Maine LASIK Cataract Eye Care Surgery Blog Portland EMG

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Aging Eye Problems

About Aging Eyes
Aging eye problems are a fact of life for adults growing older just like wrinkles, slowing metabolism and graying hair. Eventually, your eyes are affected by age so it’s important to understand how your eyes change with age and what you can do to preserve your eye health and vision. Some aging eye changes and problems are expected and normal and others indicate the presence of eye diseases that need to be detected, diagnosed and treated or changes that need to be addressed to preserve vision. For these reasons having regular eye exams at the intervals recommended by your eye doctor is key-especially after the age of 40 years old.

Aging Eye Problems
Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s, the crystalline lens in your eye loses flexibility, making it difficult to focus and read up close. Your “arms seem “too short.” This condition is called presbyopia, which literally means "aging eye", and is most often treated with reading glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals depending on how you need to use your eyes for various tasks throughout the day, for work or recreation.

Dry Eye
Dry eye often develops with age and is a common problem for women during pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal changes cause changes in the eye’s tear production. Certain medications can also cause dry eye. If you have dry eye, you may be prone to an eyelid irritation called blepharitis, a common cause of irritation or swelling of the eyelids. The cause of your dry eye-either too few tears being produced or too rapid evaporation of tears will need to be diagnosed and then your eye doctor can prescribe a range of treatments including eye drops that add artificial tears, prescription eye drops that help you make more of your own tears called Restasis®, tiny punctal plugs to help you retain more of your own tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops and many other treatment options to get you help for dry eye symptoms and discomfort.

Diabetic Retinopathy
People in their 50s, 60s and 70s with diabetes are most at risk for this disease. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak fluid or close off completely due to damage from elevated blood sugar levels. But, you can take steps to prevent diabetic retinopathy with tight control of blood sugar, low fat diets, regular exercise and controlling blood pressure levels. It is also critical to see your eye doctor regularly for diabetic eye exams as with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be slowed and often prevented.

Cataracts are very common in older people. As you age, proteins in your crystalline lens begin to clump together and cause the lens to be cloudy. This is the development of a cataract where the lens has become less transparent, causing blurry, cloudy or dim vision and increased glare and haloes around lights. Many people with the condition describe it as similar to looking out of dirty windshield. Cataracts can interfere with daily activities like driving at night and distinguishing colors. While treatment of early cataracts with changes in eyeglass prescription may provide some benefit, the only really effective treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a permanent artificial lens implant which can correct the cataract as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even presbyopia.


Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that damages the fibers that transmit visual information to the brain. This damage often leads to loss of side vision or peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma will certainly lead to progressive vision loss and ultimately total blindness. Glaucoma is most common in people age 55 and older. One of the problems with glaucoma, especially the most common type of glaucoma, called chronic open-angle glaucoma, is that there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. Many people who have the disease do not know they have it. This is why it is important, especially as you get older, to have regular medical eye exams at intervals that depend on your risk factors-such as smoking, sleep apnea, age, diabetes, high blood pressure, early menopause-as recommended by your eye doctor.

Floaters and Flashes

As people grow older, the gel, called the Vitreous-that fills the inside their eye starts to shrink, forming clumps, liquid or strands. These strands and clumps can appear as “floaters” that appear as small specks or lines moving in your field of vision. As it shrinks, the gel can also pull away from the back wall of the eye, causing you to see “flashes” which appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your vision. While this is normally harmless, in some cases it can lead to retinal detachment and cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you experience new floaters and flashes, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are over age 45, are nearsighted or have had eye injuries in the past.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a senior eye problem that affects the central vision, limiting a person’s ability to read and recognize faces. This can be caused by a thinning and deterioration of the macula which is the center of the retina or by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. AMD can lead to blindness if not treated and it continues to be the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65. Fortunately with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss from AMD is preventable or at least manageable so that we can reduce vision loss and in many cases, recover vision.

If you or someone you know is concerned about ageing eye problems such as presbyopia, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) or cataracts please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Help for Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

About Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

Normally, tears drain through tiny opening in corners of the upper and lower eyelids call “puncta,” then enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. Sometimes the nasolacrimal duct or tear duct can become blocked or obstructed making it impossible for the tears to drain normally. This can cause the eyes to run water or even produce a discharge. Often, the tears well up on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the eyelashes, eyelids, and down the cheek. This usually occurs within the first days or weeks of life. Sometimes, the eyelids can become red and swollen, even stuck together with yellowish-green discharge since the normal eyelid bacteria are not properly "flushed" down the obstructed system. Probably the most common cause of a tear duct obstruction in kids is a failure of the membrane at the end of the tear duct opening to open fully at the time of birth. Generally we see this happening in some 5-10% of newborn infants where one or both eyes is affected with a tear duct obstruction-BUT some 90% clear without any treatment with the first 12 months after birth.

Treatment of Kids’ Tear Duct Obstruction
As most of the time the obstruction will clear on its own, we don’t always have to treat it. But, if it persists and causes the welling up of tears or the sticking or redness of the eyelids we can suggest a gentle massage as a first step and prescribe antibiotic eye drops if necessary. Sometimes we will need to do a tear duct probing to clear the blockage and in a some more difficult situations we might need to perform a tear duct dilation with a tiny balloon or even insert some microscopic tubes. We perform these types of treatments as a matter of routine and, as a parent I will make sure to thoroughly explain them and answer all of your questions if they become necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about childrens tear duct problems or needs a kids eye exam, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The LASIK Experience

Sara M shared her LASIK experience at Eyecare Medical Group…

“LASIK was an easy decision, the pros outweighed the cons and it seemed like the only answer. I was sick of waking up and not being able to see without putting my glasses on or contacts in. I just wanted to see without issue and LASIK was the answer.

The process was easy and stress free. My expectations weren’t high, just to see without complications. My first surgery went good, I followed all the aftercare instructions and didn’t seem to have issues other than my sight not being as clear as hoped. A second surgery was needed because my eye sight changed more than expected. Again, no issues and seeing great still. Night time driving is the only issue, a little blurry but nothing unexpected.

Eyecare Medical Group is still my #1 choice!

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about freedom from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses with Bladeless LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Field Hockey Eye Injury Reduced with Mandatory Eyewear

Avoid Sports Eye Injury with Protective Eyewear
According to research on data from the High School Reporting Information Online database and from a Virginia school district that includes 25 high schools, recorded between 2009 and 2013, analyzed and published in the journal Pediatrics, the use of mandatory protective eyewear by female field hockey players has reduced incidences of eye and orbital injuries, as well as severe face and head injuries. Among female U.S. high school field hockey players, a national mandate for protective eyewear has been associated with a greater than threefold reduced risk of eye and orbital injuries and a decreased incidence of severe eye and orbital as well as head and face injuries. This information supports a policy change and implementation of the mandatory use of protective equipment in field hockey at all amateur levels.

If you or someone you know have questions about protective eyewear for sports, or need to be fitted with protective eyewear to avoid the risk of sports eye injury, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A Cataract Patient Story

Marcia G shared her cataract surgery experience.

“Cataract surgery was a breeze at Eyecare Medical Group! Of course I expected nothing less of the facility and staff I've come to know. Everyone, from the check in counter to the assistants, nurses and surgeons.... made me feel like a friend (whose name they knew!) and not like a body sitting in a large impersonal waiting room that was just a means to a paycheck! I shouldn't have worried so because Dr. Sise and his team are just wonderful. They just make it so easy. After all, how could you NOT love a team that not only dresses in costume, but display the pictures on the EMG Facebook page? Seriously.....they are. Nothing to worry about. My questions were many and each was dealt with patiently prior to the cataract surgery. I'd been so unhappy with my declining vision for SO long and each and every staff member commiserated with me and shared information to ease my concerns. The tests were non-invasive and very interesting. I especially liked all the pretty colors some of them caused me to see! The pre-op with Barbara was easy and she's so knowledgeable. It seems odd to say this, but by the time she was done with me, I was looking forward to the procedure! Eye drops a few days prior to check in was simple and check in day? The team didn't even give me a chance to sit down and wait for my name to be called. I was led to the next room and given a really comfy seat while more eye drops were rapidly installed. Then Dr. Sise appeared, and with a grin on his face, asked which eye? Then the black pen appeared and he gave me a big black X to mark the spot! I was never uncomfortable and I was awake enough to join in conversations before they started. Can't believe it’s so quick! Voila! And we were done! I have to say, don't forget to say "yes" when the nurse asks you if you'd like a cinnamon muffin afterward! And by the way......Cataract Surgery number two! Just as smooth as the first and the muffin was something I looked forward to on the way there! Don't hesitate to work with any of the Doctors at EMG. The ones I've met are top is everyone there. Thanks SO much for my new eyes!”

If you or someone you know suffers from cloudy, blurry vision with night vision problems or fading of colors you should be checked for cataracts and 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 to schedule an appointment.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Macular Degeneration Risk: Diet, Lifestyle & Genes

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk
Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, high levels of alcohol consumption, high fat diets and other vascular risk factors are known to contribute to your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Further, we also know that those with a family history of AMD are even at additional risk. Recently a study published in Ophthalmology told us about the further risk that you might experience if you actually have a genetic predisposition. The results showed that odds of developing AMD were 3.3 times greater if you had both unhealthy lifestyle behaviors in combination with high genetic risk as compared to those who had low genetic risk and healthy lifestyles. This shows the powerful negative effect both your genes and lifestyle can play in your risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD).

If you or someone you know has a family history of AMD and demonstrates unhealthy lifestyle behaviors it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam on a regular schedule recommended by your eye doctor, at which you clearly make the doctor aware of your risk factors and concerns. Please call please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Corneal Crosslinking for Keratoconus

I am often asked to evaluate patients with a disease of the cornea called ectasia. This is a group of conditions where the cornea becomes thin and unstable. The result is that the cornea takes on a conical shape compared to its normal spherical contour. The most common type of ectasia is keratoconus. This is a condition often diagnosed in adolescence when patients note a change in their glasses prescription with increasing astigmatism. An analysis of the corneal shape, called topography, reveals signs of thinning with associated changes in the corneal shape. Currently there is no cure for this disease. Therapies are used to improve vision and include contact lenses, intrastromal corneal inlays, and even corneal transplantation. We are fortunate because a treatment has become available for Keratoconus and other ectasias. This procedure is called corneal collagen crosslinking. Eyecare Medical Group was proud to be a part of the investigative trial for this technology. The treatment aims to strengthen the cornea and prevent progressive thinning and warpage of the cornea. Our results are very promising and many of our patients were able to benefit from this treatment as part of the investigative trial. This is a major milestone in the treatment of ectasias and EMG is excited to be able to offer this treatment to our patients.

If you or someone you know has questions about Crosslinking/Keratoconus feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or to schedule an appointment.