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COVID -19

During this time of growing concern, we believe it is our role and responsibility to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of our patients and our employees.

Like you, we are closely following the news and monitoring the COVID-19 impact on our community. We are committed to continuing to take the necessary and recommended precautions and to stay in communication with you.

Good news! As of 5/11/20, the office has re-opened for business and is fully staffed, although some services may be temporarily limited. However, some things have changed: we have instituted a COVID-19 office safety protocol and we are now offering video and Telemedicine visit options. See below for details.

Since the mission of our office during these challenging times is to ensure the health and safety of our patients, staff and the community we serve, changes may continue to occur as needed. We will keep you posted on this website.

Steps we are taking...

    • Implementing a COVID-19 office protocol.
    • All our employees are following the CDC’s recommended handwashing protocols throughout the day, as well as when handling our equipment and objects in the office.
    • We are requiring all employees and patients who are not feeling well or have any symptoms such as fever, cough or shortness of breath to stay home until they are feeling better and to follow up with their healthcare provider.
    • We are spacing our patients out to avoid other patient interaction.
    • For your convenience, we supply hand sanitizer throughout the office.
    • We are sure to wipe down all our equipment before and after each use, whether it is equipment in the pre-test area or equipment in our exam rooms.
    • We are wiping down and cleaning all frames before and after trial, along with the frame displays.
    • Constant disinfecting of all hard surfaces such as countertops and door handles.
    • Social Contact – we are avoiding shaking hands or having any unnecessary physical contact with staff and patients.
    • All patients are asked to complete a COVID-19 risk questionnaire. Rescheduling may be necessary for those deemed at risk to staff or other patients.
    • We are asking that any patients who need to order contacts to have them direct shipped to their home. Shipping is free for two or more boxes. Please feel free to call us ahead of time if you need to pick up any orders or trial contacts or glasses. Phone messages and office email are checked daily.

Dear Valued Patient,

We want to assure you that all of us at VALENTINE EYE CARE remain here for you and your family during the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic. We have been adapting the ways in which we care for our patients and maintaining a safe environment for both patients and employees.

Here are some examples:

Single-Visitor Policy

To reduce risk in our offices, we ask that patients come alone or bring no more than one companion with them to their appointment.  Seating will be limited to achieve social distancing.

Masking and Hand Sanitizing

We believe that one of the best ways we can keep our patients and employees safe from Coronavirus transmission is to have everyone in our offices wear face masks and sanitize their hands regularly. Upon entering our facility, you will be provided with a surgical face mask and asked to sanitize your hands. If you come with your own mask, we will ask you to wear the one we provide. When you leave you can put your own mask back on or continue to use the one we provided.

Video Visits & Telemedicine

Talking with your eye doctor through a secure video connection is a great way to get timely and needed care safely.   While the pandemic kick-started this new offering, we will continue to include Video & Telemedicine visits as part of our array of eye care services even after the risks of Coronavirus decrease.

Like anything new, Video & Telemedicine visits may cause you some concern or anxiety. Below is some information you may find helpful in understanding how Video & Telemedicine visits work and why they can be very effective.

  •   Video & Telemedicine visits are suggested only when your doctor feels your symptoms or condition can be safely addressed in a this platform.
  •   Critical aspects of a traditional “exam” visit—like a review of current medical problems, medication lists, new symptoms, change in family history or health habits—can be accomplished in a Video & Telemedicine visit. The actual physical exam is a small part of the value of these visits, and could be conducted at a later time, if needed.
  •   VALENTINE EYE CARE  uses secure video technology that complies with Federal HIPAA security regulations.
  •   Video & Telemedicine visits can be effective for both adult and pediatric care.
  •   Through these visits, providers can do much of the same work they can do in the office, including:
  •   Observing how a patient looks
  •   Asking questions about medications, health history, and changes in health status, concerns
  •   Providing medical advice
  •   Documenting care in the electronic medical record
  •   Scheduling necessary tests and follow-up office visits
  •   Prescribing medication
  •   If you are not comfortable with technology, don’t worry! Our staff will help you prepare for a Video & Telemedicine visit.
  •   While many insurers are waiving co-pays for Video & Telemedicine visits, you can call your insurance company to understand how it is addressing these new type visits.

If at any time your provider feels you or your child must be seen in the office or that tests must be performed, you will be asked to schedule a traditional, in-office visit. You can trust us to follow strict safety protocols to keep you and your family safe, including optimal use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for patients and employees.  It remains very important that you be seen in our office when an in-person visit is recommended by the doctor.

Important Reminders

  •   While the spread of Coronavirus remains a concern, it is more important than ever to save the Emergency Room for true emergencies:  Severe eye injury, sudden complete loss of vision, extreme eye pain, etc.
  •   We urge you to follow local and state and federal (CDC) safety guidelines, particularly if you are in a high-risk group.

We understand these are challenging times! Please know that VALENTINE EYE CARE is here to care for you.  Please continue to visit our website to get the latest information about how  VALENTINE EYE CARE is responding to the Coronavirus pandemic.

We wish you the best of health.

Thank you,

Your VALENTINE EYE CARE Vision Care Team

Protect Children’s Eyes During Sports

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The new school year has kicked off and you can tick off purchasing all that back to school equipment. Now, it’s time to think about what your child will need for after school sports and hobby activities.

Making sure they have the right protective eyewear for their sporting or athletic activities should be one of the top priorities on your list. Here’s why: according to new data from Prevent Blindness America, approximately 25,000 people sought treatment for sports-related eye injuries in 2013, and around 10,000 were children under the age of 14.

Wearing protective eyewear when playing sports can help prevent serious eye injuries. Here are some tips on how to go about choosing the most apt protective eyewear for your child:

  1. Consult with your eye doctor and the child’s coach to find out what type of protective eyewear is best for the athletic activity your child is involved in. The kind of eyewear your child will need depends on the sport they are playing.
  2. Know the sports and its dangers: Across all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in water sports, basketball, and baseball or softball. Safety standards are met using shatter-resistant polycarbonate or trivex lenses.
  3. Protect and correct: If your child already wears glasses, find out what options are available for adding their prescription to protective eyewear they will need. Or consider contact lenses.
  4. Ensure sufficient UV protection: If your child’s activity takes place outside, make sure that the protective eyewear you choose includes sufficient protection from harmful UV rays.
  5. Set an example: Wear protective eyewear yourself. This will help to show your child it is possible to protect your vision and enjoy a sporting activity at the same time.

The majority of eye injuries can be prevented. Newer safety eyewear models often have wraparound styles to improve peripheral vision and style appeal. Kids can have fashion and function in today’s safety eyewear. Make sure that your child’s eyes are protected while they strive to reach the top of their game!

7 Things You Should Know About Eyelid Twitches

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You may have experienced this before. Out of nowhere, your eyelid starts twitching uncontrollably. While this can be a cause of aggravation, eyelid twitches, spasms or tics are actually quite common.

Here are 7 things you should know about this eye condition:

  1. Eye twitches are generally caused by a repetitive, involuntary spasm in your eyelid muscles and are known in medical terms as a blepharospasm.
  2. Almost all sudden-onset eye twitching is not considered to be a serious medical condition, though it can be hard to treat without knowing the underlying cause.
  3. Eyelid twitches can occur sporadically, though some people have been known to feel them for a few consecutive days or weeks
  4. Stress, tiredness, eyestrain, caffeine alcohol or tobacco usage, dry eyes, allergies or nutritional imbalances are factors that can trigger or exacerbate eye twitches. The body produces endogenous cortisol (a steroid) when stressed, which may cause biological warning signs to the body to de-stress.
  5. If reducing stress does not alleviate the twitches, your eye doctor can perform a refraction (vision test) and comprehensive eye health exam to see if eye treatment can resolve the problem. Sometimes the solution is relieving eyestrain by updating your glasses.
  6. Rarely, a twitch will continue despite these efforts to alleviate triggers. In that case, they can be treated with Botox injections to help stop the muscles in your eyelid from contracting.
  7. Eyelid spasms are only considered a medical emergency when the twitch is accompanied by red or swollen eyes, unusual discharge, a drooping eyelid or twitching in other parts of the face. These may be symptoms of a more serious neurological disorder

 

If the twitching persists, talk to your eye doctor to help you treat it.

October is…

October is ‘Eye Injury Prevention Month‘ in the USA and ‘Eye Health Month‘ in Canada. There are about 285 million people living with blindness and low vision all around the world. Children account for some 19 million of them. The vast majority of visual impairment is readily treatable and/or preventable. Unfortunately, help is hard to access for 90% of blind people, who live in low-income countries.

In addition to raising awareness about the global impact of eye health and eye injury prevention, here are several things you should know about keeping your own eyes healthy:

  • Protective eyewear is key!
    • You might think we’re only talking to the construction workers and lab technicians, but nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home during activities such as yard work, home repair, cooking and cleaning.
      • For Example, chemical splash is very common, as often it happens at home suddenly. Eye protection is important as acid and alkali burns can penetrate eye tissues quickly. If this does occur, flush the eyes with water or saline for 15 minutes before attempting to see your eye doctor
    • Almost 40% of eye injuries in North America are sports related or caused during recreational activities.
    • What kind of protection do you need? Well, damage to the eyes can be caused by:
      • Projectile or falling objects
      • Sticks (think hockey sticks) or other pointy rods
      • Chemicals – whether corrosive or hot
      • Dust
      • Sun exposure
    • So, the right eyewear depends on the activity.
  • Keep kids toys age appropriate and safe
    • When parents think of toy safety, they are usually most concerned about whether it is a choking hazard.
    • Yet, toys cause thousands of eye injuries in children each year.
    • Check age recommendations on toys, and use common sense.
    • Children should play under adult supervision to prevent dangerous activities.
    • If your kid plays sports, make sure he or she has the right eyewear to prevent avoidable injury. Got glasses? Talk to your eye doctor about customizing your child’s gear with prescription goggles, or consider contact lenses.
  • See your eye doctor every year
    • Comprehensive eye exams are crucial to eye health. At your eye check-up, your optometrist will examine your vision and eyes.
    • Prevent vision loss by catching a developing eye condition in its early stages. Your eye doctor will monitor its progression and intervene as early as necessary. Early intervention is associated with better prognosis and usually requires less aggressive treatment.

Your optometrist is here for you, if you have any questions about eye health and eye injury prevention.

World Sight Day Challenge – No More Avoidable Blindness

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The World Sight Day Challenge, slated to take place on October 9, 2014 is an annual awareness day that aims to focus global attention on blindness and vision impairment worldwide.

The day aims to create awareness that blindness can be avoided if there is universal access to quality vision and eye care services for all those in need. Worldwide, many cases of vision impairment are simply due to the lack of a pair of eye glasses that would help correct a refractive error. The underlying vision of the campaign is to ensure that the quality-of-life and future livelihood of children and adults is not impacted because they do not have sufficient eye care.

According to Optometry Giving Sight, the organization overseeing the campaign, over 600 million people around the globe do not have access to the eye care and eyewear they need. As the ability to see well impacts every aspect of life and empowers adults and children alike to succeed at school or work, eye care from trained eye care professionals not only allows for the detection of vision problems, but can also help to identify early signs of serious health conditions such as diabetes, which can also lead to blindness.

What Can You Do?

Getting involved in the event is easy and involves making a donation on or before October 9. The funds raised from the World Sight Day Challenge are used to sponsor projects that enable training, establishing vision centers and delivering eye care services to people who are vision impaired and could benefit from an eye exam and a pair of glasses.

The call to action for World Sight Day 2014 is “No More Avoidable Blindness”. Help make your contribution for better eye health worldwide.

$25 could provide 5 people with vision through eye exams and glasses

$100 can help provide vision screenings for school aged children in developing communities

The Day is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness under the VISION 2020 Global Initiative. It is supported by eye health organizations around the world, such as Optometry Giving Sight, and is included on the official World Health Organization (WHO) calendar.

Cutting Edge Glaucoma Technology

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Some 2.5 million North Americans struggle with glaucoma, a progressive eye disease that robs its sufferers of their vision, if unmanaged. Associated with high eye pressure and damage to the optic nerve, the main method of preventing blindness and low vision from glaucoma is by maintaining low levels of IOP (intraocular pressure). Unstable glaucoma may require frequent visits to an eye doctor for glaucoma monitoring to keep it under control.

In recent years a parallel disorder, high blood pressure, has become widely known for producing results that vary significantly, even from hour to hour. Both blood pressure and eye pressure can be affected by such a wide range of environmental and other factors – from the way you stand to the weather – that taking a single reading on a given day may not provide a good indication of patient health.

The need for more accurate diagnostic tools has prompted researchers at Stanford University and Bar Ilan University to collaborate in the development of a 24-hour a day IOP monitor for glaucoma patients. The device, which eye doctors hope will be available within a few years, is actually an eye implant!

It is so tiny, it’s designed to fit inside a standard intraocular lens – the kind used in cataract surgery – and, according to tests conducted by the U.S. Air Force, it will not distort vision.

The implanted glaucoma monitor is based on simple physics, using fluid levels in a tiny tube to precisely measure IOP. When available to the public, it may be paired with a custom smartphone app or wearable technology like Google glass to record eye pressure all the time, and the data can be shared with the patient’s ophthalmologist or optometrist.

Recent studies indicated that round-the-clock IOP monitoring would result in modified treatment for up to 80% of patients. Prevention of intraocular pressure spikes by measuring IOP throughout a 24 hour cycle would enable eye doctors to optimize a treatment plan. Since peripheral vision loss from optic nerve damage is not reversible, treatment is aimed at preventing vision loss from glaucoma. 

Comfortable Vision for Back-to-school Reading

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School is starting: Do you know how to set up your child’s homework and reading spot? Reading and writing are some of the most fundamental skills that your child to facilitate learning in school, so it is important to make sure that your child's eyes are comfortable when they are working at near distances.  How they sit, the length at which they hold a book or even a digital device, and their posture all play an integral part in ensuring that the visual system is at ease, enabling the mind to absorb and integrate what they are reading.  Here are some tips to help your child feel comfortable while reading.

  1. Make sure your child is working at the appropriate distance for near work – the Harmon Distance

When you read or do near work, there is a specific distance that enables your visual system to work most efficiently without experiencing any stress. This distance is known as the Harmon distance and it can be determined by holding your fist to your cheek. The location of your elbow from your fist is now at the Harmon distance, the most comfortable distance for your visual system to read and absorb information.

Looking out for whether your child is working at the Harmon distance when he/she reads will allow you as a parent to understand a number of things about how their eyes are functioning:

  • When your child holds reading material too close to their eyes, their eyes will converge or turn inwards. This can cause unnecessary eye strain which will impact their reading ability.
  • Holding reading material too close also means your eyes need to focus more than usual as the print is too close. This also causes you to strain your eyes which in turn can lead to tiredness, headaches and even myopia (nearsightedness).

Note: A child with healthy eyesight will naturally hold reading material at the correct distance. If a child is holding books too close or too far away, it may be an indication of a vision problem, or it may be because the child is sitting in a way that is not optimal. Read on to find out how to arrange your child’s reading space.

  1. Your child's body and posture is involved in the whole process of vision.
    Ensure that your child sits at a desk with a proper desk and chair height, so that his feet are flat on the floor and the table is the correct distance from his face. This will enable your child to sit upright. If you notice your child slouching or standing to get a glimpse of the words on the page, it might be an indication that he is experiencing difficulty seeing the text.
  2. Make sure there is good lighting.
     Too much glare or not enough light in a room will force your child's eyes to work harder to see.  Make sure that lighting in the room is sufficient for the task whether it is reading or writing.
  3. Concerned? You can call us.
    If you have questions about your child’s reading habits, are concerned about your child’s vision, or if it has been over a year or two since his or her last eye exam, speak to the eye doctor.

Follow the tips above and set your child up for success. Wishing everyone happy reading and writing during the school year ahead!

Be on the Lookout for Vision Problems this Summer Break

rocks in a heart shape

Summer vacation is well under way, but did you know that even when your child is out of the classroom, vision problems can have an impact on his/her daily activities? Look out for these 4 warning signs during the summer months – they could be a sign of vision difficulties that require follow up with an eye care professional.

  1. Headaches / eyestrain. Is your child complaining about headaches? Perhaps accompanied with watery eyes, particularly during periods of concentration such as reading, computer use or during a movie? This can indicate eyestrain, which can develop as your child tries to keep up with the words or images on the screen, causing visual overload.  Keep an eye out also when your child is watching 3D since an inability to see 3D pictures can point to a lack of depth perception. A child may not know that he or she does not see the 3D effects the same way other people do, but might say after the movie that his or her eyes are tired or sore.
  2. Clumsiness on the playground. Does your child seem clumsy and uncoordinated when playing on the playground? This could be due to a lazy eye, otherwise known as amblyopia. Amblyopia is when one eye is favored over the other, resulting in impaired binocular vision. This in turn impacts depth perception, which makes it difficult for a child to assess objects in space and can cause difficulties with coordination.
  3. Lack of interest in reading: Does your child show a lack of interest in reading books? It is possible that he or she is having difficulty seeing the text as a result of a vision problem. It's worth asking the child if the text seems blurry, if he/she has a headache or simply has difficulty distinguishing the words or letters on the page to determine if there may be an underlying vision problem. Also watch for unusual signs such as eye rubbing, excessive blinking, head tilt and unusual reading distance.
  4. Difficulty hitting or catching a ball. Hand eye coordination, which helps track an object as it moves through space, is one of the key components to playing ball. If your child is consistently missing catches, fumbling kicks or missing hits while playing sports, it is worth following up with an eye exam.

Although all of the above issues can present themselves in school, the summer vacation is an ideal time to check out any possible vision issues ahead of the new school year. Dealing with vision problems during the summer will help your child start off the year right. 

Should You Be Worried About Eye Floaters?

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Eye floaters are actually more common that you may think. Many people notice specks or cobweb-like images moving around in their line of vision, at some point. Some even report experiencing a "snow globe effect" as if they are swatting at many imaginary bugs. Floaters may be an annoyance, but in most cases, they are harmless and merely a part of aging.  Here are some answers to questions you may have about eye floaters including warning signs that something may be seriously wrong and requires immediate treatment by an eye care professional.

What are eye floaters?

Eye floaters are collagen deposits inside the vitreous humor that fills the space between the lens and retina of your eye. As you age, the vitreous, which is made up of this gel-like protein substance, begins to dissolve and liquefy, creating a more watery consistency. Floaters appear when the collagen fibrils and vitreous membrane become disturbed and go into your line of sight.  A posterior vitreous detachment is a common age related change that causes a sudden large floater to occur.   Floaters can range in size, shape and consistency and are often more visible when looking at a white screen or clear blue sky.

What is the vitreous?

The vitreous functions to maintain the round shape of your eyeball. It assists with light refraction and acts as a shock absorber for the retina.

How do floaters develop?

As mentioned above, aging of the vitreous can cause it to liquefy, shrink and become stringy or strand-like. As the vitreous is normally transparent, when strands develop they cast a shadow on your retina, which in turn causes floaters to appear in your vision.

What will I see if I have floaters?

Eye floaters can appear in your vision as threads, fragments of cobwebs or spots which float slowly in front of your eyes. You'll also notice that these specks never seem to stay still when you try to focus on them. Floaters and spots create the impression that they are drifting and they seem to move when your eye moves.

Who is at risk for developing floaters?

Floaters are quite common particularly in individuals that are elderly, diabetic, near-sighted or anyone who has had cataract surgery.

Are floaters dangerous and do they need treatment?

In many cases, floaters are simply an annoyance and can be left alone. Sometimes they will improve over time. In some cases though, floaters can be so distracting that they can block vision and consequently interfere with daily activities and functioning. If you experience a sudden onset of floaters, if they are accompanied by flashes of light or vision loss, if you have pain or you have just experienced eye surgery or trauma, floaters could indicate a serious eye problem that requires immediate medical attention.  There are a number of eye disorders associated with eye floaters including retinal detachment, retinal tear, vitreous bleeding, vitreous and retinal inflammation or eye tumors, all of which require medical treatment to avoid vision loss.  If you have sudden onset of new floaters, do not wait to book an appointment with your eye doctor to confirm if the floaters are benign or need immediate surgical treatment.

A Look Behind Sleeping Eyes

sleepinggirlwithdad

Have you ever wondered what your eyes do when you finally close them after a long day of visual processing and stimulation? Let's take a closer look at what happens behind your closed lids when your head hits the pillow.

Firstly, once your eyes are closed, they do continue to function in a limited fashion with the ability to sense light. This explains why a bright light being switched on or the sun rising in the morning can wake you up, while lying in a dark room will help you sleep.

During sleep your eyes don't send visual data or information about images to your brain. In fact, it takes almost 30 seconds for the connection between your eyes and your brain to reboot when you wake up. This is why it's often difficult to see complete and clear images when you first wake up.

Our bodies pass through five phases of sleep known as stages 1, 2, 3, 4, (which together are called Non-REM) and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During a typical sleep cycle, you progress from stage 1 to 4 then REM and then start over.  Almost 50 percent of our total sleep time is spent in stage 2 sleep, while 20 percent is spent in REM sleep, and the remaining 30 percent in the other stages. During stage 1, your eyes roll slowly, opening and closing slightly; however the eyes are then still from stages 2-4 when sleep is deeper.

During REM sleep, your eyes move around rapidly in a range of directions, but don’t send any visual information to your brain. Scientists have discovered that during REM sleep the visual cortex of the brain, which is responsible for processing visual data, is active. However, this activity serves part of a memory forming or reinforcing function which aims to consolidate your memory with experiences from the day, as opposed to processing visual information that you see. This is also the time when most people dream.

As for your eyelids, they cover your eyes and function as a shield protecting them from light. They also help preserve moisture on the cornea and prevent your eyes from drying out while your body is resting.

In short, while your eyes do move around during sleep, they are not actively processing visual imagery. Closing your eyelids and sleeping essentially gives your eyes a break. Shut-eye helps recharge your eyes, preparing them to help you see the next day. 

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