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Covid-19

Fit & Fog: A Guide for Glasses and Mask Wear

As we all don masks amidst the pandemic, more than just your nose and mouth can be obstructed. Fog caused by your breath escaping your mask causes unwanted fog on your eyewear too. The AARP offers these tips to avoid this annoying side effect.

As more Americans don face masks to venture outside during the COVID-19 pandemic, many of those who wear glasses are finding that their lenses fog up. It’s a problem that bespectacled surgeons, as well as goggle-wearing skiers, have long experienced.

Why does it happen? In a 1996 article in Ophthalmic & Physiological Optics, Tom Margrain, a professor at Cardiff University’s School of Optometry and Vision Sciences, explained that in general “when a spectacle wearer enters a warm environment after having been in a cooler one, his/her spectacles may ‘mist up’ due to the formation of condensation on the lens surface.” He went on to say that polycarbonate lenses demisted more rapidly than those made of glass.

With that in mind, if your eyeglasses are fogging when you put on a face mask, it’s because warm, moist air you exhale is being directed up to your glasses. To stop the fogging, you need to block your breath from reaching the surfaces of your lenses.

The Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England published an article in 2011 that offered a simple method to prevent fogging, suggesting that, just before wearing a face mask, people wash their spectacles with soapy water, shake off the excess and then allow the lenses to air-dry.

“Washing the spectacles with soapy water leaves behind a thin surfactant film that reduces this surface tension and causes the water molecules to spread out evenly into a transparent layer,” the article reveals. “This ‘surfactant effect’ is widely utilised to prevent misting of surfaces in many everyday situations.” Antifogging solutions used for scuba masks or ski goggles also accomplish this.

Another tactic is to consider the fit of your face mask, to prevent your exhaled breath from reaching your glasses. An easy hack is to place a folded tissue between your mouth and the mask. The tissue will absorb the warm, moist air, preventing it from reaching your glasses. Also, make sure the top of your mask is tight and the bottom looser, to help direct your exhaled breath away from your eyes.

If you are using a surgical mask with ties, a 2014 article in the Annals of the Royal College of Surgeons of England advises going against your instincts. Tie the mask crisscross so that the top ties come below your ears and the bottom ties go above. It will make for a tighter fit.

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Don’t touch your face! Wiping fog from glasses with your fingers could lead to more dirt, germs, and smudges on your lenses. Read the tips below to keep fog away.

Click here for more information or you can read the full article at https://www.aarp.org/health/conditions-treatments/info-2020/eyewear-face-masks.html?cmp=SNO-ICM-FB-HLTH&socialid=3674304838.

Diabetes in the era of COVID-19

In a recent research article published in the Journal, Metabolism-Clinical and Experimental, a group of researchers from the UK reviewed nearly 338,000 diabetic patients. They evaluated the percentages who had contracted Covid-19, and compared this to their glycemic control measure, known as hemoglobin A1c. This percentage of glucose in the bloodstream , known as glycosolated hemoglobin, gives a more longer term measure of diabetic control, versus the up and down dynamics experienced on a day to day basis.

Normal A1c is between 5.3% and 5.7%. If a patient’s measure falls between 5.8% and 5.99%, the patient is classified as pre-diabetic. At 6.0% and higher, diabetes is diagnosed. The higher the percentage, the more ‘out of control’ the patient’s diabetes is, and the sooner the destructive impact of the disease will be manifested.

This study found that between March 16, 2020 and April 26, 2020, there were 649 cases of Covid-19 serious enough to warrant hospitalization.

Here is from the study’s abstract:

  • Multivariable adjusted analyses demonstrated an increased risk of COVID-19 in persons who had undiagnosed diabetes at baseline (defined as A1C ≥6.5%) and in those with poorly controlled diabetes (defined as A1C ≥8.6%). Relative risk was 2.68 in those with undiagnosed diabetes at baseline and 1.91 in those with poorly controlled diabetes.
  • With increasing A1c—even within the normal range—the risk of COVID-19 increased progressively. Regulation of blood glucose may have a significant role in immune response to COVID-19.

Put in very simplistic terms, the higher the A1c, the greater the risk of not only contracting COVID-19, but experiencing more and more severe complications. So, the take home message for our patients with diabetes is this: Anything you can do to maintain control, and, hopefully in lowering your A1c is worth the effort! Thanks for everything you do to maintain your diet, exercise, sleep and medications in the face of this destructive disease!

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. Read the fine print, as certain anti-fog solutions may not work as well, or may even damage lenses with  coatings that minimize glare and fingerprint smudges, for example. 

 

To learn more about ways to keep your glasses from fogging while wearing a mask, contact EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights today.

 

What Will Optometry Practices Look Like Post-COVID?

COVID-19’s rapid sweep across the country has forced optical practices to make rapid clinical management decisions. Some optometrists temporarily shuttered their businesses due to the pandemic, while others began to offer emergency appointment services and telehealth.

 

As mandatory restrictions begin to lift in many locations, optometrists are beginning to open their doors for routine care. But this time around they will implement strict social distancing guidelines and take unprecedented precautions to limit the spread of infection.

Some of the Changes You Should Expect to See

 

1) Signage throughout the office spelling out new steps and protocols to ensure maximum safety for staff and patients alike.

 

2) Social distancing will be the new norm. Packed waiting rooms will be a thing of the past. Instead, clinics will be spacing out seating to reduce capacity and scheduling in longer intervals to minimize patient interactions. Some clinics may ask patients to wait in their cars until they receive a text message from the office stating that they can come in.

 

3) Certain practices will require appointments for individuals to see and try on the array of frames and sunglasses at the dispensary. Bookings will be in 15-20 minute increments, accessed by one individual at a time.

 

4) Methods will be introduced to decrease the number of surfaces a patient touches. This will include leaving the clinic’s front door open (or replacing it with a motion-activated door), facilitating cashless payments, and encouraging patients to fill out registration forms online.

 

5) Patients who aren’t feeling well or who have been in contact with someone who is ill will be asked to reschedule their appointment two to three weeks in the future.

 

6) Measuring one’s temperature at the entrance will become commonplace — this goes for both staff and patients. Though not the most reliable screening tool, as those who are asymptomatic can still spread the virus, it will identify some people who aren’t well. Anyone registering 100.4° or above will be sent home.

 

7) There will be more time between appointments, to allow the staff to thoroughly clean and disinfect before and after each patient’s visit.

 

8) Many eye practitioners will be wearing safety goggles and face masks, particularly during any up-close contact with the patient. Patients may also be asked to wear masks.

 

9) Individuals with suspected ocular infections will be put in a special containment area.

 

10) Practices will frequently wipe down any patient area, including chairs, counters and doorknobs. Every exam room will be completely disinfected between appointments. In the dispensary, frames will be promptly disinfected after patients touch them.

11) Patients will be requested to wash or disinfect their hands upon entering the office and when entering different rooms. EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights has strict hygiene and sterilization protocols in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infections.

If you’re dealing with a vision or eye health issue and need to visit EYEcenter Optometric, or if you would like some more information on how we have adapted our practice due to COVID-19, please don’t hesitate in contacting us. We’ll be happy to assist you however we can.

EYEcenter Optometric serves patients from Citrus Heights, California .

Why You Shouldn’t Visit the ER for Eye Emergencies During COVID-19

On April 22, the American Optometric Association (AOA) urged patients with emergency eye care needs to get in touch with their local optometrist prior to seeking treatment in hospital emergency rooms. Doing so not only eases the burden on emergency departments but also helps prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What Is Considered an Eye Emergency?

Most eye-related conditions can be treated in an outpatient optometry office or clinic. Emergency eye care includes, but is not limited to, urgent clinical advice or intervention for eye injuries and conditions that entail a foreign object in the eye, chemical burns, a sudden change in vision, flashes and floaters (which might suggest a retinal detachment), contact lens discomfort, red eyes and any other problems or symptoms that may impact or interfere with daily activities.

Prioritizing Your Eye Care Needs During COVID-19

During the coronavirus outbreak, we have been going above and beyond to ensure that people are receiving the emergency eye care they need.

Patients should first contact EYEcenter Optometric for guidance and potential treatment prior to heading to an overwhelmed hospital emergency room. Palmer N. Lee, O.D. can assess the level of care the patient needs—whether it’s telehealth or urgent care that requires a visit to the eye clinic or, in severe cases, even the emergency room.

This will ensure that patients get prompt treatment while allowing hospitals to conserve their resources for the current pandemic. In fact, research has shown that treating eye emergencies at eye doctors’ offices can potentially divert 1.4 million patients away from emergency rooms per year.

While we have closed our store for routine appointments, EYEcenter Optometric at Citrus Heights continues to provide emergency care for those who need it. We’d like to reassure our patients that we are here to help with anyone’s emergency eye care requirements – for both for new and existing patients.

References:

https://www.visionmonday.com/eyecare/coronavirus-briefing/crisis-response-tactics/article/aoa-cautions-patients-against-avoidable-er-visits-for-primary-eyecare-services-during-covid19-pandemic/

A Message from Dr. Lee

Right now, a lot is uncertain. One thing we know, our patients are our motivation to push through. Dr. Lee has a message for you during this unprecedented season.

COVID-19: Protect Your Eyes From Too Much Screen Time

You and your children are likely spending more time on mobile devices and computer screens than ever before. Too much time spent staring at screens can cause computer vision syndrome, or digital eye strain, in certain people. While not serious, this condition can be very uncomfortable, potentially causing:

  • Headaches
  • Eyestrain
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry eyes
  • Insomnia
  • Tiredness

Below are some useful tips to help you and your children avoid computer vision syndrome:

Blink more!

Staring at a screen strains the eyes more than reading printed material because people tend to blink 30-50% less. This can also cause your eyes to dry out. Be mindful of blinking and make it a habit when focusing on a screen, as it will keep your eyes healthy and lubricated.

Follow the 20-20-20 Rule

Give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at an object located 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Doing so will allow your eyes to relax and will give both you and your eyes some rest.

Keep your distance

Your eyes work harder to see close up than at a distance. Try keeping your monitor or screen at arm’s length, or about 25 inches away.

Lighting matters

Make sure that your surrounding light is similar in strength to the light emanating from your screen. Contrasting levels of light, such as looking at a bright screen in a dark room, can strain the eyes.

Take breaks from the screen

You may want to stipulate ‘screen free’ time for yourself and/or your children, such as during meal times or for several hours throughout the day. Engage in hobbies that don’t require a screen, such as drawing, reading books, doing puzzles, playing an instrument or cooking (among many others).

Don’t use devices before bed

Studies show that blue light may affect your body’s circadian rhythm, also known as the natural wake and sleep cycle. Stop using screens one to two hours before bedtime or use nighttime settings to minimize blue light exposure.

Although it may require a bit of planning to protect your family’s eyes during this stressful time, ultimately, it’s all about balance — and what works for you and your family may differ from others.

From all of us at EYEcenter Optometric at Citrus Heights, we wish you good health and please stay safe.

How to Disinfect Glasses to Help Prevent COVID-19

Coronavirus and Your Eyeglasses

Did you know that our glasses (this includes the lenses and the frame) can potentially transfer viruses, such as COVID-19, to our eyes, nose, and mouth? This is because viruses — as well as bacteria — are easily transferred from our surroundings to our hands and then from our hands to our glasses.

In fact, research has shown that coronavirus can remain on glass surfaces for as long as 9 days. If we’re not careful, we can easily touch our glasses then touch our eyes, nose, or mouth, thus continuing the contagion cycle.

The danger is even higher for people with presbyopia, age-related farsightedness that generally affects those aged 40 and above. Presbyopes who wear reading glasses tend to put them on and take them off several times throughout the day. What’s more worrisome is that this age group is at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19.

The good news is that disinfecting your glasses is easy! Let’s delve into ways you should and should not disinfect your lenses at home.

What NOT to Use to Cleanse Your Glasses

Many of us may have rubbing-alcohol at home, and although it may seem like a perfectly good idea to use it to disinfect your specs, we discourage you from doing so. It may be too harsh for your eyeglasses, especially if you have any special coatings on your lenses.

Other products you should stay away from include ammonia, bleach, or anything with high concentrations of acid, such as lemon juice or vinegar, which can damage lens coatings and some eyewear materials.

How to Safely Disinfect Your Glasses

Now that we’ve eliminated the substances and chemicals that should not be used on your lenses, let’s see what is safe to use to clean eyewear.

Dish Soap and Water

The absolute easiest and most efficient way to disinfect and clean your lenses is to use lukewarm water with a gentle dish soap. Massage the soap onto each lens, rinse, and dry using a microfiber cloth (not paper towels, as the fibers can easily scratch lenses). While you’re at it, don’t forget to include your frame’s nose pads and earpieces.

Lens Cleaning Wipes

Pre-moistened lens wipes are excellent for cleaning your glasses, as well as your phone, tablet and computer screen. They remove bacteria, dust, dirt and germs from your glasses and the formula restores shine to glass surfaces without leaving any streaks or residue. The durable material is tough enough to remove stains, while being gentle enough not to scratch your screens or lenses. Contact EYEcenter Optometric to find out how you can access these.

So, In Summary:

  • Do not use rubbing alcohol to disinfect your glasses.
  • Avoid using household cleaners or products with high concentrations of acid.
  • Clean your glasses with a gentle dish soap and lukewarm water, or lens wipes.
  • Dry your glasses with a microfiber cloth to prevent smudging and scratching.

Disinfecting your glasses shouldn’t be stressful or worrisome. Just follow the easy steps above to protect your lenses and your health.

On behalf of everyone at EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights, California , we sincerely hope you and your loved ones stay healthy and safe during this uncertain time.

Coronavirus and Your Eyes – What You Should Know

As coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads around the world, health professionals are demanding that people limit their personal risk of contracting the virus by thoroughly washing their hands, practicing social distancing, and not touching their nose, mouth, or eyes. In fact, it may surprise you to learn that the eyes play an important role in spreading COVID-19. 

Coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through droplets that an infected person sneezes or coughs out. These droplets can easily enter your body through the mucous membranes on the face, such as your nose, mouth, and yes — your eyes. 

But First, What Is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, causes mild to severe respiratory illness associated with fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Symptoms typically appear within 2 weeks of exposure. Those with acute cases of the virus can develop pneumonia and other life-threatening complications. 

Here’s what you should know: 

Guard Your Eyes Against COVID-19 

  • Avoid rubbing your eyes. Although we all engage in this very normal habit, try to fight the urge to touch your eyes. If you absolutely must, first wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. 
  • Tears carry the virus. Touching tears or a surface where tears have fallen can spread coronavirus. Make sure to wash your hands after touching your eyes and throughout the day as well.
  • Disinfect surfaces. You can catch COVID-19 by touching an object or surface that has the virus on it, such as a door knob, and then touching your eyes. 

Coronavirus and Pink Eye

Pink eye, or conjunctivitis, refers to an inflammation of the membrane covering the front of the eyeball. Conjunctivitis is characterized by red, watery, and itchy eyes. Viral conjunctivitis is highly contagious and can be spread by coughing and sneezing, too.

According to a recent study in China, viral conjunctivitis may be a symptom of COVID-19. The study found conjunctival congestion in 9 of the 1,099 patients (0.8%) who were confirmed to have coronavirus. 

If you suspect you have pink eye, call your eye doctor in Citrus Heights right away. Given the current coronavirus crisis, we ask patients to call prior to presenting themselves at the office of Palmer N. Lee, O.D., as it will allow the staff to assess your condition and adequately prepare for your visit.

Contact Lenses or Eyeglasses?

Many people who wear contact lenses are thinking about switching to eyeglasses for the time being to lower the threat of being infected with coronavirus.

Wearing glasses may provide an extra layer of protection if someone coughs on you; hopefully that infected droplet will hit the lens and not your eye. However, one must still be cautious, as the virus can reach the eyes from the exposed sides, tops and bottoms around your frames. Unlike specialized safety goggles, glasses are not considered a safe way to prevent coronavirus.

Contact Lenses and COVID-19

If you wear contacts, make sure to properly wash your hands prior to removing or inserting them. Consider ordering a 3 to 6 month supply of contact lenses and solution; some opticals provide home delivery of contact lenses and solutions. At this stage there is no recommendation to wear daily lenses over monthlies.

Don’t switch your contact lens brand or solution, unless approved by your optometrist or optician.

Regularly Disinfect Glasses 

Some viruses such as coronavirus, can remain on hard surfaces from several hours to days. This can then be transmitted to the wearer’s fingers and face. People who wear reading glasses for presbyopia should be even more careful, because they usually need to handle their glasses more often throughout the day, and older individuals tend to be more vulnerable to COVID-19 complications. Gently wash the lenses and frames with warm water and soap, and dry your eyeglasses using a microfiber cloth. 

Stock up on Eye Medicine

It’s a good idea to stock up on important medications, including eye meds, in order to get by in case you need to be quarantined or if supplies run short. This may not be possible for everyone due to insurance limitations. If you cannot stock up, make sure to request a refill as soon as you’re due and never wait until the last minute to contact your pharmacy. 

It is important that you continue to follow your doctor’s instructions for all medications.

Digital Devices and Eyestrain

At times like this, people tend to use digital devices more than usual. Take note of tiredness, sore eyes, blurry vision, double vision or headaches, which are symptoms of computer vision syndrome if they are exacerbated by extensive use of digital devices, and might indicate a need for a new prescription in the near future. This usually isn’t urgent, but if you’re unsure, you can call our eye doctor’s office.

Children and Digital Devices

During this time your children may end up watching TV and using computers, tablets and smartphones more frequently and for more extended periods too. Computer vision syndrome, mentioned above, can affect children as well. We recommend limiting screen time to a maximum of 2 hours per day for children, though it’s understandably difficult to control under the circumstances. 

Try to get your child to take a 10 to 15 minute break every hour, and stop all screen time for at least 60 minutes before sleep. 

Children and Outdoor Play

Please follow local guidelines and instructions regarding outdoor activities for your children. If possible, it’s actually good for visual development to spend 1-2 hours a day outside.

 

From all of us at EYEcenter Optometric in Citrus Heights, we wish you good health and please stay safe. 

Facts, not myths about contact lens wear and COVID 19 / Coronavirus

At EYEcenter, we always want to be at the forefront of contact lens technologies and in the case of the current COVID-19 / Coronavirus challenge, we also want to keep our patients informed about the most current thinking about contact lens wear and COVID-19 as well as other systemic infection challenges.

The deluge of conflicting and in some cases, misleading information prompted global contact lens experts to act. A joint statement by three highly respected contact lens specialists and individuals: Lyndon Jones, director of the Centre for Ocular Research & Education (CORE) at the University of Waterloo (Canada); Philip Morgan, director of Eurolens Research at The University of Manchester (United Kingdom); and Jason Nichols, Associate Vice President Research and Professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry (United States) and editor in chief of Contact Lens Spectrum provides the following information:

Contact Lens Wear is Safe. Despite myths and misinformation that have arisen in recent reports, contact lens wear remains a safe and highly effective form of vision correction for millions of people worldwide.

  • Proper Hand Washing is Essential. When using contact lenses or spectacles, careful and thorough handwashing with soap and water followed by hand drying with unused paper towels is paramount. For contact lens wearers, this should occur before every insertion and removal.
  • Disinfect Contact Lenses. Contact lens wearers should either dispose of their daily disposable lenses each evening or regularly disinfect their monthly and two-week or other less frequently replaced custom specialty contact lenses according to manufacturer and eye care professional instructions.
  • Disinfect Spectacles and Glasses. Some viruses such as COVID-19 can remain on hard surfaces for hours to days, which can be transferred to spectacles wearers’ fingers and faces. This especially holds true for presbyopes (people generally over the age of 40). Most presbyopes require reading glasses and they may be putting them on and off their face multiple times a day. This age group appears to be among the more vulnerable population for being more seriously affected by COVID-19, as compared with contact lens wearers, who are typically younger.
  • Discontinue Lens Wear Only if Sick. Ceasing contact lens wear when sick is advised, consistent with guidance for other types of illness.
  • Spectacles are Not Proven to Offer Protection. There is no scientific evidence that wearing spectacles or glasses provide protection against COVID-19 or other viral transmissions.

This joint statement provided a timely, evidence-based factual update to the growing concerns around contact lens wear and COVID-19. It has already been shared widely by global media outlets and other professional organizations.

Hand-washing advice

It should be recognized that the focus on handwashing for contact lens wearers is not a new recommendation in light of COVID-19. The importance of adhering to good hygiene practices is fundamental to maintaining ocular health in anyone who uses contact lenses. What the current global situation has done is to provide an opportunity for a timely reminder of why hand washing is necessary for this group of patients.

Best-practice hand washing advice is currently being shared in relation to helping to control the spread of COVID-19. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization recommend that people clean their hands often to reduce their risk of contracting the virus.

Specifically, they advise all people to:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

Take away points

What are the key points to remember with regard to COVID-19 and contact lens wearers? Make sure you are aware that there is no evidence to suggest that you cannot continue with safe contact lens wear providing that you are in good health. Practicing proper hand washing techniques before handling lenses and before touching your face or eyes is important for contact lens wearers at all times. Focus on hand hygiene and avoiding facial contact with unwashed hands is clearly elevated at present in relation to COVID-19. Standard advice should already include discontinuing lens wear if feeling unwell, and this is no different in cases of suspected COVID-19.

Best regards,

Drs. Fuerst, Gittins, Lee, Coen and the entire staff at EYEcenter Optometric

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