay Cities: El Segundo, Manhattan Beach, Hermosa Beach, Redondo Beach, Palos Verdes, Harbor City, San Pedro, Hawthorne, Gardena, Lawndale, Carson, Torrance, Long Beach; San Fernando Valley and San Gabriel Valley: Chatsworth, Encino, Glendale, Northridge, Reseda, Sherman Oaks, Thousand Oaks, Burbank, Pasadena, Van Nuys, Woodland Hills, Hollywood; Palmdale and Lancaster, Bakersfield, Santa Clarita, Santa Barbara, and Ventura

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Mental Health and Your Vision

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in the USA; in Canada, Mental Health week is May 6th to 12th. Since 1949, it has been observed throughout the United States as a way of drawing attention to the importance of proper mental health. This year’s theme is #4Mind4Body. The idea is that using elements around us, such as the people in our lives, faith, nature, and even pets, can strengthen wellness and overall mental health.

Did you know that your vision can affect your mental health? While things like stress, trauma, and family history are factors that impact mental health, vision can also impact it.

How Does Vision Affect Mental Health?

Certain types of eye diseases and visual impairments can lead to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. This is particularly common in cases of severe vision loss. Patients with glaucoma, macular degeneration, or diabetic retinopathy, for example, can experience mild to acute vision loss. This can make everyday activities like driving, running errands, watching TV, using a computer, or cooking, a difficult and painful experience. When this happens, it can cause a loss of independence, potentially leaving the person mentally and emotionally devastated.

Like most surgical procedures, LASIK corrective surgery is permanent and irreversible. Although it has very high success rates, LASIK has been considered the cause of depression and mental health issues in a few instances.

Kids’ Vision and Mental Health

Increased screen time among school-age children and teens has been shown to reduce emotional stability and cause repeated distractions and difficulty completing tasks, while also increasing the likelihood of developing nearsightedness.

Kids with visual problems often experience difficulty in school. If they can’t see the board clearly or constantly struggle with homework due to poor vision, they may act out their frustration or have trouble getting along with their peers.

Coping with Vision Problems

One of the most important ways to cope with visual problems is awareness. Simply paying attention to the signs and symptoms — whether the patient is an adult or a child — is a crucial first step. 

Family members, close friends, colleagues, parents, and teachers can all play an important role in detecting emotional suffering in those with visual difficulties. Pay attention to signs of changes in behavior, such as a loss of appetite, persistent exhaustion, or decreased interest in favorite activities.

Thankfully, many common vision problems are treatable. Things like double vision, hyperopia (farsightedness), myopia (nearsightedness), amblyopia (lazy eye), and post-concussion vision difficulties can be managed. Vision correction devices, therapeutic lenses, visual exercises, or special prism glasses may help provide the visual clarity you need. Your primary eye doctor can help and a vision therapist or low vision expert may make a significant impact on your quality of life.

How You Can Help

There are some things you can do on your own to raise awareness about good mental health:

Speak Up

Often, just talking about mental health struggles can be incredibly empowering. Ask for help from family and friends or find a local support group. Be open and honest about what you’re going through and talk with others who are going through the same thing. Remember: you’re not alone.

If you experience any type of sudden changes to your vision — even if it’s temporary — talk to your eye doctor. A delay in treatment may have more serious consequences, so speak up and don’t wait.

Get Social

Developing healthy personal relationships improves mental health. People with strong social connections are less likely to experience severe depression and may even live longer. Go out with friends, join a club, or consider volunteering.

Have an Animal

Having a pet has been shown to boost mental health and help combat feelings of loneliness. Guide dogs can be especially beneficial for people suffering from vision loss.

Use Visual Aids

If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health issues caused by vision loss, visual aids can help. Devices like magnifiers or telescopic lenses can enlarge text, images, and objects, so you can see them more clearly and in greater detail.

Kids can benefit from vision correction like glasses, contacts, or specialized lenses for more severe cases of refractive errors. Vision therapy may be an option, too. It is a customized program of exercises that can improve and strengthen visual functions.

Always talk to your eye doctor about any concerns, questions, or struggles. 

Thanks to programs like Mental Health Awareness Month, there is less of a stigma around mental health than just a few decades ago. Advancements in medical technologies and scientific research have led to innovative solutions for better vision care.

During this Mental Health Awareness Month, share your share your struggles, stories, and successes with others. Use the hashtag #Mind4Body and give your loved ones hope for a healthy and high quality of life.

 

We Are Open! 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. Please read our safety protocols here.