Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Maine Eye Doctor on Smoking & Eye Health

Maine eye doctor Samuel Solish, M.D. reviewed the eye health problems and risks associated with smoking.  “For many patients appreciating the  long terms increased eye health risks of smoking-especially when they are younger is a lot to ask,” stated Dr. Solish. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “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 cataract and age-related macular degeneration (AMD). And the more a person smokes, the higher the risks. The good news is that after people quit smoking, their risks for these eye diseases become almost as low as for people who never smoked,” said Dr. Solish.

Smoking also raises the risks for cardiovascular diseases that indirectly influence your eyes’ health. And tobacco smoke, including second-hand smoke, is an irritant that worsens dry eye, a very uncomfortable eye condition that is most common in women after menopause. Smoking increases the risk of serious vision loss in people with other eye diseases. And when women smoke during pregnancy they are more likely to give birth prematurely, putting their babies at higher risk for a potentially blinding disease called retinopathy of prematurity as well as other health problems.

 If you or someone you know want to quit smoking and would like help the American Cancer Society has a resource at www.cancer.org. If you would like to learn more about smoking and eye health problems please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com.

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.


Monday, May 20, 2013

Maine Glaucoma Specialist on Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is promoted as a treatment for many diseases, including glaucoma Maine Glaucoma Specialist & Ophthalmologist Samuel Solish, M.D. discussed medical marijuana and glaucoma. “Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, reducing peripheral vision. If not properly diagnosed and treated it can lead to blindness. One cause of the optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal pressure within the eye, called intraocular pressure or IOP,” explained Dr. Solish. “Currently glaucoma treatment for the most part is to lower IOP levels with eye drops, laser treatment, oral medications and sometimes surgery depending on the type of glaucoma and how severe it is.”

The idea that marijuana can be helpful in treating glaucoma dates to the 1970s. Studies conducted then showed that smoking marijuana lowered the IOP of people with glaucoma. As a result of this research, additional studies were conducted examining whether marijuana or its active ingredient, a compound known as THC, could be used to keep IOP lowered. This research was supported by the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The research found that when marijuana is smoked or when a form of its active ingredient is taken as a pill or by injection, it does lower IOP. However, it only lowers IOP for a short period of time-about three or four hours. This short period of time is a major drawback for the use of marijuana as a glaucoma treatment. Because glaucoma needs to be treated 24 hours a day, you would need to smoke marijuana six to eight times a day around the clock to receive the benefit of a consistently lowered IOP. Because of marijuana's mood-altering effect, smoking so much of it daily would leave you too impaired to drive, operate equipment or function at the peak of your mental ability.

The effect that marijuana has on your ability to function is not the only side effect from the drug, however. Marijuana cigarettes contain hundreds of compounds that damage the lungs. Research has shown that regular and frequent use of marijuana, particularly in high doses, can cause problems with short-term memory and concentration. As scientists learn more about glaucoma, they have also come to understand that IOP is not the only factor that damages the optic nerve. Recent studies characterize glaucoma as a neurologic disease similar to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. And, there is increasing evidence that reduced flow of blood to the optic nerve may also cause damage in patients with glaucoma. Unfortunately, marijuana not only lowers IOP, but it lowers blood pressure throughout the body. As a result, it has the potential to lower the blood flow to the optic nerve, effectively canceling out the benefit of a lowered IOP.

So, while marijuana can temporarily lower your IOP, it's not recommended for treating glaucoma. Prescription medications, laser and surgical treatments have been tested and proven as effective treatments for the glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye exams, glaucoma and medical marijuana feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.

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.


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Maine Optometrist on Choosing Sunglasses

Ruth Stevens, O.D. Maine Optometrist
Maine Optometrist Dr. Ruth Stevens helped us understand more about choosing sunglasses. “Choosing the right sunglasses means understanding that they are more than just a fashion accessory,” commented Dr. Stevens of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. “Sunglasses are an important form of protection for your eyes against the damaging rays of the sun.” 

It's important for you to know what types of light you need to protect your eyes from and what types of light are not necessarily harmful. Here are some tips for picking the right pair of nonprescription sunglasses.
  • Choose Sunglasses that Block 99% of Ultraviolet (UV) Rays. This is the most important feature of your sunglasses, and you should always choose sunglasses that provide this protection. Long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation in sunlight is linked to eye disease, including cataracts. Some manufacturers' labels say UV absorption up to 400nm. This is the same thing as 100 percent UV absorption. Some glasses make additional claims for blocking infrared rays, but research has not shown a close connection between infrared rays and eye disease. 
  • Don't Rely on the Price. Many types of affordable sunglasses offer 99 to 100% UV protection, so you don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money on a pair of sunglasses. 
  • Do Rely on the Quality. In addition to UV protection, you also want to check the optical quality of the lenses. You can easily test the quality of sunglasses by looking at something with a rectangular pattern, such as a floor tile. Hold the glasses at a comfortable distance and cover one eye. Move the glasses slowly from side to side, then up and down. If the lines stay straight, the lenses are fine. If the lines wiggle, especially in the center of the lens, try another pair. 
  • Look for Impact-Resistant Lenses. All sunglasses must meet impact standards set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety. No lens is truly unbreakable, but plastic lenses are less likely to shatter when hit by a ball or stone. Polycarbonate plastics, used in many sports sunglasses, are especially strong, but scratch easily. If you buy polycarbonate lenses, choose ones with a scratch-resistant coating.
  • Use Protective Eyewear NOT Sunglasses for Hazardous Activities. If you are going to be engaged in outdoor activities like water or snow skiing that put your eye at risk for injury, don't count on your eyeglasses for protection. Protective eyewear is available with UV protection to shield your eyes from sunburn and glare.
  • Lens Color Tinting & Polarization are Personal Preferences. There's no medical reason to recommend one tint of lens over another. Likewise, while polarized lenses work better at deflecting glare, they're not blocking any more harmful UV light than non-polarized lenses. 
Once you have the right sunglasses, make sure you wear them, especially in the summer when UV levels are at least three times higher than in the winter. Also be sure to wear them when participating in winter sports, particularly at high elevations. 

If you or someone you know has a question or would like to learn more about choosing the right sunglasses please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup

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.


Monday, May 13, 2013

Optometry Seminar for Maine O.D.s Featuring Dr. Aaron Parnes

Aaron Parnes, M.D.
Maine Vitreoretinal Surgeon
On Monday, May 6th, EMG hosted an Optometry Seminar for optometrists throughout the state.  79 optometrists RSVP’d to the event, along with about 25 employees of Eyecare Medical Group. The topic of the evening was Retina, and Dr. Aaron Parnes, who will be joining Eyecare Medical Group in August of 2013 after he finishes his clinical fellowship at Yale Eye Center, was the first to speak.

Dr. Parnes talked about the current treatment options for Wet AMD, including treatment via intravitreal injections with drugs such as Lucentis,Avastin, and Eylea.  He discussed the clinical trials that have gone on for the treatment of Wet AMD and how to interpret those results. He also discussed individualizing treatment for patients with the wet form of age related macular degeneration.

Dr. Parnes then moved his discussion to DME, or diabetic macular edema. The discussion on DME revolved around the treatment and management of the disease. He discussed the different treatment standards including laser treatment, vitrectomy, and the use of corticosteroids in managing and treating diabetic macular edema. 

Jackie Nguyen, M.D.
Dr. Nguyen’s discussion was on the use of the OCT in today’s retina practice. Dr. Nguyen talked a lot about interpreting OCT’s and showed case studies of different pathology found using the OCT, or optical coherence tomography. Dr. Nguyen discussed how OCT can be used in diagnosing different retinal issues, and showed case studies of patient with different retinal problems, including epiretinal membrane, vitreomacular traction, macular holes, and retinal detachments.

Darrin Landry, our retinal photographer, raffled off his book, “Optical Coherence Tomography: A Clinical Atlas of Retinal Images” and Dr. Daniel Roy from Sanford was the winner of the raffle.

Thanks to all of the optometrists who attended Monday’s seminar, thanks to Darrin for donating his book to the raffle, and thanks to Dr. Parnes and Dr. Nguyen for sharing their presentations with us.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Maine Retina Specialist on Vitreous Detachment after Cataract Surgery

Maine Retina Specialist Jackie Nguyen, M.D. explained why cataract surgery patients often experience Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) after a cataract operation. “Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) does indeed appear to be more common in individuals who have had cataract surgery. There may not be an obvious "cause and effect" relationship but there are a number of possible factors that contribute to this,” said Dr. Nguyen of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. These can include the following: 
  • The vitreous changes that lead to vitreous liquefication and instability and ultimately PVD are age-related, as are cataracts and the need for cataract surgery. 
  • Removal of a cataract can allow mechanical space shifts in the vitreous gel and perhaps increase the odds of PVD. 
  • Biochemical changes actually occur following cataract surgery and these appear to increase the likelihood of PVD, particularly if the posterior lens capsule is opened. 
  • Unusual complications of cataract surgery can disrupt the integrity of the vitreous gel and increase the odds of PVD. 
“What we know clinically as a practical matter is that it is pretty typical for some 50% or more of patients undergoing cataract surgery will experience a Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD), with some patients noticing visual symptoms including a “cobweb” or some floaters,” explained Dr. Nguyen. “If the visual symptoms become excessive or are accompanied by a curtain, veil or a “bubble” or perhaps distortion of your vision, we want to hear from you immediately.” 

If you or someone you know has a question or concerns about cataracts, cataract surgery or Posterior Vitreous detachment (PVD) please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup

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.