Tuesday, April 24, 2012

LASIK & Astigmatism-What to Know

LASIK for Astigmatism is not only possible-but we use it all the time as an excellent way to correct vision”, said Maine Corneal Specialist and LASIK Surgeon Ravi Shah, M.D. Eyecare Medical group in Portland. “Astigmatism is something that is often confusing to patients. Also, in addition to being confused by what astigmatism is, a lot of people are under the incorrect impression that having astigmatism means you can’t have Laser Eye Surgery such as LASIK to correct your vision”, commented Dr. Shah.

Here is what you need to know about LASIK and astigmatism. First, astigmatism is one of the common types of refractive problems that cause blurry vision. Common refractive-or eye focus problems-include nearsightedness or myopia, farsightedness or hyperopia, astigmatism and presbyopia.

Astigmatism usually results from an unequal curvature of the cornea-the outermost clear dome in the front of the eye-that causes the eye to have two different curvatures and thus two different focal points. This can make images look more blurry at a specific orientation so that things horizontally are blurred or things vertically are blurred, depending on the direction of the astigmatism. Astigmatism can be very annoying visually and can even cause headaches and many visual symptoms apart from the blurriness itself. The visual distortions caused by astigmatism in healthy eyes are correctable with eyeglasses, contact lenses and Laser Vision Correction such as LASIK. During the early years after the initial FDA approval of Laser Vision Correction, the treatment of astigmatism was not yet approved and released in the United States. Shortly thereafter all of the FDA approved lasers were able to be programmed for astigmatism correction and received FDA approval to do so. Astigmatism has been correctable with Laser Eye Surgery for more than 15 years in the United States. “Today, as LASIK surgeons, we are able to accurately measure and treat all types of astigmatism with high degrees of precision and predictability”, said Dr. Shah.

If you or someone you know has astigmatism and would like to be less dependent or possible even free from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses for seeing at distance, please call Eyecare Medical Group for a Free Evaluation for Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of astigmatism at 888-374-2020. 

Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice 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, Opticians, 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.

Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located for patients from throughout Maine including
Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgeton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Diabetic Retinopathy & Pregnancy in Maine

Maine patients with diabetes should be aware that diabetic retinopathy can be a real threat during pregnancy. “Diabetic retinopathy can progress very quickly during pregnancy, with potentially serious outcomes for the mother,” says Jackie Nguyen, M.D., a Maine Vitreoretinal Specialist, at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, ME. “It is important that pregnant women with diabetic retinopathy be watched closely by their ophthalmologists” added Scott M. Steidl, M.D., Vitreoretinal Specialist at Eyecare Medical Group.

A study published in the February 2012 issue of Retina Today, “The Effect of Pregnancy on Diabetic Retinopathy” identified four factors that influence the rate and progression of diabetic retinopathy (DR) during pregnancy. These factors include having worse metabolic control at the time of conception, more severe DR at the time of conception, a longer duration of diabetes mellitus prior to pregnancy, and coexisting hypertension. All of these factors lead to a higher risk of progression or development of diabetic retinopathy. The study also showed that the development of preeclampsia increased a woman’s chances of progressive DR. Although mild cases of diabetic retinopathy can regress postpartum, it is important to continue to monitor the patient after the pregnancy even if the retinopathy appears to have slowed or stopped. Treatment is available for pregnant women with diabetic retinopathy but it is limited as the use of anti-VEGF medications can be potentially harmful to the fetus. Panretinal photocoagulation, or PRP laser treatment, is the recommended course of action, and it is recommended that PRP treatment be used as soon as clinically possible to avoid further complications or progression of the disease later.

If you are diabetic or suffer from diabetic retinopathy and are thinking about becoming pregnant, it is important to consult with your team of physicians including your obstetrician and ophthalmologist for suggested treatment of existing diabetic eye conditions. For questions, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 1-888-374-2020.

Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice 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, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract treatment including 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.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Eye Protection for Sports in Maine

Eye protection is something to be encouraged given the numerous indoor and outdoor sports and recreation activities in Maine. Protecting your eyes playing sports is an important way to help preserve your eye health and vision that sometimes gets overlooked. Tens of thousands of sports and recreation-related eye injuries occur each year. The good news is that 90 percent of serious eye injuries, such as retinal detachment, are preventable through use of appropriate protective eyewear. The risk of eye injury can vary depending on the activity. Make sure the level of eye protection you or others in your family use is appropriate for the type of activity. Regular eyeglasses do not offer proper eye protection.

Across all age groups, sports-related eye injuries occur most frequently in baseball, basketball and racquet sports. Further, boxing and full-contact martial arts pose an extremely high risk of serious and even blinding eye injuries and there is really no satisfactory eye protection for boxing, although thumbless gloves may reduce the number of boxing eye injuries. When playing baseball, ice hockey and men’s lacrosse, a helmet with a polycarbonate lightweight shatterproof face mask or wire shield should be worn at all times. In general, hockey face masks be approved by the Hockey Equipment Certification Council or the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Last protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses should be worn for sports such as basketball, racquet sports, soccer and field hockey. If you need additional information or help regarding how to select the best eyewear to protect you while playing sports please feel free to phone Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.

Eyecare Medical Group is a leading ophthalmology practice 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, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts, 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.

Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located for patients from throughout Maine including Auburn, Augusta, Bangor, Bath, Berwick, Biddeford, Bridgeton, Brunswick, Cape Neddick, Casco Bay, Cumberland Center, Eliot, Freeport, Gardiner, Kennebunk, Kennebunkport, Kittery, Lewiston, Old Orchard Beach, Sanford, Scarborough, South Portland, Springvale, Topsham, Waterville, Westbrook, Winslow, Wiscasset, Yarmouth, Portland, Skowhegan and York Maine.


Thursday, April 5, 2012

Meet Dean Coniaris-“Fishin’ Optician”


Dean Coniaris has worked at Eyecare Medical Group for the past 6 years. Dean has an extensive background in optometry and ophthalmology that goes all the way back to his childhood-his dad was an optometrist! Dean attended Newbury College and has his associates degree in ophthalmic dispensing. He was actively worked in the eye care field ever since, spending the last 30 years taking care of people’s vision. Dean is a COA, or certified ophthalmic assistant, here at EMG. He’s also has his ABO (American Board of Opticianry) and NCLE (National Contact Lens Examiners) certifications. Dean works in retina for Dr. Steidl and Dr. Nguyen, and is also our back up retinal photographer and angiographer. Before coming to Eyecare Medical Group, Dean worked for a Retina specialist in southern Maine.

In the winter, Dean is a full time EMG employee, but in the summer, he does double duty working here part time as a technician, and working out on his boat the “Fishin’ Optician”. He and his wife, Ellen, lobster in the summer. Two summers ago, they were lucky enough to find a rare blue lobster in one of their traps! During his free time during the winter months, Dean can be found working as a ski instructor at Mt. Abram with his wife. He’s a volunteer fire fighter in the town of Saco for the past 33 years, and he is the chairman of the Saco Shoreline Commission. Dean says he loves working at Eyecare Medical Group because he is “always learning, everyday there is something new to be learned”.


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Cataract Lens Implants in Maine

Maine patients with Cataracts will be choosing a Lens Implant for Cataract Surgery vision correction with the help of their Cataract Surgeon.
“The decision on exactly how to correct your vision after Cataract Surgery used to be a decision that was the sole responsibility of your Cataract Surgeon. As more advanced types of lens implant technology became available that could do some extra things for patients, we were able to offer our Cataract patients some more options for their vision correction,” said Maine Cataract Surgeon Bruce Cassidy, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland. 
Beginning in around 2005, it became necessary for Cataract Surgeons to discuss Lens Implant options with patients so together they could choose the most appropriate lens implant for the lifestyle needs of the patient. Only after the Cataract evaluation, can we make a firm recommendation for each patient, because the choice of Lens Implant really depends on several factors including the patient’s prescription, the overall health of their eyes, whether they have any other health problems, such as diabetes and most importantly how they use their eyes throughout their daily routine. A type of lens implant called an aspheric lens implant seems to give the sharpest, most crisp vision-but only corrects distance vision and requires you to wear reading glasses or bifocals after cataract surgery. This might be fine for a truck driver who needs cataract surgery, but might not be the best choice for a sales clerk who uses his or her eyes at many distances all day. A type of lens implant called a toric lens implant is often selected for Cataract patients who have correction in their eyeglasses. If you have a toric lens implant to correct your vision after Cataract Surgery, you will still need to correct your near vision to see up close with reading glasses of some sort. For those patients who do a number of things throughout the day that require seeing far away, at arm’s length-say for the computer-and also to see up close, if you are a good candidate, we can offer you a multifocal lens implant that corrects near vision and presbyopia and so it will help you see at a range of distances without being totally dependent on eyeglasses.

Choosing a Lens Implant is a joint effort between you and your eye surgeon. It is not your decision alone. It’s not like buying a pair of shoes or a car where you can ask your friends for a good “brand” or you can read a brochure or see a TV commercial and then you can choose. It requires the careful evaluation and recommendation of skilled and experienced cataract surgeon to help you make the best choice. If you or someone you know has Cataracts and needs help with Cataract Surgery and Lens Implant information please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020.