Monday, December 1, 2014

Best Age for Contact Lens Fitting Success

Sometimes parents wonder what the best age is to fit their children with contact lenses in order to give them the most successful and safest wearing experience. Researchers reporting in Eye & Contact Lens: Science and Clinical Practice  studied differences  in current symptoms, compliance, ocular health and adverse events between current successful long–term contact lens wearers fit as children or as teenagers. They found that successful contact lens wearers fit as children are no more likely to report previous contact lens–related adverse events, problems with compliance, decreased wearing time, or worse ocular health than those fit as teenagers amd suggest that parents should not rely on age as a primary determinant in fitting children with contact lenses, but should rely on their eye doctor’s recommendations and evaluation of their child.

If you or someone you know has questions about the  best age to fit kids with contact lenses to enhance their successful wearing experience, should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Monitor Diabetic Retinopathy after Weight Loss Surgery

Patients with diabetes withdiabetic retinopathy who have weight loss surgery need to carefully monitor any progression of their retinopathy after the bariatric surgery even if their blood sugar is normal. What does weight loss surgery have to do with diabetic retinopathy? Researchers reporting at the  American Diabetes Association on a small pilot study found weight-loss surgery might accelerate progression of diabetic retinopathy in some cases. In the study 17.5% of the diabetes patients screened about a year before and again after bariatric surgery suffered a progression of their diabetic retinopathy as compared with the 2% to 4% of the overall diabetes patients who develop retinopathy each year. The opposite impact might have been expected. If you have a condition such as diabetic retinopathy that is the result of the diabetes and the diabetes is in remission, it makes intuitive sense that the progression of the condition would be arrested. Although a few patients did appear to have regression of their eye disease most remained unchanged after surgery in the study.

Progression of Diabetic retinopathy after Weight Loss Surgery
The patients who did progress had higher pre-surgical glucose levels and the greatest reduction in glucose levels afterward. A rapid reduction in blood glucose after the weight loss surgery-which is called “normoglycemic re-entry” or a temporary anemic episode after the weight loss surgery may actually be responsible for in the progression of preexisting diabetic retinopathy, but the mechanism is really unclear and requires a great deal of further investigation. One fact for sure-even if after weight loss surgery your blood glucose is normal, people with moderate background diabetic retinopathy prior to weight loss surgery should be monitored closely post-surgery for evidence of progression.

If you or someone you know has questions about diabetic retinopathy and weight loss or bariatric surgery and the  need for careful monitoring should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, November 17, 2014

Patient Understanding of Diabetic Retinopathy Limited

The patient understanding of diabeticretinopathy, it’s risks, it’s diagnosis, treatment and outcomes is rather limited. A recent study exploring patients’ understanding of the risk factors, cause and controllability of their own diabetic retinopathy revealed considerable misunderstanding, gaps in knowledge and potentially damaging beliefs about the cause and treatment of diabeticretinopathy.

Focus groups and interviews were conducted with patients with diabetic retinopathy (DR), nearly half of whom had severe proliferative DR-a serious complication. Most of these patients had also undergone laser treatment. At the conclusion of the study, patients were found to have had a reasonable understanding of the basic risk factors for DR, such as diabetes control, but they were less clear about specific risk factors such as blood pressure and lipid control. Most patients attributed their DR either to poor diabetes control or to failings of the health care system, rather than having a basic understanding of the small blood vessel disease including circulatory and oxygen deprivation that results from the damaged blood vessels in the retina. Some patients believed that their DR was a result of health aspects beyond their control or environmental factors, whereas others were unsure about the cause.

Improving patients' understanding of the major risk factors for DR as well as helping them have a better understanding of the causes of diabetic retinopathy and being able to grasp expectations of realistic outcomes of laser and other treatment may improve patients' coping mechanisms, adaption to disease and ocular outcomes.

If you or someone you know has questions about risk of diabeticretinopathy, diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy or treatment of diabetic retinopathy, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Avoid Diabetic Eye Disease & Problems

Eyecare Medical Group highlights this time to acknowledge that Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. Diabetes affects more than 25 million people in the United States and is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. There are some 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy and thus are at risk for vision loss if not properly cared for. Although there is no cure for diabeticeye disease or diabetic retinopathy, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease. The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.

In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease  by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising. 

If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroupto schedule an appointment.


Monday, October 13, 2014

Halloween Contact Lenses Require Caution

Eyecare Medical Group wishes to advise patient to use caution when considering non prescription decorative contact lenses for cosmetic use as part of their Halloween costumes. Patients need to remember that the Food and Drug Administration,  considers all contact lenses regulated medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye care professional. Even someone with perfect vision would still require an eye exam and a prescription in order to wear any kind of contacts, including cosmetic decorative non prescription contact lenses. Some websites advertise decorative contacts as if they were fashion accessories or toys with fanciful, playful packaging in order to attract teens and young adults, especially girls. The problem is not that people use decorative but that they buy the devices without a prescription through unlicensed vendors on the Internet or at flea markets and specialty shops. This exposes them to a significant risk of eye problems including scratched corneas or corneal abrasion, “pink eye” conjunctivitis and even corneal infections such as keratitis that can lead to corneal ulcers and vision loss. The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether cosmetic decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye  problems from becoming a reality.


If you or a friend would like to learn more about contact lenses of any type including cosmetic decorative non prescription contacts please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, September 29, 2014

Glaucoma Patients Benefit from iPad, Kindle & Nook e-Readers

Adults with glaucoma read slower when reading silently for long periods of time and are more likely to have their reading speed decrease over time, possibly as a result of reading fatigue caused by blind spots, reduced contrast sensitivity and visual field dimensions from the  damage done by their glaucoma. According to a study published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science patients with glaucoma may benefit from using e-readers such as the iPad, Nook and Kindle devices as they offer enhanced contrast adjustment and font size. These technological solutions along with the apps that are developed for them may very well help glaucoma patients read more comfortably.

If you or someone you know has questions about e-readers such as the iPad, Nook and Kindle ti help glaucoma patients read more comfortably,  please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Understanding BOTOX® Might Help Treat Type 2 Diabetes

Understanding the mechanism of action of BOTOX® might be helpful in the diagnosis and treatment of Type 2 Diabetes. What do BOTOX® and Type 2 Diabetes have to do with each other you ask?

BOTOX® Cosmetic is best known as an injection for helping patient smooth fine lines and wrinkles in order to look their best. BOTOX® is also used as treatment for a number of medical conditions including migraine, urinary incontinence, profuse sweating and crossed eyes, among others. In each of these cases, BOTOX® works because it has a paralyzing effect: that is, it relaxes specific muscles, which then provides the desired effect. BOTOX® accomplishes this effect by blocking certain proteins called SNARE (Soluble NSF Attachment Protein Receptor) proteins. It turns out that SNARE proteins in the beta cells of the pancreas help the pancreas secrete insulin, thus blocking these proteins in the pancreas could lead to insulin resistance which is the hallmark of Type 2 Diabetes. Understanding this mechanism will hopefully provide researchers with new ways to diagnose and treat Type 2 Diabetes in the future.

If you or someone you know has questions about how understanding of BOTOX® mechanism of action might help in the diagnosis and treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Diabetic Retinopathy Predicts Future Cardiovascular Events


The presence and severity of diabetic retinopathy may predict future cardiovascular (CV) events such as heart attack or stroke. The relationship between diabetic retinopathy, its 4-year progression, and CV outcomes including CV death or nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke was analyzed in participants in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial who also participated in the ACCORD Eye Study. The diabetic retinopathy was classified as either none, mild, moderate, or severe and whether it was worsening was also graded. The hazard of CV death or nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke increased by 38% for every category of change in retinopathy severity and steps of progression further raised the hazard. Thus the researchers believe that both the severity of retinopathy and its progression are determinants of predisposition to CV outcomes. The retina may provide an anatomical index of the effect of metabolic and hemodynamic factors on future CV outcomes. 

If you or someone you know has questions about diabetic retinopathy and your risk of cardiovascular events, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Friday, September 5, 2014

Do Vitamins & Antioxidants Decrease Cataract Risk?

While not definitive, it may be possible that there is an association between your risk of cataracts and your intake of certain vitamins and antioxidants according to researchers reporting their results in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Until now, studies have been inconsistent regarding the association between blood antioxidants or vitamins and risk of age-related cataract. By performing a meta analysis of 13 different studies researchers found the  lower the  level of vitamin E, α-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin, the  greater the  risk of age-related cataract in Asian populations but not in Western populations, whereas β-Carotene, lycopene, and β-cryptoxanthin  had no significant association with risk of cataract. While these results look somewhat interesting, the question remains whether increasing intake through dietary supplements actually have any role in decreasing the risk of cataract formation.

If you or someone you know has questions about vitamins, antioxidants and your risk of cataracts, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Laser Treatment for Pinguecula

Laser treatment for Pinguecula may be an option where other types of treatment have not been satisfactory according to researchers reporting in the journal Cornea. A Pinguecula is a common, non-cancerous growth of the clear, thin tissue covering the eye called the conjunctiva. The growth is raised slightly from the surface of the white part of the eye called sclera. While the exact cause is unknown long-term sunlight exposure and eye irritation may be factors. Welding is a major job-related risk. Usually no treatment is needed however keeping the eye moist with artificial tears may help prevent the area from becoming inflamed. Sometimes the temporary use of mild steroid eye drops can also be helpful. Occasionally the growth may need to be removed for comfort or for cosmetic reasons especially if it grows over the cornea and impairs vision. When this happens, the growth is called a pterygium.

Researchers in the study treated Pinguecula with argon laser photocoagulation. The patients and eye surgeons graded the cosmetic outcome on a 5 point-grading scale with 5 being excellent, 4 being good, 3 acceptable, 2 poor and 1 very poor. The overall cosmetic results were excellent or good in 90.5% of laser-treated cases and the laser treated cases had minimal scarring or hemorrhage. They concluded that argon laser photocoagulation is an effective and safe method for removing a Pinguecula for cosmetic purposes and the laser method facilitates control of the extent and depth of removal and thus minimizes conjunctival defects and other complications.

If you or someone you know has a question about laser treatment for Pinguecula please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Thursday, August 7, 2014

Seniors Need Greater Awareness of Cataract Symptoms

Eyecare Medical Group wishes to alert seniors and others at risk for cataracts about the need for greater awareness of cataract symptoms as poor vision in seniors is often associated with premature or accelerated mental decline and reduced vision can create real challenges in terms of mobility and safety, with patients being at increased risk for orthopedic injury-especially hip fracture. So, helping seniors become more familiar with the symptoms of cataracts and restore vision with cataract surgery has an important place in securing senior health and well being.

A cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. Cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first but as the cataract becomes denser, so does effect on vision. The most common symptoms that bother patients with cataracts can include blurring or clouding of vision, sensitivity to light and glare, double vision in one eye, poor night vision, fading or yellowing of colors and frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions.


If and when cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities or with patient comfort, mobility and safety, they can be treated surgically. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Today, we have a full range of lens implants available that allow us to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even near vision problems after cataract surgery, as well as distance vision, without requiring bifocals or reading glasses for the vast majority of patients.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Critical Retina Exam Important Before Cataract Surgery

Having a thorough and critical retina exam is important before having cataract surgery. When cataract patients report a decrease in vision, it is important to correlate the visual symptoms and visual acuity to the degree of cataract present. If you have a considerable amount of vision loss but only mild cataracts, the actual cause of the vision loss must be identified. In many cases, a careful examination of the retina can reveal underlying pathology such as epiretinal membranes, retinal wrinkling or macularpucker with edema. In fact, some studies report a prevalence of epiretinal membranes in 7% of patients older than 60 years and in 20% of patients aged 75 years or more-the prime demographic for cataract surgery. Therefore, before you have cataract surgery expect to have whatever level of examination and testing your cataract surgeon requests in order to help you get the best results.

 Retina Cross View
Retina Cross View
If you or someone you know has questions about cataracts, cataract surgery and the need for a critical retina exam before surgery should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, July 21, 2014

Posterior Capsular Opacity


This is a dramatic image of a posterior capsular opacity. Frequently, after cataract surgery, a membrane can form on the posterior portion of the lens capsule. This lens capsule is necessary to hold the lens implant in place after the lens is removed. Treatment for this membrane is done with a technique called YAG Laser Capsulotomy right in the office and is painless and short in duration and restores vision almost instantly. Using tangential lighting, we were able to illustrate not only the membrane, but show the different densities and canals within the membrane.


If you or someone you know has questions about cataracts, cataract surgery and the need for a critical retina exam before surgery should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, July 14, 2014

Inflammation Markers Predict AMD Risk

The inflammation marker CRP (c-reactive proteins) is a blood test that can predict your risk of Age Related macular Degeneration (AMD) according to researchers from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who reported in JAMA Ophthalmology.

The research showed that there was a significantly increased risk of AMD for those patients with high versus low CRP levels and those with high CRP levels also had a significantly increased risk of neovascular or Wet AMD. The researchers concluded that elevated levels of CRP predict greater future risk of AMD. It is believed that this information might shed light on underlying mechanisms and could be of clinical help in the identification of persons at high risk of AMD who may benefit from increased adherence to lifestyle recommendations, eye examination schedules and therapeutic protocols.

If you or someone you know has questions about their Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)  risk and CRP testing to predict their risk should feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Thursday, July 3, 2014

Use Caution for Fireworks Eye Safety This July 4th


This July 4th EyecareMedical Group wishes to alert patients to use caution as they celebrate the holiday by attending and participating in fireworks displays. In general it is really best to leave fireworks use and display to professionals in order to avoid the risk of eye injury. Eye safety is pretty critical with fireworks displays as we know that eye injuries are the second most frequent injury we see from emergency room each July 4th weekend. Some caution and responsible precautions to avoid the risk of eye damage from fireworks include simply not letting kids play with any fireworks. It is best if you do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type and attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous. However, if an eye accident does occur, there are a few things you should know:

·         Do not rub the eye.
·         Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
·         Do not apply pressure to the eye itself-but protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the person’s hand.
·         Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the person to the emergency room at once.
·         Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.

Once you are seen in the emergency room please feel free to have them call Eyecare Medical Group-888-374-2020-as we always have an eye doctor “on call” to provide consultation and continued care for you.

If you or someone you know has questions about fireworks eye safety and eye injuries please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, June 9, 2014

Reduce Your Cataract Risk by Walking & Running

It is possible that you can reduce your risk of cataracts by moderate walking or more vigorous running according to a study published in Medicine and Science in Sports by researchers at the Life Sciences Division of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. In previous studies the risk of cataracts formation was found to be lower in runners over time. In this Berkeley study when the incidence of cataracts was adjusted for sex, race, age, education, smoking, and intakes of meat, fruit and alcohol, lower cataract risk was significantly associated with both running and walking with no significant difference in risk reduction between running and walking, or between men and women. 

Further, the cataract risk appears to decrease linearly with increasing exercise energy expenditure.

If you or someone you know has questions about how to reduce the risk of cataracts by walking or running, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

What Causes a Bright Red Eye?

Patients sometimes call our practice complaining of a “bright red eye” or “bleeding eye”. It seems to come on with a cough or a sneeze-or sometimes with some heavy lifting-or for no reason at all-and causes no pain, blurry vision or discharge. What could it be? We will of course ask you to come in so we can evaluate the problem, but it is possible that it is a subconjunctival hemorrhage. Subconjunctival hemorrhage is a benign disorder that is a common cause of acute ocular redness or “bright red eye”. The major risk factors include trauma and contact lens usage in younger patients, whereas among the elderly, systemic vascular diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and arteriosclerosis are more common. In patients in whom subconjunctival hemorrhage is recurrent or persistent, further evaluation, including a workup for systemic hypertension, bleeding disorders, systemic and ocular malignancies and drug side effects, is warranted.

If you or someone you know experiences a “bright red eye” please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Glaucoma Laser Treatments Effective Treatment Option

Glaucoma laser treatments are a possible treatment option for many patients today. Laser treatment for glaucoma is regarded as a safe and effective treatment for glaucoma and may be considered as first-line therapy in early to moderate-stage open-angle glaucoma when eye pressure or IOP is less than 35 mm Hg. Recent research presented at the World Glaucoma Congress also indicated that the SLT Laser may also be useful for glaucoma induced by the use of steroids and the ALT and SLT Laser may be useful in treating pigmentary glaucoma.

But, the researchers cautioned that the laser treatments are not a cure and that meticulous follow up and monitoring is necessary to ensure that patients continue to do well over time in order to preserve eye health and vision.

If you or someone you know is concerned about glaucoma or wishes to learn more the option of laser treatment for glaucoma, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, May 5, 2014

Avoid UV Eye Injury with Proper Protection

It is important this time of year to use proper UV protection in order to avoid eye injury and damage by using appropriate UV protective eyewear and common sense precautions.

A number of simple precautions one can take include:

• Always wear sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays. Sunglasses without UV protection may shade the eyes but actually cause the pupils to dilate, allowing in even more harmful rays.
• Wear a brimmed hat along with sunglasses that block 100% of UVA and UVB rays.
• Choose wrap-around sunglasses to protect the eyes and the skin around the eyes.
• Be aware that although some contact lenses may offer UV protection, they cannot protect the entire eye and the skin around it.
• Choose sunglasses made of unbreakable polycarbonate, especially for children and for those who lead active lifestyles.
• Be sure to ask your doctor about the photosensitizing side effects of any medications that you might take.
• Always wear eye protection when using a tanning bed. According the American Academy of Ophthalmology, tanning beds can produce UV levels up to 100 times more than the sun, which can cause serious damage to the external and internal structures of the eye and eyelids.

Your eye doctor can recommend a wide range of UV protecting eyeglass lenses available to choose from. Eye protection from UV needs to be complete but doesn’t have to be overly expensive. High quality sunglasses should block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. It is also important to have UV protection in everyday eyewear, which is readily available with a number of UV blocking eyeglass lens materials, specialized coatings and photochromic lenses.

If you or someone you know has a question or concerns about UV eye damage and injury and how to select protective eyewear please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020


Monday, April 28, 2014

Contact Lenses, Dry Eye Problems & Birth Control Pills

Contact lens wearers who use oral contraceptives or birth control pills run the risk of dry eye problems. What does having dry eyes have to do with wearing contact lenses and birth control pills? As it turns out there is indeed a relationship between dry eye symptoms in woman using oral contraceptives who wear contact lenses. A study published in the journal Cornea examined the relationship among oral contraceptive pill (OCP) use, contact lens wear and dry eye signs and symptoms in healthy young women. There were no differences in dry eyes between the phases of the menstrual cycle and no evidence that tear osmolarity-or saltiness-was affected by OCP or contact lens use in the young women. However, the study found that the combination of OCP use and contact lens wear together may increase the severity of dry eye symptoms.

If you or someone you know has questions about contact lens wear, dry eye problems and oral contraceptive or birth control pill use, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Risk Factors Increase Fuchs Dystrophy Severity

Certain risk factors may increase the severity of Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD). Fuchs’ Dystrophy is a type of corneal disease that affects the inner most layer of the cornea-the endothelium. Generally, Fuchs’ Dystrophy is slowly progressive, occurs in both eyes and is slightly more common in women than men. While sometimes we see Fuchs Dystrophy in people in their 30’s and 40’s, it usually does not compromise vision until people are in their 50’s or 60’s.

Researchers reporting in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science studied the effects of smoking, and other risk factors, on the development of advanced Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) and on central corneal thickness (CCT). As expected, being female increased the odds of developing advanced Fuchs' Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD) by 34% and smoking increased the odds by 30%. Diabetes was also associated with increased in corneal thickness-reflecting greater risk of corneal swelling.

If you or someone you know has questions about risk factors that may increase the severity of Fuchs Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy (FECD), please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Retinal Vein Occlusion:What is It?

This is a color composite image of a patient with a branch retinal vein occlusion. A color composite is comprised of multiple images which the computer software "stitches" together to form a wide angle image. A vein occlusion typically occurs where an artery crosses a vein, called an arteriovenous crossing. If a patient has high blood pressure and/or high cholesterol, pressure can be exerted on the vein, which has more malleable walls than an artery. Given enough pressure, the vein can be fully occluded.

An occlusion results in pressure build up the corresponding smaller venules, and they break and leak plasma and blood into the intraretinal tissue, which can result in blurred vision. A branch retinal vein occlusion is named such when a "branch" of the central retinal vein is occluded. The central retinal vein "branches" out when it reaches the optic nerve head, much like a trunk of a tree. If the occlusion happens within the optic nerve, the entire eye is affected, as the central retinal vein is supplied by the entire venous system of the eye. The actual compression is not treated, but the resulting edema, or swelling, from the occlusion can be treated with in office intravitreal injection.

If you or someone you know has questions about retinal vascular disease or an type of retina problem or disease, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Best Cataract Surgery Results When Both Eyes Done

While having cataract surgery in one is likely to improve vision and visual functioning, the best results are found in patients who undergo second eye cataract surgery. Researchers reporting in the journal Ophthalmology studied the impact that cataracts and cataract surgery have on clinical measurements of vision, reading speed, objective mobility performance and subjective visual functioning. In this study, 29 participants had cataract surgery on both eyes, 90 participants had cataract surgery in one eye and 1620 participants had no cataract surgery. The results showed that patients who had the cataract surgery in both eyes demonstrated better visual performance, better mobility-based task performance and even scored better on the Activities of Daily Vision Scale (ADVS). Thus, even though patients might find a great improvement after having cataract surgery in only one eye, the data indicate that having cataract surgery on both eyes provides the best visual functioning.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataracts, cataract surgery and lens implants, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit EyecareMedical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Genetic Testing for AMD Macular Degeneration

Genetic testing for Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is now available-but should you have it? While the presence of specific genes may indicate a increased risk for Age Related Macular Degeneration, according to researchers commenting in the Ophthalmology routine genetic testing to predict the development of age related macular degeneration (AMD) does not really predict how a person would respond to treatment with Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF) Inhibitor injections and thus the genetic testing is not recommended. Further, the downside of routine genetic testing at present is that it can cause unnecessary anxiety, it can leave patients with promises that are not fulfilled and it may impact insurability and employability.

If you or someone you know has questions about age related macular degeneration (AMD) and whether to have genetic testing to assess your risk of AMD, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Congenital Polar Cataract


This is an image of a posterior polar cataract, taken with a slit lamp camera. This cataract is a rare form of a congenital cataract. Because of its location, which is on the posterior capsule of the lens, it is a complicated procedure to remove, much more so than a standard cataract surgery. It is also in the center of the patient's vision, so it is definitely visually significant.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract surgery please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, March 10, 2014

What is the Eyelid Lump Hordeolum?

Hordeolum is a common, painful inflammation of the eyelid that is usually caused by a bacterial infection that affects the oil glands in the eyelid and results in a lump. Often, the infected lump drains and heals by itself with no treatment but sometimes it can spread to other glands in the eyes and can become long lasting. It can also turn into a cyst which is called a chalazion. Hordeolum can be internal, on the inside of the eyelid, or external, on the outside of the eyelid near the eyelashes. Hordeolum on the outside of the eyelid is known as a stye. Hordeolum also can be acute and appear suddenly and heal in a short time, or chronic and long lasting and occurring over time. Common treatments for hordeolum include warm compresses applied at home, prescription and non prescription lid scrubs, antibiotics, steroids, lid massages and others types of treatment.

If you or someone you know has questions about eyelid lumps and bumps such as hordeolum, stye or chalazion please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, March 3, 2014

Vascular Disease Can Make Glaucoma Treatment Difficult

Normal Tension Glaucoma is a less frequently found-but important type of glaucoma-that is characterized by patients having “normal” intraocular pressure but still experiencing eye damage such as loss of their visual field or “side vision” and optic nerve damage.

Researchers at the World Glaucoma Congress reported that certain patients who suffer from Normal Tension Glaucoma who also have vascular disease or even a predisposition to vascular disease such as a family history of stroke, the presence of cardiovascular disease or migraine may not be as easy to treat in avoiding the progression of Normal Tension Glaucoma. In fact, these factors related to vascular disease may indicate less effectiveness of eye pressure (IOP) treatment putting patients at greater risk. The the Collaborative Normal Tension Glaucoma Study is the landmark study for guiding treatment-in which 65% of patients in the untreated group of that study never showed any progression during 7 years of follow-up. But, for those at greater risk due to some other vascular disease we have to be diligent in our examinations and testing to help preserve eye health and vision.

If you or someone you know has vascular disease or is concerned about their risk of glaucoma please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Eating Fish Can Lower AMD Risk

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a common cause of vision loss in seniors. Eating certain types of fish as part of your regular diet might just help you lower your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health found that AMD may be associated with a high dietary fat intake and thus eating fish, such as tuna, four times a week, may reduce the risk of macular degeneration. The subjects of the study were participants in the Nurses’ Health Study and the Health Professionals Follow-up Study who did not have AMD at when the study commenced. After 12 years of follow-up, 567 people with a visual loss of 20/30 or worse were identified. Fat intake was assessed with a food frequency questionnaire. The study found:
  • Those patients whose total dietary fat intake was in the highest quintile had over one and a half times the risk of AMD as those whose fat intake was in the lowest quintile, 
  • Linolenic acid consumption was directly associated with the risk of AMD
  • High intake of docosahexaenoic acid was associated with a modest reduction in the risk of AMD. 
  • Those who ate four or more servings of fish a week were at a 35% lower risk of AMD when compared to those who ate fewer than three servings of fish a week.
The researchers concluded that dietary fat intake was associated with an increased risk of age related maculardegeneration (AMD) and that this may have been due to the presence of Linolenic acid in the fat. They added that a high intake of fish, a rich source of docosahexaenoic acid, may reduce this risk.

If you or someone you know has a family history of age related macular degeneration or wishes to learn more about their risk of AMD, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Information & Facts about Macular Degeneration

Eyecare Medical Group notes that February is National Macular Degeneration Awareness month and reminds our community to learn about AMD. AgeRelated Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of vision loss among seniors-a growing population in Maine. AMD is progressive and painless as it causes central vision to decrease, but leaves peripheral vision intact.

Types of Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Age Related MacularDegeneration occurs in two types- a “Dry” form and a “Wet form. Some 85-90% of people with AMD have the Dry form which results in a gradual dimming of vision and slow progressive vision loss. While only 10% of people with AMD have the Wet form, it tends to progress much more rapidly and is responsible for catastrophic vision loss without early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

Reducing Your Risk & Vision Loss from Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
Patients can often reduce their risk of developing AMD by not smoking, limiting their alcohol consumption, eliminating the regular use of aspirin 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. In addition, once you are over 50, it becomes increasingly important to have a thorough, comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years-and even more often if you have any family history of AMD or at the recommendation of your eye doctor. The key to preventing vision loss from AMD is clearly early detection, quick diagnosis and then immediate access to treatment with vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGF) injections such as Lucentis® or Eylea®.

If you or someone you know has questions about age related macular degeneration (AMD), AMD risks and treatment, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, February 3, 2014

EMG LAUNCHES NEW WEB SITE


Samuel Solish, M.D.
Eyecare MedicalGroup has launched a new web site with important patient information to help patients learn about eye diseases and surgery and in particular includes information about advances in technology, treatment and procedures that are especially helpful for senior eye problems. “With our growing senior population in Maine we want to be sure that patients have current information about age related eye problems such as cataracts, agerelated macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma,” stated Glaucoma Specialistand Cataract Surgeon Samuel Solish, M.D.

Bruce Cassidy, M.D.
 “The Eyecare Medical Group eye surgeons all felt strongly that we needed to use our web site to share information with patients who are at risk of suffering vision loss from cataracts. By understanding more about cataract surgery and lens implants, we are hopeful that patients will not allow vision loss from a cataract to interfere with their daily activities, driving, mobility and overall quality of life,” commented Bruce Cassidy, M.D., a Cataract &Refractive Surgeon. “Further, it’s important that patients with cataracts have access to the latest information on lens implants we can use to correct both astigmatism and near vision focusing problems,” Dr. Cassidy further explained.
 
Scott Steidl, M.D.
“When it comes to helping patients avoid vision loss-especially seniors and those suffering from diabetes-being able to use our web site to learn about age related macular degeneration (AMD) and its risks, symptoms and treatment with the newer injectable drugs like Lucentis® and Eylea®, as well as the need for diabetics to have regular eye care and dilated retina exams are topics we highlighted as they are pretty critical,” noted Retina Specialist and Vitreoretinal Surgeon Scott Steidl, M.D.

“We know that a considerable number of patients use the web to learn about LASIK surgery. What we also know is that it is important for them have
Ravi Shah, M.D.
information about the corneal diseases, conditions and problems that might preclude them from being good LASIK candidates-so we do this on our new web site,” explained Ravi Shah, M.D., a Corneal Specialist andLASIK Surgeon. “While not overly frequent in occurrence, Fuchs’ Dystrophy and Keratoconus are both corneal dystrophies that can have significant impact on patients’ ability to function day to day-and conditions for which we now have treatment options including new types of cornea transplants for both and the promise of corneal cross linking procedures for Keratoconus,” further explained Dr. Shah. “We encourage these patients to learn more by visiting our web site.”


To learn more about Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine you may visit the new web site at www.eyecaremed.com.


Aspirin & Your Risk of Macular Degeneration

Aspirin is one of the most widely used over-the-counter medications-but, aspirin may increase your risk of macular degeneration (AMD)! Aspirin is often taken for headaches, body aches and fever, and even patients at high risk of heart attack due to atherosclerosis take daily aspirin therapy as a preventative measure, thanks to aspirin’s anticoagulant properties.

But beware-in The Beaver Dam Eye Study researchers found that regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examination was associated with late AMD, with estimated incidence of 1.76 percent, compared to 1.03 percent in non-aspirin users. Even more meaningful was that regular aspirin use 10 years prior to eye examinations was closely associated with the “wet” form of AMD, which accounts for 10 percent of all AMD cases, but is responsible for the majority of catastrophic vision loss attributed to the disease. While this might seem like a small numbers-they are statistically significant. Further, more recently researchers analyzed data from a 15-year Australian population-based cohort where they found that even after adjusting for other risk factors like age, sex, smoking, history of heart disease and body mass index, regular aspirin users still had a considerably higher risk of developing wet AMD and thus concluded that regular aspirin use is associated with increased risk of wet neovascular AMD, independent of history of cardiovascular disease and smoking.

If you’re a regular aspirin user, you should get a thorough eye exam as soon as possible to determine your AMD status. This is extremely important because AMD often doesn’t show any symptoms until well after the condition has developed. If you or someone you know has questions about aspirin use and their risk of macular degeneration(AMD), please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Risk of Glaucoma Increases with Early Menopause


Your risk of developing glaucoma might increase with the onset of early menopause. According to a study at the Netherlands Ophthalmic Research Institute in Amsterdam women who go through menopause early may be at greater risk of developing. The data evaluated more than 3,000 women and found that women who went through a natural menopause before the age of 45 were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with open-angle glaucoma as women who went through menopause at age 50 or older. The results indicate that female hormones may be protective against open-angle glaucoma. Of interest is that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is thought to reduce fluid pressure inside the eye. Similarly, as hormone levels rise during pregnancy, fluid pressure inside the eye decreases significantly, the researchers noted. This is the first study to examine the relationship between female sex hormones, as indicated by age of menopause, and open-angle glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has questions about the risk of glaucoma with early menopause please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, January 20, 2014

The Need for Glaucoma Awareness


Prevent Blindness America designates January as National GlaucomaAwareness Month. As patients age and pass through their 40’s, 50’s and 60’s they need to be aware that their risk of glaucoma increases. In addition, glaucoma risk factors include diabetes and other vascular disease, early menopause and family history-especially among siblings where glaucoma is 5 times more likely to be diagnosed! Glaucoma cannot be taken seriously enough, as in African-American and Hispanic populations, glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. A disturbing aspect of the most common type of glaucoma-chronicopen angle glaucoma-is that it has no symptoms! This is why we feel that taking a moment to put in a little extra effort to remind patients and their families about the need for regular eye exams with glaucoma evaluations is really worthwhile. The key step in preventing vision loss from glaucoma is early detection, diagnosis and treatment and thus the importance of regular eye examinations to preserve eye health and vision-especially for our aging population and seniors.

If you or someone you know has questions about glaucoma or needs to schedule and eye exam and glaucoma evaluation, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment. Eyecare Medical Group is conveniently located at 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102.


Thursday, January 16, 2014

LASIK Flex Plans Great for New Year’s Resolutions!

Using your Flex Plan is a great way to get LASIK and fulfill a New Year’s resolution for self improvement-like eliminating the hassle of eyeglasses and contacts for seeing clearly at distance. January and February are popular months for New Year’s resolutions which often include LASIK. If you or a family member has Flex Plan funds to use, this is a good time to make LASIK affordable. 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.

To learn more about LASIK, Flex Plans for LASIK or how we can make LASIK affordable at Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102, feel free to call us at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule Free LASIK Consultation.


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sleep Apnea Can Increase Glaucoma Risk


What do sleep apnea and your risk of developing glaucoma have in common? Sleep apnea appears to be a risk factor for developing glaucoma according to current research. Here is what you need to know. Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that blocks breathing during sleep for more than 100 million people worldwide. In obstructive sleep apnea, the airway becomes blocked, causing breathing to stop for up to two minutes. Symptoms include loud snoring and persistent daytime sleepiness. Glaucoma affects nearly 60 million worldwide.  If untreated, glaucoma reduces peripheral vision and eventually may cause blindness by damaging the optic nerve. Only half of the people who have glaucoma are aware of it because the disease is painless and vision loss is typically gradual.
 
Researchers, reporting in the journal Ophthalmology, the official publication of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that obstructive sleep apnea is not simply a marker for poor health, but is actually an independent risk factor for open-angle glaucoma. The relationship between the two conditions is significant, given the large numbers of people worldwide who suffer from them. Based on this finding, we want to alert obstructive sleep apnea patients of the associations between obstructive sleep apnea and open-angle glaucoma to raise the issue and encouraging treatment of those who need it.
 
If you or someone you know has questions about sleep apnea and your risk of glaucoma, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.