Maine LASIK Cataract Eye Care Surgery Blog Portland EMG

Sunday, February 18, 2018

AMD & Physical Activity



Does Physical Activity Help Protect Against Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)?
The benefits of staying active throughout life are constantly being reviewed and communicated to people of all ages-but especially seniors. The benefits include joint and muscle health as well as cognitive processes, mood and cardiovascular health to name a few. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the main cause of irreversible severe vision loss in seniors.  A recent review article presented in the American Journal of Ophthalmology  suggested that physical activity is associated with lower odds of early and late AMD in Caucasians. These findings have important implications for staying active throughout life. However, the authors also felt that additional studies were needed to confirm and further characterize an actual protective effect of physical activity on the onset and/or progression of AMD.

If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam, especially if you are over 50 with a family history of AMD or have other AMD risk factors, please call your local optometrist to schedule an appointment. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.



Sunday, February 11, 2018

Undiagnosed Age Related Macular Degeneration

With the benefit of early diagnosis and treatment, seniors can manage their risk of vision loss from Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and protect their sight and lifestyle. The key is early detection and diagnosis by having regular eye exams as recommended by your eye doctor. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of irreversible vision impairment in older adults in the United States, yet little is known about whether AMD is appropriately diagnosed in primary eye care. Many seniors visit their primary care physicians for various health issues and then assume that everything is fine when the primary care physician looks into their eyes with the bright light and doesn’t remark or comment about any problems. Unfortunately, results of a recent study published in JAMA Ophthalmology suggest that a large number of cases of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) are going undetected and undiagnosed even with the observation of primary care physicians. According to the study, by examining patients and comparing the eye exams to their primary care health records, 320 of 1288 eyes had AMD despite no diagnosis of AMD in the primary eye care medical record!  This study strongly indicates that under diagnosis of AMD can easily occur. If early AMD treatment is to be useful, seniors need to be sure to have regular dilated eye exams to help us help you avoid central vision loss.

If you or someone you know has a family history of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), especially if you are over 50 with a family history of AMD or have other AMD risk factors, please call your local optometrist to schedule an eye exam. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.





Sunday, February 4, 2018

Drusen: What Are They?



The white-yellow circular areas are called Drusen. They are lipid products that build up under the retina over time. This is an example of the dry type of macular degeneration, which affects 80% of macular degeneration patients.

If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam, especially if you are over 50 with a family history of AMD or have other AMD risk factors, please call your local optometrist to schedule an eye exam. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.



Sunday, January 28, 2018

Seniors: Eye Exams Key to AMD Detection



Seniors can take an important step in preventing vision loss from Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) by scheduling regular eye exams and sharing their risk factors with their eye doctor. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but thanks to recent treatment advances we have dramatically changed the course of this disease for seniors. BUT, early detection is a critical first step to preserving vision!

About Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
In the United States, approximately 11 million Americans are affected by some type of AMD. AMD has two types, a wet type and dry type. While dry AMD leads to a gradual loss of vision, wet AMD leads to faster, even catastrophic vision loss and is the most advanced form of the disease. Wet AMD is responsible for 90 percent of all AMD-related blindness. As recently as 10-12 years ago, the “wet” form of AMD was considered largely untreatable and many patients went blind. Then came the introduction of injectable anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs which block formation of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that cause permanent vision loss. The usage of anti-VEGF drugs has nearly halved the incidence AMD-related blindness in some countries.

There are several anti-VEGF drugs available that are used to treat AMD. Two of these, Lucentis® and Eylea®, were designed specifically for the treatment of AMD whereas a third drug, Avastin®), was originally developed to treat various types of cancer, but is commonly used “off-label” in patients with AMD. The recommended frequency of these injections varies from every few weeks to every few months, and duration of treatment varies by case.

About AMD Risk Factors
Common risk factors for AMD include increasing age, family history, smoking, and blood vessel disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (common in cold water fish) may lower risk. Seniors need to know that in its earliest stages, AMD may not have any symptoms. As it progresses, slight changes in vision may occur such as blurry or distorted vision, blank spots in vision and colors appearing less vivid or bright.

If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam, especially if you are over 50 with a family history of AMD or have other AMD risk factors, please call your local optometrist to schedule an appointment. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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, January 22, 2018

Glaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle



Glaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle: What You Need to Know!
As glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, we are often asked by glaucoma patients what diet, health and lifestyle factors can helpful or harmful to their eye health. There is a need to separate fact from fiction on recommendations and yet we can all take away some useful and practical information about the effect of diet, health and lifestyle on glaucoma.

Exercise and Glaucoma
One of the typical findings in glaucoma is that patients have an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Results from a number of studies indicate that aerobic exercise is associated with IOP lowering and according to the findings the change is greater among sedentary individuals than those who were already active and is independent of exercise duration or intensity. So, even a little aerobic exercise has a positive impact on lowering IOP! For anyone who feels they cannot incorporate exercise into their lifestyle-any kind of movement, even walking, may be beneficial. But, the key is consistency as you have to maintain your regimen because there is evidence showing as well that the effect of exercise on IOP does not continue when deconditioning occurs.

Diet and Glaucoma
There are many studies that suggest eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables-especially green leafy vegetables-is beneficial. This advice comes from studies showing that consumption of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or with a higher dietary nitrate intake (for which green leafy vegetables are an excellent source), seemed to protect against glaucoma. In general, there is no harm in increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables–EXCEPT that for patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin® or warfarin, you need to be aware that green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and should you should discuss any increase in their green vegetable intake with their primary care doctor so that medication dosages can be adjusted if necessary.

Acupuncture and Glaucoma
Today, many patients express an interest in alternative therapies such as acupuncture for managing treating their glaucoma.  In general, according to the results of a well-designed clinical study reported on acupuncture treatment for glaucoma in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, acupuncture is unlikely to be beneficial.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma please call your local optometrist to schedule a glaucoma eye exam and testing. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Inhalers: No Need to Worry!



Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Allergy Steroid Inhalers

For certain patients taking oral steroid medications for asthma or severe arthritis can actually elevate their intraocular pressure (IOP) and cause them to develop glaucoma. In the recent past, it has become very common to treat the symptoms of season allergies-such as a runny nose, itching and sneezing, with Flonase® (Fluticasone) which is administered with an inhaler. In fact Flonase® inhalers are now available “over the counter” without a prescription at your local pharmacy so that you can just buy them and begin treating yourself.  Is it safe to use Flonase® inhalers if you are at risk of high eye pressure and are you at even greater risk if you have ocular hypertension or already have glaucoma? According to the results of a clinical study, called the ICOUGH Study presented in the Journal of Glaucoma, there was no clinically significant increase in the average eye pressure in patients with well-controlled open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension after 6 weeks of twice-daily inhaled Flonase®. Thus, it is generally regarded as safe to use OTC inhalers of Flonase® without causing an increased risk of glaucoma. 

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma please call your local optometrist to schedule a glaucoma eye exam and testing. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States with nearly half being unaware they have the disease. During Glaucoma Awareness Month in January, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight. 

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides eye doctors an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people: 
  • over age 40;
  • who have a family history of glaucoma;
  • of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
  • who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
  • who are farsighted or nearsighted;
  • who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
  • whose corneas are thin in the center;
  • or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to managing glaucoma and preventing vision loss and blindness. Please call your local optometrist to schedule a glaucoma eye exam and testing. If specialty care, treatment or surgery is required, please ask to be referred to one of the physicians at 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.