Dr. Tanner Udenberg shows the difference between Vernon Optometry's Clear AF anti-fog coating, right, to a regular anti-glare coating, left. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Vernon optometrists ‘fight the fog’ with unique coating

Vernon Optometry first in Canada to use anti-fog lens coating, made in-house

It has always been a problem, but once masks were mandated to help combat the spread of COVID-19, it became impossible to ignore. Ask anyone who wears glasses.

The struggle with lens fog is real, but Vernon Optometry was quick to explore new technology from Europe and bring it to Canadian soil first.

Enter Clear AF: an anti-fog lens coating made in-house at Vernon Optometry’s carbon-neutral lab.

“None of the big labs have it yet,” said Dr. Meghan Ashton. “We’re lucky because we’re small enough — we’re nimble. We can adopt new technology quickly.”

“We saw it, tested it and had it implemented in one month from beginning to end.”

Dr. Tanner Udenberg demoed a pair that had one lens coated in Clear AF and the other in a regular anti-glare. With just a few breaths, the lens without the special coating fogged up and lingered for several moments while the other remained crystal clear.

The special coating, which is added in the anti-reflective chamber, starts as a square chip that is hit with an electron beam to vaporize the material which creates a uniform, thin layer on the lens.

“There are all these different crucibles with different materials and the coating is built in layers,” Dr. Udenberg said. “It vaporizes that material which spins at a really high speed and that coating goes on the lens and the new material goes on. The anti-fog material goes on in one of those steps.”

“The proof is in the pudding,” he said, admitting he was skeptical at first.

“Nothing else really does the trick,” he said, noting the team had tried sprays, gels and anything else to “fight the fog.”

Since the mask mandate was ordered in November, 95 per cent of Vernon Optometry customers complained of lens fog, Dr. Udenberg said.

“This is a game-changer. This is the recipe they’re starting to use in the States for safety glasses… We’re in a unique position because we have dip coaters and all the equipment to make it.”

Dr. Ashton pointed to the clinic’s unique circumstances as a reason behind their ability to adapt.

“We’re an anomaly. I still don’t know of any other optometry office in North America that does what we do,” she said. “I think it’s partly because you have two younger doctors and my husband (Tyler Underwood) is an electrical engineer. Without that combo, I don’t think we would have gotten this far with this at all.”

The Clear AF coating, too, aligns with the optometrists’ values as it is “hippie approved,” Dr. Udenberg said.

“There is one other coating on the market and it is known to be quite harmful. This one is not. This one is safe,” Dr. Ashton said, noting it passes California’s strict regulations. “Which is a lot.”

Vernon Optometry’s carbon-neutral facility boasts 100 solar panels on the roof and geothermal technology recycles heat from the lens-manufacturing process.

READ MORE: Vernon Optometry bringing 2020 into focus with green technology

READ MORE: VIDEO: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket debris spotted burning in night’s sky


@caitleerach
Caitlin.clow@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Dr. Meghan Ashton shows the difference between Vernon Optometry's Clear AF anti-fog coating, right, to a regular anti-glare coating, left. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)

Just Posted

Lori Jantz snapped this picture of a fight between a bald eagle and an osprey above Osoyoos Lake on Friday. (Lori Jantz photo)
Battle in the sky erupts above South Okanagan lake

Bald eagle and osprey fight mid-air in Osoyoos

This garbage bin behind a strip mall in Skaha Lake Road was set alight on Friday night at 11 p.m. The foam from firefighters can be seen on the ground. (Facebook)
Dumpster fire comes too close to Penticton seniors’ complex

One resident worries Penticton might have a fire bug

Theo's now delivering to Summerland
Penticton Greek restaurant now delivering to Summerland

Theo’s restaurant is the first to deliver food to Summerland in their ‘Squidmobile’

The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will speed up the process for hospitality businesses looking to set up patios during the latest COVID-19 restrictions. Under the most recent restrictions, indoor dining is prohibited, but patio dining is allowed. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen speeds up patio permit approval

Initiative to help hospitality businesses affected by latest COVID-19 restrictions

Firefighters responded to a house fire on Banks Crescent in Summerland on Friday afternoon. The fire began as a stovetop fire but resulted in significant damages. (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
Fire results in damage to Summerland home

Crews called on Friday, April 9 following stovetop fire

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
1,262 more COVID-19 infections in B.C. Friday, 9,574 active cases

Province’s mass vaccination reaches one million people

Flight with COVID
Another Kelowna flight with COVID-19 exposure

Westjet flight on April 5 from Kelowna to Edmonton

B.C. Premier John Horgan responds to questions during a postelection news conference in Vancouver, on Sunday, October 25, 2020. British Columbia’s opposition Liberals and Greens acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has presented huge challenges for Horgan’s government, but they say Monday’s throne speech must outline a coherent plan for the province’s economic, health, social and environmental future. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s NDP to bring in throne speech in B.C., Opposition wants coherent plan

Farnworth said the budget will include details of government investment in communities and infrastructure

FILE - An arena worker removes the net from the ice after the Vancouver Canucks and Calgary Flames NHL hockey game was postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test result, in Vancouver, British Columbia, in this Wednesday, March 31, 2021, file photo. As vaccinations ramp up past a pace of 3 million a day in the U.S, the NHL is in a tougher spot than the other three major North American professional sports leagues because seven of 31 teams are based on Canada. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP, File)
Vancouver Canucks scheduled to practice Sunday, resume games April 16 after COVID outbreak

Canucks outbreak delayed the team’s season by eight games

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod, seen here on April 9, 2021 with four-year-old sister Elena and mom Vanessa, was born with limb differences. The family, including husband/dad Sean McLeod, is looking for a family puppy that also has a limb difference. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. family looking for puppy with limb difference, just like 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy McLeod born as bilateral amputee, now her family wants to find ‘companion’ puppy for her

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.[CDC]
More COVID-19 exposures reported at schools in Kelowna

Interior Health added additional schools and dates to their list of exposures

A vehicle that was driven through the wall of a parkade at Uptown Shopping Centre and into the nearby Walmart on April 9 was removed through another hole in the wall later that night. (Photo via Saanich Police Department and Ayush Kakkar)
Vehicle launched into B.C. Walmart removed following rescue of trapped workers

Crews cut new hole in parkade wall to remove vehicle safely

Four members with Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans were out at Cultus Lake on March 28 and 29 hauling trash out of the waters. (Henry Wang)
PHOTOS: Out-of-town divers remove 100s of pounds of trash from Cultus Lake

Members of Divers for Cleaner Lakes and Oceans hauled out 470 pounds of trash over two days

Most Read