Maine LASIK Cataract Eye Care Surgery Blog Portland EMG

Monday, May 2, 2016

Special Eye Exams Predict Diabetic Retinopathy Damage

Recently reported information in Retina Today from research conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute demonstrated that for people with diabetes who are showing evidence of diabetic retinopathy, it is of important predictive value for us to carefully evaluate lesions not simply the center of the retina, but more importantly those in the periphery of the retina, as these changes generally tell us that the disease will progress more rapidly. What we now know is that these peripheral lesions, which are not detected by traditional eye imaging, correlate very closely with the loss of retinal blood flow called retinal “non-perfusion” which tells us that there is damage to the small blood vessels or capillaries in the retina.

Thus, if you are diabetic and we are following you for retina changes and diabetic retinopathy we may recommend that we take both the routine retina photographs and fluorescein angiography of the central retina as well as the peripheral retina. If this extra measure of safety is required we will advise you of this extra step at the time of your diabetic eye exam.

Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the last decade or so has given us many major success stories for the treatment of diabetic eye disease, including diabetic macular edema (DME), with drugs that target a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It’s possible that such anti-VEGF drugs might also help to treat peripheral lesions and slow or even eliminate the risk of progression.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, having regular eye exams and testing to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is an important part of your care. Please schedule a diabetic eye exam by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, or visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monitoring Multiple Sclerosis with Eye Testing

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disease that can cause patients to experience decreased vision due to optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve, as well as diplopia or double vision. We believe that MS occurs because there is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system whereby it is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin-the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers as well as the nerve fibers themselves. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.

About Optical Coherence (OCT) Eye Testing for MS
In our office, we routinely use very precise imaging technology called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as part of evaluation, diagnosis and monitoring glaucoma and retina diseases because it allows us to examine the actual nerve fibers of the retina and the optic nerve.

Recent research has taught us that OCT can be used to monitor the degree of atrophy of specific retinal layers-called the “inner plexiform layer” and “ganglion cell layer”-and used as an as an indicator of neuronal tissue damage in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). For patients with Multiple Sclerosis this is quite valuable as it gives us a non invasive in office test, that in concert with their neurologists, helps us help patients asses the stability of their disease as well as their response to new medications or treatments.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with MS or has questions about the eye problems that can be associated with Multiple Sclerosis, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dry Eye Discomfort Slows Reading

Dry Eye Slows Reading Speed
Anyone who experiences the symptoms of dry eye is familiar with dryness, discomfort, burning, light sensitivity and even watering that can mark the presence of dry eye disease. But, did you know that dry eye problems and disease can impact visual function? Researchers reporting in Cornea compared visual function using reading tests including the Radner Reading Test, the International Reading Speed Texts [IReST], and the Wilkins Reading Test and studied cognitive function, fatigue, dry eye symptoms, reading acuity, reading rate and blink rate. The results showed significantly lower reading rates in all reading tests in patients with dry eye and a significantly increased fatigue level when reading in dry eye patients.

If you suffer from symptoms of dry eye such as dryness, burning, light sensitivity or watering and have noticed an uncomfortable slowing of your reading ability and even greater eye fatigue or tired eyes when reading, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, April 4, 2016

Dry Eye Disease and Hair Loss

About Dry Eye and Hair Loss
What do dry eye and hair loss have to do with each other? As it turns out, recent research suggests there may very well be a link through your immune system. Alopecia means hair loss. When a person has a condition called Alopecia Areata the hair falls out in round patches on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Alopecia is not contagious and it is not due to anxiety as some people think. Alopecia is actually due to your immune system attacking the hair follicles and resulting in hair loss. This disease is most occurs in otherwise healthy people. We now know that people with alopecia often suffer from dry eye disease. Researchers examined a series of patients who were previously diagnosed with Alopecia Areata and compared them to a control group who did not have the hair loss problem. They had each patient complete an Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire and evaluated their tear film using a Schirmer Test for tear quantity, a tear break-up time test and corneal staining stage tests. Dry eye disease (DED) was diagnosed in 84% of Alopecia Areata patients and in 15% of the controls, and there was a significant difference between the groups. They believe that a certain type of cell mediated autoimmunity has a key role in BOTH Alopecia Areata and dry eye disease and that the inflammatory mechanisms causing Alopecia Areata may trigger dry eye disease or vice versa. Based on this research it is recommended that all patients with Alopecia Areata be examined and evaluated for dry eye disease.

If you or someone you know suffers from Alopecia Areata hair loss and wish to be evaluated for dry eye disease and problems, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Quality of Life after Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery Quality of Life
When we think of the impact that cataracts have on people, it is pretty easy to identify that vision decline or loss comes mainly from the blurry cloudy vision that cataracts cause, but also the night vision problems from the glare and haloes associated with cataracts. What is much more important than the vision loss itself is the negative impact on patient’s quality of life. Recent research published in Acta Ophthalmologica studied the effect of patient quality before and after having cataract surgery. The researchers compared patients with no known cataracts of the same age, health and lifestyle to those who had cataracts before and after cataract surgery. When compared with the general population, cataract patients had much lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than those without cataracts as measured by five dimensions: seeing, moving, hearing, performing their usual activities and general discomfort and symptoms. Then at 12 months after cataract surgery there was significant improvement in the quality of life index (HRQoL) across these same dimensions. While this seems obvious, it is a reminder that cataracts and vision loss affect more than just vision and reason to avoid suffering if you feel that your vision might be impacting your quality of life.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, March 21, 2016

Eyes Can Help Monitor Huntington’s Disease

About Huntington’s Disease
We now know that certain eye tests may help serve as “biomarkers” for the progression of Huntington’s Disease as well as help understand whether some of the new medications prescribed might be helping to slow its progress. Huntington's Disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown and degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking and psychiatric disorders. Most people with Huntington's Disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s, but the onset of disease may be earlier or later in life. Medications are available to help manage the symptoms of Huntington's Disease, but treatments can't prevent the physical, mental and behavioral decline associated with the condition.

Eye Problems with Huntington’s Disease
One of the earliest and most recognizable eye problems of Huntington’s Disease is a change in eye movements or “saccades” where there is a lag initiating an eye movement to look at something and/or an involuntary reflex saccadic movement that the person can’t control. This loss of eye movement control is quite common. Recent research using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) testing that we do right in our offices allows us to study the health of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the health of the nerve fibers around the center of vision, called the macula. What we know is the thinning of the nerve fiber layer on OCT, along with a loss of the macular volume is an indicator of the progression of the disease and can serve to monitor that progression.

If you or someone you know has Huntington’s Disease or questions about eye problems with Huntington’s Disease please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, March 14, 2016

Diabetic Eye Exams: Don’t Delay!

About Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye problems include an increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, neurological eye muscle problems and the potential for serious vision loss from diabetic retinopathy a retinal vascular disease. Vision loss from diabetic eye disease is manageable and in many instances preventable but requires early diagnosis and treatment to be effective. This means ALL patients with diabetes must be diligent in having eye exams at intervals recommended by their eye doctors and/or their primary care physicians, internists or endocrinologists.

About Diabetes
According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics 21.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 and over (9.2%) have been diagnosed with diabetes and this percentage increases with age. One in five adults aged 65 and over (20.5%, or 8.7 million) has diagnosed diabetes, compared with 11.0% (11.3 million) aged 40–64 and 1.9% (1.7 million) aged 18–39.

About Delay in Seeking Diabetic Eye Exams
There seems to be a trend in that the more recently you are in having your diabetes diagnosed, the longer you delay in seeking and annual diabetic eye exam. This is troubling in preventing vision loss and avoiding diabetic eye problems. Among all adults, the percentage who visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months increased with years since diabetes diagnosis. About half, 50% of those diagnosed with diabetes within the prior 5 years had visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months, compared with 57.3% of those diagnosed 5-10 years ago and 61.2% of those diagnosed 10 or more years ago. Among adults with diagnosed diabetes, the percentage who had visited an eye doctor during the past 12 months increased with age: 38.2% for those aged 18–39, 53.8% for those aged 40–64, and 66.5% for those aged 65 and over. Thus, among adults with diabetes, both age and years since diagnosis may play a role in visiting an eye doctor in the past 12 months.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, please take the time to schedule and eye exam in order to prevent the risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems-most of which are preventable with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.