Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Retina Pigment Spots & Colon Cancer

Retina Specialist Aaron Parnes, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine asked “What could having a colonoscopy for colon cancer risk possibly have to do with your eyes?” As it turns out-plenty! The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is a layer of the retina which can sometimes be thicker than normal at birth-or “hypertrophic”. “During eye exams when we find these areas of retinal pigmented epithelial hypertrophy typically they do not cause any vision problems or symptoms and are pretty unremarkable,” commented Dr. Parnes.

Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) is usually found before patients reach 30 years of age and although they may enlarge with time they usually do not lead to malignancies like colon cancer. However, there is an association between people with Gardner's Syndrome-Familial Colonic Polyposes-or polyps of the colon, and CHRPE. If your eye doctor has told you that you have Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy-perhaps called “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles”, it is important to carefully explore and review your family history reasonable with a Gastroenterologist who will likely schedule you for a colonoscopy. CHRPE has a “statistically significant” correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP. It may be that the freckles are caused by the same genetic mutation that produces the polyps. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.

Thus-when we are over 50 years of age, the reasons to have yearly eye exams includes not only detecting cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases, but regular eye examinations may very well be a reminder to be screened via colonoscopy to help detect early risks and potential indicators of colon cancer.

If you are someone you know would like to find out more about Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy, Bear Tracks, Pigment Spots or Retina Freckles please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Irish Macular Degeneration Risk

Maine Retina Specialist Jackie Nguyen, M.D. commented on the risk of age related macular degeneration among Irish descendants. “While we certainly know that there is a strong familial predisposition toward increased risk of macular degeneration, the new research demonstrating that Irish people are more genetically predisposed to develop age-related macular degeneration (AMD) than other Caucasian populations is important,” commented Dr. Nguyen of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine.

The study conducted by the Department of Genetics at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and  the Royal Victoria Eye and Ear Hospital Research Foundation, evaluated blood samples from more than 200 patients with AMD and compared them with samples from participants without the disease to identify genetic risk factors. The study shows that Irish people are at an elevated risk of developing AMD. It is also known that smokers are four times more likely to suffer from the disease.

If you are over 50 years old or even earlier if you have a family history of AMD or are of Irish descent you should please schedule an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, December 9, 2013

Maine Specialist on Macular Degeneration Risk



Aaron Parnes, M.D., a Retina Specialist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine shared current research on predictive factors of age related macular degeneration (AMD) risk. “Recent research reported in the journal Ophthalmology evaluated the factors of age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, genetic variations, pre-existing retinal disease and drusen size to establish an algorithm for predicting the risk of patients in progressing to the move visually disabling advanced age related macular degeneration,” stated Dr. Parnes. “What we now know for sure is that the increased risk of progression is correlated with age, lower educational level, being a current or former smoker and having a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who did not progress. This is helpful in how we counsel, evaluate and follow patients at risk for macular degeneration.”

If you are over 50 years old or even earlier if you have a family history of AMD or any of the risk factors mentioned, you should please schedule an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland Maine at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Maine Specialist Discusses Narrow Angle Glaucoma

“Given the seriousness of narrow angle glaucoma it is important for people to understand more about its risks and symptoms in order to avoid the potential for vision loss,” commented Glaucoma Specialist Robert Daly, M.D. of Eyecare Medical Group in Portland, Maine. Dr. Daly explained more about the type of glaucoma called narrow angle glaucoma. A narrow angle is an anatomical configuration in the eye that under certain conditions can result in high eye pressure. High eye pressure may lead to glaucoma. The presence of and the  diagnosis of narrow angles is not the same as a diagnosis of glaucoma as only a small percentage of patients with narrow angles actually develop narrow angle glaucoma. As with many eye conditions, problems and diseases, early detection, diagnosis and treatment can prevent the development of angle closure glaucoma,” further explained Dr. Daly.

The angle of the eye is located at the junction between the iris-the colored part of the eye-and the cornea which is clear curved dome in the front of the eye. Inside the eye-behind the iris-is a ring like structure called the ciliary body which continually produces fluid called aqueous humor. The aqueous fluid flows over the lens, then through the pupil and drains internally from the eye via the trabecular meshwork which is located at the “angle”. As long as aqueous is drained at roughly the same rate it is produced, the eye maintains a normal pressure. If aqueous cannot drain as quickly as it is made, the eye pressure will go up.

If the eye pressure goes up slowly due to too much fluid being produced or too little fluid be drained, it can result in open angle glaucoma. If the eye pressure goes up rapidly due to too much fluid being drained because the drainage angle is too narrow it can result in narrow angle glaucoma.

Dr. Daly further explained, “The crystalline lens inside the eye grows throughout life and actually increases in size. As its size increases it can move the iris forward and slowly narrow or crowd the angle. Narrow angles tend to be seen more commonly as we age and some eyes are more predisposed to narrow angles than others. Narrow angles are more commonly found in people over the age of 40, females, farsighted or hyperopic patients, and in people of East Asian, African and Inuit descent.”

“Unlike open angle glaucoma which really produces no symptoms, symptoms that the angle is closing intermittently include episodes of blurred vision, perhaps seeing halos around objects, a headache-like pain around the eye or brow and even red eye,” explained Dr. Daly. “These symptoms can sometimes resolve spontaneously and may occur periodically over days or weeks. In addition, if the angle closes and does not reopen spontaneously, you may experience nausea and vomiting,” Dr. Daly continued, “If this happens you need to call us right away and tell us you need an immediate appointment.”

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about narrow angle glaucoma or is concerned about having narrow angles, please schedule an appointment by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020 or visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.