Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pink Eye Conjunctivitis: Do I Have It?

We frequently receive calls at Eyecare Medical Group from patients wondering is their “red eyes” might be conjunctivitis or “pink eye”. First, without coming in to see us for an external eye exam it is really not possible to tell over the phone. But when you do come in, we will be able to look for a number of signs and thoroughly discuss your symptoms to help determine whether you have “pink eye” or conjunctivitis.

Signs & Symptoms of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis

About Bacterial Conjunctivitis
If you have a bacterial infection causing pink eye conjunctivitis, you will usually have very red eyes. You may find crusting on your eyelids that can make them stick together as well as a heavy, pus-like discharge from your eyes that may be greenish at times. This infection may spread to both eyes.

About Viral Conjunctivitis
If you have a viral conjunctivitis we often will find a very red, swollen eye, crusty eyelids and a more watery discharge. This discharge can also have strands of mucus or white, ropy strands. While many cases of viral pink eye infect only one eye, this infection can also spread to the other eye.

About Allergic Conjunctivitis
If you have an allergic conjunctivitis and your allergies are causing your conjunctivitis, it will often look similar to viral conjunctivitis. Your eyes will be red and tearing. However, they will also be itchy. It is likely you may have a stuffy, runny or itchy nose as well.

Treatment of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis
Typically, treatment is mostly supportive. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections but do work well in treating bacterial conjunctivitis. Regardless of the cause, it is important to minimize exposure of others by washing your hands frequently and throwing away used tissues. Do not share towels or pillow cases. Consider staying home from work or school until you are symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are a contact lens wearer, you should discontinue their use and stick with glasses until your infection clears. Then start with a fresh pair of lenses and a clean lens case.

If you or someone you know has questions about pink eye conjunctivitis, symptoms or treatment please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease from Eye Movements

Alzheimer's disease represents a growing challenge in our healthcare system as well as the loved ones and caregivers of those affected by the disease.  Efforts at early intervention are heavily dependent on our ability to detect the disease as early as possible.

Role of Eye Movements in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease
According to researchers reporting in Investigative Ophthalmology & Vision Science a subtle change in eye movements may provide a useful diagnostic tool for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s  Disease. In general, eye movements follow a reproducible pattern during normal reading. Each eye movement ends up at a fixation point or end point. This allows the brain to process the incoming information and to program the following movements accurately. The researchers found that Alzheimer Disease (AD) produces eye movement abnormalities and disturbances in reading whereby those patients with early AD display abnormal fixation patterns. We now know that evaluation of eye movement behavior during reading may be a useful tool for a more precise early diagnosis of AD and for monitoring the progress or stability of Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye movements and Alzheimer’s Diseases, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

About Ocular or Ophthalmic Migraine

When someone uses the word “migraine” patients immediately think about terribly uncomfortable, even painful and debilitating headaches that can have some odd or frightening visual effects and result in nausea and feeling quite ill overall. But, at Eyecare Medical Group when we listen carefully to patients we often hear that otherwise healthy patients sometimes tell us that about once or twice a month they see these strange pulsing images in both eyes-both with their eyes open and closed! Sometimes they tell us that they start out small, may last 10-20 minutes and even cause their vision to become blurry. These episodes actually describe what we know to be an Ocular Migraine-a migraine without a headache! What patients are experiencing is the aura that many sufferers have before the onset of a classic migraine headache. An ocular or ophthalmic migraine often includes zigzag lines, colored lights or flashes of lights expanding to one side of your vision over perhaps 10 to 30 minutes. 

If you experience these symptoms, in order to be sure that this is not a sign of a more serious problem, you should schedule an evaluation and eye exam with Eyecare Medical Group so that we can rule out any other problems and work in concert with your primary care physician or a neurologist to make sure that other testing is not needed.

If you or someone you know has questions about ocular or ophthalmic migraine or suffers from the visual symptoms we mentioned above please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, March 2, 2015

Computer Screens Cause Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye problems and dry eye symptoms can be caused by many systemic diseases, medications, eye diseases, environmental conditions and even changes in hormone balance. But now, we know that prolonged use of computer screens and really video display and VDT terminals of any type can cause dry eye problems and symptoms.

Research on Dry Eyes & Computer Screens
According to researchers publishing in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, users of video display screens or computer terminals are at greater risk for symptoms of dry eyes and dry eye disease (DED). In this study a group of 672 young and middle-aged Japanese office workers who used video display terminals (VDT) completed questionnaires and underwent dry eye testing. Of the 672 workers, 76.5% had definite dry or probable dry eye disease with the percentage being higher in woman than men and higher in office workers over 30 years of age especially if they used computers more than 8 hours per day. Thus, DED is common among young to middle-aged VDT or computer screen users. Thus, it is recommended that anyone using VDT or computer screens of any type for moderate to long periods of time or even those who notice increased dryness or grittiness should take measure to try and keep the eye surface moist ad intact such as the use of lubricants, artificial tears or even more aggressive measures if the extensive use of the VDT or computer screens is a daily event.

If you or someone you know has questions about dry eyes and computer screen or video display terminal use,  please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Obesity & Macular Degeneration Risk

Obesity is a well documented risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and many other systemic conditions. Researchers reviewing the Beaver Dam Eye Study evaluated the risk of age related eye disease such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) with obesity. They discussed their review in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science where they reported the results of eye exams that were used to evaluate the presence and severity of cataract and macular degeneration as well as measurements of height and weight over a 15 year period of time. Their findings show that for females who were non smokers, there was indeed and increased risk of early and late stage age related macular degeneration (AMD) with an increasing body Mass Index (BMI).

If you or someone you know has questions about age related macular degeneration (AMD) or your specific risk factors for AMD or needs an eye exam for macular degeneration,  please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, February 16, 2015

Cataracts Cause Night Driving Problems

Seniors and others who have been diagnosed with cataracts need to be aware of the night driving problems that even mild cataracts cause. In addition, if you are experiencing night driving problems, it is important to have an eye exam with a cataract evaluation in order determine whether you have the start of a cataract. For many patients, the night driving problems from a cataract seems to be the first real symptom of a cataract.



About Night Driving Problems with Cataracts

If you or someone you know feels they have night driving problems that might be related to cataracts or has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to schedule an eye exam by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.

Driving at night is considerably more difficult for most people as dim lighting and darkness can cause you to misjudge distances between cars and the sides of the road. For many patients night driving problems may cause you to begin noticing a general blur of your vision, clouding or hazy vision, dimming of colors and even some double vision-even in daylight. These are symptoms of cataracts that often accompany night driving problems from a cataract. If you find that you don’t really feel comfortable driving at night, it may be that you have the beginning of a cataract. If you experience these symptoms, it would be important to schedule an eye exam and find out for sure. Then, depending on how troubling or unsafe you feel, we will be happy to discuss whether it might well be time to consider whether cataract surgery as an option to help you regain your night driving comfort level.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Be Aware of Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Dr. Aaron Parnes, MD, Vitreoretinal Specialist
Seniors and others concerned with age related vision loss should become familiar with the risk factors associated with age related macular degeneration (AMD). Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. Knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments with your eye doctor can help reduce your risks for vision loss from macular degeneration. The key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Know the Top AMD Risks
Ø  Being over the Age of 60
Ø  Having a Family History of AMD
Ø  Cigarette Smoking
Ø  Obesity
Ø  Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor a complete eye exam and evaluation. Your doctor may recommend additional specialized testing if necessary as well as certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.

Reducing AMD Risk Factors
There are some AMD risk factors that a person can change such as stopping smoking and eating a low fat diet rich in green leafy vegetables along with reducing alcohol consumptions that can reduce the risk of vision loss from AMD. Other risk factors such as genetic factors cannot be changed. However, knowing your family medical history is one way to learn whether you may be genetically predisposed to a disease. For patients at high risk for developing late stage AMD, taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, has been shown to lower the risk of AMD advancing to advanced stages by 25 percent.

Know the Symptoms of Wet AMD
People who are at risk should know the symptoms of Wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid, serious and catastrophic vision loss. With early detection, diagnosis and treatment it is possible to avoid or minimize vision loss from Wet AMD. Symptoms of Wet AMD might include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines, “distortion”, “bending of straight lines and objects”.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 immediately and explain your symptoms and request urgent appointment. Current treatments for Wet AMD using injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth (VEGF) inhibitors drugs such as Lucentis® and Eylea® provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss and may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives us a better chance of successful treatment.

If you or someone you know has questions age related macular degeneration (AMD)risks and symptoms or needs an eye exam for AMD should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.