Perfect Glasses For Your Lifestyle

We believe that your glasses should complement your lifestyle and meet your vision needs! With everyone having different priorities, jobs, and activities in their life eyewear is not a one size fits all. We want to help you select the perfect glasses for your lifestyle!

Business Eyewear

The savvy business professional wants glasses that enhance their professional image. Your appearance can influence clients and colleagues initial impression of you. Therefore, we recommend eyewear that will instill trust and confidence in you. Typically, this includes a more conservative frame shape and color. Silver, gunmetal, gold, black, brown, and burgundy are popular options to wear and match with business attire.

Creativity and Fashion Glasses

The fashionista is looking to showcase their style and taste in every accessory they wear. Glasses are one accessory you wear every day and need to match with every outfit. Showcasing style in your glasses can easily be done through unique frame shapes, bright colored frames, or patterned frames. A significant fashion trend lately is retro or vintage styling!

Active and Sport Eyewear

When your lifestyle is revolved around sports and active living, you need eyewear that can handle any activity. As a result, your sports performance may benefit from sports sunglasses, sports eyeglasses, or protective sports eyewear! Optimize your performance with sports eyewear designed to meet your sports needs best. Standard features in sports eyewear include polarized lenses, polycarbonate lenses, and lens tints.

Frame Allergies

Always inform your eye doctor of any allergies you have to materials in frames or nose pads. Common frame allergies include metal allergies like nickel. As a result, we offer a wide variety of metal and plastic frames our opticians will help you select a pair you can wear. Some patients also have an allergy to silicone nose pads. For that reason, our opticians are familiar with non-silicone nose pad options. We want to ensure you can wear your glasses every day without an allergic reaction.

Computer Worker

Does your job require long hours spent on a computer? As your average computer time per day increases your risk for developing eye strain and computer vision syndrome increases as well. Computer glasses are designed to optimize vision at the intermediate distance and eliminate digital eye strain symptoms. Additionally, the lenses in computer eyewear protect your eyes against the harmful blue light.

Driving Glasses

Studies have shown glare to be a factor in automobile accidents. Sun shining in your eyes and glare reflecting off the road can make it difficult to see other cars or pedestrians. Driving glasses can be either polarized plano sunglasses or prescription eyewear. Polarized sunglasses reduce glare from the sun and increase contrast for sharper vision while driving. Prescription glasses with an anti-reflective coating minimize glare from light and better vision during nighttime driving.

Safety Eyewear

Protect your eyes by wearing safety glasses, sports goggles, or shooting glasses. Safety eyewear is durable, provides more coverage, and is impact resistant. Certain occupations require safety eyewear because they work in hazardous conditions. However, when completing home renovations or repairs, you can also face eye dangers. Always wear safety eyewear when completing any task that includes dust, flying shards, chemicals, or UV radiation.

Ready for a new pair of eyewear? Stop by our office anytime to view our selection of frames and talk with our staff about the best pair of eyewear for your lifestyle.

Who Gets Macular Degeneration?

Macular degeneration is the deterioration of the macula, the small central area of the eye that controls visual acuity. Typically developing macular degeneration is a slow, painless vision loss.

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD)

Macular degeneration is often referred to as age-related macular degeneration because it most frequently occurs in older generations. Macular degeneration is the leading cause of vision loss among older Americans and will grow significantly in the years to come due to the aging of the US population.

Populations Affected

The prevalence of macular degeneration increases significantly in individuals over the age of 80. In particular, the white American population is affected the most, with 14% of white Americans age 80 and older affected by AMD.*  Women also have a higher occurrence of AMD as compared to men due to their longer life expectancy. In 2010, 65% of AMD cases occurred in women as compared to only 35% in men.*

Risk factors

  • Obesity: Overweight patients with macular degeneration double their risk of developing advanced forms of macular degeneration.
  • Inactivity: Those who perform vigorous activity three times weekly reduce their risk for developing AMD compared to inactive patients.
  • Heredity: Family history and specific genes can link to a high risk of developing AMD.
  • High blood pressure: Some studies show a link between high blood pressure and macular degeneration.
  • Smoking: Living with a smoker doubles your risk for developing AMD. Smoking is a factor in about 25% of AMD cases with severe vision loss.

Currently, the best way to protect your eyes from developing macular degeneration is to eat healthy, exercise, and wear sunglasses. Annual eye exams can detect the early onset of macular degeneration and help to preserve your vision. Schedule an appointment with our office today!

*National Eye Institute, 2010

FSA, HRA, HSA……use your health care money by year’s end before you lose it!

There are many ways to pay for health care expenses.  Some people have special health care accounts through their employer, or a health savings account they set up on their own.  Here are some simple explanations, and how you can leverage the funds in these accounts.

  • Medical flexible spending accounts (FSA)  provide pre-tax dollars, through an employer, to pay for certain medical expenses.  A health reimbursement account (HRA) is set up through your employer to pay for certain health care related expenses as determined by your employer.  Money deposited into these accounts expire at the end of the calendar year, and doesn’t roll-over for use next year.   
  • Health savings accounts (HSA) are special pre-tax savings accounts that you can contribute to throughout the year and use for health care expenses.  Unlike FSA and HRA accounts, HSA accounts don’t expire at the end of the year, but do have limits on how much you can contribute annually.
  • Did you know that you can use many of these accounts to pay for eye care?  This can include the cost of eye examinations (including co-pays and co-insurance), prescription eyeglasses, and prescription contact lenses (including cleaning supplies).  If you’re looking for ways to use all of your money before it expires, consider a new or back-up pair of glasses, or stocking up on contact lens supplies.  Call us at Mad River Eye Care to schedule an appointment for your eye exam before the end of the year so you don’t lose any of your hard earned money.

Screen Time and Children

Screen time is the amount of time a person spends staring at digital displays including computers, tablets, smartphones, and TVs. In our modern and technology-focused world children are spending time on digital displays for educational and recreational purposes. Children who spend several hours on digital devices are at risk of developing vision-related problems.

Average Time Children Spend On Digital Devices

According to the Vision Council, 72% of American parents report their children regularly spend more than two hours on screens per day. It is likely that children spend significantly more time on screens than their parents think. Common Sense Media reports that children under age eight spend more than two hours a day with screen media. For 8 to 10-year-olds screen time triples to six hours per day. Kids in middle school and high school spend up to nine hours per day looking at digital displays.

Risks of Screen Time

Too much screen time can be dangerous for anyone’s eyes, children included. Screens emit a broad spectrum of visible light. While most of these light rays are harmless, blue light is a high-energy visible light that can cause damage to your eyes. Blue light has shorter wavelengths and higher energy causing harm to the retina over time. Overexposure to blue light can cause:

  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Headaches
  • Neck/shoulder pain
  • Eye strain
  • Reduced attention span
  • Poor behavior
  • Irritability

Computer Vision Syndrome

Computer vision syndrome is a condition caused by visual stress. Symptoms include tired eyes, dry eyes, headache, and fatigue.

Unhealthy Posture

Your body naturally slouches inwards when on digital devices. Your back and shoulders round, your head tilts back, and your chin justs forward. This reaction to digital devices is called “turtling” and can cause neck, back, and shoulder pain.

How To Protect Your Child’s Eyes

It is clear digital devices will not be going away anytime soon. Therefore it is essential to ensure you are doing everything you can to protect your children’s eyes from digital screens. One way you can do this is by limiting screen time for your children while at home. You can also apply blue light filters or download blue light filtering apps to all digital devices. If your child wears prescription glasses, ask us about add blue light blocking to their lenses during your next appointment.

Nighttime Use

The largest source of blue light is our sun, which tells our brain when to be awake or sleep. The high use of digital devices emitting blue light may disrupt your natural circadian rhythm (sleep cycle) by miscommunicating the time of day and if you should be awake or asleep. Stop digital device time two hours before usual bedtime to ensure your child’s sleep schedule is not affected by blue light.

Do you have more questions about screen time and blue light? Stop by our office or give our office a call and we would be happy to answer your questions!

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month, which aims to increase awareness of diabetes and diabetic eye disease.  This month in particular, Dr. Mitchell would like to encourage people with diabetes to seek treatment for vision problems related to their diabetes. 

Diabetes is a chronic disease that is reaching near epidemic levels in our country.  Diabetes is a disease that results in the body losing the ability to process and use glucose efficiently.  In mild cases, just adjusting diet and activity level can help encourage healthy glucose use.  In advanced cases, the body may require use of oral medications to encourage glucose use, or injectable insulin to facilitate glucose processing.

If glucose isn’t regulated and used properly in our body, it can build up in the bloodstream.  Too much glucose in the bloodstream can prevent blood from properly delivering oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout our body.  This can lead to blood vessel damage, and damage to sensitive tissues as a result of hypoxia, or not enough oxygen.  The smallest blood vessels at the end of the line are most susceptible to this kind of damage.  This is why damage can happen in the extremities, like fingers and toes.  

The blood vessels inside our eyes are among these smaller more vulnerable vessels that are prone to damage from chronic high or fluctuating blood glucose.  When blood vessels inside the eyes sustain damage, the surrounding tissue called the retina can suffer as well.  When the retina is damaged, it is called diabetic retinopathy.  Diabetic retinopathy includes bleeding of blood vessels inside the eyes, growth of new, faulty blood vessels in the retina, hypoxia of the retina (dying nerve tissue due to lack of oxygen), swelling or separation of the retinal tissue (particularly the macula which is our detailed central vision).  Any type of diabetic retinopathy can cause changes to visual clarity, and in some cases can lead to missing areas of vision and even blindness.

In addition to the problems from diabetic retinopathy, having diabetes makes other eye diseases much more likely to develop such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, and cataracts.

Vision problems and blindness related to diabetic retinopathy are often preventable, and in some cases reversible.  Close monitoring and management of blood glucose with a primary care physician or endocrinologist can prevent these problems from occurring.  If signs of diabetic retinopathy are noted, revision of diabetes management may help reverse course.  

The key to all of this is early detection and awareness.  If you know you have diabetes, you should be seeing an eye care provider at least annually for a detailed eye health and vision examination.  Often diabetes can be developing in early stages (sometimes called insulin resistance syndrome), and may be starting to influence vision without a person’s knowledge of the situation.  Dr. Mitchell regularly identifies people with diabetes.  This is based on early changes related to diabetic retinopathy that was detected in their eye exam.  Dr. Mitchell can then refer them to their primary care provider for further evaluation.

To recognize those who have lost vision from diabetes, and to encourage awareness of this growing issue, Dr. Mitchell is pleased to offer free diabetic eye screening throughout the month of November.  This screening will not replace a detailed, comprehensive eye examination, but will involve taking specialized images of the retinal tissue to look for obvious signs of diabetic retinopathy.  Dr. Mitchell will review and discuss these images with you and make recommendations about any further follow-up that may be important.

Call our office to schedule your free diabetic eye disease screening if:

  • You have diabetes but haven’t had an eye exam for a while
  • You have diabetes, keep up with your eye exams, and are just interested in reviewing your retinal health
  • You don’t have diabetes, but haven’t had a general physical for a while
  • You don’t have diabetes, but would like to learn more about your retinal health.

What Is Dry Eye?

Dry eye syndrome is caused by a chronic lack of moisture and lubrication of the eyes. Your eye’s tears keep the surface of the eye moist and lubricated, as well as washing away dust, debris, and other microorganisms.

What causes dry eye?

Typically dry eye occurs when there is a problem with your tears. Tears are made up of an oily, watery, and mucin component. Any issue with those components could cause dry eye. It could be tear instability, tear film evaporation, or insufficient tear production. The only way to detect the cause of your dry eye is an eye exam.


  • Burning sensation
  • Itchy eyes
  • Aching sensations
  • Heavy eyes
  • Fatigued eyes
  • Sore eyes
  • Dryness sensation
  • Red eyes
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Blurred vision

Who gets dry eye?

Dry eye can happen to anyone at any age. Each case of dry eye varies in severity and individual tolerance. However, there are certain factors which can increase your risk for dry eyes. These factors include:

  • Computer use: Humans blink less frequently when working at computers, allowing for increased tear evaporation.
  • Smoking: Causes eyes to dry over time and is the root of various other eye problems.
  • Aging: Dry eye syndrome is more common after the age of 50.
  • Menopause: Women who have completed menopause are at a higher risk for dry eye than men of the same age.
  • Health conditions: Certain diseases have a higher risk of contributing to dry eyes- such as diabetes or thyroid diseases.
  • Medications: Prescription and nonprescription medicines can have dry eye as a side effect.

Visiting The Doctor

Getting an eye exam by an eye doctor is the only way to know for sure you have chronic dry eye syndrome. Symptoms of dry eye can vary significantly from person to person and may even be symptoms of other eye problems. Personal perception of dry eye severity does not indicate whether or not an individual has chronic dry eye syndrome. Some individuals with mild dry eye may feel their eyes are very bothersome, while some individuals with severe dry eye may not consider their symptoms significant.

If you are showing symptoms of dry eye, schedule an appointment with our office as soon as possible. The only way to know the medical severity of your dry eye is through an eye exam.


Back-to-school Vision Care.

It’s hard to believe we are talking about back-to-school time already……it seems like our kids just got out! You’ve got lists of school supplies to acquire to make sure they are prepared for learning; but as we prepare our kiddos to hit the classroom and books again, it’s important to discuss how kids are seeing their world, and how their vision contributes to their learning.

Every child is different; this includes the way they learn. Some kids need to read information, some need to hear it, some need to teach it or experience it. For most kids, seeing is one of the most important fundamental elements in learning. In fact, teachers spend a lot of time teaching kids how to use their vision for learning. There are many ways that vision can impact learning.

1: Most of the time, when we think about vision, we think about seeing clearly. Can my child see the smart board from across the classroom…..or can she see the words in the book? Obviously, if a child can’t see clearly, he may not be able to participate fully in academic activities. Often children don’t report difficulty seeing because they aren’t aware that things should look different, and they develop ways to compensate, like sitting at the front of the class, squinting, or asking a classmate. Correcting visual clarity can help facilitate classroom involvement, but can also facilitate sports involvement. Clear vision supports safe and healthy play. Children have better and more accurate reaction times when they can see clearer.

2. Another way vision impacts learning is how efficiently we see…….believe it or not, vision, and comprehension of material are learned skills. Like walking, many children develop visual skills just by being in environments that require it. However, some children have difficulty developing accurate visual perception skills on their own. There are a number of factors that may get in the way of this development like reduced clarity of vision (see number 1), mis-coordination of the eyes (either they don’t point at the same place, or the brain can’t use both eyes simultaneously), or inability to adjust focus accurately.

Dr. Mitchell has 4 kids, and 3 of them have required very strong glasses since they were little. He knows how important it is for kids to see clear and the kind of impact vision can have on learning. Because of this, Dr. Mitchell is offering free vision screening to all school age kids as we approach the start of school in the next few weeks. A vision screening is a quick assessment that will help determine if your child may need further attention for their eyes to help in school. Dr. Mitchell will check for major vision or binocular coordination issues and will make recommendations if necessary. Regardless of insurance, there is no cost for this initial vision screening.

Make sure your children are ready to learn and call us at Mad River Eye Care today for a free vision screening. Next post, we’ll talk about screen use……..phones, computers, chrombooks and Ipads.

One Year in Mad River Valley!

Happy Anniversary! On July 9th, Mad River Eye Care will be celebrating one year in the Mad River Valley. Dr. Shannon Mitchell founded Mad River Eye Care in July of 2018 fulfilling his career goal of owning and operating his own optometry practice. Previous to Mad River Eye Care, Dr. Mitchell worked for 8 years at a larger practice in Stowe.

So why open a practice in The Valley? “I was looking for a place where eye care services were not easily accessible, and Waitsfield seemed to be central to just such an area. I wanted to provide a needed and appreciated service that no one else was providing. Opening in Mad River Valley has been a smart and fulfilling change for me.”

Dr. Mitchell partnered with Brothers Building in renovating the Robert Inverness Building, and feels lucky to have found such a prime location in Waitsfield. “Most of our patients note how comfortable and relaxed our office is. Brothers Building did an excellent job renovating the space to suite our technologically advanced capabilities while keeping it as inviting as your own living room.”

In addition to investing in the latest eye care technology, Dr. Mitchell recently added the capability of finishing glasses in the office as well, “this allows us to offer speedy and exceptional service on glasses.” Beyond glasses, Dr. Mitchell offers complete contact lens services for all types of contact lenses for any patient. Dr. Mitchell can also handle eye health needs, and provides comprehensive examinations for patients with diabetes, cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and more. He can make time to see more emergent cases as well such as eye injuries, infections, allergies, or acute vision changes.

Dr. Mitchell appreciates the support of Valley residents in his first year in business here. In recognition of the community’s support, Dr. Mitchell will be donating a portion of glasses sales in July to the Mad River Valley Community Fund.

Be sure to watch our social media for chances to win Mad River Eye Care merch/goody bags.

Faster Service On Glasses!

In house finishing:  We are pleased to announce that we now offer in-house finishing on most glasses lenses.  This means that we’ve simplified the process of purchasing glasses.  Because we will be cutting, shaping and inserting lenses right here in the office, we’ll be able to deliver high quality glasses to our patients much sooner than in the past.

So far, our glasses process has involved sending a glasses frame to our lens production laboratory.  The lab measures the frame, manufactures the lenses Dr. Mitchell prescribed, cuts the lenses, and  inserts them into the frame, then sends them back to our office.  That process on average has been taking about 10-14 days.  In some cases up to 3 or 4 weeks!  

Because we no longer need to ship the frame to the lab for most orders, we cut a lot of shipping time out of the equation.  We measure the frame specifications here, order lenses from our lab, and only the lenses ship to us when they are prepared.  When the lenses arrive, we cut and shape them with our new state-of-the-art system from Santinelli International (  This allows us to have your glasses ready within a week, sometimes in just 1 or 2 days!  Because we are only shipping lenses one way, we are cutting down our environmental impact as well.

We partner with ZEISS ( ),  a leader in advancing eye care and lens technology for most of our lens products.  ZEISS lens materials are superbly crafted to offer the greatest in optical clarity, durability and protection from harmful types of light like UV and high energy blue light. 

Dr. Mitchell is excited to provide high quality in-house finishing service to our patients in the Mad River Valley, and welcomes you to purchase your next glasses here.  Give us a call, or stop in for more information!

Advancing eye care in Mad River Valley part 1.

We returned from Vision Expo East with some great new ideas and products for our office.

  • New products:

    1. We are excited to introduce Marc Jacobs designer frame line to our optical! We selected styles that we think will be appealing to the discerning eye glass wearer. We are impressed by the quality of the frames, and the forward style!

    2. We also added a new line for kids and teenagers called Swing. Swing created a special material free of artificial dyes which is also allergen free and very light weight. It is flexible and durable, and will be great for our underage population (has a lot of give, and should be break resistant!).

    3. We also added new styles of some of our favorite brands:

      1. Smith Optics– with new colors and twists on classic frame shapes and sizes, we are excited to offer Smith’s innovations in our office.

      2. Costa– we’re happy we decided to carry Costa, not only do they offer amazing products with cool styles and designs, but they have started a recycling program where we can send old lenses (from old glasses, or the demonstration lenses that come in the frames we purchase) to a recycling facility where they are made into protective eye wear like motorcycle shields and safety glasses.

      3. Shwood– Shwood is quickly becoming a favorite in our office with their unique integration of wood, abalone and shells, titatnium and wood/aluminum laminates. Shwood frames are hand-made in Oregon, and they continue to push the limits. We are excited to bring some of their new products to our office that incorporate slate, mushrooms, seashells, and flowers.

      4. Europa– Including: Scott Harris, Cote d’ azur, and Allan J. These lines maintain some of our staple fashion with edgy shapes, bold colors, and smaller sizes for petite faces. Allan Jay is new in our office, and brings a bold, modern/retro blend of style that’s daring, but not over-the-top.

We are truly excited to offer updated styles of glasses right here in the Mad River Valley! Check our blog post next week for updates on our lens production capability………….

Mad River Eye Care