How UV Exposure Impacts Your Eyes


Most people are aware of the connection between the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation and skin cancer, but UV radiation can actually lead to a number of eye problems. Whether it comes from the sun or from a machine, UV radiation can cause serious damage to your vision. Here is everything you need to know about UV radiation and eye care in order to minimize the negative impact of UV exposure on your eyes!

What is UV radiation? UV radiation (also called UV light) is produced naturally by the sun and generated eye-careartificially by lasers and tanning beds. There are two types of harmful UV rays— UV-A and UV-B—and both have deleterious short-term and long-term effects on your body and your eyesight.

How does UV radiation impact eyesight? Excessive exposure to UV radiation will harm your eyes and severely compromise your vision. Many eye diseases and conditions are caused or aggravated by UV radiation, including macular degeneration, cataracts, and skin cancer (in or around the eyelids). Other possible afflictions include Photokeratitis (corneal sunburn or “snow blindness”) and Pterygium (“surfer’s eye”).

How can you protect your eyes from UV radiation? Everyone is at risk for eye damage caused by UV radiation, but the more time you spend in the direct sunlight, the higher your risk. In order to protect yourself from UV light, recognize the dangers and make eye care a priority! Use proper eye protection, namely in the form of polarized sunglasses that block out both UV-A and UV-B light, and wear a sun hat or a cap to further protect your head and your eyes from the sun.

Learn more about the impact of UV radiation on eye health and all relevant eye care tips! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

5 Eye Safety Tips

Even in the most ordinary of circumstances, there are many things that can threaten the health and safety of your eyes. Here are 5 tips basic eye safety to help you keep your eyes healthy and happy.  

1. Wear sunglasses

Direct exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation can damage your retinas and increase your risk of developing harmful and even dangerous eye conditions, such as cataracts or macular degeneration. Wear sunglasses with UV protection when you are in the bright sunshine, and never (ever!) look directly into the sun. 

2. Consider protective eyewear

Wear eye protection, in the form of goggles or safety glasses, when operating tools and machinery, working with chemicals, or doing any other activity that might involve the risk of something hitting or entering your eyes. Exercise caution when touching your eyes— always stop and think before just rubbing your eyes, and then thoroughly wash your hands before letting them anywhere near your eyeballs. 

Eye-Safety

3. Rest your eyes

Make sure to take frequent eye breaks from your computer screen to avoid digital eye strain. At least once every 20 minutes, look away from the screen and focus on a distant point for around 20 seconds. Adjust your computer screen settings so that the brightness matches the lighting in the surrounding room and the text is a comfortable size for your eyes. Constantly straining your eyes can have unpleasant symptoms such as burning or itching eyes. 

4. Maintain a healthy diet

Nutritious foods with plenty of vitamins and minerals will optimize your long-term eye health. Studies also show that exercising regularly is beneficial to your eyes. 

5. Schedule regular eye exams 

A routine, comprehensive eye exam is critical to the health of your eyes. The early detection of a vision impairment or eye disease is paramount for optimal treatment. Eye exams are also essential for the detection of other health issues beyond just your eyes. Just because you think that you can see just fine is not a total guarantee that your eyes are healthy. 

Learn more tips for ensuring optimal eye safety, discuss your personal eye care needs, or schedule your regular eye exam today! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

Why We Get Dark Circles Under Our Eyes

If you wake up in the morning and look in the mirror to find alarming, dark shadows beneath your eyes, don’t stress! Dark circles under eyes can be caused by a couple common factors that you will be able to easily adjust in order to reclaim a fresh, bright appearance.

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Lack of sleepFatigue is the most common reason for dark circles to form under your eyes. The position in which you sleep might also make your eyes puffy– if you sleep on your side or stomach, your face can fold into your pillow and place pressure upon your eyes. Consider sleeping on your back or on your side with an extra pillow to elevate and protect your eyes.

Alcohol, salt, or caffeineConsumption of alcohol is a major cause for dark circles under eyes. Other products that can negatively affect your eyes are foods with high levels of sodium and caffeine, which cause your body to retain water and aggravate the skin beneath your eyes.

Use of skin productsMake-up is a tempting solution for hiding the dark circles under your eyes, but skin products can actually irritate your skin further. Be cautious when cleansing your face, as harsh or excessive facial cleansing can also irritate the sensitive skin by your eyes.

Aging or geneticsIt’s possible that the shadowed circles are only the slight hollows that develop under your eyes as you age. Unfortunately, dark circles might also just be hereditary. If the skin near your eyes is naturally thin, the blood is more likely to show through and make it appear darker.

When should I see a doctor? In very rare cases, dark circles under eyes may be a sign of a more serious condition. If swelling and discoloration appear only under one eye, arrive suddenly and are extremely dark, or do not go away after a few days, seek medical attention.

Don’t let the dark circles under your eyes bring you down! Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

 

How to Protect Yourself from Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a common eye disease that causes acute vision loss. There are many simple measures that can be taken to help prevent the eye disease.

What is macular degeneration? Macular degeneration, also often known as age-related macular degeneration, occurs when the retina begins to deteriorate. The result is severely impaired vision. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss in people over the age of 60.

How to protect yourself:

Wear sunglasses There is a proven association between age-related macular degeneration and eye damage caused by macular-degenerationoverexposure to various light rays. Wear sunglasses that have ultraviolet and blue light protections in the outdoors to protect yourself.

Quit smoking Smoking has been shown to largely increase the risk of age-related macular degeneration. Smokers are more than three times as likely to develop macular degeneration than non-smokers.

Maintain a healthy diet Doctors advise that you strive to follow a balanced diet to reduce the likelihood of eye diseases. Seek to partake of vegetables high in carotenoids, such as spinach and collard greens, and omega-3 fatty acids, which are found primarily in fish. Avoid cholesterol and saturated fat. Taking vitamin supplements with antioxidants and zinc is also advised.

Exercise regularly Studies indicate that engaging in exercise on a regular basis benefits your eyes. People who lead an active lifestyle are as much as 70 percent less likely to develop macular degeneration.

Schedule regular eye exams Eye exams will be able to detect macular degeneration in its early stages. Be cognizant of your own vision and see your eye doctor immediately if you begin to notice distinct vision loss.

Having your eyes checked regularly is essential for diagnosing and addressing macular degeneration right away. Book your appointment with your Valley Eyecare Center optometrist. Call us at 602-955-2700 or schedule online today.

5 Reasons You Should See Your Eye Doctor Annually 

We all know that going to see the eye doctor is important, but why do we have to go each year? Even if you think your vision is great, you should still go to visit your optometrist at your annual appointment.

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Why You Should Make and Keep Your Annual Optometrist Appointments

  1. You may not know that you have a vision problem—A recent study found that 58% of people had a significant change in their vision without knowing it before going to see their eye doctor.
  2. An outdated prescription can cause more problems than just squinting—Even if you just squint to see something far away, this vision problem may lead to eye strain, headache, or dizziness.
  3. Your eyes can reveal several important aspects of your health—Your eyes can show signs of other health problems. For example, small “micro-bleeds” in the vessels in your eyes can be signs of heart trouble, and other changes in your vessels may indicate possible brain problems. Additionally, an eye doctor can tell if you have developed certain eye diseases, such as macular degeneration.
  4. As you age, your eyes change—No matter your age, your eyes change each year. Children’s eyes change significantly faster than adults’ eyes, but everyone’s prescription and vision changes.
  5. You may suffer from eye strain without knowing it—If your eyes are tired after looking at your computer or phone, you may be suffering from eye strain. You could benefit from computer glasses, which are tinted yellow, to block the blue light associated with the screens that are a part of our daily lives.

Don’t wait—make your appointment with your eye doctor now! To learn more about why you need an annual checkup with your optometrist, or to schedule your appointment, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

What are Progressive Lenses, and Do I Need Them?

Progressive lenses give you three different levels of vision for a more natural way to view the world. If you need one strength of glasses to read, one strength to drive or look at the computer, or one strength to see things far away, you may want to consider progressive lenses.

Progressive Lenses for a Simpler Way to See

Composition of progressive lenses—Most progressive lenses are divided into thirds. On the bottom third is progressive-lensesthe near vision strength of lenses you would need to read or to look at your phone. In the middle is the intermediate range, in which you look at the computer. The top third of the progressive lenses allows you to see into the distance.

Adjusting to progressive lenses—You may have heard that the adjustment process takes time. Just know that you have to continue wearing the progressive lenses in order for you to get used to them. Resist the temptation to switch back to your old glasses, as this will slow the process of retraining your brain to focus through the new lenses. You should also make sure to wear the glasses high on your nose so that you can easily see the distinction between each part of the lens.

Benefits of progressive lenses—Progressive lenses can simplify your life by reducing the number of glasses you have for each occasion. Although the adjustment process may take some time, you will grow to love wearing progressives because you will not have trouble seeing various distances.

See the world in a crisper, clearer way with progressive lenses! To learn more about this type of lens, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Contact Lens Care and Safety

If you are new to wearing contact lenses, you may have a few questions about how to properly care for your contact lenses. At conta-lens-careValley Eyecare Center, your eyes are our top priority, so we’ll go over the basics of contact lens care this week.

Do’s and Don’ts of Contact Lens Care

Keep the following safety tips in mind when you are caring for your contact lenses.

In your contact lens care routine, please do the following:

  • Wash your hands before touching your eyes or your contact lenses
  • Clean your contact lenses in contact solution
  • Stay hydrated, drinking plenty of water throughout the day and using eye drops when necessary
  • Wear sunglasses in addition to your contact lenses
  • Follow the instructions given to you by your optometrist
  • Replace makeup regularly, especially if it touches your eye
  • Come in for a regular appointment with your optometrist to check your prescription


Please do not do the following:

  • Store your contact lenses in water, especially tap water
  • Sleep with your contact lenses in. Always take them out, even just for a nap! Even if your contact lenses are specifically designed for sleep, it is still a good idea to take them out at night.
  • Reuse old contact solution, as irritants may be in the old solution
  • Put your contacts in if they are inside-out. Your contacts should look like a U, not a V
  • Put your contact lenses in after applying makeup—it’s always safest to put the lenses in before you apply your eye makeup!

Keeping up with your contact lens care routine is important! To learn more about caring for your eyes and contacts, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

Eye Care is Important As You Age – Understanding How Your Vision Changes as You Age

Many things change as we age, and your vision is one of the things that can change from year to year, and it can also change significantly as you age. Your eye care is even more important as you age, so make sure to keep up with your eye care routine!eye-care

Eye Care as You Age

Age-related eye diseases may occur—As you age, you may be at a higher risk for certain age-related eye diseases, such as macular degeneration or glaucoma. These two diseases are usually caught first by an optometrist, so it is important that you make your regular appointments and eat a healthy diet to promote optimal vision.

Cataracts happen most often once you’re past 40 years old—Cataracts rarely affect those under 40, and they most frequently affect those over 40. Cataracts, however, are considered a normal aging change, so if you have had a cataract, know that you are not alone. About half of all 65-year-old Americans have had cataracts.

You may have a hard time focusing on things that are up close—This common problem happens to almost everyone over the age of 40. Known as presbyopia, this vision change affects your near-sighted vision so that you may have to hold things a little farther away from you to focus on them. You may notice that you need reading glasses, but have no fear; this is a natural process of aging.

Reduced pupil size—As you age, the muscles that control the size of your pupil lose some of their strength. This may cause your pupil to become smaller and perhaps less responsive to changes in ambient lighting.

Your eyesight can change every year, so making annual appointments with your optometrist is important! To learn more about age-related changes in your vision, or to book an appointment with a specialist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.

 

Optometrists Indicate that Eye Color Affect Your Vision

Although it may not seem as if it has an effect on your vision, your eye color can impact the way you see and your chances of developing certain eye-related problems. Optometrists have found that the differences between eye colors play more of a role in your vision than you might think.

Eye Color and Your Vision

Light eyes may be more sensitive—The most well-known way for your eye color to affect your vision is that if you have light eyes, you may be more sensitive to the sun. Having less pigment in your eyes may not protect them as much from the damaging rays of the sun, and optometrists have found that you may be at a greater risk for macular degeneration later in life.

Your eye color may impact your reaction times—A study has found that dark-eyed people perform better in “reactive” tasks and sports. Therefore, dark-eyed people may be better at hitting a ball or playing a defensive role in a game. Light-eyed people were found to have performed better in self-paced tasks, such as golfing or bowling.

Your eye color may change over time—Many children are born with blue eyes that change to brown or green eyes later in life. Optometrists have also found that even adults can notice slight changes in the hues of their irises as they age. This is a natural process that about 15% of Caucasians will experience. However, if your eye color changes significantly and rapidly, you should make an appointment with an optometrist.

Your eye color can affect your vision, even if it is just a slight change. To learn more about your eye color and its effect on your vision, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or contact us online.

Optometrists Care About Your Health

optometristIt’s flu season again, and the optometrists at Valley Eyecare Center want to make sure that you stay healthy throughout the season! Since your overall health affects your eye health, make sure to follow these tips to ensure that you stay healthy throughout the winter!

Health Tips from an Optometrist

Wash your hands frequently—One of the most common ways to spread the flu is through contact, so if you have come into contact with anyone who is sick or has had the flu, you should make sure to wash your hands as soon as you can.

Get plenty of rest—Your body is less susceptible to getting ill when you have had a good night’s rest. Optometrists also recommend getting plenty of sleep because your eyes will be more hydrated when you have a good sleep schedule and get plenty of sleep.

Eat right—Eating right is not just about eating a balanced diet but also making sure that you are getting enough vitamins. Foods that are rich in vitamin C and E can help to boost your immunity system, so if you’re concerned about catching the flu, make sure to eat more sunflower seeds, almonds, oranges, or broccoli, as these contain large amounts of either vitamin E or C.

Exercise often—Exercise is also important to boost your immunity system. Exercise can also be found to reduce stress, which allows your body to relax and can also lead to better health. We recommend exercising several times per week to ensure that your body is in its optimal condition.

Drink plenty of water—Although it may be difficult to get the recommend eight glasses of water per day, it is important that you work yourself up to this amount. Water is extremely important to many of your bodily functions.

Stay healthy this flu season! To learn more about how to maintain your optimal health, or to schedule an appointment with an optometrist at Valley Eyecare Center, call (602) 955-2700, or visit our website.