Sunday, December 6, 2015

Cataract Risk & Being Overweight or Obese

What does having a Body Mass Index (BMI) that suggests you are overweight or obese have to do with your risk of getting cataracts? As it turns out, research suggests that there is in fact an association between BMI and risk of cataracts.

About Body Mass Index (BMI)
The World Health Organization (WHO) defines a normal weight with a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 18.5-<25 kg/m2, being overweight as a BMI of 25-<30 kg/m2, and obesity as BMI of ≥30 kg/m2. Body Mass Index (BMI) is a well know risk factor for high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and orthopedic joint related problems. We also know that there are many factors associated with an increased risk of cataracts including age, cumulative exposure to sunlight and UV, smoking, alcohol consumption and even family history, but the relationship between BMI and risk of cataract has been less clear.

Research on BMI & Cataract Risk
By using detailed statistical review and Meta Analysis researchers found that being overweight or obese were significantly associated with an increased risk of cataracts, especially those called “posterior subcapsular cataracts” which typically cause the greatest vision decline. This relationship was independent of sex, alcohol intake, diabetes and hypertension.

If you or someone you know is concerned about cataracts and weight or Body Mass Index (BMI) please share this information with them and ask them 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 22, 2015

Prevent Airbag Eye Injury in Car Accidents


Almost all relatively new cars have both airbags and seatbelts to help prevent injuries during car accidents. But did you know that improper use of these safety features can actually expose you to eye injury?

About Airbag Eye Injury Research
A research report in Survey of Ophthalmology suggests that the incidence of eye injury and facial trauma from airbags is actually increasing. How can this be happening? Airbags were originally designed as a supplemental safety system to seatbelts-that is, to be used in conjunction with seatbelts, in order to protect the head from hard surfaces in frontal crashes. It is critical that all passengers wear their seatbelts even if your car has airbags in the front, back and sides of the passenger cabin. By design, wearing and proper use of seatbelts restricts and prevents you from being quickly and forcefully thrown forward and colliding with the rearward inflating and accelerating airbags as they are deployed during a car accident.

Eye Injuries from Airbags
Airbag inflation, deployment and passenger collision with airbags has been reported to cause eye injuries including corneal abrasions, alkali burns and the serious effects of eye compression such as retinal tears, retinal and vitreous hemorrhages, retinal detachment and even cataracts.

SO-the message is clear. For eye protection and safety in motor vehicle accidents, all occupants of cars should wear safety belts at all times even if your vehicle has airbags!

If you or someone you know has questions about eye injury from airbags, car accidents or how to make sure you are using the safety features of your vehicle properly, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, November 16, 2015

Injections Best to Treat Diabetic Macular Edema

With a meaningful number of patients with diabetes experiencing vision loss from Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) at some point in their lives, it is reassuring to know that treatment with injection of VEGF inhibitor drugs such as Lucentis® and Eylea® Diabetic Macular Edema offer an excellent treatment option-even better that laser photocoagulation.

VEGF Inhibitor Injections for DME
According to researchers reporting in the American Journal of Ophthalmology reviewing and publishing an analysis of studies on Diabetic Maculopathy published between January 1, 1985 and July 31, 2013, although laser photocoagulation has been the standard treatment for DME for nearly 3 decades, there is increasing evidence that better outcomes can be achieved with anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (anti-VEGF) injections. In fact, the number of patients with DME gaining an improvement of seeing an additional 10-15 letters on the eye chart was at least 2 times greater for those patients treated with the anti-VEGF injections as compared to being treated with laser treatments.

If you or someone you know has diabetes and is concerned about their risk of Diabetic Macular Edema (DME) or Diabetic Retinopathy, it is critical that they have regular dilated eye exams. Please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, November 9, 2015

Diabetic Eye Exam Compliance

Patient Compliance with Diabetic Eye Exams Helps to Reduces Risk
Eye exams patients play a key role in helping us manage their risk and likelihood of vision loss from diabetic eye problems and retinopathy. Following through and being compliant with your doctor’s recommendations for scheduled appointments and testing is just a smart thing to do. While there is no cure for diabetic retinopathy, with careful management of risk factors such as blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels, moderation of alcohol consumption and routine exercise along with regular annual dilated eye exams, the potential vision loss from diabetes and associated diabetic eye problems can be minimized.

Research about Diabetic Eye Exam Compliance
Researchers reporting in the journal Ophthalmology, identified a range of factors that predict how and why diabetic patients are, or are not complaints with annual eye examinations. The researchers used a new questionnaire designed to measure health beliefs related to diabetic retinopathy and annual eye examinations called the Compliance with Annual Diabetic Eye Exams Survey (CADEES).

Factors that Influence Diabetic Eye Exam Compliance
There were several obvious as well as interesting factors that influenced diabetic patient compliance with annual eye exams. These include the understanding and belief as to whether or not insurance covered most of the eye examination cost, whether it was difficult to schedule or physically get to an eye exam appointment, whether patients had been counseled and made aware that having a diabetic eye exam should be a strong priority, and whether patients had been told at any earlier visits that they had signs of diabetic retinopathy. In addition to these patient factors, eye doctors also play a role and can help with diabetic eye exam compliance by diligently counseling newly diagnosed patients more intensely and those with poorly controlled blood glucose on the importance of annual eye examinations and discussing and helping patients remove their perceived barriers and misconceptions.

If you or someone you know has diabetes they need to have regular annual dilated eye exams to prevent vision loss from diabetic eye diseases and problems. Please share this information about diabetic eye exam compliance with them and ask them to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, November 2, 2015

Diabetic Retinopathy Eye Exams & Tests

To preserve eye health and avoid vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, patients should be their own advocates in having regular scheduled dilated eye exams and testing as recommended by their ophthalmologists. Depending on whether there is evidence of diabetic retinopathy, retinal circulation problems of swelling, the eye examinations for diabetic retinopathy need to be thorough and when necessary include advanced testing such as retinal photography, fluorescein angiography and ocular coherence tomography (OCT) in order to really document how the retina and it’s blood vessels are functioning, Depending on the severity and the risk of progression of each patient’s diabetic retinopathy we will advise them of the frequency and intervals for their exams. But, patients with diabetes need to know that it is terribly important to keep their appointments.”


Vision loss from diabetes and especially catastrophic vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. 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, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, October 19, 2015

Risk of Diabetes & Eating Fruit

Diet and diabetes risk has always had a close association, but did you know that by eating 3 servings of fruits per week-especially blueberries, grapes and apples can help reduce your risk of diabetes?

Research about Eating Fruit & Diabetes
According the reports from the Harvard School of Public Health eating certain whole fruits may reduce the risk for Type 2 diabetes, even though fruit juice consumption may increase the risk for diabetes. Investigators combined data from 3 studies: the Nurses' Health Study of more than 66,000 patients, the Nurses' Health Study II of more than 85,000 patients and the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study with over 36,000 patients. The participants in all 3 studies completed questionnaires assessing health and lifestyle factors, including diet, every 2 years. The researchers excluded participants with a baseline diagnosis of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, or cancer, as well as those who had missing data for fruit or fruit juice consumption or an extremely high or low caloric intake, and those who had an unclear date of diabetes diagnosis.

The analysis was adjusted for personal, lifestyle, and dietary risk factors for diabetes. The researchers concluded that every 3 servings of fruit per week were associated with a lower risk for Type 2 diabetes. When the researchers looked at individual types of fruit in a multivariate analysis, adjusted for the same factors, they found that 3 servings per week of some fruits were more closely associated with reduced risk of diabetes especially blueberries, grapes and apples.

If you or someone you know has questions about diet, eating fruit and diabetes risk please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, October 12, 2015

Eye Safety at Work

Being aware of the risk of eye injury at work-as well as at home, and using measures consistent with good eye safety practices can go a long way to avoiding eye injuries. Believe it or not, every day more than 2,000 workers in the United States sustain job-related work injuries that require some type of medical treatment. Prevent Blindness America reports that 2.4 million eye injuries occur each year, with nearly 1 million resulting in some degree of vision loss. About 90 percent of these injuries are avoidable, when the right eye protection is worn, reports the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.


The most common eye injuries are:
  • Cuts or scrapes from flying objects, such as metal and wood chips, that become embedded in the eye
  • Burns from steam, infrared light or splashes of chemicals, grease or oil
  • Infections from contaminated substances, such as splashes of blood or respiratory droplets or other products on fingers that are used to touch or rub the eyes
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration requires workers to use eye and face protection whenever there is a reasonable probability of injury that could be prevented with proper equipment, such as goggles, face shields or safety glasses. The best way to avoid eye injury from household chores, activities and tasks is to wear proper protective eyewear.

If you have questions or need assistance with protective eyewear 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, October 4, 2015

Facts about Eye Injury

Regardless of what you do for work or recreation, knowing some key facts about eye injury and how to prevent eye injuries is one of the most basic things you can do to preserve your eye health and vision. While you are probably aware of some of the risks of eye injury, you may not know that by wearing proper protective eyewear it is possible to prevent 90 percent of those injuries! What is most troubling is that according to a survey by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, only 35 percent of people say that they always wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance and even less wear protective eyewear while playing sports.

Eye Injury Facts and Myths
  • Who is more likely to have an eye injury-men or women? Men!
  • Are eye injuries more common on the job or at home? Nearly half of all eye injuries occurred in the home! In fact more than 40 percent of eye injuries were caused by projects and activities such as home repairs, yard work, cleaning and cooking. More than a third of injuries in the home occurred in living areas such as the kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living or family room.
  • More than 40 percent of eye injuries every year are related to sports or recreational activities.
  • Eyes can be damaged by sun exposure, not just chemicals, dust or objects.
  • Among people who have had eye injuries, more than 78 percent of people were not wearing eyewear at the time of injury!
If you or someone you know is concerned about eye injury and wants to learn more about preventing eye injuries and protective eyewear, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Sunday, September 27, 2015

Laser Pointers & Eye Injury Risk

Laser pointers are the common devices many of us use for making presentations at work or meetings, teaching in the classroom and are often found as part of your kid’s toys. Did you know that certain of these laser pointers can be a real cause for concern as the greater a laser pointer's output power, the more likely it will cause serious eye injuries. Understanding the safety of that laser pointer in your desk drawer or in your kid's hand isn't always obvious but we can share some information that may be useful.

Laser Pointer Power & Eye Injury
As the power increases above five milliwatts, the time margin for safe exposure decreases and permanent eye and skin damage can occur quickly! However, the output power of laser pointers is not immediately apparent to the user! Laser pointers often lack appropriate labeling or are mislabeled, and definitive testing of individual pointers is beyond the reach of the average consumer. What we know for sure is that even the briefest exposure to high-powered blue handheld laser products can cause serious eye injuries!

Caution with Laser Pointers
Researchers reporting the results of a study in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found that if a laser with less than five milliwatts of output power is directed at someone's eye, that person can blink or turn away without suffering an eye injury. However, the natural protective mechanisms of the eye – such as the blink reflex – are ineffective against lasers with an output power greater than five milliwatts, and severe retinal damage may occur, even after momentary exposure.

Here's what the FDA advises:
  • Never aim or shine a laser pointer at anyone.
  • Don't buy laser pointers for your children.
  • Before purchasing a laser pointer, make sure it has the following information on the label:
  • a statement that it complies with Chapter 21 CFR (the Code of Federal Regulations);
  • the manufacturer or distributor's name and the date of manufacture;
  • a warning to avoid exposure to laser radiation; and
  • the class designation, ranging from Class I to IIIa. Class IIIb and IV products should be used only by individuals with proper training and in applications where there is a legitimate need for these high-powered products.
The problem is that many laser pointers lack labels or have inaccurate labels and the researchers found that 60 percent of the sampled laser pointer products that the FDA tests are overpowered compared with what the label says. Those pointers may be powered in the 10s or 100s of milliwatts!

How do you know if your laser pointer is overpowered?
Ideally, consumers could buy a laser pointer with the certainty that it is powered under five milliwatts but this isn’t possible based on the poor labeling and compliance. The FDA says that if you have a laser pointer that isn't labeled or if you don't trust the labeling, consider the following:
  • If the pointer is small and runs on button batteries, its output probably is less than five milliwatts.
  • If it's pen-sized and runs on AA or AAA batteries, it's likely to be more powerful and may exceed five milliwatts.
  • If it's flashlight-sized and runs on a cluster of AA or AAA batteries or runs on lithium batteries, it likely exceeds five milliwatts.
  • Pointers sold with battery chargers probably drain their batteries quickly and are likely to be overpowered.
  • Some pointers are sold with a removable cap that spreads the beam into a pattern. If used without the cap, the beam becomes a single beam that could exceed 5 milliwatts.
  • Look for keywords that sellers might use to indicate a pointer is highly powered without saying that it's over five milliwatts: powerful, bright, ultra, super, military, military grade, super bright, high power, ultra bright, strong, balloon pop, burn, burning, adjustable focus, lithium battery, lithium powered.
  • Look for videos or photos that show the laser burning, melting, balloon popping or show a bright, well-defined beam of light.
  • Look for purchaser comments on websites that tout the brightness or power of the product.
Blue & Violet Laser Pointers Are the Most Dangerous!

Blue and Violet laser pointers are the most dangerous because the human eye actually is less sensitive to blue and violet. So, while a person would react quickly to a red or green laser, that person may not blink or turn away as fast from an equally powerful blue or violet light, creating a greater likelihood of injury.

If you or someone you know is concerned about laser pointer use and eye safety, please have them call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Sunday, September 20, 2015

Can a Mediterranean Diet Help Dry Eye?

About Eating a Mediterranean Diet
Based on research and clinical experience, it is thought that eating a traditional Mediterranean diet reduces the risk of vascular diseases such as heart disease, cancer, Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease. What about eating a Mediterranean diet to reduce the risk of eye diseases, problems and conditions? Recently, researchers tried to determine whether eating a Mediterranean diet could provide help for dry eyes.

About Mediterranean Diet & Dry Eye Problems
Reporting in the journal Cornea, researchers had patients fill out the Block Food Frequency Questionnaire and the Dry Eye Questionnaire 5 and then evaluated the quality and quantity of their tears and tear film. In addition, they measured serum levels of Vitamin D for each patient. Unfortunately, the final results suggested that eating a Mediterranean diet was not associated with an improvement in dry eye symptoms and complaints but higher vitamin D levels had a small but favorable effect on dry eye syndrome symptoms.

So, while the Mediterranean diet itself doesn’t directly reduce dry eye symptoms, it does seem to be an eating plan that can help promote health and prevent disease for your whole family.

If you or someone you know has questions about diet and dry eye or needs help for dry eye problems and symptoms, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Lifestyle Choices for Eye Health & Vision

Jordan Sterrer, M.D.
Cataract & Refractive Surgeon

Making good lifestyle choices can be a real benefit to maintaining your eye health and vision and in fact everyone can contribute to their own eye health and vision by following some basic tips and guidelines.


Have Regular Comprehensive Dilated Eye Exams
Making sure to schedule regular dilated eye health and vision exams-at intervals your eye doctor recommends- is the first step to maintaining eye health and good vision. Early detection, diagnosis and treatment when necessary allows us to find eye diseases, conditions and problems so that we can address them before they are sight threatening. Many eye diseases do not have early warning signs, but signs and symptoms can be identified during a comprehensive dilated eye exam.


Know Your Family History of Eye Problems
Many eye health and vision problems and eye diseases tend to run in families. This suggests that if an eye disease is present in any family member it may put you at greater risk of that eye problem. This is particularly the case for eye diseases such as glaucoma and age related macular degeneration (AMD). Stay abreast of the eye diseases and conditions as they exist in your family, AND BE SURE TO TELL US ABOUT THEM WHEN YOU COME IN FOR AN EYE EXAM.


Nutrition and Diet Affect Eye Health & Vision
Make sure to pay attention to what you eat and try to include a steady diet of foods high in important nutrients that support good vision, such as the following:
  • Vegetables: collard greens, bell peppers, broccoli, tomatoes and dark, leafy greens, such as kale and spinach
  • Nuts: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts and peanuts
  • Fruits: strawberries and blueberries
  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: tuna, halibut and salmon
  • Beans: chickpeas, kidney beans and legumes
Watch Your Weight & Exercise
Being overweight exposes you to a greater risk of diabetes. In fact there is an epidemic of diabetes in the U.S. today. Diabetic eye problems include a greater risk of glaucoma, cataracts and sight threatening diabetic retinopathy. Exercise-even moderate amounts of daily exercise reduce your risk of developing MANY eye diseases and problems.


Wear Protective Eyewear
Eye injury prevention is relatively easy-if you wear the appropriate protective eyewear when taking part in sports or home activities that expose you to risk. It is estimated that some 90% of eye injuries can be prevented by taking a minute to review the need for protective eyeglasses before doing home projects, trimming branches or shrubs, using saws, tool or weed whackers-and on and on. In addition, when spending time outdoors or near the water, wear sunglasses designed to block out 99 to 100 percent of the sun’s UV-A and UV-B rays. Be smart and be safe.


Stop Smoking
Not only does smoking cause a host of cardiovascular and systemic vascular problems, but smoking is now recognized as increasing the risk of cataracts, macular degeneration and, all of which could lead to vision loss. We also now know that if you do smoke, there is considerable benefit in stopping!


Avoid Computer Eyestrain
CRT or video display terminals used for computers are well known to expose you eye fatigue, headache and more troubling-dry eye problems. When working on the computer or using a smartphone or tablet, practice the 20-20-20 rule to reduce eyestrain-that is, every 20 minutes, look at something 20 feet away for about 20 seconds. If you have any sensation of dryness, grittiness or “something in your eyes”, use an eye surface lubricant or eye drop to replenish your tears.


If you or someone you know has questions about tips for making good lifestyle choices for eye health & vision, please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.




Sunday, August 2, 2015

Cataract Surgery Lowers Eye Pressure

There is a side benefit of cataract surgery for those patients who have high eye pressure or IOP or even glaucoma. Cataract surgery seems to actually lower eye pressure in these two groups of patients in proportion to how high the eye pressure was before their cataract surgery.

Dr. Sam Solish, MD
Cataract & Glaucoma Specialist
Eyecare Medical Group

Research on Cataract Surgery & Eye Pressure
Researchers reporting in Current Opinion in Ophthalmology reviewed the effect that cataract surgery had on eye pressure-or intraocular pressure (IOP). This is important, as it is believed that some 20% of patients with cataracts either have somewhat high IOP or actually have glaucoma. From their review of the data, they conclude that cataract surgery provides a lowering effect on IOP in the long term and the amount of the lowering is proportional to the preoperative IOP. That is, eyes with higher preoperative IOP have the greatest average lowering, whereas eyes with IOP in the lower range of statistically normal tend to have an IOP that is unchanged from before cataract surgery, or even higher following cataract surgery.

If you or someone you know has cataracts and either high eye pressure or glaucoma and is thinking about cataract surgery, please share this information and ask them to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Thursday, July 16, 2015

Welcome Cornea Specialist Adam Sise, M.D.!

Dr. Adam Sise
Cornea Specialist, Cataract & LASIK Surgeon
Join us in welcoming Cornea Specialist, Cataract & LASIK Surgeon Adam Sise, M.D. to Eyecare Medical Group. Dr. Sise sees patients for refractive surgery such as Bladeless LASIK, as well for the diagnosis and treatment of corneal disease including corneal transplants using both traditional cornea surgery and transplant techniques and advanced techniques such as DSAEK (Decemet's Stripping Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty). Dr. Sise provides cataract surgery and lens implants including toric lens implants for astigmatism and multifocal lens implants to help patients eliminate reading glasses and bifocals after cataract surgery.

Dr. Sise received his medical degree from Temple University School of Medicine followed by a Residency in Ophthalmology at Washington Hospital Center and Georgetown University Hospital. In addition he completed a fellowship in Cornea and External Disease at the University of Miami-Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Ophthalmology and certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology as well as a member of the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (ASCRS).

You may schedule an appointment with Dr. Sise by calling 207-773-0432.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Insurance and Billing Questions

At Eyecare Medical Group we like to do the best we can to make sure that you understand the bills that you receive from us, but we also know that this is a very confusing process. Patients who have medical services at any doctors office or facility know that there is an array of paper work that is received in the mail, sometimes just for one office visit- and all of it is confusing. That is why we have an insurance counselor that sits in the lobby of our practice that can help clear up confusion regarding bills and insurance explanation of benefits. Just bring your EOB or your bill to Jerrod, our insurance counselor, and he will be able to help you determine what your balance is, if any, and what you may have for a balance for upcoming procedures. Not coming into the office anytime soon? Call our Patient Accounts Department anytime Monday-Thursday 8-4:30 or Fridays between the hours of 8 and 2 pm at 207-791-8283 and one of our Patient Accounts Specialists will be able to assist you!


If you or someone you know wishes to schedule an appointment or needs help with additional information please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020 visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Do High Dose Vitamins Increase Cataract Risk?


Most people are aware of the need to have a proper amount of vitamin intake in order to maintain their overall health. We also know that certain vitamins may play a role in helping to avoid certain age related eye problems such as age related macular degeneration (AMD). But are vitamins good or bad with regard to your risk of developing cataracts? As it turns out, certain vitamins taken in high doses may actually increase your risk of developing cataracts.

Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Epidemiology evaluated the risks and benefits of taking high dose supplements of vitamins C and E and low-dose multivitamins with the risk of developing age related cataract.  Their study looked at any associations of high-dose supplements of vitamins C and E and low dose multivitamins with the risk of age related cataract in a group of 31,120 men who ranged in age from 45–79 years of age. Their results suggest that the use of high dose-but not low dose-single vitamin C or E supplements may increase the risk of age-related cataract. The risk may be even higher among older men, corticosteroid users, and long-term users.

If you or someone you know takes high doses of vitamins or is concerned about their risk of cataracts please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Osteoporosis a Risk for Cataracts?

What do calcium balance, osteoporosis and cataracts have to do with each other? Actually, maybe quite a bit according to researchers reporting in the journal Clinical Ophthalmology who identified interesting information regarding an association between cataracts, cataract surgery and osteoporosis.

About Calcium, Osteoporosis & Cataract Risk
Especially in seniors and aging populations, we know that calcium is an important factor in bone health and the development of osteoporosis. We also know that calcium is an important factor in cataract formation.  What wasn’t obvious or apparent until the researchers carefully analyzed the data was whether there was any association between osteoporosis and cataracts.

Osteoporosis Risk Factors Associated with Cataracts
The researchers first identified that that age, female sex, higher socioeconomic class, smoking, chronic renal failure, hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases are all associated with an increased prevalence of osteoporosis. Then through careful statistical modeling also found that these factors and osteoporosis are ALL associated with an increased prevalence of cataracts. Thus, they concluded that osteoporosis is associated with the presence of cataracts which may be related to calcium imbalance, hormonal abnormalities, and even a shared genetic predisposition.

If you or someone you know is concerned about osteoporosis and their 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, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Monday, June 8, 2015

Cataract Surgery Day with Dr. Cassidy

Dr. Cassidy will perform your cataract surgery right here at Eyecare Medical Group in our outpatient eye surgery center. Your cataract surgery with Dr. Cassidy will begin with a few sets of drops being placed in your eye to dilate your pupil. Your eye will then be treated with an anesthetic so that you will feel little if anything during your surgery.  Next, Dr. Cassidy will make a very small incision at the outermost edge of your cornea. This incision will be just large enough to allow a microscopic instrument the size of a pen tip to pass through it.

 Dr. Bruce Cassidy, M.D.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               
Dr. Cassidy will then gently pass a microscopic instrument through the tiny incision and create an opening in the capsule of the crystalline lens to allow access to the cloudy lens material

Next, Dr. Cassidy will gently pass another sophisticated high technology microscopic instrument through the tiny incision. Sound waves or “Ultrasound” produced at the tip of the instrument will be used to gently break the cataract into pieces small enough to be washed away, drawn through the instrument and removed from your eye. This cataract removal technique is called “phacoemulsification” and is preferred for most patients.

After the cataract has been removed, Dr. Cassidy will be able to insert a new, crystal clear permanent intraocular lens implant (IOL) into your eye. The replacement lens will actually be inserted and placed in the correct position through the same tiny incision at the outer edge of the cornea through which the surgeon removed the cataract. 

Upon completion of your cataract and lens implant surgery, Dr. Cassidy will have one of the surgery center staff members take you to a comfortable place where you will be able to rest and relax prior to going home. After resting for a short while, a surgery staff member will give you permission to have a family member or friend drive you home.

Dr. Cassidy will arrange to see you the next day after your cataract and lens implant surgery so he can examine you in order to confirm that you are healing and seeing as planned. He will also prescribe some eye drops for you to use and may ask you to wear a protective shield, mainly at night, to remind you not to accidentally rub your eye. Although each patient will heal a little bit differently, the majority of patients having cataract surgery at Eyecare Medical Group are able to see well enough to return to their routine daily activities within a day or so after their cataract surgery.


If you or someone you know has questions about cataracts, 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, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Stop Smoking & Decrease Cataract Risk


Smoking is a well known risk factor for cardiovascular disease, breathing and lung problems, all types of cancer as well as the eye problems of age related macular degeneration (AMD), retinal vascular disease, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. It has also been reported that smoking increases your risk of cataracts. But, there is some good news from researchers who studied the risk of cataracts among smokers and reported in JAMA Ophthalmology that stopping smoking decreases the risk of cataracts over time.

Research Says Stop Smoking to Decrease Cataract Risk
The researchers followed a total of 44,371 men, 45 to 79 years old over a 10 year period. The participants filled out questionnaires on their smoking habits and lifestyles and were then matched with the Swedish National Day-Surgery Register and local records of cataract extraction. The researchers found that smokers of more than 15 cigarettes a day had a 42% increased risk of cataract surgery compared with men who had never smoked. It also found that men who smoked an average of more than 15 cigarettes a day but had stopped smoking more than 20 years earlier had a 21% increased risk. Thus, they found a positive association between cigarette smoking and cataract surgery in men, with a significant increase of cataracts among smokers compared to those who never smoked. Also, stopping smoking was associated with a statistically significant decrease in risk with increasing time from stopping smoking. Even heavy smokers had some benefit from quitting smoking. Further, a previous study detailed the relationship between smoking cessation and cataract risk in women. In this study, they found  that after cessation of smoking, cataract risk in women decreased with time. Women who smoked 6 to 10 cigarettes a day but had ceased smoking 10 years earlier, and women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day but had ceased smoking 20 years earlier were found to have a relative risk of cataracts not significantly different from women who had never smoked.

Smoking cessation seems to decrease the risk of cataract development and the need for cataract surgery with time, although the risk persists for decades. The higher the intensity of smoking, the longer it takes for the increased risk to decline. These findings emphasize the importance of early smoking cessation and, preferably, the avoidance of smoking altogether.

If you or someone you know has been a smoker or is currently a smoker and is concerned about their risk of cataracts, there is good reason to stop smoking. If you have questions about cataract risk, 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, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

Welcome Cornea Specialist & LASIK Surgeon Adam Sise, M.D.

 Adam Sise, M.D.

EMG is very excited to announce that Cornea Specialist,Cataract & LASIK Surgeon Adam Sise, M.D. will be joining EMG in July, 2015. A New England native, Dr. Sise is completing Fellowship at the University of Miami-Bascom Palmer Eye Institute prior to commencing practice in Portland, Maine. Dr. Sise will be available to see patients for all types of corneal diseases and problems and will be performing LASIK surgery, corneal transplants, cataract surgery and lens implants, as well as other types of corneal procedures in our outpatient ambulatory surgery center (ASC). If you need a cornea specialist or have been referred for a an existing corneal problem that you need care for, please call us at 207-828-2020 to set up an appointment with Dr. Sise after July 2015.



Monday, May 11, 2015

LASIK Day with Dr. Sterrer

A typical LASIK day with Dr. Sterrer begins with a technician going over post op instructions with the patient before they are taken into the laser room. Once the post op instructions have been completed and the patient is comfortable and ready to go, the technician will bring the patient to the laser room. We try to make sure every patient is as comfortably situated as possible on the laser bed. Once we have ensured they are comfortable and positioned for treatment, they are covered with a warm blanket and the process of getting them ready for surgery begins.  The eye that is not being worked on first will be patched so that Dr. Sterrer focuses only on the eye that he is performing surgery on.


 Numbing drops are administered and the femtosecond laser, the laser that creates the flap for an all laser, bladeless LASIK procedure, is applied to the eye. This process takes about 20 seconds. Once this is done, Dr. Sterrer will fold the newly made flap back, and prepare the eye for the excimer laser, or the laser that changes the shape of one’s cornea to improve their vision.  The amount of time the excimer laser takes depends upon your prescription, so it can take anywhere from 5 to 20 seconds. Once the excimer laser does it’s work, Dr. Sterrer will lay the flap back down and then move to the other eye. The entire treatment process takes about 15 to 30 minutes from start to finish for both eyes!


 Once the treatment is done, Dr. Sterrer will take the patient into an exam room to check their vision. After that, we send our LASIK patients home to take a nap. We see all of our LASIK patients for a one day post op to ensure that everything looks good. Patients will have three different sets of drops to use post operatively, usually for about a week. Except for minor restrictions, patients are usually able to resume normal daily activities in about a day.


 If you or someone you know would like to learn more about LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please feel free to call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 207-791-8273, visit Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.




Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Useful Eye Infection Information

Common eye infections can be easily confused with allergies and even dry eyes. In fact, if you have ever had red, itchy eyes, you may have wondered whether it’s a symptom of allergies or dry eyes or a more serious condition, such as an eye infection.  Here is some useful information about eye infections as compared to allergies and dry eye problems:

About Allergies & Dry Eyes
Symptoms of Allergies or Dry Eyes
  •  If you work at a computer for an extended time or have allergies to products or airborne substances, you may experience dry, red or irritated eyes.
  • Generally allergies and dry eyes affect both eyes.
  • Treatment options usually include resting your eyes or using an over-the-counter or prescription eye drops, as recommended by your eye doctor.

About Eye Infections
Symptoms of Eye Infections
  •  Frequently occurs when bacteria, fungi or viruses attack any part of your eye, including the surface, membrane lining of the outer eye and inner eyelid, interior portions or the soft tissue of the eyelid.
  • Infections inside the eye or in the soft tissue of the eyelid are the most dangerous and if left untreated, the condition may spread throughout the eye.
  • Symptoms usually include redness, pain, discharge, watering and sensitivity to light; usually occurs only in one eye; if symptoms are detected, immediately contact your eye doctor for an evaluation

Types of Eye Infections
  • Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) – A common infection that is highly contagious.
  • Viral Keratitis –Can be simply related to a respiratory virus or cold or more serious such as Ocular Herpes that occurs when exposed to the Herpes Simplex Virus.
  • Fungal Keratitis – A fungus commonly found in organic matter such as soil, leaves or branches of a tree.
  • Acanthamoeba Keratitis – A parasite that attacks the eye more often in individuals wearing contact lenses and swimming in pools, lakes, ponds, hot tubs or streams who are at increased risk for contracting this infection.
  • Trachoma – Usually found in underdeveloped countries. Typically infects the inner eyelid along with eyelashes touching the area can infect the cornea and cause permanent blindness.
  • Endophthalmitis – Occurs with a penetrating eye injury or complication following eye surgery and if left untreated, may lead to blindness.
Preventing Eye Infections
  •  If you experience symptoms associated with an eye infection, contact Eyecare Medical Group immediately. Prompt treatment is necessary to reduce the risk of permanent blindness.
  • To avoid eye infections, wash your hands throughout the day, especially if you are near an individual with a red eye or other signs of infection. Contact lens wearers should follow care and handling instructions provided by their eye doctor.

If you or someone you know is concerned about having an eye infection or is confused about they have an eye infection, an eye allergy or even a dry eye problem, 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, April 27, 2015

About Ocular Melanoma Eye Cancer

What to Know About Ocular Melanoma Eye Cancer
While many of us are quite aware of the different types of cancer that can affect us throughout life, relatively few are aware of the most common type of eye cancer-called Ocular Melanoma (OM). Approximately 2,500 American adults are diagnosed with ocular melanoma (OM) annually in the United States.

What is Ocular Melanoma (OM)?
OM is an aggressive malignant cancer that starts in the pigment cells of the eye that produce eye color. In general, OM tends to occur in people with light skin pigmentation and more typically, blue or green eyes and who are over age 50. However, OM also can occur in individuals of every race and at any age. For about 50 percent of individuals diagnosed with OM, the cancer may be fatal, because it metastasizes and spreads to other parts of the body. OM is considered a silent killer. There are no early warning signs, and it is difficult to see when studying your eyes in the mirror.

Diagnosis, Signs & Symptoms of Ocular Melanoma (OM)
Often, during a routine eye exam through a dilated pupil, it is possible for eye doctors to detect OM, reinforcing the importance of scheduling regular eye exam appointments. Once OM has developed, people may experience blurred vision, a change in the shape of the pupil, flashing lights in their vision, loss of vision in the affected eye or a dark spot on the iris. Researchers have discovered that people with OM tend to have certain gene mutations, which could suggest there is a strong genetic component to the disease. However, scientists have not concluded that these abnormalities are the cause. They believe there may be a connection between the development of OM and prolonged exposure to sunlight or artificial light, such as from tanning beds, but there is not significant research confirming this link.


If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of Ocular Melanoma (OM) or has any family member who has been diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma, please be sure 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 eye exam appointment.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Association Between Early Cataracts & Cancer Early Cataracts May Indicate Cancer Risk

We have known that the early onset of cataracts is linked to insufficient antioxidative activity in one’s metabolism. We also know that insufficient antioxidative activity is a risk factor for developing cancer. Researchers investigated whether there was an association between the early onset of cataracts-in patients under 55 years old and the potential risk for developing cancer.



Research on Early Cataracts & Cancer Risk
Researchers reporting the journal Cancer Science, the official journal of the Japanese Cancer Association investigated the risk of cancer after being diagnosed with early onset cataract. The researchers examined claims from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database (NHIRD) of patients with early onset cataract, aged 20-55 and also compared it to a group of the same age range without cataracts. By using powerful statistical analysis they found that the overall incidence rate of all cancers was 2.19-fold higher in the early onset cataract group as compared to those without cataracts.  Further they were able to analyze where these patients were at greatest risk of developing cancer and found head and neck areas highest, followed by liver cancer and then breast cancer. This study suggests that patients with early onset cataract are at an increased risk of being diagnosed with cancer in subsequent years.

If you or someone you know is concerned about early cataract development and risk of cancer or needs a regular eye exam where do a routine cataract screening and exam, please share this information with them and ask them 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 13, 2015

Help for Dry Eyes with Diet Supplements

Dry eye problems affect many people we see at Eyecare Medical Group. Depending on the cause of the dry eye problems, we are fortunate to be able to help dry eye symptoms and complaints with specially formulated artificial tears, ointments, microscopic punctual plugs we can insert into the tear drainage canals, anti-inflammatory eye drops, oral antibiotics and even prescription eye drops called Restasis that help you make more of your own natural tears. Research now suggests that certain diet supplements may also be useful in helping dry eye symptoms and problems.


 Research on Diet Supplements & Dry Eye
According to researchers reporting in Clinical Ophthalmology taking dietary supplements that contain a combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids and antioxidants can be helpful in the treatment of dry eye symptoms. A study was conducted to understand the effectiveness and tolerability of dietary supplements containing a combination of omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants for help for dry eye symptoms and complaints. The researchers wanted to know if the dry eye diet supplements helped scratchy and stinging sensation in the eyes, eye redness, grittiness, painful eyes, tired eyes, grating sensation, and blurry vision. After 12 weeks of taking the supplements all individual symptoms improved significantly from an average rating of 11.9 to 6.8 indicating that dietary supplementation with a combination of omega-3 essential fatty acids and antioxidants was an effective treatment for dry eye.

If you or someone you know has questions about dry eye help with diet supplements 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, March 31, 2015

Pink Eye Conjunctivitis: Do I Have It?

We frequently receive calls at Eyecare Medical Group from patients wondering is their “red eyes” might be conjunctivitis or “pink eye”. First, without coming in to see us for an external eye exam it is really not possible to tell over the phone. But when you do come in, we will be able to look for a number of signs and thoroughly discuss your symptoms to help determine whether you have “pink eye” or conjunctivitis.

Signs & Symptoms of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis

About Bacterial Conjunctivitis
If you have a bacterial infection causing pink eye conjunctivitis, you will usually have very red eyes. You may find crusting on your eyelids that can make them stick together as well as a heavy, pus-like discharge from your eyes that may be greenish at times. This infection may spread to both eyes.

About Viral Conjunctivitis
If you have a viral conjunctivitis we often will find a very red, swollen eye, crusty eyelids and a more watery discharge. This discharge can also have strands of mucus or white, ropy strands. While many cases of viral pink eye infect only one eye, this infection can also spread to the other eye.

About Allergic Conjunctivitis
If you have an allergic conjunctivitis and your allergies are causing your conjunctivitis, it will often look similar to viral conjunctivitis. Your eyes will be red and tearing. However, they will also be itchy. It is likely you may have a stuffy, runny or itchy nose as well.

Treatment of Pink Eye Conjunctivitis
Typically, treatment is mostly supportive. Antibiotics do not treat viral infections but do work well in treating bacterial conjunctivitis. Regardless of the cause, it is important to minimize exposure of others by washing your hands frequently and throwing away used tissues. Do not share towels or pillow cases. Consider staying home from work or school until you are symptom-free for 24 hours. If you are a contact lens wearer, you should discontinue their use and stick with glasses until your infection clears. Then start with a fresh pair of lenses and a clean lens case.

If you or someone you know has questions about pink eye conjunctivitis, symptoms or 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.


Sunday, March 15, 2015

Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease from Eye Movements

Alzheimer's disease represents a growing challenge in our healthcare system as well as the loved ones and caregivers of those affected by the disease.  Efforts at early intervention are heavily dependent on our ability to detect the disease as early as possible.

Role of Eye Movements in Early Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease
According to researchers reporting in Investigative Ophthalmology & Vision Science a subtle change in eye movements may provide a useful diagnostic tool for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s  Disease. In general, eye movements follow a reproducible pattern during normal reading. Each eye movement ends up at a fixation point or end point. This allows the brain to process the incoming information and to program the following movements accurately. The researchers found that Alzheimer Disease (AD) produces eye movement abnormalities and disturbances in reading whereby those patients with early AD display abnormal fixation patterns. We now know that evaluation of eye movement behavior during reading may be a useful tool for a more precise early diagnosis of AD and for monitoring the progress or stability of Alzheimer’s Disease.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye movements and Alzheimer’s Diseases, 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 10, 2015

About Ocular or Ophthalmic Migraine

When someone uses the word “migraine” patients immediately think about terribly uncomfortable, even painful and debilitating headaches that can have some odd or frightening visual effects and result in nausea and feeling quite ill overall. But, at Eyecare Medical Group when we listen carefully to patients we often hear that otherwise healthy patients sometimes tell us that about once or twice a month they see these strange pulsing images in both eyes-both with their eyes open and closed! Sometimes they tell us that they start out small, may last 10-20 minutes and even cause their vision to become blurry. These episodes actually describe what we know to be an Ocular Migraine-a migraine without a headache! What patients are experiencing is the aura that many sufferers have before the onset of a classic migraine headache. An ocular or ophthalmic migraine often includes zigzag lines, colored lights or flashes of lights expanding to one side of your vision over perhaps 10 to 30 minutes. 

If you experience these symptoms, in order to be sure that this is not a sign of a more serious problem, you should schedule an evaluation and eye exam with Eyecare Medical Group so that we can rule out any other problems and work in concert with your primary care physician or a neurologist to make sure that other testing is not needed.

If you or someone you know has questions about ocular or ophthalmic migraine or suffers from the visual symptoms we mentioned above 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 2, 2015

Computer Screens Cause Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye problems and dry eye symptoms can be caused by many systemic diseases, medications, eye diseases, environmental conditions and even changes in hormone balance. But now, we know that prolonged use of computer screens and really video display and VDT terminals of any type can cause dry eye problems and symptoms.

Research on Dry Eyes & Computer Screens
According to researchers publishing in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, users of video display screens or computer terminals are at greater risk for symptoms of dry eyes and dry eye disease (DED). In this study a group of 672 young and middle-aged Japanese office workers who used video display terminals (VDT) completed questionnaires and underwent dry eye testing. Of the 672 workers, 76.5% had definite dry or probable dry eye disease with the percentage being higher in woman than men and higher in office workers over 30 years of age especially if they used computers more than 8 hours per day. Thus, DED is common among young to middle-aged VDT or computer screen users. Thus, it is recommended that anyone using VDT or computer screens of any type for moderate to long periods of time or even those who notice increased dryness or grittiness should take measure to try and keep the eye surface moist ad intact such as the use of lubricants, artificial tears or even more aggressive measures if the extensive use of the VDT or computer screens is a daily event.

If you or someone you know has questions about dry eyes and computer screen or video display terminal 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.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Obesity & Macular Degeneration Risk

Obesity is a well documented risk factor for diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and many other systemic conditions. Researchers reviewing the Beaver Dam Eye Study evaluated the risk of age related eye disease such as age related macular degeneration (AMD) with obesity. They discussed their review in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science where they reported the results of eye exams that were used to evaluate the presence and severity of cataract and macular degeneration as well as measurements of height and weight over a 15 year period of time. Their findings show that for females who were non smokers, there was indeed and increased risk of early and late stage age related macular degeneration (AMD) with an increasing body Mass Index (BMI).

If you or someone you know has questions about age related macular degeneration (AMD) or your specific risk factors for AMD or needs an eye exam for macular degeneration,  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 16, 2015

Cataracts Cause Night Driving Problems

Seniors and others who have been diagnosed with cataracts need to be aware of the night driving problems that even mild cataracts cause. In addition, if you are experiencing night driving problems, it is important to have an eye exam with a cataract evaluation in order determine whether you have the start of a cataract. For many patients, the night driving problems from a cataract seems to be the first real symptom of a cataract.



About Night Driving Problems with Cataracts

If you or someone you know feels they have night driving problems that might be related to cataracts or has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to schedule an eye exam by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visiting Eyecare Medical Group or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.

Driving at night is considerably more difficult for most people as dim lighting and darkness can cause you to misjudge distances between cars and the sides of the road. For many patients night driving problems may cause you to begin noticing a general blur of your vision, clouding or hazy vision, dimming of colors and even some double vision-even in daylight. These are symptoms of cataracts that often accompany night driving problems from a cataract. If you find that you don’t really feel comfortable driving at night, it may be that you have the beginning of a cataract. If you experience these symptoms, it would be important to schedule an eye exam and find out for sure. Then, depending on how troubling or unsafe you feel, we will be happy to discuss whether it might well be time to consider whether cataract surgery as an option to help you regain your night driving comfort level.



Sunday, February 8, 2015

Be Aware of Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk Factors

Dr. Aaron Parnes, MD, Vitreoretinal Specialist
Seniors and others concerned with age related vision loss should become familiar with the risk factors associated with age related macular degeneration (AMD). Age related macular degeneration (AMD) is a leading cause of severe vision loss among Americans ages 65 and over. Knowing your risk factors, being aware of your family history, and scheduling regular eye exam appointments with your eye doctor can help reduce your risks for vision loss from macular degeneration. The key to preventing vision loss from age related macular degeneration is early detection, diagnosis and treatment as recommended by your eye doctor. 

Know the Top AMD Risks
Ø  Being over the Age of 60
Ø  Having a Family History of AMD
Ø  Cigarette Smoking
Ø  Obesity
Ø  Hypertension

If you have any two of these risk factors, you should schedule an appointment with your eye doctor a complete eye exam and evaluation. Your doctor may recommend additional specialized testing if necessary as well as certain preventive measures which can reduce your risk of vision loss from this disorder.

Reducing AMD Risk Factors
There are some AMD risk factors that a person can change such as stopping smoking and eating a low fat diet rich in green leafy vegetables along with reducing alcohol consumptions that can reduce the risk of vision loss from AMD. Other risk factors such as genetic factors cannot be changed. However, knowing your family medical history is one way to learn whether you may be genetically predisposed to a disease. For patients at high risk for developing late stage AMD, taking a dietary supplement of vitamin C, vitamin E and beta carotene, along with zinc, has been shown to lower the risk of AMD advancing to advanced stages by 25 percent.

Know the Symptoms of Wet AMD
People who are at risk should know the symptoms of Wet AMD, the form most likely to cause rapid, serious and catastrophic vision loss. With early detection, diagnosis and treatment it is possible to avoid or minimize vision loss from Wet AMD. Symptoms of Wet AMD might include sudden, noticeable loss or distortion of vision, such as seeing “wavy” lines, “distortion”, “bending of straight lines and objects”.

If you experience any of these symptoms, please call Eyecare Medical Group at 888-374-2020 immediately and explain your symptoms and request urgent appointment. Current treatments for Wet AMD using injections of Vascular Endothelial Growth (VEGF) inhibitors drugs such as Lucentis® and Eylea® provide an excellent chance of stopping vision loss and may actually restore some vision when macular degeneration develops. Earlier diagnosis of wet AMD gives us a better chance of successful treatment.

If you or someone you know has questions age related macular degeneration (AMD)risks and symptoms or needs an eye exam for AMD 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, January 26, 2015

Postmenopausal Hormone Rx Reduces Glaucoma Risk

It has been reported that women entering menopause early-under age 45-are at increased risk of primary open angle glaucoma (POAG). It has been suggested that this is due to some protective effect of female hormones. Now, according to researchers publishing in JAMA Ophthalmology  taking estrogen only postmenopausal hormone (PMH) treatment may actually help reduce the risk for primary open angle glaucoma (POAG).

Research on Glaucoma & Postmenopausal Hormone Therapy
By reviewing data from 152,163 women 50 years or older the researchers found that 1.9 percent of enrollees developed POAG. Each additional month of use of PMH containing estrogen only was associated with a 0.4 percent reduced risk for POAG whereas each additional month of use of estrogen + progesterone or estrogen + androgen hormones did not affect risk for POAG. This is interesting information and will require further prospective clinical studies to understand fully but may offer some novel treatments for primary open angle glaucoma (POAG), an insidious sight threatening eye diseases and the most common type of glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has questions or is concerned about their risk of glaucoma or needs an eye exam with glaucoma testing,  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.