Eye Strain and the 20-20-20 Rule

eye_strainMany of us spend a lot of time in front of the computer each day—and it can really take a toll on your eyes. Eye strain is a common complaint in many workplaces—so it’s important to know how to prevent it and to utilize the 20-20-20 Rule.

The 20-20-20 Rule encourages you to move your gaze away from the computer screen every 20 minutes, for a duration of at least 20 seconds, and you should be looking at an object that is at least 20 feet away.

Following this simple rule will help you relieve your eyes of strain or tiredness, and you can also make other small adjustments to help prevent eye strain. Try adjusting your computer screen’s brightness and text size from time to time. An extremely bright screen will hurt your eyes and you could be squinting and straining to read if the text is too small or if the brightness setting is too dim.

It’s also key to stand up and move around every hour or so. That will help your eyes adjust to everything away from your computer screen. Staring for too long at your computer can also cause neck, back and shoulder pain—so it’s important to take breaks and move when you can.

If you follow the 20-20-20 Rule, you’ll alleviate stress and potential damage to your eyes. It’s easy to get too adjusted to our work on the screen, but here at Valley Eyecare Center, your eye health and safety are of utmost importance—so always remember to take care of your eyes so eye strain does not take hold.

Some eye strain symptoms to watch out for include decreased productivity, sore or red eyes, eye twitching and fatigue.

If you experience eye strain due to prolonged screen exposure, schedule an eye appointment with us at Valley Eyecare Center!

Do you suffer from Astigmatism?

Phoenix_OptometristAstigmatism is a condition of the lens, or the eye, where light rays cannot focus on the retina at a single point. It can become a serious vision impairment issue—and that’s why it is crucial to see your Phoenix optometrist after even the primary signs of an astigmatism.

If you suffer from astigmatism, it’s important to get it checked as soon as possible before symptoms worsen. It is common for this condition to appear at a young age, so make sure to schedule an eye exam for your children at Valley Eyecare Center as well.

Patients who suffer from astigmatism often have football-shaped corneas rather than rounded as they should be. This creates a problem, as light rays focus either behind or in front of the retina. Astigmatism is a visual disorder that is normally characterized by blurred vision, and if left uncorrected for a prolonged time period, headaches and eyestrain can occur. These symptoms are particularly noticeable after activities like reading or staring at a computer screen. Patients who suffer from astigmatism often squint frequently, as they are dealing with blurred vision and are straining the eyes too see properly.

Your Phoenix optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center will be able to diagnose and help correct your astigmatism so you can see clearly and get rid of painful headaches and eye strains you may be experiencing due to this frustrating condition.

Our optometrists can use various instruments and conduct different tests to see if you are suffering from astigmatism. Astigmatism can be corrected with eyeglasses, contact lenses or refractive surgery—so your Phoenix optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center can determine what level of treatment you will need to achieve clear vision again.

Make an appointment today with us at Valley Eyecare Center to get rid of astigmatism before it worsens.

5 Ways to Protect Your Child’s Eyes

Childrens_Eye_CareEye health should never be taken for granted, no matter what age. Teaching your kids the right way to care for their eyes instills habits that will stay with them into adulthood. Use these children’s eye care tips to protect their vision from the start.

Select toys carefully

Make sure your child has age-appropriate toys without sharp edges or projections that could injure his/her eyes. Include toys that encourage visual development. Chalkboards, coloring books and crayons, jigsaw puzzles, Legos, construction sets and building blocks are all good choices that will help to build visual skills while supporting children’s eye care.

Use protection in sunlight

When your child is outdoors, he should be wearing sunglasses with UV-coated lenses or a wide-brimmed hat to protect his eyes from dangerous rays. This is particularly important for kids with light-colored eyes that are extra-sensitive to the sun. Make it fun by choosing a style of kids’ sunglasses with bright colors or a popular TV or movie character. And what kid doesn’t like wearing baseball caps?

Child-proof your home

Household accidents are one of the most common causes of eye injuries in children. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of staircases and make sure the surface of the steps is non-slip. Place cushions on sharp corners and edges of furniture and fixtures. Store paints, fertilizers, household cleaners and other chemical-based products in a secured area. Install cabinet and drawer locks to keep cosmetics, kitchen utensils and other objects out of reach.

Provide a healthy diet

Plan meals with a variety of foods rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, omega-3 fatty acids and lutein, all of which have been linked to good eye health. Carrots, salmon, tuna, citrus fruits, berries, nuts and sunflower seeds are some of the foods that are sources of these nutrients as well as antioxidants that protect against cell damage.

Schedule regular eye exams

Many eye issues can be successfully treated when they’re detected early enough. Your optometrist can also advise you on children’s eye care news and tips. Take your child in immediately if you see signs such as crossed eyes or cloudiness in the pupil.

Your child’s eyes are meant to last a lifetime. Contact Valley EyeCare Center to start a lifetime program of proper eye care.

 

Prevent Eye Injury This Summer

Eye_InjurySummers are filled with opportunities for lasting memories—but you don’t want a trip to the emergency room to be one of them. This summer, it’s important that you take extra precautions to prevent an eye injury, as July is National Prevention of Eye Injury Awareness Month.

While swimming, be wary of pool toys like torpedoes that could seriously damage an eye if precautionary steps aren’t taken. Be sure the kids wear goggles when swimming underwater to also protect their eyes from hazardous pool chemicals.

July will bring plenty of fireworks displays—but even an evening of hot dogs, music and celebratory fireworks can end in disaster. Never stand too close to a lit firework, keep glass out of the way, and consider wearing protective eye goggles for the more power-packed fireworks.

Wear effective sunglasses to prevent burned corneas or damaged eyesight.
Summer is also a time for home projects. Be sure to wear proper protective eyewear to avoid flying debris like wood chips, nails, etc.
Summer sports, especially with kids, can be hazardous to the eyes. Prevent a serious eye injury by wearing protective gear in sports like softball, baseball or even activities like paintball.

Bugs are especially prevalent during summer’s many outdoor activities. Be careful not to spray bug spray near or into the eyes. The same goes for sunscreen—any sort of chemical in the eyes is never a good thing.

Anything from pool toys and chemicals to fireworks and bug spray could end in a painful or costly eye injury. Be sure to take the extra steps this summer to avoid a trip to the emergency room during National Prevention of Eye Injury Awareness Month!

If you do experience an eye injury that cannot be flushed out with water, contact Valley Eyecare Center for all your eye care needs.

ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL Contact Lens

Contact_LensAt Valley Eyecare Center we pride ourselves in offering the most comprehensive eye health care and utilization of the newest medical technologies. In addition, we fit and dispense contact lenses of numerous variations; soft, hard, RGP, Ortho-K, or specialty lenses.

As you age the eye has unique vision and comfort needs that will change. We are here to provide the highest quality products to ensure you achieve the best vision possible at any stage in life.

Although your vision will change over time, your overall experience with contact lenses doesn’t have to. We are pleased to introduce the 1-DAY ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL (30 Lenses per pack) to our list of products. These Eye-Inspire™ Design contact lenses provide a superior vision experience along with all-day comfort.

Valley Eyecare Center is one of 300 in the nation that has this product. Schedule an appointment today and we’ll find out if this exciting new product is right for you.

For important safety information on ACUVUE® MOIST MULTIFOCAL click here.

Written by Marissa Lyons.

Fireworks And Eye Safety

Eye_Safety_FireworksBetween the pool parties, stars-and-stripes décor, and hot dogs and burgers fresh off the grill, the Fourth of July can still present its share of mishaps—life-changing ones at that—and eye safety becomes a hot-button issue each Independence Day.

July is National Firework Safety Awareness Month, so it’s important to protect yourself from any injuries involving fireworks. Every year, people stand too close to ignited fireworks, and what was supposed to be a day for friends, family and fun turns into a trip to the emergency room.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks last year in the United States were connected with 11,400 injuries that required visits to the emergency room, and one in six of those firework accidents involved eye injuries.

You’ll of course want to be able to watch the beautiful displays this year with your loved ones, but eye safety is extremely important when it comes to handling fireworks.

Consider these tips when enjoying your July Fourth festivities:

Never stand too close to the firework when lighting it.
Keep glass away from the area when using fireworks.
Quickly move away after lighting.
Never touch “dud” fireworks—ones that were lit but didn’t explode.
Consider wearing safety goggles for the more power-packed fireworks.

Don’t rule out the smaller flames, either—even common sparkler sticks can cause eye damage. Hold sparklers away from the face when they are lit, and be sure there’s no horseplay among the kids whenever fireworks are involved.

Always keep eye safety in mind this summer when enjoying light displays, as taking those extra steps will help you avoid any injuries this year.

In case of an eye injury that can’t be flushed out with water, don’t rub your eyes or attempt to remove any debris that may have become lodged in the eyes. Contact your optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center for an appointment!

Prevent Cataracts this Summer

Cataracts Have you ever had difficulty seeing through a fogged-up window while driving? That’s what the world looks like for people with cataracts. This clouding of the lenses of your eyes begins slowly, but can progress to a point where surgery is required.

According to Prevent Blindness, the nation’s leading volunteer eye health and safety organization, more than 22.3 million people in America suffer from this disease. Protect your eye health and keep your vision sunny this summer by following these tips.

Eat a nutritional diet

Vitamins C and E have antioxidant properties that have been shown to reduce the development and progression of the disease. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids found in the eye lens, so intake of food with these nutrients will also help maintain good health. Include plenty of green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits and berries, and almonds and sunflower seeds in your diet.

Protect your eyes from the sun

Ultraviolet rays can contribute to the development of cataracts. Shield your eyes by wearing sunglasses or wide-brimmed hats. You should also avoid sunlamps and tanning booths.

Stop smoking

The dangers of smoking are well-known, so it should come as no surprise to learn that it can also negatively affect your eye health. Cigarette smoke contains free radicals that damage the proteins and fiber cell membrane in the eye lens. In addition, smoking reduces your body’s level of antioxidants that protect cells from free radicals.

Control diabetes

Diabetes is a major risk factor for cataracts. Controlling your blood sugar will cut down on the chances of this development.

Get an annual eye exam

Early detection is key to successful treatment. Make sure you schedule a full checkup every year.

Our Phoenix optometrists are happy to answer any of your questions about prevention and treatment of cataracts. Contact us today to schedule your eye exam.

Pool Season and Eye Health

Eye Health A dip in a pool is a refreshing way to cool off on a hot summer day, but it might not have the same effect on your eyes. Irritation, or “swimmer’s eye,” can be a painful result without the proper precautions. Enjoy your time in the pool by following these summer eye health tips before diving in.

Minimize the effects of pool chemicals

Disinfecting chemicals such as chlorine and saline do affect your eyes, but they merely grease the wheels for the true culprit. Your eye is covered by a tear film that maintains lubrication, but pool chemicals cause this film to evaporate, leaving the dry surface of your eye vulnerable to other chemicals and bacteria. Use goggles to minimize exposure and rinse your eyes with clear, fresh water immediately after leaving the pool to ensure your eye health.

Swimming and contact lenses

Wearing contact lenses while swimming may seem harmless, but they actually provide a useful surface for bacteria to latch on. Studies have discovered that microbial growth on contact lenses can be present after only one swim. The best solution is to invest in a pair of prescription swimming goggles. If you prefer to continue wearing your contact lenses, use disposable ones or be sure to disinfect the lenses thoroughly after swimming. It’s also a good idea to change your lens case frequently.

Swimming and dry eye

Dry eye syndrome is one of the more common eye disorders among adults. It results from low tear production and instability of the tear film. While goggles are an effective defense against the drying effects of pool water, you should also apply artificial teardrops beforehand for additional protection.

Outdoor fun is not worth taking a chance with your eye health. Schedule an appointment with our Phoenix optometrist for a full eye exam and additional tips for summer eye care.

Benefits of Wearing Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide much-needed protection for your eyes. Your optometrist has most likely suggested the use of them in your everyday life, not just when you’re at the pool during the summer. But what is the importance of wearing sunglasses year-round? Take a look at these four benefits to learn why your optometrist suggests the use of sunglasses.

Protection From the SunOptometrist

The most obvious benefit of wearing sunglasses is the protection they provide from the sun’s dangerous rays. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, the sun can damage your eyes in more ways than one. Cancers of the eyelid make up about five to 10 percent of all skin cancers, and can lead to serious eye damage and face disfigurement. In addition to eyelid cancers, extended exposure to the sun can lead to cataracts and macular degeneration.

Reduced Dry-Eye Problems

People who suffer from dry-eye syndrome often experience an increase in symptoms while in dry, windy climates. The environment can have a negative effect on your eyes due to weather, debris, and dust. Unfortunately, these elements are present year-round, not just during the summer. Sunglasses protect your eyes from things like wind and debris all year round.

Less Glare While Driving

Wearing sunglasses while driving not only helps you feel more comfortable, but it also keeps you and your passengers safe. The sun’s glare increases your risk of getting into a car accident, which is why wearing sunglasses while driving is crucial to your safety – and to the safety of others on the road. If such a simple thing can prevent a collision, why would you avoid it?

Reduced Eye Strain

Squinting because of the sun is detrimental to your eyesight, but your optometrist probably hasn’t told you that it’s also damaging to your appearance. Prolonged squinting causes wrinkles on the sensitive skin around your eyes. And while there are products to help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, there is no way to reverse the damage. So if you’re not concerned about the health of your eyes, perhaps looking younger longer will encourage you to wear sunglasses.

Wearing sunglasses all year is crucial to your eye health and prevents serious conditions. To learn about more ways to protect your eyes, talk to an experienced optometrist. Schedule an eye exam today to get started on your journey toward improved eye health.

4 Tips to Prevent Eye Injury

Believe it or not, your home is a dangerous place for your eyes. In fact, recent medical statistics show that almost half of all eye injury incidents occur inside the home each year, and this number is increasing. Cleaning, cooking, and yard work are just a few of the everyday activities that often result in eye injury. Taking preventative measures to protect your eyes is crucial, even in your own home.

Preventing Eye Injury at Home

Eye Injury Most people will suffer some type of injury to their eyes at one point or another during their lifetime. To lower your odds of harming this vital body part, consider the following tips.

  1. Take care when using cleaners. Some household cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to your eyes. Read cleaning product labels carefully, and avoid mixing chemicals. Additionally, make sure spray nozzles are directed away from you while cleaning.
  2. Secure rugs and railings. Falls are a common cause of injury to the eyes, and often occur as a result of loose rugs or rails. To prevent this from happening, secure anything in your home that could cause a slip.
  3. Check your yard for debris. Mowing or performing other yard work can quickly become a hazard if there is debris present that could fly into your eyes. Remove all debris before getting started, and wear protective goggles.
  4. Cook with caution. Grease splatter can cause serious damage to your eyes. Take measures to prevent it by using grease shields on frying pans.

Caring for Your Eyes

In addition to the tips mentioned above, you should take other actions to care for your eyes and prevent eye injury. Seeing an eye doctor regularly is the first step toward good eye health. Reach out to us today to schedule an eye exam or learn more about protecting your eyes.