Myths About UV Protection and Your Eyes

Ultraviolet (UV) rays are harmful, including to your eyes. Since July is UV safety month, it’s the perfect time to consider how you can protect your eyes from this damaging form of radiation. To help you get started, we’re going to dispel some common misconceptions and myths about UV protection and your eyes. Here’s what you need to know. 

Myth: All Sunglasses Protect Against UV Rays 

Sunglasses don’t inherently protect against UV rays unless they have coatings designed to offer that protection. When selecting sunglasses, look for pairs that list UV-blocking capabilities on the lenses, preferably with a very high percentage, with 100 percent protection being the best option. 

Myth: Polarized Lenses Offer UV Protection 

While sunglasses can be polarized and offer UV protection, the fact that they’re polarized isn’t what blocks UV light. Instead, polarized lenses only cut back on glare. As a result, it’s critical to make sure that the product information lists that the lenses block UV light. 

Myth: You Only Need UV Protection on Sunny Days 

While clouds may reduce the amount of UV rays that reach you, the reduction is very limited. That means you’re eyes are still exposed to a significant amount of UV light when it’s overcast, so wearing UV-blocking sunglasses is still recommended. 

Myth: You Don’t Need UV-Blocking Sunglasses When in a Vehicle 

While it’s true that many vehicle windshields block the vast majority of UV rays, side windows don’t offer the same level of protection. As a result, it’s best to wear UV-blocking sunglasses when in a vehicle to adequately protect your eyes. 

Myth: Full-Spectrum UV Protection Sunglasses Are Expensive 

Full-spectrum UV-blocking sunglasses are available at practically any price point, and there are many highly affordable options on the market. Often, it’s possible to find a suitable pair for less than $20 at big box stores or through online retailers. 

Even prescription sunglasses with UV protection often cost less than most people assume. As a result, it’s possible to cover that need with prescription lenses without spending much more than you would on regular prescription glasses. 

Myth: Darker Lens Tints Offer More UV Protection 

How dark sunglass lenses are tinted doesn’t impact the level of UV protection. Instead, it only alters how much visible light reaches your eyes. As a result, any lens that offers a high percentage of UV-blocking will perform similarly to others when it comes to shielding your eyes from harmful rays, regardless of how dark the tint is on the lens. 

Myth: UV Damage Is Reversible 

In most cases, UV damage to the eye is functionally cumulative, causing it to add up over time. Additionally, most of the harm is irreversible once it occurs. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you’re concerned about possible damage to your eyes caused by UV exposure or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

Night Blindness and Trouble Seeing at Night

Many people struggle with seeing clearly at night. This is particularly true under specific conditions. For instance, glare created by headlights on oncoming vehicles may result in temporary vision difficulties. 

However, trouble seeing at night might be more severe. With night blindness, there are broader issues with seeing in the dark or in dimly lit spaces. If you’re wondering if your issues seeing at night are genuinely night blindness, here’s what you need to know. 

What Is Night Blindness? 

Night blindness – which is formally known as nyctalopia – is a vision impairment that results in poor vision when in dark or dimly lit spaces. It often leads to difficulties when driving at night, but it can also make dining in dim restaurants, moving through movie theaters, and similar situations hard to navigate. 

Often, the issues are most noticeable when transitioning from a well-lit space to a darker one. For example, heading into a dimly lit restaurant on a bright, sunny day may cause struggles. Similarly, oncoming headlights or streetlamps along the road at night may result in definitive symptoms. 

What Causes Problems with Night Vision? 

Night blindness may occur for a variety of reasons. Certain medical conditions that impact how light moves through the eye are common examples. This can include anything from general nearsightedness to cataracts to retinitis pigmentosa. 

In some cases, medications may result in night blindness, as the condition is a known potential side effect. Specific birth defects or genetic disorders – such as congenital stationary night blindness or Usher syndrome – may also cause the condition. 

Temporary issues with night vision can also occur after vision correction surgery like Lasik. At times, a vitamin A deficiency may result in night blindness. However, this is generally rare and is more common in individuals with cystic fibrosis or conditions that cause pancreatic insufficiency. 

Can You Correct Night Vision Issues? 

Whether night blindness is correctable depends on the root cause. If nearsightedness is responsible, specific vision correction options – such as glasses or contacts – may solve the issue. For vision correction surgery-related night blindness, the situation may resolve after a patient fully heals from the procedure. 

With cataracts, cataract removal surgery may restore night vision. If the issue is caused by a medication, switching to a new treatment can be effective. For vitamin A deficiencies, a supplement or diet change may work well. 

However, night blindness related to other conditions may be uncorrectable. That’s the case for night blindness caused by specific birth defects or genetic disorders, such as retinitis pigmentosa. 

When to See an Eye Care Provider 

If you’re experiencing difficulty seeing at night or when transitioning from brightly lit to dim spaces, it’s best to schedule an appointment with your eye care provider. They can gather information and perform tests to determine if night blindness is occurring, its cause, and what treatment options are available based on the results. 

At ECVA, the safety and health of our patients’ eyes are our priority. If you are experiencing symptoms of night blindness or simply haven’t seen your eye care provider in the past year, the ECVA team is here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today. 

How to Protect Vision Right Now

Have a comprehensive eye exam at ECVA today!

The prospect of vision loss is not typically a concern for most people until a decline in visual acuity becomes noticeable. Vision changes typically occur due to aging or an injury. However, there are also preventable factors that contribute to poor vision or diminished eye health as well. Taking inventory of behaviors that put eyes at risk and making important changes can help safeguard the eyes for as long as possible.

Get routine comprehensive wellness exams

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about 93 million adults in the United States are at risk for vision loss. Factors that contribute to vision loss can include being overweight or obese, diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. A wellness exam also may uncover family history issues that increase risk for hereditary eye conditions.

Receive a dilated vision exam

Many eye diseases, like glaucoma or age-related macular degeneration (AMD), have no warning signs, according to the CDC’s Vision Health Initiative. Thus, the only way to determine if there is an eye health issue or compromised vision is to get a complete vision exam, which includes dilating the pupil to see the retina, blood vessels and other components of the inner eye. This is the only way to detect diseases in their earliest stages.

Step up healthy eating

Many eye-healthy foods are rich in vitamins and minerals. Dark, leafy greens like spinach, kale and collards are good for the eyes, according to the National Eye Institute. In addition, foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, halibut, and tuna are also good choices for maintaining eye health, as they lower the risk for dry eyes and eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.

Sip on green tea

True Eye Experts says green tea is a great source of antioxidants that can keep eyes healthy and defend them from cataracts and AMD.

Wear protective eyewear

Always don sunglasses with UVA and UVB protection when outdoors. Protective eyewear is a must for those who work in an industry that requires eye protection or athletes who play sports in which eye injuries are a consistent threat.

Discard old cosmetics

Exercise caution with outdated eye makeup. Experts suggest discarding mascara that is more than four months old. Avoid applying eyeliner to the inside of the eyelid, as that can lead to irritation or infection.

Practice smart contact hygiene

Always wash hands before inserting or removing contact lenses. Lenses should be stored properly in cleansing solution and discarded after the recommended amount of time for the particular type of lens (daily, bi-weekly, monthly). Unless they are approved for overnight use, remove contacts before going to bed.

Quit smoking (or don’t start)

Smoking increases a person’s risk of developing various eye diseases and can make diabetic eye disease more severe.

It’s never too late to make changes that can preserve vision.

Doctor, My Eyes Are Always Tired

Everyone’s eyes feel tired on occasion. But, if you are continually struggling with eye fatigue, it’s easy to become frustrated. You might experience physical eye discomfort, have double or blurred vision, or have headaches day after day. 

In most cases, the cause of eye tiredness isn’t serious. However, there are situations where eye fatigue could signal a significant issue that needs to be addressed. Here’s a look at what can cause tired eyes as well as insights into when you should see a doctor. 

Causes of Eye Fatigue 

Nearly anything that requires the intense use of your eyes can lead to fatigue, including in those with good vision or with current prescription corrective lenses. Some of the most common causes are reading, writing, and driving. 

Computer, smartphone, and television use may also be responsible, leading to an eye fatigue condition dubbed “digital eye strain” or “computer vision syndrome.” Not only is it challenging to focus your eyes on the screens, but many people blink less frequently when they use a computer or smartphone. This can make your eyes tired, dry, and itchy. 

Being in low or bright light may also lead to eye tiredness. Since the lighting conditions aren’t optimal, you might have trouble focusing. 

Dry eyes and situations that leave your eyes dry might make them feel tired as well. For example, if your eyes are exposed to vents or fans, they might fatigue more quickly. 

In some cases, eye strain could be an indication that your visual acuity has changed. If you are squinting more frequently or struggling to focus, you may need to get new or updated prescription lenses. Otherwise, your blurry vision results in more eye fatigue, leaving your eyes tired. 

Additionally, eye fatigue could be a symptom of various underlying conditions aside from the need for vision correction. Diseases or conditions that impact visual acuity could be responsible as well as one that affects the pressure inside your eye. 

When to See a Doctor About Eye Fatigue 

If you struggle with eye fatigue regularly or are experiencing any eye pain, it’s best to see your doctor as soon as possible. They can make sure that an underlying condition that requires treatment isn’t responsible and can provide you with personalized guidance to alleviate your symptoms. 

Anyone with visual acuity issues – including nearsighted or farsighted individuals as well as those living with cataracts, glaucoma, or macular degeneration – may be more likely to experience eye fatigue. Similarly, specific eye muscle problems, such as strabismus, may result in eye strain. Even some infections could create symptoms that mimic eye fatigue. A doctor can see if either of these are a factor and recommend proper treatment if needed. 

If you haven’t had your vision checked recently and your eyes always feel tired, visit your ophthalmologist or optometrist as soon as possible. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today, and our experienced team will work diligently to determine the cause and protect your eye health. Plus, any vision issues can be corrected, ensuring you can see clearly. We’ll design a customized treatment plan that meets your unique needs, whatever they may be. 

Improve Your Hygiene, Learn How to Prevent Eye Infections

When your eye is exposed to harmful microorganisms – such as bacteria, viruses, or fungi – an infection can occur. Both portions of the eyeball and the surrounding tissues can become infected, including the eye’s front surface (cornea) and the moist membrane that lines the inner eyelids and outer eye (conjunctiva).

Eye infections can produce a wide range of symptoms, including redness, pain, swelling, light sensitivity, watering, dryness, itching, vision changes, and discharge. Additionally, while some infections are largely an annoyance, others can be dangerous and might lead to serious damage.

Luckily, it is possible to prevent many eye infections, including conjunctivitis (more commonly known as “pink eye”), ocular herpes, acanthamoeba keratitis, and more. Proper hygiene can be the key to avoiding many infections entirely. If you want to improve yours, here’s how to get started.

Wash Your Hands

Whether you’ve been near someone with an infection or have handled items that may be contaminated, hand washing is often your first line of defense. Some microorganisms can be easily transferred between people or off of objects, including shared items like doorknobs and shopping carts. By washing your hands, you can rid yourself of many of the bacteria, fungi, and viruses that could lead to an infection.

Avoid Touching Your Eyes

Often, to get an eye infection, a microorganism needs to get to your eye. By not touching your eyes unless absolutely necessary (and always washing your hands first) and avoiding excess rubbing, you can decrease your odds of getting an infection.

Don’t Share Cosmetics or Eye Drops

Anything that touches your eye area should not be shared. By not allowing others to use your cosmetics or eye drops and not using those that belong to other people, you can limit your risk of exposure.

Proper Wear and Clean Contact Lenses

Contact lenses can cause infections when not properly worn or cleaned. Make sure you wash your hands before handling your lenses. Additionally, always cleanse and replace your lenses and case according to our ophthalmologist’s or optometrist’s instructions.

It’s also wise to avoid sleeping in your contacts whenever possible. Even lenses that are approved for overnight wear can increase your risk of infection, so remove them before sleeping every chance you get.

Clean Bedding, Towels, and Clothing

By cleaning any material that regularly contacts your face, you can remove microorganisms that could cause an infection. Additionally, if a family member has an eye infection, make sure they don’t share bedding, towels, or clothing with anyone else until the infection is gone to limit the chance of transfer.

By following the tips above, you can reduce your risk of acquiring an eye infection. If you are concerned you may have an eye infection or haven’t had your eyes checked recently, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA clinic today. Our skilled ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work to ensure the eye health of all of our patients, including offering treatment options that can help you overcome an eye infection.


If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit .

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Maintaining the health of your eyes is essential. Otherwise, a medical condition could cause irreparable damage, causing you to lose visual acuity or your ability to see.

If you suffer from diabetes, you could be at risk for diabetic retinopathy, a harmful condition that can rob you of your vision. Here’s what you need to know about this damaging eye disease.

What is Diabetic Retinopathy?

Diabetic retinopathy, in the simplest terms, is an eye disease that can occur in people who have diabetes and rob them of their vision. High blood sugar levels (blood glucose levels) can damage the blood vessels in the retina. Damaged blood vessels can lead to swelling and even leaking. In some cases, the blood vessels close, preventing blood from flowing properly in the eye. In both of those cases, your vision can be compromised, leading to diminished clarity or partial or full blindness.

At times, diabetic retinopathy can lead to the growth of new blood vessels on the retina. When this occurs, damage to your vision is possible, including falling acuity and even varying degrees of blindness.

Those in the initial stages of diabetic retinopathy may not know they have the condition. Often, the earliest symptoms can only be spotted during a thorough eye exam. However, noticeable symptoms do eventually occur, including blurriness, an increased number of floaters, vision changes, dark or black spots in the field of vision, declining night vision, and colors looking washed out or faded.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Diagnosed?

First, your ophthalmologist will take a detailed medical history. As they proceed, they will ask you about any current medical conditions and whether you are experiencing any symptoms that could make you prone to diabetic retinopathy or indicate you may have the condition.

During an exam, the ophthalmologist uses drops to dilate your eyes, causing your pupils to widen. Then, they can examine your eye with a special lens, allowing them to look for signs of diabetic retinopathy.

In some cases, your ophthalmologist may perform a fluorescein angiography. A special dye is injected into a vein, typically in your arm. Then, once the dye reaches the blood vessels in your eye, images are captured with a special camera, letting your ophthalmologist to see any blockages, leaks, or abnormal blood vessel growth.

Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is an alternative approach for closely examining the retina. A specialized machine scans the eye, providing highly detailed images that can help your ophthalmologist spot signs of diabetic retinopathy.

How is Diabetic Retinopathy Treated?

If your ophthalmologist diagnoses you with diabetic retinopathy, they may recommend certain treatments based on how the condition presents in your eyes. Typically, they will discuss blood sugar control options that can help slow the condition or even restore some of your vision.

They may also recommend an anti-VEGF medication, a prescription designed the limit swelling in the macula of the eye and potentially stop or reverse vision loss, or steroids, which also reduce inflammation. These medications are administered by a medical professional as it has to be given as an injection in the eye.

Laser surgery is another potential treatment. The lasers can seal leaking blood vessels and reduce swelling. They can also shrink intrusive blood vessels and potentially prevent them from recurring.

In more advanced cases, vitrectomy – a surgical procedure that removes blood from leaking vessels and vitreous gel toward the back of the eye – allows light to properly pass through the retina. This can help improve your vision and slow the progression of the condition.

If you are concerned about the health of your eyes or have not had a recent checkup, schedule an appointment at your nearest ECVA location today. Our skilled ophthalmologists, optometrists, and opticians work diligently to maintain the health of your eyes and to correct vision issues, ensuring your eyes remain in the best shape possible and you can see clearly.


If you have further questions or would like to schedule an appointment with one of the Ophthalmologists at Eye Care and Vision Associates please call 716.631-EYES (3937) or visit .