Thursday, October 27, 2011

Eye Protection

Eye protection in all forms is extremely important. Sunglasses are an excellent way to protect your eyes from sunlight and reflections from the sun off surfaces such as water, snow, and pavement. Sunglasses are important in protecting your eyelids, cornea, and lens from ultraviolet rays, as well as other parts of your eye. It is important to limit your UV exposure as it can contribute to the development of cataracts and can cause cancers of the eye and eyelids.

Safety goggles are another important type of protective eyewear. Safety goggles are worn in many types of jobs, especially those where dust, metal, or dirt particles are in the air. Safety goggles are also important in the medical field to prevent the spread of blood borne pathogens. Many day to day activities, such as motorcycling or using household chemicals, are dangerous enough to necessitate safety goggles.

If you have any questions about what kind of protective eyewear is right for you, or are looking to purchase a pair of sunglasses with UV protection, you can call Eyecare Medical Group toll free at 1-888-374-2020 or visit our Optical Shop located at our facility in Portland.

Discussing Driving Skills with Seniors

A study conducted at the University of Michigan’s Kellogg Eye Center has found that most eyecare providers consider it their responsibility to ask patients aged 65 and older about their driving abilities.

The study was led by Donald C. Musch, Ph.D. and surveyed 500 ophthalmologists and optometrists in Michigan on how they evaluate the driving capabilities of senior patients. The majority of eyecare providers routinely asks senior patients about driving and often tests visual acuity and peripheral vision in these patients. 87% of practitioners reported asking senior patients about glare, night driving, and the ability to read signs. However, only 8% of practitioners surveyed said they ask senior drivers about their driving records or about more challenging maneuvers such as merging or backing up. The study also found that eyecare providers often neglect to ask seniors about medical conditions or medications that might impact the ability to drive. The study was supported by a grant from M-CASTL, a unit of the U-M Transportation Research Institute, the University said in the release.

SOURCE: Eyeworld Magazine Volume 16, Number 33 September 5, 2011

Thursday, October 20, 2011

How Safe Is LASIK Surgery?

“For anyone thinking about Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction such as LASIK it is worthwhile to know about the safety of these Laser Vision Correction procedures," said Corneal and LASIK Surgeon Ravi Shah, MD at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine. LASIK has a solid overall track record of safety but the safety of LASIK depends on a number of factors. “By far the most important factors that can affect LASIK safety are the laser and instrumentation to be used to perform the treatment and even more so, the skill and experience of the LASIK Surgeon,” commented Dr. Shah.


Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of nearsightedness was first performed in the United States upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the Excimer Laser on October 20, 1995. The Excimer Laser was specifically FDA approved for LASIK in 1998. “So as of 2011, Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction has been performed for just over 15 years and the LASIK procedure has been performed under FDA approval for just over 11 years,” said Dr. Shah.

Properly selected patients with realistic expectations who are nearsighted generally achieve 20/40 vision more than 98 percent of the time and uncorrected vision of 20/20 or 20/25 90 percent of the time. Vision loss to a level less than 20/40 is quite rare after LASIK , occurring in about only 3 per 1,000 cases and serious complications such as infection or corneal damage occur even more infrequently, in fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases. There is more to safety than simply the laser device itself.

Safety is the Hands of the LASIK Surgeon

FDA approval does not guarantee that a LASIK Surgeon is going to provide a thorough evaluation and consultation, nor does not indicate that LASIK Surgeons will provide a complete review of the possible risks and complications of LASIK or imply that a LASIK Surgeon will use the appropriate screening and decision criteria to be sure that a patient is in fact a good candidate for LASIK or any Laser Eye Surgery for that matter.

With regard to LASIK safety choosing a LASIK Surgeon is the most important decision a patient makes in deciding to have LASIK Surgery. This choice is a meaningful factor in making LASIK a safe and effective procedure. You should not choose a LASIK Surgeon based on slick advertising or low price. You should choose a LASIK Surgeon based on reputation in the community, the length of time they have been performing LASIK and the comfort and rapport established during your consultation. While the equipment used may provide a slight advantage or disadvantage in safety, it is ALWAYS the skill and experience of the surgeon that contributes the most to the overall safety of Laser Eye Surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for All Laser Bladeless LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination and consultation at Eyecare Medical Group. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us Toll Free at 888.374.2020.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Can a Cataract Grow Back?

“A Cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye. Once we remove the Cataract-the cloudy crystalline lens-it can’t come back,” remarked Maine Cataract Surgeon Bruce Cassidy, MD of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland. “What does sometimes happen is that a condition called “posterior capsular opacification” can occur that makes it seem as if the Cataract is growing back-but it’s not.”

The crystalline lens of the eye is where a Cataract forms. The crystalline lens has a soft protein center and is surrounded by a capsule. A Cataract forms because the protein becomes cloudy. “During Cataract Surgery we use microscopic instruments to break up and remove the cloudy material as this is what blurs your vision-and we leave the “capsule” in place. We will actually place the intraocular lens implant (IOL) inside the capsule to help correct your vision,” said Robert Daly, M.D. a Cataract Surgeon and Glaucoma Specialist at Eyecare Medical Group. In some patients the capsule becomes “opacified” some time after surgery leaving the patient’s vision cloudy and often with glare sensitivity, much like the symptoms they had from the Cataract. “Fortunately, using a YAG Laser, we are able to quickly, safely and effectively create an opening in the capsule along the visual axis which restores the vision almost instantly”, said Dr. Daly. This procedure called a “YAG Capsulotomy” takes only a few minutes and is often performed using simple eye drop anesthesia without discomfort.

Please feel free to contact us with your questions about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by calling Eyecare Medical Group Care Toll Free at 888.374.2020.

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Impact of Daily Contact Lens Wear

A recent study on the impact of contact lens wear and visual display terminal work was published in The American Journal of Ophthalmology. The purpose of the study, which included 69 contact lenses wearers and 102 non contact lens wearers of the same age and sex, “was to evaluate the effect of contact lens (CL) wear and visual display terminal work on the ocular surface and tear functions.” A dry eye symptom questionnaire was used to evaluate the signs and symptoms of dry eye, and multiple ocular surface and tear function tests, including stainings using fluroescein and rose bengal, Schirmer test, tear meniscus height measurement, and tear film break-up time were performed.

The study concluded that contact lenses wearers are more prone to dry eye. Findings showed that contact lens wearers who spent more than four hours at a visual display terminal had significantly higher incidence of dry eye and a lower tear meniscus volume, as well as more visual symptoms triggered by environmental factors. According to the results of the study, contact lens wearers are at a higher risk of dry eye from sitting at a visual display terminal, such as a computer, than those who are not contact lens wears when all other factors, such as age, sex, and hours spent at a visual display terminal, are the same.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glaucoma & Intraocular Eye Pressure

Intraocular pressure, or IOP, is the fluid pressure inside the eye or the eye pressure. This fluid, called aqueous humor nourishes the cornea, iris and lens. Its production must be balanced by the rate of drainage in order for the eye to remain healthy. If there is a buildup of aqueous humor the intraocular pressure can increase. IOP measurements are important in the diagnosis and management of Glaucoma. The measurement is taken with an instrument called a tonometer, which either touches the surface of the eye or puffs air into the eye. A normal IOP reading is 10-21 mmHg, or millimeters of mercury.

A check of the intraocular pressure is generally done as a part of a routine eye exam. If you have a family history of Glaucoma, it is especially important that you have routine IOP checks to make sure that your pressure stays normal. If you or someone you know has a family member with Glaucoma they should have their IOP checked. Please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group at 1-888-374-2020 to schedule an eye exam.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Astigmatism: What is It?

Many people have astigmatism without actually knowing what it is. Astigmatism is a very common condition, and in fact, most people have some degree of astigmatism. It often occurs with other vision conditions such as myopia, or nearsightedness, or hyperopia, or farsightedness. These conditions are referred to as refractive errors because they affect how the eye bends (refracts) the light as it enters the eye.

Astigmatism is characterized by an abnormal shape, or curvature, of the cornea. The human eye is naturally spherical in shape, so when light enters the eye, it is refracted normally. An astigmatic eye is shaped like a football, or the back of a spoon, which causes light entering the eye to refract more in one direction or the other. Because of this, objects appear blurry.

Astigmatism can be corrected with glasses, contact lenses or Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK. Eyeglasses used to correct astigmatism have a cylindrical lens prescription in them that provides for additional lens power in certain areas of the lens. Contact lenses that correct astigmatism are called toric contact lenses and are made of the same material as regular contact lenses but have added correction for cylindrical aberration. They can be more difficult for the wearer as well, as they have a top and a bottom and are not symmetrical. Because of this, toric lenses cannot be rotated. Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK or PRK can correct for astigmatism by reshaping the cornea through the use of a laser.

If you or someone you know has astigmatism and would like to learn more about it and how to correct it, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 1-888-374-2020 to set up an appointment!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eye Injury Prevention Month in Maine

Eyecare Medical Group wishes to announce that October has been designated Eye Injury Prevention Month by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. When most people go out to mow the lawn, jump-start the car or get ready to do some spring cleaning, the last thing they think about is protecting their eyes, but it should be first on their mind. It is a good idea to think about protecting your eyes from the extraordinary damage often caused by the most ordinary of activities.

Many household chemicals, such as cleaning fluids, detergents and ammonia, are extremely hazardous and can burn the eye's delicate tissues. When using chemicals, always read instructions and labels carefully, work in a well-ventilated area and make sure spray nozzles point away from you and others before spraying. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after use.

Before using a lawnmower, power trimmer or edger, check for debris. Stones, twigs and other items can become dangerous projectiles shooting from the blades of a lawnmower, potentially injuring your eyes or those of innocent bystanders. Prevention is the first and most important step in avoiding serious eye injuries, so be sure to protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear. Please feel free to contact us with your questions or to schedule an examination by calling Eyecare Medical Group Care Toll Free at 888.374.2020.