Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Meet Dan Kelly!

Dan Kelly
Dan Kelly is our “IT guy” here at EMG . His name is probably heard the most over our paging system, and he can usually be at your desk pretty quickly to fix any computer problems you may have, whether it’s a frozen screen or a printing issue. He’s even available to help if you aren’t very proficient in Microsoft Word. Dan is in charge of the phone system at our office and at our billing office. He recently finished an upgrade to all of our credit card machines and has been helping work on getting new PC’s out around the building.

Before coming to EMG in 2008, Dan worked as a freelance IT consultant for several years. He also served our country for 4 years in the Marines. While in the Marines, Dan traveled all over the US, including North Carolina and California, as well as in Iraq and Kuwait.

Dan is currently working on the upgrade of our practice management software. He will be instrumental in the transition from paper charts to electronic medical records.

Dan says that his favorite part about working in the IT department at EMG is helping people get better with computers.

Thanks for serving our country, Dan, and thank you for always being available to fix any and all of our computer problems!!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Eyes, Eyestrain & Computers in Maine

Eyecare Medical Group patients in Maine may want to know interesting information about their eyes, eyestrain and computers. There are many important things to know about computer use and video display terminal use, your eyes and causes of eyestrain. Staring at your computer screen, smartphone, video game or other digital devices for long periods won't cause permanent eye damage, but your eyes may feel dry and tired. Although there are no long-term studies at this time, we do not believe there is any reason to be concerned that 3-D movies, TV or video games will damage the eyes or visual system.

Normally, you blink about 18 times a minute, but only blink half that often while using computers and other digital screen devices, whether for work or play. Reading, writing or other intensive “near work” can also cause eyestrain of a similar nature.

It is helpful in avoiding computer related eyestrain if you first position yourself about 24” from the screen you are viewing and with your eye gaze is slightly downward. It also helps to reduce glare from the screen by lighting the area properly and if possible use a screen filter if needed. It may seem silly but post a note that says “Blink!” on the computer as a reminder. Then, use the “20-20-20” rule. Every 20 minutes, shift your eyes to look at an object at least 20 feet away, for at least 20 seconds. It is also helpful to use artificial tears to refresh your eyes when they feel dry. Make sure that you take regular breaks from computer work, and be sure to get enough sleep at night. Now, if you wear contacts for the computer screen it’s important that you use and care for them properly in order to avoid eye irritation, swelling, infection and vision problems. Also, give your eyes a break and wear your glasses instead of your contacts sometime. Consider a special prescription and lens coating for computer use to help manage eyestrain and fatigue. If you wish to learn more about computers, vision, eyestrain and your eyes please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

About Eyes & Graves Disease in Maine

Eyecare patients in Maine with Graves Disease might find it useful to learn a bit more about their eyes. Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder that leads to over activity of the thyroid gland, known as hyperthyroidism. In Graves’ Disease, white blood cells attack the thyroid gland. The thyroid gland responds by secreting an excess amount of thyroid hormone. Because of this excess of hormones, the thyroid gland enlarges and metabolism increases. Graves’ disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Graves’ disease is often referred to as thyroid eye disease because of its ocular manifestations.

Graves’ disease affects the eyes because proteins in the eye muscles and connective tissues within the eye socket appear similar to that of the thyroid gland. The immune system of a patient with Graves’ disease gets confused by these similarities and ends up attacking the muscles and tissues within the eye. The symptoms that occur from this attack can vary from patient to patient and can depend on the severity of the disease.

The ocular symptoms of Graves’ disease include:
  • swelling of the eyelids and tissue around the eye
  • bulging of the eyes
  • a constant stare
  • retraction of eyelids (leading to the appearance of protrusion)
  • dry eyes and dry eye symptoms, such as watering and redness, and the feeling of something being in the eyes
  • pressure behind the eyes sockets
  • double vision
  • loss of vision
In severe cases of Graves’, the cornea can ulcerate, leading in permanent loss of vision. The optic nerve can be affected and the swelling that occurs can lead to glaucoma that damages the optic nerve. Exposure can be caused by protrusion of the eye and retraction of the lids, making it difficult to close the eye, leaving the cornea vulnerable.

There is no cure for Graves’ disease. Treatment for the ocular manifestations of this disease can range from taping the eyelid shut to avoid exposure to using artificial tears and gels to alleviate the symptoms of dry eye. Oral steroids may be used to treat double vision that can be a result of inflammation. Eye surgery may also be required to treat certain symptoms. It is also very important to make sure that medication to regulate the thyroid is included in treatment. However, thyroid treatment will not guarantee that the eyes will not continue to deteriorate. Therefore, patients with Graves’ disease should be followed by an ophthalmologist. If you have Graves’ Disease and need to see a physician, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 or visit us at facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

LASIK is Affordable: Easy Payments, Flex Plans & Tax Refunds

Believe it or not, LASIK is affordable for just about anyone at Eyecare Medical Group! That’s because we work to find ways to work with you to help you achieve your personal vision correction goals at Eyecare Medical Group. Here are a few ways lots of our patients choose when they have LASIK with us.

Easy Payment Plans
Many of our patients use our easy payment monthly payment plans. We can arrange the amount you pay each month to fit your budget-AND you do not even have to put any money down! You can have your LASIK procedure today WITH NO MONEY DOWN-and with 0% interest if you would like!

Flex Plans-Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA)
Many employers offer Flex Plans-Flexible Spending Accounts or FSA’s. These plans allow you to have money taken out of your paycheck over time to pay for LASIK. What is even more appealing about Flex Plans is that money is withheld in Pre-Tax dollars allowing you to get extra tax savings. It is best to come in for a free consultation to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK-and then we can tell you exactly how much to have taken out of your paycheck!

Health Spending Accounts (HSA)
Health Spending Accounts are another way our patients can use Pre-Tax dollars to pay for LASIK and elective Lens Implants. If you have an HSA, it is best to come in for a free consultation to find out if you are a candidate for LASIK so we can tell you how much to allocate.

Insurance & Discount Fee for Service Plans
More and more health insurance or vision insurance plans are offering partial coverage or a discount for LASIK to their participants. We will be happy to review your plan. Even if we are not a direct provider on your plan, if you have coverage, we will make every attempt to honor your benefit allowance when you come to Eyecare Medical Group.

Tax Refunds
Tax refunds often provide a nice source of unexpected cash that you can invest in yourself! If you know that you are going to be getting a tax refund, come in for a free consultation and find out if you are a candidate for LASIK. We can even use a very short term payment plan to help you get treated today and pay with your tax refund tomorrow.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Maine LASIK & Awful Glasses Contest on Facebook

Eyecare Medical Group is pleased to announce the commencement of their “Awful Glasses LASIK Contest.” “We decided to sponsor an “Awful Glasses LASIK Contest” as a result of our New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine LASIK patients and their friends-who are also our Facebook fans-having expressed an interest in sharing some great photos-so we decided it was time to engage them,” stated Clement Berry, Chief Executive Officer of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “LASIK is surgery and we are quite conservative and clinically diligent in our approach to LASIK patient care-but it doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun along the way helping people think about what it would be like to not have to wear glasses to see clearly at distance without them,” remarked Ravi Shah, M.D., Maine LASIK, Cornea & Cataract Surgeon at Eyecare Medical Group.

Eyecare Medical Group invites anyone over the age of 21 to participate in their “Awful Glasses Contest” by going to facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup and locating the Awful Glasses Contest tab on the left hand navigation bar. Upon clicking and loading the contest page you can LIKE us and you will be asked to provide a photo of yourself with your “Awful Glasses” and are encouraged to write a little statement about why they are so awful. “We will be accepting entries from February 13th until March 31, 2012,” noted Erica Mitchell, Refractive Surgery Coordinator. “Then beginning on April 1, 2012 we will open the contest to allow your friends and relatives to vote for you. Whoever has the most votes by their friends and relatives will get to have LASIK at Eyecare Medical Group complements of our center!! So-be sure to tell your friends that you have entered and that they should vote for you.”

There is no entry fee or cost of any kind to enter the Awful Glasses Contest at Eyecare Medical Group. However, if you win you must come in for a no charge consultation and be deemed a suitable LASIK candidate by our medical staff. In the event you are not suitable you will be able to give your LASIK to someone of your choosing who is medically suitable.

Eyecare Medical Group is a leading Maine eye center in Portland, Maine staffed by a team of eye care specialists including eye doctors who are fellowship trained glaucoma specialists, retina specialists, cornea specialists and cataract and lens implant specialists-all board certified Ophthalmologists-as well as Optometrists, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants, (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease including cornea transplants, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma.

To learn more about Eyecare Medical Group visit www.eyecaremed.com. To enter the Awful Glasses Contest visit www.facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.

For additional information, contact:

Kathy Brackett, Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102, kbrackett@eyecaremed.com, 1-888-374-2020

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Galilei Dual Scheimpflug Analyzer

Galilei Dual Scheimpflug Analyzer
The Galilei Dual Scheimpflug Analyzer is a diagnostic tool used in ophthalmology to get a lot of information with one test. The Galilei can be used as a corneal topographer, to map the surface and the curvature of the cornea, measure the thickness and curvature of the cornea, and the diameter of the pupil. The Galilei is unique in that it merges two different technologies: Scheimpflug photography and placido topography, to calculate central cornea power across the entire cornea. It also allows for 3 dimensional photographs of the anterior segment of the eye, which is the front third of the eye that includes the cornea, iris, lens and ciliary body.

The technology that the Galilei provides can be used as a tool in diagnosing corneal diseases such as keratoconus, and can assist with measurements for cataract and refractive surgeries. The Galilei is useful in IOL (intraocular lens) calculations for cataract surgery. It can be a particularly helpful tool to have when performing cataract surgery on a patient who has also undergone corneal refractive surgeries such as LASIK, PRK, or radial keratotomy (RK).

Thursday, February 9, 2012

About Your Eyes & Being Pregnant

What does being pregnant have to with your eyes? Sometimes quite a bit. During pregnancy your body undergoes fluctuations in hormone levels, changes in fluid retention and even an increase in your overall blood volume. These types of changes can result in your eyes changing in various ways. Fortunately eye changes due to pregnancy are usually temporary and resolve after the baby is born or after the cessation of breast feeding. Typically vision changes are minor and don’t require a change in eyeglasses, however there are some eye changes that do require care and attention.

If you were thinking about having LASIK you should delay your actual LASIK Surgery procedure until at least three months after your delivery or three months after you stop nursing. This is necessary because the thickness of your cornea may fluctuate during pregnancy and will reduce the accuracy of the LASIK correction. Also, hormonal fluctuations are often the cause of dry eye. This can make you uncomfortable by itself and can certainly make wearing your contact lenses more difficult. If you experience dry eyes during pregnancy be sure to consult your eye care provider so that “pregnancy-safe” lubricating eye drops or other alternative treatments for dry eye can be prescribed. Sometimes simply eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, may help resolve dry eye and also supports general good health.

On a more serious note, if your vision becomes noticeably blurry, it may signal high blood pressure or pregnancy-related diabetes. If you experience dry eyes, changes in vision or especially very blurred vision during pregnancy it is important to schedule an appointment to see us at Eyecare Medical Group by calling 888-374-2020.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Retinitis Pigmentosa

Retinitis pigmentosa is a degenerative disease of the retina. It is a progressive disease; that is, it gets worse over time, and leads to progressive vision loss. RP is one of the most common forms of inherited retinal degeneration. It’s characterized by the progressive loss of photoreceptor cells and can eventually lead to blindness, although not usually total blindness. Individuals with RP generally experience night blindness first, often followed by a reduction of the peripheral vision, known as tunnel vision, and sometimes loss of central vision.

Blindness from retinitis pigmentosa is incurable. The progression of the disease may vary, with some individuals losing their vision in childhood. Others may not become legally blind until they are in their 40’s and 50’s. Some others still retain some sight throughout their life. Diagnosis of RP relies upon documentation of progressive loss in photoreceptor cell function by electroretinography (ERG), and visual field testing to show loss of peripheral vision. Visual acuity testing is important in detecting vision loss. Retinal exams are important to document the health of the retina.

The major risk factor for retinitis pigmentosa is family history. RP runs in families, and is caused by a number of genetic defects. There is no real treatment for retinitis pigmentosa, although some studies suggest that the progression of the disease can be reduced by a daily intake of 15000 IU of Vitamin A palmitate in certain patients. Wearing sunglasses to help protect the retina from ultraviolet light can also be beneficial to preserving vision.

If you have a retinal disease and need an eye exam, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 or visit us at Facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Age Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD ) is the leading cause of visual impairment and blindness in Americans older than 50, affecting more than two million people. Although AMD is incurable, there are new treatments that can at a minimum prevent further vision loss from the disease and in many cases actually help recover lost vision,” commented Scott Steidl, M.D.

AMD causes central vision to blur, but leaves peripheral vision intact. It is progressive and painless. There are two types of ARMD: Dry and Wet. Approximately 90 percent of people with AMD have the dry form which results in gradual vision loss. Although only 10 percent of people with ARMD have the wet form, it generally progresses much quicker than the dry form. Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels that leak blood or fluid, causing rapid and severe central vision loss.

Patients can often reduce the risk of developing ARMD by not smoking as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables, avoiding foods with trans fats, exercising and controlling blood pressure and weight.

“We are fortunate to be able to offer Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) drugs that inhibit the development of unwanted blood vessels that cause wet ARMD as these agents are effective in helping to prevent further visual loss and even improve vision," said Dr. Steidl.

Patients older than 50 are encouraged to have a comprehensive, dilated eye examination every one to two years to ensure that ARMD is detected and treated early. The key to successful treatment is early detection and intervention. If you or someone you know is at risk for AMD please have them call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 to schedule and eye exams.