Thursday, July 28, 2011

Optical Shop for Eyeglasses at EMG

Eyecare Medical Group has recently had some exciting new changes in staffing in our Optical Shop!

John FitzGerald, a Retina technician who works with Dr. Scott Steidl, has become the manager of our Optical Shop. He will be joining Susan Yelvington, who works full time as an optician. John will continue his responsibilities in Retina, working up patients and assisting in surgery, but will also supervise the optical shop and work in that area as needed. John worked as an optician before working in Retina, so his experience will be welcome in our Optical Shop.

EMG also recently welcomed another new employee to the Optical Shop, Leslie Beaudette. Leslie comes to us from an optometry and ophthalmology office in Brunswick and has been in optical for 11 years. We’re very excited to have her join our team!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eyelid Surgery at EMG in Portland Maine

Eyelid surgery, otherwise known as blepharoplasty, is a surgery that is routinely performed here at EMG. “Droopy eyelids” or ptosis is a condition that occurs when the eyelid muscles start to deteriorate over time and the skin around the eyelids starts to sag, often times obstructing ones vision. Surgery can clear the peripheral vision and allow patients to see clearly again by removing excess skin on the eyelids and tightening up the eyelid muscles. Upper lid blepharoplasty can be considered medically necessary, as opposed to lower lid blepharoplasty, which is always considered cosmetic.

If it is determined that a patient is a candidate for blepharoplasty surgery, then a visual field test and 5 point photos will be taken by an ophthalmic technician. The information will be submitted to the patients insurance company to see if the surgery can be covered under the patients insurance policy. We allow up to 30 days for this determination to be made. If the insurance company approves the upper eyelid blepharoplasty, then the surgery will be covered according to the provisions of the patients insurance policy. If the insurance company denies the surgery as not medically necessary, the patient will be responsible for paying for the procedure out of pocket.

If your vision is being obstructed by droopy eyelids and you believe that you would be a good candidate for an upper lid blepharoplasty surgery, please call Eyecare Medical Group toll free at 1-888-374-2020 to schedule an exam.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Visian ICL™ Lens Implant

Eyecare Medical Group is proud to offer the Visian ICL (implantable collamer lens, or implantable contact lens) to our refractive patients. The Visian ICL™ is a possible solution for those who are nearsighted but who are not candidates for LASIK surgery because of high myopia or thin corneas.

“The Visian ICL™ is a great option for those who are not candidates for LASIK but want to get rid of their dependence on glasses or contact lenses,” says Dr. William Holt, refractive surgeon at Eyecare Medical Group.

Although the Visian ICL™ is a phakic IOL, it is different than the IOL’s used during cataract surgery because it does not replace the natural lens of the eye. Instead, the Visian ICL™ is inserted behind the iris and in front of the natural lens of the eye in a short outpatient procedure. The Visian ICL™ stays in place but can be removed at anytime if necessary.

The best way to determine if you are a candidate for a Visian ICL is to have an examination at Eyecare Medical Group. Please call us toll free for a free consultation at 1-888-374-2020.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dry Eye Clinic at EMG in Portland Maine

Every other Thursday afternoon, Dr. Jordan Sterrer hosts a Dry Eye Clinic here at EMG. The clinic is run differently than a normal exam, although an appointment is still required. The doctor and technician see the patients together, and do an extensive history and life style evaluation. “There are three basic layers to the tear film- oil, water, and mucus. Problems with any of these layers may cause dry eye symptoms” says Dr. Jordan Sterrer. Signs and symptoms of dry eye, or Dysfunctional Tear Syndrome, include:

 Stinging, burning, or scratchy sensation

 Grittiness, or a feeling that something is in the eye

 Blurred vision

 Sensitivity to light

 Difficulty wearing contact lenses

Different diagnostic tests, such as a Schirmer’s test, and the use of dyes and stains, are done to diagnose the patient. A life style evaluation is done to determine if the patient has any medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis or are on any medications such as birth control pills or antihistamines that may put them at an increased risk for dry eye. Based on all of these factors, Dr. Sterrer will decided which treatment is appropriate for each patient.

Cutting edge therapies for dry eye, such as autologus serum, may be suggested as treatment. Patients may be required to come back for additional visits to dry blood to make the serum, or to have follow up appointments to see how the treatment is progressing.

If you are experiencing eye discomfort or believe that you may have dysfunctional tear syndrome, please call today at 1-888-374-2020 to set up an appointment in our Dry Eye Clinic.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Meet Retina Technician Theresa Libby

Theresa Libby is one of the Retina technicians here at Eyecare Medical Group. She has been with EMG for 12 years, and has worked with 5 different Retina specialists in her tenure here at EMG.

Theresa currently works as a technician for Dr. Scott Steidl, one of our two vitreoretinal specialists. She works up office patients, preps patients for injections, and goes into the OR to assist in surgeries. She also assists both Dr. Steidl and Dr. Jackie Nguyen with retinal surgeries that have to be done off site at one of the hospitals in the area.

Theresa is currently a COA, or certified ophthalmic assistant. She has served on many committees while at EMG, including the Health and Safety Committee and the Quality Improvement Committee. She is also the Continuing Education Coordinator, so she is in charge of planning and coordinating seminars and workshops for ophthalmic assistants, technicians and nurses, and making sure employees comply with continuing education requirements. In addition to working full time here at EMG, she is also working on finishing her last year of nursing school at Southern Maine Community College.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Ophthalmologist Dr. Jennifer Mok Visits

Eyecare Medical Group recently welcomed a visit from Dr. Jennifer Mok, an ophthalmologist visiting from Hong Kong. Dr. Mok was with a team of 5 other physicians from Hong Kong and Mongolia who were here as part of a Rotary International exchange team. The Rotary Club of Portland hosted the exchange team here in Maine; they also visited various other locations in Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Dr. Mok expressed an interest to see how an ophthalmology practice in the U.S. was run, and she was referred here to EMG. She was able to spend a day here and meet with all of our physicians and some of our staff. She had a tour of our facility and was able to see several surgeries, including a cataract surgery and an oculoplastics surgery.

Dr. Mok was able to share some of her experiences as a practicing physician in Hong Kong. She was also able to offer information on the differences in the healthcare system here in the United States versus the healthcare system on Hong Kong, as well as some of the differences in how healthcare is administered.

Thank you for visitng us, Dr. Mok!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Dry Eye Dysfunctional Tear Syndrome

If Reading this Makes your Eyes Tired or Blurry, it could be Related to your Tears

By Dr. Ravi A. Shah

Many people are surprised to learn that dysfunctional tear dysfunctional tear syndrome or dry eye syndrome can actually cause blurred vision. The surface of the eye is normally covered with a smooth layer of tears called the tear film. The tear film is composed of three layers: oil, water, and mucous. An abnormal mixture in the tear film is one of the most common causes of blurred vision, eye discomfort, and eye redness.

When the tear film layer is healthy it is smooth like the surface of a lake. The light entering the eye is properly focused. When the tear film layer is abnormal, the light entering the eye is distorted. The view becomes blurred in the same way that it is difficult to see out of a car windshield when it is covered with raindrops. Blinking helps refresh the tear film, but activities like reading or driving will reduce blinking and increase tear film irregularity.

It is intuitive that someone with dry eyes would have symptoms include stinging, pain, and redness. Other symptoms that a person might not realize are caused by this condition include sensitivity to light, and the feeling that there is a speck of dirt in the eye. It may seem strange, but dry eye can actually cause the eyes to water. This happens when the eyes become irritated and a reflex tearing response is activated. This reflex is very similar to the kind of tearing that occurs when a small particle gets into the eye.

Dysfunctional tear syndrome, affects millions of Americans. It is estimated that dry eyes affect up to 11% of people aged 30 to 60 years of age and 15-30% of those 65 years of age or older. It is a condition that can easily be missed or overlooked during routine eye care. The chance of having dry eye increases with age and can significantly impact quality of life.

Most people who have dry eyes experience mild irritation with no long-term effects. If the condition is left untreated or becomes severe however, eye damage and vision loss can occur. Severe problems with dry eye can lead to eye inflammation, corneal infection, and scarring.

Awareness of dry eye conditions has been increasing among eye care providers though not all doctors use the same tools to diagnose and treat dry eye. Recent science has provided several new treatment options. A significant portion of the diagnosis is based on symptoms. Be sure to consult your doctor if you suffer from any of the problems listed earlier. If you do suffer from dry eyes it is reasonable to start with over-the-counter artificial tears and lubricants. If symptoms persist it is advisable to consult an eye care professional who is experienced in treating dysfunctional tear syndromes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Maine Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month

Eyecare Medical Group wishes to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated July as National Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month.

Contrary to what you might think, there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. It is only safe to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks at a professional display. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in approximately 10,000 injuries per year that are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Of those, 2/3 occurred during the one month period surrounding the July 4th holiday. It is important to note that

• Eyes were the Second Most Commonly Injured Part of the Body!
• Males Were Injured 3x More than Females.
• Approximately 25% of Injuries are to Children Under 15.

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July. But there are precautions parents can take to prevent these injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks. Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous. If an eye accident does occur, what should I know?

• Do not rub the eye.
• Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
• Do not apply pressure to the eye itself- but protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the child's hand.
• Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the child to the emergency room at once.
• Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.

Once you are seen in the emergency room please feel free to have them call Eyecare Medical Group as we always have an eye doctor “on call” to provide consultation and continued care for you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Routine Eye Exams at EMG Portland

Routine eye exams are important even if you do not have any existing eye issues. A routine eye exam generally consists of eye refraction, a slit lamp exam, tonometry, and visual acuity and functional tests. Routine eye exams are important even if you do not have any existing eye problems. Most insurance companies allow for a routine eye exam every two years.  It is important not to skip these exams as this is often when eye conditions or problems that may not have symptoms are diagnosed.  A routine eye exam can diagnose vision problems early when they can still be easily treated. They can diagnose glaucoma, which according to the World Health Organization is the second leading cause of blindness globally.  Routine eye exams can diagnose early retinal problems. They can even help diagnose diseases that are in other parts of the body but have ophthalmic manifestations.  Glasses and contact lens wearers need to have regular routine eye exams to make sure their prescriptions are current. If you haven’t had a routine eye exam recently, now is the time to call and schedule one!!!