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Why You Regularly Need to Replace Your Sunglasses

Did you know that sunglasses, or at least sunglass lenses, regularly need to be replaced? 

According to a study conducted at the University of São Paulo, the UV protection that sunglasses provide deteriorates over time. You may adore your current ones, but if you’ve been rocking those shades for two or more years, it might be time to get a new pair. 

In addition to the UV-blocking properties, anti-reflective and anti-scratch coatings wear down, and the frame material may become brittle over the years, too. Even if you have the most durable sunglasses available, regular lens-replacement is the best way to ensure that your vision is maximally protected from the harmful effects of ultraviolet light. 

UV Light and Sunglasses

The protective efficacy of your sunglasses comes in large part from the lens coating of dyes and pigments that reflect and absorb ultraviolet radiation. They create a barrier that prevents UV radiation from penetrating your eyes.

However, this protective coating can, and often does, break down over time. Wear and tear can cause an invisible web of tiny abrasions, compromising its UV-blocking power. Furthermore, the protective dyes and pigments aren’t able to absorb UV rays indefinitely; the more sunlight they’re exposed to, the more rapidly they’ll become ineffective. 

A pair of shades worn on occasion and in mild conditions is likely to remain effective longer than a pair that is heavily used in a more intensely sunny environment. For example, if you spend long days on the water paddling, kayaking, or canoeing, the protective coating on your lenses will deteriorate more quickly than it would if you only wear your shades to go grocery shopping or sit in a cafe. 

Why It’s Important to Protect Your Eyes From UV

Protecting your eyes from the sun is critical no matter where in the world you are, as UV exposure places you at risk for developing eye diseases like eye cancer, pterygium, and pinguecula — which can result in disfigurement and discomfort — as well as cataracts and macular degeneration — which cause vision loss and, in severe cases, blindness.

Even short-term overexposure can result in photokeratitis, a corneal sunburn. Symptoms include eye pain, swelling, light sensitivity, and temporary vision loss. Some people experience it when spending too much time boating or skiing without wearing eye protection. Snow and water can increase solar exposure because they reflect sunlight toward your face.  

What to Look for When Getting New Sunglasses

When choosing new sunglasses, make sure they’re labeled 100% UV protection or UV400. Although most pairs sold in the United States and Canada offer this degree of protection, it’s still worth confirming before making the purchase. Keep in mind that factors like cost, polarization, lens color, or darkness don’t have much to do with the level of UV protection. Even clear prescription lenses can be UV protective. 

It’s important to note that there is a lot of counterfeit sunwear in the marketplace. This is dangerous since counterfeit eyewear may not provide much-needed ultraviolet protection. So if the price of a renowned brand is too good to be true, it’s probably a fake. 

The size and fit of the sunglasses is important. Bigger is definitely better if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Larger wrap-around eyewear is best if you regularly ski or spend many hours in the water, as this style blocks light from all directions. 

To find out whether it’s still safe to wear your favorite shades, visit a Westchester, Los Angeles eye doctor to determine whether your lenses still offer the right level of UV protection. It’s also a good opportunity to discuss prescription sunwear. 

For more information about UV safety, or to get the perfect sunglasses tailored to your vision needs and lifestyle, contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles today!  




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!

UV Safety Awareness Month

July is UV Safety Awareness Month, and that is not surprising! With the summer season sun out and the hottest time of the year, it’s now more vital than ever to safeguard your eyes from hazardous UV rays.

Throughout this month, individuals who have actually experienced UV ray damage, their families and friends should be motivated to share their experiences and suggestions. Utilize the hashtag #UVSafetyAwareness on your social networks channels to support others in your neighborhood.

Did You Know?

It isn’t just your skin that’s at risk, it is also your eyes. When your cornea is exposed to too much UV radiation, a condition understood as keratitis can occur. UV radiation can likewise trigger little growths on the white part of your eye, which are called pterygium and pinguecula. They not only look bad, they can grow on to the eye and make your vision worse.

If you experience any of these signs, call Dr. Ashcraft for an appointment to check them out.

UV ray direct exposure is a danger aspect for eye conditions and illness. In 20% of cataract cases, cataract development has actually been connected to UV ray damage. It’s important to be mindful of UV ray direct exposure, particularly if you or a household member are in this age group. This is also another reason that you need to wear a good quality pair of UV protected sunglasses all the time when you are outside.

Just What Are UV Rays?

You might have heard about UV rays without understanding what they really are. UV stands for ultraviolet light. They are an invisible part of sunlight, the same rays that cause sunburn.

Why Are UV Rays Dangerous?

Too much sun direct exposure, however, can trigger early aging in the skin, burns in the eye, and might even alter the shape of your cornea and cause other major eye damage, leading to vision issues. It’s even more unsafe for more youthful individuals, specifically kids, due to the fact that kids’s lenses are more transparent and transfer UV rays more quickly. So kids get more UV exposure.

If you are experiencing vision or eye issues give us a call. We can help. Routine eye examinations are crucial for keeping your vision healthy, particularly throughout the summer season.

UV Safety Can Go a Long Way

The good news is, it’s quite simple to safeguard yourself from long-lasting direct exposure to UV rays. Take a look at our leading three UV safety tips:

  1. Put on Those Shades

Anything less than that will not protect your eyes from damaging rays. Do not worry, there are plenty of fashionable sunglass styles, so you’ll protect your eyes without compromising style.

  1. Sunscreen and More Sunscreen

Use sunscreen prior to going outdoors and make sure it has an excellent SPF (Sun Protection Factor) number. UV rays can reflect off water, so if you’re hitting the swimming pool or beach, take additional preventative measures.

  1. Use a Hat for More Protection

Protect your head and the skin on your scalp with a hat. A wide-brimmed hat is best, considering that it likewise safeguards the tops of your eyes which may not be shaded by your sunglasses, and is too delicate for sun block. For the fashion-conscious, there are unlimited designs to select from, so shop!

Throughout this UV Safety Awareness Month, we encourage you to share your stories and successes.




Top 4 Eyecare Tips for Summer Vacation

This summer, whether you’re headed across state lines on a family road trip, flying off to Europe, grabbing a quick weekend getaway, or taking a vacation in your own backyard, don’t forget to protect your eyes!

Summer Eye Care Near You

Check out our top 4 tips for ensuring healthy eyes this summer, and remember, your eye doctor is here to help make the most out of your vision. Dr. Harold Ashcraft sees patients from all over the Westchester, Los Angeles, California area. Let us give you the top-quality eye care you and your family deserve, not only during the summer, but all year long.

  1. Don’t Leave Home Without It

If you have a chronic illness and need to head out of town for a few days, you would never leave home without your medications, right? That’s because you know that if something happens and your meds aren’t with you, you could suffer discomfort or complications to your health.

The same is true for your vision. If you suffer from dry eyes, make sure to take artificial tears or medicated eye drops with you when you travel. Preservative-free eye drops are a traveler’s friend. They’re also available as individual strips, which are recommended since there’s less risk of contamination.

Running low on disposable contact lenses? Include an extra pair in your carry-on suitcase and stock up on new lenses ahead of time. If you wear eyeglasses, bring a spare set and a copy of your prescription along with you, just in case they get lost or broken. 

We recommend speaking to Dr. Harold Ashcraft before you leave for vacation to make sure your vision needs are all set.

  1. It’s Getting Hot Outside

Usually, most people think of protecting their skin from sunburns when they’re at the beach, by the pool, or just spending time outdoors.

Did you know that your eyes can get sunburned, too?

This happens when the cornea is exposed to excessive UV rays. When the sclera (the white part of your eye) looks red, that’s a sign that you’ve got sunburned eyes. You might also notice symptoms like a sudden sensitivity to light, or your eyes may feel like something is stuck in them, or they could feel sore.

The best way to prevent sunburned eyes? Always wear sunglasses with 100% of UVA and UVB light blocking protection.

  1. Watch Out for the Pool

Swimming is one of summer’s greatest pastimes. There’s nothing quite like a dip in a pool or ocean to cool off from the sweltering summer heat. While you’re slicing through the water, remember to protect your eyes.

Remove contacts before going swimming, wear goggles while underwater, and rinse your eyes with cold water when you get out of the pool (it helps get the chlorine or salt out). If your eyes feel dry or scratchy after a swim, use some moisturizing eye drops to lubricate your eyes.

  1. Back to School is Sooner Than You Think

Your kids will be back in school before you know it. Help them prepare for the upcoming school year by scheduling an eye exam now. If they need new glasses because their prescription has changed or your teen simply wants a new look for the new school year, come in to Family Eyecare Center of Optometry for a consultation and take a look at the newest selection of frames and contact lenses.

Have you had a sudden eye injury or emergency while on vacation? Don’t wait until you’re back home to handle it — seek immediate care today. Certain eye injuries can damage your vision or lead to ulcers, so if you notice symptoms like redness, eye pain, changes to your vision, or flashing light, contact your eye doctor right away.

At Family Eyecare Center of Optometry, we put your family’s needs first. Talk to us about how we can help you maintain healthy vision this summer and throughout the year.

10 Reasons You Won’t Want To Leave Home Without Sunglasses Again

More than just a fashion accessory, sunglasses are an important part of preserving our eye health. We know it is important to slather on sunscreen to protect our skin, but how many of us forget to protect our eyes?

Too much exposure to the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays can have harmful effects on our precious eyes.

Especially now that we are in the full heat of summer, here are 10 reasons why sunglasses are a must-have before leaving the house.

1. Keeps your face smooth and wrinkle-free

blackgirl 239×300The skin around your eyes is very delicate and thin. Wearing sunglasses and sunscreen everyday will protect your skin from sun damage and help prevent fine lines, wrinkles, and crow’s feet. Starting this habit sooner rather than later will help you stay young as you age. Who doesn’t want that?

2. Look and feel like a million bucks

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With all the different styles and designers out there, your sunglasses can be that “WOW!” factor for any outfit. It is the perfect way to be stylish and smart. Add a wide-brimmed hat for extra protection.

3. Keeps you safe on the road


It becomes very difficult to drive safely if you can’t clearly see other cars or the road because of the bright sun. Wearing sunglasses as you drive helps reduce glare and distracting reflections, and provides better visibility all around.

4. Enjoy the activities you love.


Polarized sunglasses are popular among outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy hobbies like boating, fishing, jogging, biking, golfing, and skiing. These lenses help reduce glare from flat surfaces, like light that reflects off water. Wearing these lenses can improve comfort and performance while doing the activities you love.

5. Prevent cataracts.


World Health Organization states that cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world (1). Long-term exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays is linked to the growth of cataracts. Wear sunglasses that block at least 99 percent of UVA and UVB rays (2).

6. Prevent pterygiums

pterygium allaboutvision

Pronounced tur-IJ-ee-um, this is a triangular-shaped, pinkish growth on the conjunctiva of your eye. Also referred to as “surfer’s eye”, it is suspected to be caused by dry eye and excessive exposure to the sun’s UV rays. Although not cancerous, it can cause irritation and affect vision if the growth spreads (3).

7. Reduce risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Blue light, which is emitted from the sun and digital devices, pierces all the way to the retina and can cause damage to the cells in the back of the eye. These changes can lead to macular degeneration, which causes loss of central vision. Wearing sunglasses that block UV rays and blue light are one of the many steps that can be taken to prevent AMD.

8. Save yourself from skin cancer


Eyelid cancer is fairly common and accounts for almost 5 to 10 percent of all nonmelanoma skin cancers (4). Prevention measures include wearing sunglasses and using sunscreen with an adequate SPF daily. Surgical procedures are often needed to remove the cancer and to prevent spreading into the other tissues and structures near the eye.

9. Provide protection from the elements.


Your time at the beach, on a hike, or just walking to and from can quickly become disrupted if something gets into your eye. This could be sand, dust, dirt, or anything else picked up by the wind that causes major eye irritation. Use your glasses as an additional shield and keep those eyes clean and protected.

10. Manage headaches and migraines.

meSome people who are prone to headaches and migraines find that bright light triggers their symptoms. Light sensitivity can also lead to eye strain, fatigue, and make it difficult to adjust between bright and dimly-lit areas. Wraparound sunglasses or glasses with special tints help reduce some of the discomfort caused by bright lights.

You don’t need an expensive pair of sunglasses to get the protection you need, but you should make sure to buy ones that block 99 to 100 percent of UVA and UVB light.

Our office has a wide variety of styles, designers, and price ranges so that you can find sunglasses you love for every member of the family! Remember, children should wear sunglasses too because of the additional time they spend outdoors.

Stop in our office at any time to browse through our selection!


  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Priority eye diseases.
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Recommended Types of Sunglasses.
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). What Is a Pinguecula and a Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye)?
  4. Skin Cancer Foundation. The Eyelids: Highly Susceptible to Skin Cancer.

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