Thursday, January 26, 2012

LASIK for Contact Lens Problems & Intolerance

“Contact lens problems and intolerance seem to be motivating more and more patients to schedule LASIK consultations these days,” said Maine Corneal Specialist Ravi Shah, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland.

In fact, contact lens problems and intolerance are the reasons a great many patients seek LASIK Surgery and Laser Vision Correction. “The most common reason for contact lens intolerance that we see is a condition called Giant Papillary Conjunctivitis or GPC”, commented Dr. Shah.

When we wear contact lenses, no matter how successfully or how diligent we are in their care and replacement, they become coated with mucous and protein from our tears. After a number of years of wearing contacts it is not uncommon to develop an allergy to the protein on the contact lens. Initially this may result in patients having some dry eye symptoms and prompt them to use lubricating eye drops. However, as the GPC contact lens problem continues to progress patients begin to notice some itch and stringy mucous type discharge from their eyes. After a while the contacts just become too uncomfortable and gritty and patients become intolerant and just can’t wear their contacts. During a severe episode of GPC, patients may be restricted from wearing their contacts in order to reduce the allergic inflammation of the lids. In some cases, patients are no longer able to wear contacts again at all. Patients with a chronic GPC may decide to have LASIK to correct their vision, so that they no longer need to depend on contacts on a daily basis.

LASIK can be a great option for you to rid yourself of the hassle of contacts and allow you to continue a “glasses free” lifestyle for seeing at distance. If you or someone you know suffers fro any type of contact lens problem and would like to learn more about LASIK and whether they are a good candidate please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 for a Free LASIK Consultation.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

High Risk for Glaucoma

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. Many of those with glaucoma are unaware that they have it until they start having changes in their vision. There are factors that put certain individuals at a higher risk for glaucoma. “Patients who are at a higher risk for glaucoma because of specific factors such as race or family history are categorized as glaucoma suspects,” says Dr. Samuel Solish, Glaucoma specialist at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME. These individuals who are at a higher risk for glaucoma are screened on a regular basis for the possibility of glaucoma. These screenings should be every 1-2 years, and should include a dilated eye exam.


Race: African Americans are at a much higher risk of developing glaucoma than Caucasians; up to 5 times the risk of Caucasians, according to some studies.

Increased IOP: High intraocular pressure (IOP) is a strong risk factor for glaucoma; however, it is important to note that not everyone with increased IOP develops glaucoma

Family History: Having a first degree relative, such as a parent or a sibling, with glaucoma increases your chances of developing the disease.

Age: Those over 60 are at an increased risk of developing glaucoma.

Myopia: Nearsighted patients are at a higher risk for glaucoma; particularly those with moderate to high myopia.

Medical Conditions: Other chronic conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, put patients at a higher risk for developing glaucoma, as do other eye diseases and surgeries.

If you are at an increased risk for developing Glaucoma and have not had a dilated exam, contact Eyecare Medical Group at 1-888-374-2020 to schedule an exam.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Aspirin & Macular Degeneration (AMD)

There may be a relationship between frequent aspirin use and Macular Degeneration (AMD) according to researchers from the European Eye Study who  reported some interesting findings on the October 2011 publication Ophthalmology which is the official journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology. They found that frequent aspirin use may be associated with an increased risk of early or late “wet age-related macular degeneration”, with an “odds ratio” that increases upon frequency of consumption. However the study is somewhat limited in that there was an unknown amount of aspirin taken, as well as the possibility that participants may have taken aspirin after experiencing visual problems. So, at this time the study is interesting but inconclusive and certainly patients taking aspirin to offset the coronary risk profile or other vascular problems should NOT discontinue taking aspirin unless they have been directed to do so by their personal physician. Patients who have question or concerns about Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) should feel free to contact Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 for information or to schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What is a YAG PI?

A YAG PI, or a YAG laser peripheral Iridotomy, is a procedure to treat or prevent angle closure glaucoma. YAG PI’s are also done before Implantable Contact Lens (ICL) surgery, such as a Visian lens, to prevent angle closure during and after surgery. This procedure uses the YAG laser to create a hole in the iris, which allows fluid to drain from the eye in order to be absorbed by surrounding eye tissue. The eye continuously produces fluid in order to maintain healthy pressure in the eye. Old fluid drains through the Trabecular meshwork as new fluid is made. In some people, this drainage system can become blocked, leading to a rise in intraocular pressure. If untreated, this increased pressure can cause permanent vision loss. The YAG laser is used to create a tiny opening in the iris as a "back up drain" in the event of a blockage. This microscopic opening is made in the iris under the upper eyelid. This opening, known as a peripheral Iridotomy, is generally positioned to one side of the 12 o’clock position, and is less than 1mm in diameter. This tiny hole helps maintain a normal flow of fluid through the eye thus preventing visual loss due to a rise in intraocular pressure.

A YAG PI typically takes less than 5 minutes. Dilation is not necessary for the procedure; however, the eye will be numbed with anesthetic drops. When a peripheral Iridotomy is indicated for both eyes, the procedures are usually done at least a week apart. Prescription steroid drops are required for five to seven days following the procedure. Patient recovery is very quick; generally 2-3 days, although some sensitivity to light can be present for up to a week after treatment.

If you have questions about a YAG PI, or are looking to find out more about having a YAG PI before an ICL surgery, contact Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Finding the Best Cataract Surgeons in Maine

To find the best Cataract Surgeons requires a little bit of work and investigation but is always worth it. Finding an eye surgeon who is a Cataract Specialist can help you to be confident that you are getting the most current information, thoughts and techniques to deal with your cataracts.

Ask People You Trust for a recommendation. Ask your friends, co-workers and family-but most importantly ask you primary care physician who they would go to or who they would send a parent to for cataract surgery.

Don’t Limit Yourself to Insurance Lists. Just because a Cataract Surgeon is “in network” isn’t a reason to use them if you are able to identify a top cataract surgeon you wish to go to who isn’t listed. Paying a slightly higher co-pay or deductible may be very worthwhile to get the Cataract Surgeon of your choice. If the best Cataract Surgeon in your area happens to be in the insurance list then you are all set.

Use the Power of the Internet. Take a minute to search “cataract surgeons in (insert your town/city/state)” or “best cataract surgeon in (insert your town/city/state)”. This will at least give you a starting place to begin creating a list of eye surgeons to investigate further.

Visit the Cataract Surgeon’s Web Site. Once you have compiled a list, visit their web sites.

And get a feel for their practice culture and philosophy. While a web site by itself can’t tell you much about surgical skills, it can tell you about how well he or she presents information and explains detail to patients. This is important in how comfortable you may feel in that practice.

Schedule a Consultation and Meet the Cataract Surgeon. The only sure fire way to find out if you are comfortable and get a sense of trust from a cataract surgeon is to schedule a consultation and meet the surgeon personally. They should be able to clearly explain your eye health and vision as well as the cataract procedure and answer any questions you have in understandable language and terms. Whether or not you find the right cataract surgeon right off the bat it is never inappropriate to………

Get a Second Opinion. Making a decision about eye surgery is a big deal. Getting to a place where you feel confident, relaxed and comfortable is important.

If you or someone you know has a Cataract or wishes to learn more about Cataract Surgery please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meet Our Surgery Center Director

Meet Crystal Buchanan, MSN, FNP-C!
Crystal is the Clinical Director of the Ambulatory Surgical Center at Eyecare Medical Group. What this means is that she assures the center operates effectively and efficiently from the standpoint of quality of care, patient safety, patient satisfaction, and physician satisfaction.

Crystal has been with EMG since July of 2009… this time. She worked at Eyecare Medical Group from May of 2002 to the end of 2003 as a registered nurse in our surgery center. She left EMG in 2003 to pursue a Masters Degree in Nursing at the University of Southern Maine. She is board certified as a Family Nurse Practitioner through the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and the American Nurses Credentialing Center. Crystal also has both her Associates degree AND Bachelors degree in Nursing.

Crystal has worked in many different aspects of the nursing field. She was a critical care technician while pursuing her Associates degree. Once receiving her nursing license, she worked as a Registered Nurse on a step down cardiac unit. She has also done work with pharmaceutical research studies for cardiology and rheumatology protocols. After receiving her Master's degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner, Crystal practiced as a nurse practitioner and clinical coordinator for a surgical practice in the Lewiston/Auburn area before returning to EMG.

Thanks for returning to EMG, Crystal! We certainly appreciate all of your experience and knowledge!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

About Your Eye Health Risk & Smoking

Smoking can have a great effect on your eyes-especially in terms of your risk of Cataracts and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD). Avoiding smoking, or quitting, is one of the best investments you can make in your long-term eye health. Smoking-even in your teens or twenties when your senior years seem far away-increases your future risks for Cataracts and Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) . The more a person smokes, the greater the risks. In general if you quit smoking the risks of these eye diseases decreases to approximately the same level as if you never smoked at all. Keep on mind that smoking also increases your risk of cardiovascular disease which also can affect your eyes. Besides the vascular problems mentioned smoking and even being around smokers and their second hand smoke increase the likelihood of dry eye. Learn more about eye health and smoking at Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Glaucoma Awareness Month in Maine

Eyecare Medical Group wants to alert patients that January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month. “This is an important time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease. Our understanding of this disease along with the ways in which we can diagnose and treat Glaucoma have improved considerably,” commented Maine Glaucoma Specialist Robert Daly, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland.

Glaucoma is the leading cause of preventable blindness. Moreover, among African American and Latino populations, Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness overall. Of particular note is that Glaucoma is 6 to 8 times more common in African Americans than Caucasians.

Over 4 million Americans, and nearly 70 million people worldwide, have Glaucoma. Experts estimate that half of them don’t know they have it. Combined with our aging population, we can see an epidemic of blindness looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve vision.

The most common type of Glaucoma—Primary Open Angle Glaucoma—is hereditary. The Nottingham Glaucoma Study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology evaluated the risk that siblings of Glaucoma patients would themselves develop Glaucoma within their lifetime. “While we already knew that there was a strong likelihood that family members of Glaucoma patients were at greater risk, the Nottingham Study found that siblings were 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma by age 70. This is why we strongly recommend that siblings of Glaucoma patients and Glaucoma suspects be screened for Glaucoma, each and every year,” said Dr. Daly.

If you, a relative or someone you know is at risk for Glaucoma based on their age, heredity or health please tell them to call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 to schedule and eye exam and Glaucoma screening. Early diagnosis and treatment goes a long way to preserving eye health and vision.