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5 Important Eye Care Tips For Kids

Your child’s ability to see the world relies on healthy eyes. By teaching them how to care for their eyes, you help protect them from injury and ensure their eyes and vision remain healthy in the long run. Here are our 5 top eye care tips for kids. 

Good Eye Care Habits for Children

1. Maintain a Healthy Diet and Drink Plenty of Water

A nutritious diet and healthy eyes go hand in hand. Encourage your child to eat healthy foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, and prioritize foods rich in vitamin A found in green leafy and yellow vegetables. Eggs are also rich in important nutrients, containing vitamin A, lutein, zeaxanthin, and zinc, all vital for eye health. 

Another thing to look out for is hydration. Proper hydration plays a key role in maintaining healthy eyes and a healthy body, so make sure your child drinks plenty of water (the appropriate amount will vary according to your child’s age, level of physical activity and weather conditions). 

2. Wear Eye Protection

Physical activity is enjoyable and healthy, but make sure your child is wearing the right protective eyewear, like safety goggles, anytime they participate in sports or activities that could cause an eye injury (i.e. playing ball, hockey, carpentry). Wearing a helmet for sports like riding a bicycle protects against concussions, which can result in lingering vision problems, and are usually preventable. 

Furthermore, provide your child with good UV-blocking sunglasses to protect their eyes from the sun’s UV radiation. Staring directly at the sun, or the light rays reflecting off water and snow, can potentially cause retinal burns, in addition to long term damage.

3. Give The Eyes a Rest

Staring at the school board and school books all day, followed by playing video games or watching TV in the evening can cause eye strain. Be sure your child gets sufficient sleep to allow their eyes to rest. Replace evening activities with those that don’t require intense eye focusing: going to the park, playing outdoors with friends, or simply lying down with their eyes closed while listening to music or an audiobook. 

4. Reduce Time Spent on Digital Devices

Spending time on digital devices and staring at screens is an integral part of our lives. Playing video games, watching videos on their smartphones and playing computer games, all require the eyes to fixate for extended periods of time, which can lead to digital eye strain, headaches and even dry eyes.

Try to reduce the amount of time your child spends on the screen by getting your child to participate in other activities, such as sports. And when using digital devices or screens for long periods of time, get them into the habit of taking frequent breaks and give their eyes a rest by looking into the distance every few minutes.

5. Get Their Eyes Checked Regularly

School-aged children’s vision can change often, and unexpectedly, until the late teenage years. Left uncorrected, poor eyesight can interfere with learning, and cause behavioral and attention issues. 

Getting a routine eye exam is important as it can uncover vision problems, detect eye conditions early on, and significantly increase the odds of preserving long-term eye health. For those who wear glasses or contacts, it’s important to check for any changes and update the prescription as needed. 

Ensure  your child’s eyes are being cared for properly by scheduling an eye exam with Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles today. Your child’s eye doctor can further educate them on eye safety and answer any questions you or your child may have. 

 

Q&A

My kid frequently rubs their eyes. Is that bad?

Kids often rub their eyes, especially if they have allergies, irritated eyes, or they feel like something is stuck in their peepers. Rubbing can scratch the cornea, and transfer bacteria from the child’s hands to their eyes, causing an eye infection. 

Instead of rubbing, have them wash their eyes with cool water to flush out any foreign body or irritant, and ease inflammation. If the problem persists, contact your child’s optometrist.

Other than reducing screen time, is there anything else I can do to maintain eye health & safety? 

When you’re at home, keep an eye on your children’s playtime and make sure that none of their toys — or the toys at their friends’ homes — are sharp. Sharp plastic swords and toys with jagged edges can cause serious eye injuries. 

Why Does Bono Always Wear His Signature Shades?

Ever wonder why Bono always wears shades, even indoors? U2’s frontman doesn’t sport sunglasses simply as part of his image. Bono has had glaucoma—a build-up of pressure in the eyeball, which can damage the optic nerve and potentially lead to blindness if untreated—for over two decades now. 

The real reason he wears his trademark shades is due to this progressive, sight-robbing eye disease, to protect his sensitive eyes from light and glare. 

How Do Sunglasses Help People With Glaucoma?

People with glaucoma experience sensitivity to light (or photophobia) and glare, among other symptoms. When the sun is strong, those with this condition will be more affected by glare emanating from a variety of surfaces, like water, snow, sand or pavement, than the average person. Furthermore, certain glaucoma medications constrict the pupils, which can further contribute to acute sensitivity to glare and light, as well as redness and irritation.

That’s why people with glaucoma — and lots of people without glaucoma — feel best wearing sunglasses when outdoors on a sunny day, in a bright indoor space, or while driving in the early evening. 

Here’s How You Can Protect Your Eyes 

By wearing sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection, you can reduce your risk of developing sight robbing diseases, like cataracts and macular degeneration, and reduce glaucoma symptoms. Polarized lenses, in particular, can help with glare. With yearly comprehensive eye exams, early diagnosis and consistent treatment, you can prevent vision deterioration from glaucoma or similar sight-threatening eye diseases. Contact Family Eyecare Center of Optometry in Westchester, Los Angeles to book your eye doctor’s appointment today.

Q&A

Can glaucoma be cured?

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, there are many effective treatment options available. Treatments that can help stop or slow the progression of glaucoma include eye drops, oral medications, as well as laser and surgical procedures. 

How can glaucoma vision loss be prevented?

The best way to avoid glaucoma-related eyesight deterioration is to undergo regular eye exams, as glaucoma can be detected and treated even in its early stages, which can prevent significant vision loss or blindness. That’s why routine eye exams that include glaucoma testing are so important.

5 Reasons To Wear Sunglasses In The Fall

When we think of fall accessories, the first things that come to mind are warm sweaters, plush scarves, or a snug pair of boots. Here’s another essential item to add to your list: a good quality pair of UV-blocking sunglasses. 

But why is it so important to protect your eyes when the sun seems to be hiding behind clouds on most days? While it may not make much sense, you’ll get a better understanding by the time you finish reading this article. So let’s dive in and explore the 5 reasons you should protect your eyes from the sun in the fall. 

Sunglasses: Summer Vs. Fall

The Sun’s Position

While we may squint more in the summer, the sunlight’s path to the eyes is more direct in the fall as the sun sits closer to the horizon. This places our eyes at greater risk of overexposure to UV rays. 

Changing Temperatures 

Irritating symptoms like dry, red, or watery eyes are often due to the season’s cool and harsh winds. The colder the air, the stiffer and thicker the eyes’ tear oils (meibum) become. Because thicker meibum doesn’t spread as evenly over the surface of the eyes, the tears can’t offer sufficient protection and moisture. 

Minimize irritation by shielding the eyes from cool winds with wraparound sunglasses.

UV Rays 

Exposing your eyes to the sun’s harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays is problematic year-round, as it can result in serious eye diseases, such as cataracts and macular degeneration. That’s why it’s important to wear 100% UV-blocking sunglasses anytime you’re outdoors, no matter the season.

Make sure to sport your sunnies even on cloudy days, as up to 90% of UV rays pass through clouds. Furthermore, outdoor objects like concrete and snow reflect a significant amount of UV rays into the eyes. 

Fall’s Dangerous Sun Glare 

Because the sun is positioned at a lower angle in the fall, it can produce a brutal glare that poses a danger for driving. Rays of light that reflect off of smooth surfaces like the metal of nearby cars can be so bright to the point of blinding the driver.  

You can combat this dangerous glare by wearing polarized sunglasses. These lenses reduce the glare’s harmful effects by filtering out horizontal light waves, such as the ones reflected by a shiny car bumper. 

Protection From the Elements

Aside from its drying effects, winds can carry dust, debris, and pollutants that can irritate the delicate areas in and around the eyes. Wear sunglasses to shield and block out irritants and certain allergens that drift in the autumn air.

Looking for Sunglasses Near You?

Here’s the bottom line: you need to protect your eyes by wearing sunglasses in the fall and year-round, no matter the season or climate. Investing in a stylish pair of durable, UV-protective sunglasses is — simply-put — a worthwhile investment in your eye health.

So if you’re looking for advice about a new pair of high-quality sunglasses for the fall, with or without prescription lenses, visit Family Eyecare Center of Optometry. If standard sunglass lenses are too dark for you at this time of year, ask us about green or brown tinted lenses; they transmit more light and contrast to the eyes than standard grey tints.  

We’ll be happy to help you find that perfect pair to protect your eyes, suit your lifestyle needs and enhance your personal style. To learn more, call 310-620-6495 to contact our Westchester, Los Angeles eye doctor today.

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!  

 

References 

https://biomedical-engineering-online.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12938-016-0209-7

 

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.

June 27th 2018: National Sunglasses Day!

June is a special month. We celebrate Father’s Day and the official start of summer (today, in fact. Hooray!).

But there is another important day on June 27th that we shouldn’t forget: National Sunglasses Day!

That’s right, a day brought to us by the Vision Council that celebrates the importance of protecting our eyes from the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays.

We are exposed to ultraviolet rays everyday, whether it is sunny or cloudy outside.

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This increases our risk of eye conditions including cataracts, pterygiums, and macular degeneration. Not to mention the others, wrinkles, crow’s feet, and cancer.

We encourage you to make it a habit to wear your sunglasses year-round.

That’s right, sunglasses are important during all four seasons and for all ages too!

Keep a pair in your purse, in your car, and keep some spare ones, just in case.

We want to see you! Join us on June 27th by posting your #SunglassSelfie to social media for #NationalSunglassesDay.

Show the world you care about your eyes!

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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

driving1

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.

kayak

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.

olderwoman

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

sunglasses

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.

beach

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!

Sources

  1. World Health Organization (WHO). Priority eye diseases. http://www.who.int/blindness/causes/priority/en/index1.html
  2. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). Recommended Types of Sunglasses. https://www.aao.org/eye-health/glasses-contacts/sunglasses-recommended-types
  3. American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO). What Is a Pinguecula and a Pterygium (Surfer’s Eye)? https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/pinguecula-pterygium
  4. Skin Cancer Foundation. The Eyelids: Highly Susceptible to Skin Cancer. http://www.skincancer.org/prevention/sun-protection/for-your-eyes/the-eyelids-highly-susceptible-to-skin-cancer

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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.