Blue Light and Your Eyes – All You Need to Know

New protective lenses offset compuyrer screens' blue light

Are your eyes frequently dry and irritated? Do you have sudden headaches, especially after working on your computer? Trouble sleeping after a long day in front of the various screens that are part of our daily lives?


It could be the light. The blue light, to be more specific.


Several studies have firmly established that the light emanating from computer, tablet and cell phone screens is damaging to our health in a variety of ways, starting with our eyes.


But now there’s a way to prevent the damage.


Let’s first understand why long, unprotected periods of looking at screens can be a serious health issue.


We are exposed daily to light from a variety of sources, with diverse characteristics:


Daylight /sunlight provides the full spectrum of colors, including ultraviolet and infrared, invisible to humans. A healthy dose of sunlight is essential to our health – think calcium, vitamin D, strong bones –  but studies over the past decades have shown that ultra violet rays damages skin cells and contribute to the development of skin cancers and cataracts. The harmful ultra violet can be managed with sunscreen and good sunglass lenses, which block UV, enhancing the natural ability of our eyes to filter UV light.


The good ol’ incandescent light provided by regular light have minimum effect on eyes and skin. They are going the way of the dinosaur, though, and are being replaced by more the more energy-saving halogen, LED and fluorescent bulbs.

computer screens are source of harmful blue ligh


Fluorescent bulbs and cool white LED sources of light have the higher amount of blue light , also known as Higher Energy Visible light, or HEV, close to UV and known to impact skin and eyes. Fluorescent bulbs have about 25% of blue light, while LED – present in computer screens, tablets, TV and most smartphones – have as much as 35% of HEV.


Over the past two decades, more sustainable, but also more HEV-intense, light sources are now the rule in our daily lives. On top of that, the use of LED screens, once restricted to a small group ops users, has become widespread. Can you imagine a common day in your life without looking at a cell phone, TV or computer screen?


Scientists have been tracking the impact of these changes on our health. And the results are worrisome: in terms of vision alone, HEV contributes to retinal disease, lenticular disease and ocular surface disease. Dr. Francine Behar-Cohen, founder of the INSERM (French Institute of Health and Medical Research) states that HEV light has long been identified as the most dangerous light for the retina. “After chronic exposure, one can expect (long term) growth of macular degenerations, glaucoma and retinal degenerative diseases.” Research has also indicated that cumulative lifetime exposure to blue wavelength light increases the risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD).


And that’s just the impact on our eyes – Harvard researchers conducted an experiment comparing the effects of 6.5 hours of exposure to blue light to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. The blue light suppressed melatonin for about twice as long as the green light and shifted circadian rhythms – the “internal clock” that tells us when to go to sleep and when to wake up – by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours). In a separate study. Short or irregular sleep can lead to increased risk of depression, diabetes and cardiovascular problems.


Since screens are going nowhere, what can we do to protect ourselves. Planning a healthy regimen of cycles with and without looking at screens is a good start.


Getting the right lenses – even if you don’t need corrective glasses – is a powerful resource with immediate results.


Working with scientists who have been studying the impact of HEV on human vision, several optical companies have created coating and lenses that effectively block harmful blue light from ever reaching the eye.


SeeCoat Blue is a coating specifically designed to filter HEV light. Applied on the front and back of lens, it effectively eliminates a large portion of harmful blue light in the 380-500m nanometers range. Besides protecting the eyes, SeeCoat Blue also improves contrast and reduces ocular stress, and it’s also anti-scratching, anti-glare and anti-static.


Essilor, makers of the widely prescribed Crizal lenses, has just come out with Crizal Prevencia, the first clear lenses which protect the eyes against both UBV and Blue-Violet (HEV) light. The lenses are perfectly clear (if you want to check whether they are “legit”, just rotate the glasses under a light source, and you’ll see a violet reflection at the edge of lens); and yet, they are doing the job of being a barrier between your eyes and the unsafe violet-blue light, all the while giving you crisper vision and preventing eye strain.


Would you go out in the sun (or snow) without sunscreen? Re-think your glasses as sunscreen for your eyes. They will thank you.


How to Choose the Best (and Most On Point) Sunglasses

Sunglasses on tren,d Sumemr 2017

Enjoying the summer? You’re not forgetting to add “sunglasses” to your list of summer essentials, right? Think of them as sunscreen for one of the most crucial and delicate parts of your body – your eyes.


Direct and indirect sunlight can expose your eyes to the sun’s UV rays, and extended exposure to UV rays has been linked to eye damage, which includes cataracts, macular degeneration, pingueculae, pterygia and photokeratitis that can cause both temporary and permanent vision loss. Cataracts, the most common vision affliction in women and men over 50, are caused in large part by exposure to UV rays – an estimated 20% of cases are caused by extended UV exposure.


Of course, sunglasses are a major fashion accessory. Movie stars, models, James Bond, Jackie, James Dean – no famous face has been in the sun without this essential fashion statement. Actually, some were known to wear them at night – something that we do not recommend, from a health standpoint…


Before we move into the fun part of picking your sunglasses, let’s take a look at the basics for a good pair of sunglasses that will do the job of protecting your eyes (and your family’s…)


  • Look for sunglasses that protect you from 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB light. This includes those labeled as “UV 400,” which blocks all light rays with wavelengths up to 400 nanometers.
  • If you spend long periods of time outside, especially on or near the water – water reflects and amplifies UV exposure – you may want to consider wraparound sunglasses to prevent harmful UV rays from entering around the frame.
  • Give preference to sunglasses with polarized lenses. Polarized lenses are coated with a chemical film that helps reduce glare. Glare is caused when light from the sun is reflected off of water or a solid surface, like sidewalks and asphalt. By neutralizing glare, polarized lenses help you see objects more clearly, and also help reduce the harmful effects of UV light.
  • Kids need sunglasses too. A substantial amount of damage to the eyes occurs in the early years of development.
Fashion forward sunglasses and frames at oohlalaOptometry, Sherman Oaks, CA
We have all the trends: mirrored lenses (this one, by Michael Kors); bold, oversized and vintage-inspired frames. All available at OohLala Optometry, Sherman Oaks, CA


Style-wise, current trends for sunglasses point to the bold and vintage-inspired. Mirrored tints are all the rage for her and him. Oversized frames, pops of color and interesting textures are major.


By now you know that the best way to shop for eyewear is at a local, trusted shop, where trained personnel can give you all the pointers you need, in both style and quality. Before you pack for your summer getaway, stop by OohLala Optometry and stock up! We are fully stocked with sunglasses and sunglass frames in all the major trends. And, as always, we provide the best advice on how to pick your own vision health and fashion statement.

Be a Star! Wear Glasses!

Movie stars wearing glasses
Gentlemen, there’s a new hot accessory in town: eyeglasses. Well, not exactly new – they’re been around since 1268 – but certainly hotter than ever. Check your social media feeds – can you count how many stars and celebrities are sporting glasses, not just to be stylishly captured by paparazzi while running errands, but at glamorous events like awards shows and premieres?


Fashion magazines have already taken notice – GQ, an authority in men’s style, stated that this year’s Golden Globes gala was a “spectacle of handsome glasses.” And it was, for sure: from Joel Edgerton to Bryan Cranston, the gentlemen stars added carefully curated eyewear to their black-tie styles. And the trend continued at the Oscars, the Emmys, the Grammys, the Sundance Film Festival and the Spring/Summer Fashion Weeks, where male models went down the runway with eyewear matching their outfits.


Glasses ARE an accessory, as important and style-defining as your shoes or your watch. Even more important, we should add: they’re right there on your face. If you care for how your hair, mustache or beard look, how about pondering the importance of something that not only makes you see clearly but also frames your whole face?


Long gone are the days when men had a meager selection of frames, especially for prescription glasses. Here at Ooh La La Optometry we carry an expertly curated selection of frames, from bold to classic, vintage-inspired to fashion-forward. And our trained staff will be at hand to assist you with your choice. A well fitted pair of glasses should match your skin and hair tones, the size of your eyes, head and nose, and that je ne sais quoi that makes you, you.

State Optical Eyewear at Ooh La La Optometry

Which brings us to the most recent addition to our collection: the fabulous frames of State Optical. Launched in 2014 in Chicago by cousins Marc Franchi and Jason Stanley, owners of an eyewear factory in Ventura, California, and partners Scott Shapiro and Jerry Wolowicz, executives at an independent eyewear company, State is the first genuinely American brand of luxury eyewear.


Crafted by optometrist Blake Kuwahara, State’s premiere collection features 12 different styles, each pair handcrafted by artisans. The look is polished and sharp, with vintage references (some gentlemen’s frames have something of the classic-Hollywood look of Gregory Peck in To Kill a Mockinbird – a look seen again as sported by Harrison Ford, Robert Downey Jr. and Johnny Depp, among many other stars). The craftsmanship is superb, and – a lovely surprise- the pieces are entirely affordable. (Check some of our State Optical frames in our Eyewear Gallery)

So – gentlemen, pay us a visit. A great way to upgrade your vision and your style.


Worth adding – of course we have a wonderful selection of ladies’ frames, including State’s.

The Future of Progressive Contact Lenses is Here!

There is a defining moment in the lives of every glasses wearer: that day when you get sick and tired of wearing glasses. There is a very good chance this moment of unease will come after your prescription has become more complex, with bifocal or progressive lenses replacing simpler up-close or long-distance glasses. You feel dependent on your glasses, insecure without them. And, more often than not, wishing there was a simpler, more comfortable and – why not? – less obtrusive and more elegant way to deal with the multiple vision issues that pop up sometime after our 40th birthday. You consider contact lenses, even give them a try… but end up quitting because they’re either imprecise or uncomfortable.

The good news is – there is a solution. And the even better news is – the solution has been majorly upgraded.

Contact lenses have been with us since 1888 when German ophthalmologist Adolf Gaston Eugen Fick constructed and fitted the first successful contact lens. They were made from heavy blown glass, with a 18–21mm in diameter, and Fick filled the empty space between cornea/callosity and glass with a dextrose solution. Of course they were neither efficient nor comfortable. But Fick’s work (which was actually based on Leonardo da Vinci’s and Descartes’ experiments that, in the 16th and 17th centuries, uncovered the mechanisms of accommodation of the eye) paved the way to a series of discoveries that led, in the mid-20th century to the contact lenses we know now.

The evolution from rigid to soft lenses, and from soft lenses to high oxygen permeable lenses expanded the range of users and possibilities. We now have overnight contacts, daily/disposable lenses, lenses that retain moisture.

But how about multifocal lenses? A later introduction to the roster of contact lenses, multifocal contacts have multiple focal points, just like progressive eyeglass lenses. This is especially useful when correcting something that affects us all after our 40th birthday: presbyopia, a condition that is part of natural aging and affects the eye’s ability to focus on nearby objects, causing them to appear blurry and out of focus.

Presbyopia is made more difficult to address with contacts due to another condition of 40+ users: dry eyes. Many contact lens wearers discontinue the use of contact lenses after age 40 due to dryness, discomfort and visual acuity issues.

And here’s the even better news: we can replace our progressive glasses for multifocal lenses with contacts that offer a whole new level of precision and comfort. A brand new generation of multifocal contacts incorporates new technology that reduces end-of-day dryness, with a hydrophilic (water-loving) surface that is almost as soft as the surface of the cornea.

Ready to ditch the glasses? Hoping you could have a choice for the gym, sports, special occasions? Your eye doctor is the best person to evaluate your chances of adapting to the new generation of multifocal contacts. Make an appointment now and get ready for a whole new world vision. At Ooh LaLa Optometry Dr. Ana Vargas will fit you with the new, state of the art bifocal /multifocal contacts – and you get free trial pair with the fitting!

Four Excellent Reasons To Visit Your Optical Store

Buying glasses at an optical store

These days you can buy pretty much everything online, right? Right but… for some things you better NOT go that way. Glasses, for instance.

There are many reasons why you should select your prescription eyewear in a brick-and-mortar shop, where real, qualified humans can assist you not only with your choice of frames but, most importantly, advise you on the crucial selection of the lenses that will improve your vision.

Browsing online can be a lot of fun – and a great way to explore the latest trends in eyewear – but here’s why you should visit your favorite optometrist to make your final purchases.

Choosing a lens requires precision. And information.

Most online sellers allow for basic lenses and, for a fee, some of them even have options for some “high index” lenses for more complex prescriptions. However, these options don’t cover the full gamut of choices available for complex or “strong” perceptions. Patients with high prescriptions, or those who are borderline, are better off with the advice of qualified optical consultants who can fully present them with all the choices and the most recent developments in lens technology. Patients with high prescriptions can easily be dissatisfied with a cookie-cutter option pre-chosen by an online vendor – a physical, trained professional, on the other hand, would have informed you on the best possible lens choices for your particular vision needs.

Lenses need to be fitted.
Have you ever purchased glasses with progressive lenses? If you have, you know that precision is key when fitting your new pair of glasses. Where you mark the beginnings of that progressive corridor can majorly impact the visual outcome. Some patients need the progressive corridors marked a little higher than “standard” or a little lower. You can’t do that online – you would be merely repeating information from previous fittings. And like any optometrist worth her salt will tell you, your eyes change through the years.

Frames need to be fitted.
A good eyeglass frame does to your face what a good frame would do to a work of art: enhance it. The best eyewear is the one that not only addresses your vision concerns but also fits and flatters the contours of your face and works harmoniously with your skin and hair tones and, in many instances, with the shape of your body. Have you ever been complimented on how good you look wearing glasses? Chances are, you picked that pair with the help of a trusted optical technician. Yes, most online vendors provide some cool tech in an attempt to mimic this person-to-person interaction. It’s fun, but it only goes to a limit. The online tech can be a good tool to help you decide for a certain shape or color, but nothing replaces the dedicated, patient and expert support of a well-trained optical technician.

Frames need to be adjusted.
Yes, most reputable online vendors will reimburse a purchase if the glasses are not to your liking but… can you afford to lose your investment of the most precious currency of all, time? Purchasing prescription eyewear in a store will give you access to unlimited adjustments as the glasses adapt to your face, movement and lifestyle.

So yes, have fun with your online browsing – but go to a brick and mortar store for your final purchase. You will be saving time and, quite possible, money – purchasing more value for your dollar. And most importantly – your eyes deserve it

The Eyes Have It: Dos and Don’ts Of Costume Contact Lenses

Michael Jackson wearing special contact lenses in
Michael Jackson and his scary all-yellow "wolf" contact lenses

It’s that time of the year again, when fun-and-candy seeking goblins and trolls take to the streets. You or someone you know might be planning a costume… and considering the latest trend in fantasy and cosplay: special effects, novelty or “crazy” contact lenses.

Here’s a word of advice: don’t.

A contact lens is a medical device, and as such must be fitted and selected by a qualified professional – your optometrist or ophthalmologist- and dispensed under prescription, from a reputable vendor. Your eye doctor will choose the right pair for your condition, and show you the best and safest way to handle your contact lenses. Unheeded, all this professional advice can lead to dire consequences: eye damage occurs in nearly 20 percent of contact lens-related eye infections reported to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over 10 years, researchers say.

Improper and unsafe use of regular, corrective contact lenses – such as sleeping with them in place, keeping them in old, non-sterile solutions, improper handling or using the same pair too long – can cause serious eye injuries, running from inflammation to infection and corneal damage so severe that can only be corrected by surgery.

And all this with FDA-approved contact lenses, obtained with a prescription and under the supervision of your eye doctor. Imagine what can happen if you decide to wear lenses of uncertain provenance, manufactured in unknown conditions, from unlicensed vendors…

Elvis Presley in
Elvis Presley goes brown-eyes for the western "Flaming Star"

Special effects lenses have been safely used in movies and TV shows since the late 1950s, when Sherman Oaks optometrist Morton Greenspoon –a pioneer in the field- changed Elvis Presley’s eyes from blue to brown for the musical western Flaming Star, in which Elvis played the son of a Kiowa Indian (Dolores DelRio). Dr. Greenspoon acquired immediate notoriety in 1983, when Michael Jackson donned Dr. Greenspoon’s all-yellow, scary-looking lenses created especially for the music video Thriller.

Special-effect contact lenses are selected, fitted and dispensed by trained medical professionals, on set. They have an opaque (non-transparent) tint to completely mask the natural eye color. The center of the lens, which lies over the pupil, is clear so the user can see.

Most novelty or costume contact lenses, available to the general public, cover just the colored portion of your eye (iris), but special-effect scleral lenses, like all-black, red, yellow or white contacts, cover both the iris and the "white" (sclera) of your eyes to create a more dramatic look.

If you are truly committed to going all-out on your costume, contact your doctor – she can prescribe a special effects or fantasy pair of lens from a trusted, licensed provider. But with so many makeup and mask options out there… why not play it safe? Halloween comes and goes once a year, but your eyes, delicate and precious, are forever.

Six Tips to Fix Dry Eyes

Do you have something in common with Jennifer Aniston? If your eyes feel like sandpaper at the end of the day, if you find yourself scratching them endlessly, and they almost always look an unappealing red, you do. You and Jennifer Aniston share a common modern affliction: dry eyes.

There are many causes to dry eye syndrome: aging, genetic predisposition, hormone imbalance, contact lenses, environmental issues. Even people with perfectly healthy eyes can develop dryness due two staples of 21st century living: climate-controlled offices and homes and long hours in front of computer screens. According to recent statistics, over 25 million Americans suffer from dry eye syndrome – so you and Jennifer Aniston are not alone.

I see many patients with dry eyes here at Ooh La La Optometry. Many come for a vision exam unaware that their problems – blurry vision, difficulty focusing- are due in great part to eye dryness. Here’s what I recommend to manage and treat dry eye syndrome:

1. Check your environment. Dust, mold, and pollution – all of these can trigger dry eyes. Check the filters of your air conditioner/furnace, and clean or replace them often. Consider investing in a humidifier for your home or work space– Southern California is notorious for its dry weather, especially in the Summer and early Fall months; the low levels of humidity can aggravate the pollution and rage havoc on your eyes.
2. Be kind to your eyes. Long hours in front of computer screens suck the moisture out your eyes. To make matters worse, when staring at screens we tend to reduce the number of times we blink, cutting down on the natural way our eyes keep themselves moist. If you must spend long hours at the computer, take regular breaks – close your eyes, or do a series of slow blinks. If you can, avoid working on computers while wearing contact lenses. Even the most advanced lenses can lower your eyes’ tear levels. You will look great in one of Ooh La La Optometry’s stylish frames!

3. Explore over-the-counter medications. There are plenty of good options for dry eyes on the shelves: lubricant eye drops in bottles and vials and lubricant eye ointments, both medicated and plain. Your eye doctor can recommend the best options for your particular case – for instance, seriously dry eyes may need eye drops during the day and a dab of lubricant ointment in the lower lid, at night. Keep one bottle of drops in the refrigerator- your eyes will thank you for a couple of cool, revitalizing drops (that will also eliminate redness…)
4. Give your eyes a spa day. Compresses are a tried and true way to calm down irritated, dry eyes and give them a moisture boost. Cool compresses – of pure cold water or tea (black, calendula and chamomile are the best) can rest your eyes and eyelids, combating inflammation and reducing redness and swelling. If your eye doctor has diagnosed you with blepharitis (inflamed and clogged oil glands at the edge of your eyelids), opt for warm compresses. Both relax the eyes and encourage moisture balance.
5. Eat well. The antioxidants in Omega-3 fatty acids are good for a lot of things, including your eyes. . A 2011 study found that eating unsaturated fatty acids can effectively treat dry eyes. Aim to eat at least two portions of fish a week, one of which should be oily fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel. Other options are capsules of fish, krill or flax oil, taken daily.

6. Consider medical procedures. There are a number of simple procedures that can effectively put an end to dry eyes. Placing punctal plugs in a drainage port in the corner of the eyelid is a simple, common and very effective procedure. For those diagnoses with blepharitis there’s lipiflow, a 12 minute, this in-office procedure that massages out the clogged content of your eyes through the clever application of heat and touch. IPL (Intense Pulse Light), a common tool in dermatology, is now entering as a dry eye treatment since it has been shown to decrease inflammation of blepharitis by reducing the number of blood vessels that accumulate around the eyelids, causing dry eye problems.

Did you just realize you have dry eyes? Schedule a visit to  Ooh La La Optometry– we’ll be delighted to help you on you way to healthy eyes!