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How To Prevent “Mask Fog” on Your Glasses

If you wear glasses and a face mask, you’ve probably struggled with “mask fog.” Your lenses get all misty, requiring you to wipe your eyewear throughout the day. Below are a few strategies to help you prevent your eyeglasses from fogging up when wearing a mask.

But First, Why Do Glasses Fog Up?

Quite simply, condensation forms whenever moist warm air hits a cool surface. Your specs fog up when the mask directs your warm breath upward instead of in front of you — which is great for preventing virus transmission but bad for anyone with less-than-stellar eyesight.

Is Your Mask Well Fitted?

The mask should fit securely over your nose. Ideally, you’ll want to wear a mask with a nose bridge or one that can be shaped or molded to your face. When the mask fits properly, hopefully most of your breath will go through it, not out the top or sides.

Use Your Glasses To Seal the Top of Your Mask

This method works best with large, thick eyewear frames. By pulling your mask up higher on your nose and placing the lower part of your eyeglasses on the mask, you can get a snug fit that blocks your warm breath from escaping upward toward your eyewear.

Tape Your Mask to Your Face

You can always use tape to secure your mask across the bridge of your nose and the top of your cheeks. Use easy-to-remove tape, including adhesive, medical, or athletic. Just be sure to stay away from duct tape.

Soap and Water Help Prevent Fogging

This trick is one that healthcare professionals regularly turn to. All you need for this hack is soapy water (dish soap works best) and a microfiber cloth. Stay away from soaps with lotions in them as they can leave a thick residue, making it even harder to see.

Simply rub both sides of your lenses with a drop of soap, then buff the lenses with a soft microfiber cloth. This effective trick helps prevent your lenses from fogging up as a transparent, thin film of soap acts as a barrier.

Anti-Fog Wipes and Sprays

Another option is to purchase wipes and sprays designed to tackle foggy lenses.

Ask us about Zeiss Fog Defender which we offer for $7 per kit ( includes cleaner and cloth)!

Contact North Country Eye Care in West Lebanon today.

Important Update

We want to inform you about actions we are taking to mitigate the transmission of COVID-19 at North Country Eye Care. While we are always careful to maintain clean and safe office, we are taking extra precautions to strictly maintain the high standards of cleanliness at our practice, and we are following recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

For the health and safety of our staff and other patients, we kindly ask you to reschedule your appointment if you are sick, have recently traveled, or have been exposed to anyone who is sick. Please contact us if you need to reschedule your appointment and we will be happy to accommodate you. Thank you for helping us to maintain the good health of our patients and our eye care team.

Our practice is taking the following steps:

  • We sanitize all equipment and patient contact surfaces after every use and again at the end of the day.
  • Our team wash their hands and/or use sanitizer after contact with each patient and throughout the day.
  • Writing implements are rotated and cleaned frequently.
  • Any team member who has symptoms of illness will be told to stay home.
  • We continue to offer free shipping for annual supplies of contact lenses and are working with our contact lens supplier to offer low-cost or free shipping of less than annual supplies to patients’ home or workplace. We are also offering to ship eyeglass orders at no additional cost to patients who choose this option.

During this time, it is important for us all to remember to focus on things we can control. Taking measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is important for the welfare of our patients, staff and community. This is something we take very seriously. For information and updates on COVID-19, we recommend reviewing the information shared by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/protect/index.html

While this situation is evolving rapidly, we expect to continue to see patients though our hours will be changing for the short term. We will announce any future changes on our website, Google, and Facebook as well as by email. We encourage you to contact our practice if you have questions or concerns.

Thank you for your trust in us for your eye care needs.

Best wishes from Dr. Stegen, Dr. Eid and the North Country Eye Care team!

12 Tips for Optimal Eye Health

Expert Eye Care| Optometrist in West Lebanon | North Country Eye Care

Good Eye Care Habits & Hygiene

By practicing good eye care habits and hygiene, you can prevent many vision problems from occurring. Eye problems and the risks associated with vision loss only grow as you age. By neglecting eye care, you place yourself at a higher risk of suffering from cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, diabetic retinopathy, and low vision.

So make sure you maintain great eye health by following these 12 tips for optimal eye health.

1. Avoid rubbing your eyes

Itchy eyes can be a hallmark symptom of allergies, and though rubbing may bring temporary relief, it ultimately increases swelling and worsens the itch. If you wear contact lenses, rubbing your eyes can also dislodge or even break a lens, causing the lens to get lost or scratch the cornea. Plus, eye rubbing can lead to eye infections, since our hands are typically covered with a host of germs.

2. Regularly wash your hands

Conjunctivitis (pink eye) is often caused by germs and bacteria carried to your eyes by unclean hands. Frequently washing your hands with soap and warm water helps keep bacteria away and prevents eye contamination. Prior to inserting or removing contact lenses, make sure to wash your hands with mild soap and dry them using a lint-free towel.

3. Beware of UV rays

By exposing yourself to sunlight and UV rays, you increase the risk of developing macular degeneration and corneal sunburn. Beyond just adding some style and zest to your look, sunglasses should protect your eyes from dangerous UV rays. Speak to your optometrist about the different options available for people who wear prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses too, to keep your eyes safe in the sun.

4. Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is crucial for your body’s overall health and wellbeing — and that includes your eyes. Among other complications, if you don’t have enough fluid in your body, it impacts tear production and can cause dry eyes and irritation. Drink up!

5. Don’t smoke cigarettes

Need some extra motivation to quit smoking?

Smokers are more prone to developing age-related macular degeneration, cataracts, and other eye conditions. Cigarette smoking can also destroy optic nerves, which can adversely affect your vision over time. So think twice before you light up, and speak to your doctor about getting help to quit.

6. Eat a healthy diet

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables to ensure that your diet is rich in antioxidants, such as Vitamins A and C. These can be found in leafy greens (your mom was right about spinach!), orange vegetables (think, carrots and sweet potato) and citrus fruit. Furthermore, fatty fish like salmon contain essential omega-3 fatty acids which also promote excellent eye health.

7. Keep a healthy distance from screens

Nip digital eye strain in the bud by positioning your computer monitor about an arm’s length away from the eyes and 20 degrees below eye level. Ideally, work in a room with enough diffused lighting to reduce stress on your eyes from the computer light.

8. Remember the 20-20-20 rule

Speaking of computers, have you heard of the 20-20-20 rule? When using digital devices, rest your eyes every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 continuous seconds.

Once you’re at it, blink 20 times in succession to prevent dry eyes, and make it a habit to rise from your seat and take 20 steps to promote good posture and blood circulation, which helps your vision too.

9. Be careful with eye make-up

Make sure that your eye shadow, mascara, and eyeliner don’t cause your eyes an allergic reaction. Get in the habit of removing your make-up before going to sleep in order to avoid bacterial build-up from residual make-up left in the eye area. And, from time to time, clean your make-up brushes, especially those used to apply cosmetics around the eye area.

10. Sleep is golden

Just as with the rest of your body, your eyes need a break. So make sure that you get sufficient shut-eye (8 hours) each night to keep your eyes revitalized and healthy.

11. Wear protective eyewear

Whatever you do, make sure your eyes are well-protected. If you’re swimming, wear goggles to prevent chlorine from entering your eyes. If you’re gardening or engaged in a DIY project at home, wear safety glasses to keep dust particles and bacteria at bay and prevent eye injuries. Ask your local eye doctor about protective eyewear for sports and other activities.

12. Regularly visit your eye doctor

Don’t underestimate the importance of getting a routine eye exam, whether you need an updated prescription or not. Even if you can see well today, a comprehensive eye exam can pick up early signs of eye diseases and conditions before symptoms become noticeable, such as glaucoma, diabetes, retinal holes which could lead to retinal detachment, and cancers like melanoma. Early detection and management can prevent further complications and serious vision loss down the line.

Only an eye doctor has the required knowledge, experience, tools and techniques to determine whether you have these or other eye conditions.

It is recommended that everyone gets a comprehensive eye exam once every year. Children, whose eyes are rapidly developing, and people at higher risk for developing eye problems such as diabetics and people over the age of 60, need to undergo eye exams even more frequently: at the minimum, yearly.

During the evaluation, the eye doctor will check for things like:

  • Farsightedness, nearsightedness, astigmatism and/or presbyopia
  • Eye coordination
  • Overall eye health including checks for glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts among many other eye conditions and diseases

It’s also important to be on the look-out for any changes in your vision. If you experience hazy or double vision, worsening eyesight, red eyes, eye pain, swelling or floaters, contact Dr. Richard Stegen.

Incorporate these tips and habits into your lifestyle to maintain healthy eyes and a high quality of life. North Country Eye Care offers comprehensive eye exams in West Lebanon, New Hampshire, and will be happy to answer any questions you may have about ways to maintain healthy vision.

Neurolens

neurolens banner 2The average american spends more than 8 hours a day on digital devices. This constant strain on our visual systems has caused a large portion of the population to have symptoms such as dry eye, migraines, neck and shoulder pain as well as eye strain. Some treatments consist of dry eye management and prescription eyewear. Other patients who still struggle may be candidates for a new technology from Neurolens. This latest technology measures how well your visual system works when focusing on near activities. Many patients would benefit from contoured prism lenses that help reduce the stimulation of the Trigeminal nerve, causing migraines as well as neck and shoulder pain. Technological advancements have allowed us to diagnose this issue and provide lenses that will help treat this misalignment.

North Country Eye Care is the first to bring this advanced technology to New England. During your eye exam, you may have specialized testing to determine how well your eyes work together to provide clear comfortable vision. Good vision includes comfort, clarity and a healthy visual system. Contact our office and see how we can provide the best vision possible for you.

Ultimate Lens Hoax

I have been asked by patients to explain the Essilor Ultimate lens package. Whenever a company offers a buy one get one free deal, you should know that it is charging the price of two total. It is a way of deceiving the consumer into believing they got a deal when in reality they just purchased double the amount of product. I do recommend different glasses for particular usage for patients and offer a discount incentive to do so, not just because I like more sales, but because it is my responsibility to provide the best most comfortable vision for my patients. You can get glasses anywhere, but to get the best results you want to have the help and advice of an expert in optics. It is my job as an optician to sort through all of the product available on the market and recommend what would work best and provide the best value for my patients.

How important is good vision to your child’s success?

By Scott Thielen ABOC-AC

Girl Child Doing homework 1280x480Many parents rely on school vision screenings to determine if their child has a vision issue, however these screening generally only pick up 25% of children with vision problems. The fact is school nurses only check for visual acuity and not the complete visual system. Worse yet is only 39% of the children who fail these screenings see an optometrist or ophthalmologist. Many children who are diagnosed with learning disorders, really are in need eyeglasses or vision therapy. Being able to see a vision chart is not the same as being able to see without straining the visual system. An analogy I often give to parents is try reading a book while doing push ups and see how much you retain. A child that is exerting lots of energy just to be able to read is not comprehending what is read. Local Lions Clubs are doing a lot to screen local children and bring awareness to vision issues, but still many parents are not taking the results of failed screenings seriously. We know vision accounts for 80% of what we learn, so it is very important for the future of our children.

Symptoms of learning-related vision problems include:

  • Headaches or eye strain
  • Blurred vision or double vision
  • Crossed eyes or eyes that appear to move independently of each other (Read more about strabismus.)
  • Dislike or avoidance of reading and close work
  • Short attention span during visual tasks
  • Turning or tilting the head to use one eye only, or closing or covering one eye
  • Placing the head very close to the book or desk when reading or writing
  • Excessive blinking or rubbing the eyes
  • Losing place while reading, or using a finger as a guide
  • Slow reading speed or poor reading comprehension
  • Difficulty remembering what was read
  • Omitting or repeating words, or confusing similar words
  • Persistent reversal of words or letters (after second grade)
  • Difficulty remembering, identifying or reproducing shapes
  • Poor eye-hand coordination
  • Evidence of developmental immaturity

Why does my prescription not include the PD?

spectangleMany patient’s looking to purchase eyeglasses online, expect to have the PD when they receive their prescription. Some offices will put the PD measured by some of the instrumentation during your exam on the prescription and others will have the optician take that measurement for you. The doctor during your exam does not take your PD at anytime during your exam, as that is left to the optician who is going to make your eyewear. Having an inaccurate PD will not harm you, but may make your vision uncomfortable, strained and in the worse case scenario, cause double vision. The most accurate way to measure the optical center of your glasses is with the frame on. For most patients this usually does not cause a problem, but those who are sensitive to prescription changes and/or have stronger prescriptions will have issues. A professional optician, like a carpenter making a cabinet, would never rely on someone else to take those measurements. When it comes to bifocals and progressive lenses, a segment height is needed and would be almost impossible to get accurately without the patient in front of you with the glasses on. Your optician may or may not charge for these measurements, but remember when you are in need of professional services such as adjustments and advice, that your optician would not be there to preform these services if other customers were not purchasing from them. Some online companies have attached a monetary value to these services. Warby Parker for example will refund up to $50 for these services, because they know it is important to the overall satisfaction with your eyewear. Here at North Country Eye Care, we offer a optical service plan that covers your measurements, adjustments, verification and consultation.

Do I need a Vision Plan?

Many patients wonder if having a vision plan is necessary. As a provider of vision care, we can give you the prospective of a provider on how these plans work. It is important to realize the difference between an Insurance company and Vision plan. Insurances are set up to reduce the potential risk of a catastrophic injury, disease or financial hardship. The insurance company collects premiums to invest and calculate the risk of paying more in claims than they collect in premiums and or can make in investments. Vision plans on the other hand are selling plans to people with a specific need to get glasses and or contact lenses. How many vision plan are sold to people not in the need for glasses or contacts?

In order to make money these plans must charge more in premiums than they pay out in coverage. Vision plans will negotiate with providers to accept low reimbursements in exchange for increased volume (more patients). For providers to make this work they need to see more patients in a shorter time and find ways to cut costs. This creates an inability of providers to put patient care first, as speed and cost cutting is paramount to business survival. Some providers have started to recognize the problems with this model and have decided patient satisfaction and care is more important to them professionally. This is why your provider may not take the vision plan you are looking for. If you have decided to choose to purchase a vision plan, contact your eye care provider and ask what are the pros and cons of the different plans. Ultimately you will have to determine what you value about your eye care.

When cost is the only determining factor in choosing your eye care, you can not beat a vision plan for value. However if you are interested in quality of care, eye health, choice of products, warranties and consultation from your Doctor and optician on the optimal way to provide the best vision possible for you and your lifestyle, a vision plan does not provide the best value.

Use it or lose it

The end of the year means its the Holiday season and we all are busy preparing for them. During this busy time, it is easy to forget our medical flex plans and the fact we need to spend the money we have saved there before the end of the year or we lose it. One important thing you can use your FSA money towards are prescription glasses and even prescription sunglasses. So if you find yourself with unused funds in your FSA, stop by our office and we can help you choose a new pair of eyeglasses or sunglasses. If you are planning for next year, I would stop in and have us give you a quote on new glasses and/or sunglasses.

8 Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes

Whether you live in a climate with cold winter weather or you are planning a ski trip up north, winter can be a challenge if you suffer from dry eyes. Dry, cool air, cold winds and even drier indoor heating can cause eye irritation, burning, itchiness and redness, and sometimes even excessively watery eyes as more tears are produced to compensate for the dryness. Many people have a chronic feeling that they have something in their eye and some even experience blurred vision. These symptoms can be debilitating!

Dry eyes is one of the most common complaints eye doctors get from patients during the winter season, especially in the cooler climates. That’s why we’d like to share some tips on how to relieve dry eye discomfort, and how to know when your condition is serious enough to come in for an evaluation.

Tips to Relieve Winter Dry Eyes:

  1. Keep eyes moist using artificial tears or eye drops. You can apply these a few times each day when the eyes are feeling dry or irritated. If over-the-counter drops don’t help or if you have chronic dry eyes, speak to your eye doctor about finding the best drops for you. Since not all artificial tears are the same, knowing the cause of your dry eye will help your eye doctor determine which brand is best suited for your eyes.
  2. Use a humidifier to counteract the drying effects of indoor heaters or generally dry air.
  3. Point car vents or indoor heaters away from your face when the heat is on. Try to keep your distance from direct sources of heating, especially if they blow out the heat.
  4. Drink a lot! Hydrating your body will also hydrate your eyes.
  5. Protect your eyes outdoors with sunglasses or goggles – the bigger the better! Larger, even wrap-around glasses as well as a hat with a wide brim will keep the wind and other elements out of your eyes. If you wear goggles for winter sports, make sure they fit well and cover a large surface area.
  6. Soothe dry eyes using a warm compress and never rub them! Rubbing your eyes will increase irritation and may lead to infection if the hands are not clean.
  7. Give your eyes a digital break. People blink less during screen time which is why extensive computer use can lead to dry eyes. Follow the 20/20/20 rule by taking a break every 20 minutes to look 20 feet away for 20 seconds and make sure you blink!
  8. For contact lens wearers: If you wear contact lenses, dry eyes can be particularly debilitating as the contact lenses can cause even further dryness and irritation. Contact lens rewetting drops can help your eyes feel better and may also allow you to see more clearly. Not all eyedrops are appropriate for use with contact lenses, so ask your optometrist which eyedrop is compatible with your contacts and cleaning solution. If rewetting drops don’t help, consider opting for glasses when your dry eyes are bad, and speak to your optometrist about which brands of contact lenses are better for dry eyes. Many people find dry eye improvement when they switch to daily single use contact lenses.

Chronic Dry Eyes or Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eye syndrome is a chronic condition in which the eyes do not produce enough tear film, or do not produce the quality of tear film needed to properly keep the eyes moist. While winter weather can make this condition worse, it is often present all year round. If you find that the tips above do not alleviate your discomfort or symptoms, it may be time to see a optometrist to see if your condition requires more effective medical treatment.