Sunday, November 27, 2016

Retinitis Pigmentosa Help

About Retinitis Pigmentosa
Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a progressive inherited disease of the eye, in which the light-sensitive photoreceptor cells located in the retina degenerate. This results first in the loss of night and peripheral vision, eventually progressing to the loss of central vision and total blindness. It is the leading cause of inherited blindness in the developed world.

The disease, which affects approximately 1.5 million people in the world, has no cure, but thanks to research done at the University of California-Santa Barbara, a new stem cell therapy may soon be available that protects photoreceptor cells from the damaging effects of the gene mutation. So far, only a small number of legally blind patients with RP have begun a trial. The trial is the first attempt to use stem cells to prevent the loss of vision from RP. An experimental injection of retinal stem cells is placed in the eye with the hope that the growth factors from these cells will protect the retinal cells and prevent them from dying, thus preserving the patient’s remaining vision.

If you, a family member or someone you know would like to learn more about Retinitis Pigmentosa or many new stem therapies being developed for diseases of the retina, 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.


Eye Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease & Multiple Sclerosis


Eye Testing for Alzheimer’s Disease & Multiple Sclerosis

If you have had a thorough eye exam and thought to be at risk for glaucoma, diabetic macular edema from diabetic retinopathy or other retinal diseases you may have had a test called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) in our office. Optical Coherence Tomography or OCT is a high technology imaging test that allows us to produce high resolution cross sectional views of the structures of your eye without ever touching it. In some ways this is analogous to CT Scans that are used to “image’ organ systems in other parts of your body. According to recent research by using OCT we may also be able to use OCT changes as “biomarkers” for diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis. OCT allows us to very carefully scan nerve fibers in the retina-the  retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) and the ganglion cell layer (GCL) which are often compromised in the neurodegenerative diseases. We are carefully reviewing the research and waiting to learn if in fact in office OCT testing might be useful either in the diagnosis and/or the monitoring of Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.


If you or someone you know is at risk for any type of neurodegenerative disease and has not had a comprehensive eye exam they should schedule an appointment and be sure to relay to the doctor or staff all of your concerns, 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.


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Field Hockey Eye Injury Reduced with Mandatory Eyewear


Avoid Sports Eye Injury with Protective Eyewear
According to research on data from the High School Reporting Information Online database and from a Virginia school district that includes 25 high schools, recorded between 2009 and 2013, analyzed and published in the journal Pediatrics, the use of mandatory protective eyewear by female field hockey players has reduced incidences of eye and orbital injuries, as well as severe face and head injuries. Among female U.S. high school field hockey players, a national mandate for protective eyewear has been associated with a greater than threefold reduced risk of eye and orbital injuries and a decreased incidence of severe eye and orbital as well as head and face injuries. This information supports a policy change and implementation of the mandatory use of protective equipment in field hockey at all amateur levels.

If you or someone you know have questions about protective eyewear for sports, or need to be fitted with protective eyewear to avoid the risk of sports eye injury, 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, October 31, 2016

Diabetes: A Top Vision Loss Risk Factor for Hispanics

Results from the Los Angeles Latino Eye Study (LALES) confirm that diabetes is a top risk factor for vision loss among Hispanics. LALES and other large studies have found that people who have diabetes are more likely to develop serious and potentially blinding diseases, including diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataract and glaucoma. Hispanics are more likely to develop diabetes than other groups.

Preventing Vision Loss in Hispanics
Preventing diabetes or catching and treating it and any related eye diseases in their early stages would go a long way to improving Hispanics' vision health. Hispanics are the fastest-growing group in the United States and thus it is important to have routine eye exams especially if you are diabetic and Hispanic. LALES researchers believe that is our Hispanic population receives thorough exams and care as needed, the burden of vision loss in US Hispanics could be reduced.

If you are Hispanic and especially if you have diabetes, having regular eye exams is critical to reduce your risk of vision loss. 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.



Sunday, October 23, 2016

Aging Eye Problems

About Aging Eyes
Aging eye problems are a fact of life for adults growing older just like wrinkles, slowing metabolism and graying hair. Eventually, your eyes are affected by age so it’s important to understand how your eyes change with age and what you can do to preserve your eye health and vision. Some aging eye changes and problems are expected and normal and others indicate the presence of eye diseases that need to be detected, diagnosed and treated or changes that need to be addressed to preserve vision. For these reasons having regular eye exams at the intervals recommended by your eye doctor is key-especially after the age of 40 years old.

Aging Eye Problems
Presbyopia
Beginning in the late 30s and early 40s, the crystalline lens in your eye loses flexibility, making it difficult to focus and read up close. Your “arms seem “too short.” This condition is called presbyopia, which literally means "aging eye", and is most often treated with reading glasses, progressive lenses or bifocals depending on how you need to use your eyes for various tasks throughout the day, for work or recreation.

Dry Eye
Dry eye often develops with age and is a common problem for women during pregnancy and menopause. These hormonal changes cause changes in the eye’s tear production. Certain medications can also cause dry eye. If you have dry eye, you may be prone to an eyelid irritation called blepharitis, a common cause of irritation or swelling of the eyelids. The cause of your dry eye-either too few tears being produced or too rapid evaporation of tears will need to be diagnosed and then your eye doctor can prescribe a range of treatments including eye drops that add artificial tears, prescription eye drops that help you make more of your own tears called Restasis®, tiny punctal plugs to help you retain more of your own tears, anti-inflammatory eye drops and many other treatment options to get you help for dry eye symptoms and discomfort.

Diabetic Retinopathy
People in their 50s, 60s and 70s with diabetes are most at risk for this disease. Diabetic retinopathy occurs when the small blood vessels inside the retina swell, leak fluid or close off completely due to damage from elevated blood sugar levels. But, you can take steps to prevent diabetic retinopathy with tight control of blood sugar, low fat diets, regular exercise and controlling blood pressure levels. It is also critical to see your eye doctor regularly for diabetic eye exams as with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be slowed and often prevented.

Cataracts
Cataracts are very common in older people. As you age, proteins in your crystalline lens begin to clump together and cause the lens to be cloudy. This is the development of a cataract where the lens has become less transparent, causing blurry, cloudy or dim vision and increased glare and haloes around lights. Many people with the condition describe it as similar to looking out of dirty windshield. Cataracts can interfere with daily activities like driving at night and distinguishing colors. While treatment of early cataracts with changes in eyeglass prescription may provide some benefit, the only really effective treatment for cataracts is cataract surgery where the cloudy lens is removed and replaced with a permanent artificial lens implant which can correct the cataract as well as nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even presbyopia.

Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve that damages the fibers that transmit visual information to the brain. This damage often leads to loss of side vision or peripheral vision. If left untreated, glaucoma will certainly lead to progressive vision loss and ultimately total blindness. Glaucoma is most common in people age 55 and older. One of the problems with glaucoma, especially the most common type of glaucoma, called chronic open-angle glaucoma, is that there are typically no symptoms in the early stages. Many people who have the disease do not know they have it. This is why it is important, especially as you get older, to have regular medical eye exams at intervals that depend on your risk factors-such as smoking, sleep apnea, age, diabetes, high blood pressure, early menopause-as recommended by your eye doctor.

Floaters and Flashes

As people grow older, the gel, called the Vitreous-that fills the inside their eye starts to shrink, forming clumps, liquid or strands. These strands and clumps can appear as “floaters” that appear as small specks or lines moving in your field of vision. As it shrinks, the gel can also pull away from the back wall of the eye, causing you to see “flashes” which appear as flashing lights or lightning streaks in your vision. While this is normally harmless, in some cases it can lead to retinal detachment and cause serious vision loss and even blindness. If you experience new floaters and flashes, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible, especially if you are over age 45, are nearsighted or have had eye injuries in the past.

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
AMD is a senior eye problem that affects the central vision, limiting a person’s ability to read and recognize faces. This can be caused by a thinning and deterioration of the macula which is the center of the retina or by the growth of abnormal blood vessels under the retina. AMD can lead to blindness if not treated and it continues to be the leading cause of blindness in Americans over 65. Fortunately with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, vision loss from AMD is preventable or at least manageable so that we can reduce vision loss and in many cases, recover vision.

If you or someone you know is concerned about ageing eye problems such as presbyopia, dry eye, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) or 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, October 17, 2016

Help for Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

About Childrens’ Tear Duct Problems

Normally, tears drain through tiny opening in corners of the upper and lower eyelids call “puncta,” then enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. Sometimes the nasolacrimal duct or tear duct can become blocked or obstructed making it impossible for the tears to drain normally. This can cause the eyes to run water or even produce a discharge. Often, the tears well up on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the eyelashes, eyelids, and down the cheek. This usually occurs within the first days or weeks of life. Sometimes, the eyelids can become red and swollen, even stuck together with yellowish-green discharge since the normal eyelid bacteria are not properly "flushed" down the obstructed system. Probably the most common cause of a tear duct obstruction in kids is a failure of the membrane at the end of the tear duct opening to open fully at the time of birth. Generally we see this happening in some 5-10% of newborn infants where one or both eyes is affected with a tear duct obstruction-BUT some 90% clear without any treatment with the first 12 months after birth.

Treatment of Kids’ Tear Duct Obstruction
As most of the time the obstruction will clear on its own, we don’t always have to treat it. But, if it persists and causes the welling up of tears or the sticking or redness of the eyelids we can suggest a gentle massage as a first step and prescribe antibiotic eye drops if necessary. Sometimes we will need to do a tear duct probing to clear the blockage and in a some more difficult situations we might need to perform a tear duct dilation with a tiny balloon or even insert some microscopic tubes. We perform these types of treatments as a matter of routine and, as a parent I will make sure to thoroughly explain them and answer all of your questions if they become necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about childrens tear duct problems or needs a kids eye exam, 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.



Sunday, October 9, 2016

The LASIK Experience


Sara M shared her LASIK experience at Eyecare Medical Group…

“LASIK was an easy decision, the pros outweighed the cons and it seemed like the only answer. I was sick of waking up and not being able to see without putting my glasses on or contacts in. I just wanted to see without issue and LASIK was the answer.

The process was easy and stress free. My expectations weren’t high, just to see without complications. My first surgery went good, I followed all the aftercare instructions and didn’t seem to have issues other than my sight not being as clear as hoped. A second surgery was needed because my eye sight changed more than expected. Again, no issues and seeing great still. Night time driving is the only issue, a little blurry but nothing unexpected.

Eyecare Medical Group is still my #1 choice!

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about freedom from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses with Bladeless LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation, 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.



Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Field Hockey Eye Injury Reduced with Mandatory Eyewear


Avoid Sports Eye Injury with Protective Eyewear
According to research on data from the High School Reporting Information Online database and from a Virginia school district that includes 25 high schools, recorded between 2009 and 2013, analyzed and published in the journal Pediatrics, the use of mandatory protective eyewear by female field hockey players has reduced incidences of eye and orbital injuries, as well as severe face and head injuries. Among female U.S. high school field hockey players, a national mandate for protective eyewear has been associated with a greater than threefold reduced risk of eye and orbital injuries and a decreased incidence of severe eye and orbital as well as head and face injuries. This information supports a policy change and implementation of the mandatory use of protective equipment in field hockey at all amateur levels.

If you or someone you know have questions about protective eyewear for sports, or need to be fitted with protective eyewear to avoid the risk of sports eye injury, 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, September 26, 2016

A Cataract Patient Story

Marcia G shared her cataract surgery experience.

“Cataract surgery was a breeze at Eyecare Medical Group! Of course I expected nothing less of the facility and staff I've come to know. Everyone, from the check in counter to the assistants, nurses and surgeons.... made me feel like a friend (whose name they knew!) and not like a body sitting in a large impersonal waiting room that was just a means to a paycheck! I shouldn't have worried so because Dr. Sise and his team are just wonderful. They just make it so easy. After all, how could you NOT love a team that not only dresses in costume, but display the pictures on the EMG Facebook page? Seriously.....they are. Nothing to worry about. My questions were many and each was dealt with patiently prior to the cataract surgery. I'd been so unhappy with my declining vision for SO long and each and every staff member commiserated with me and shared information to ease my concerns. The tests were non-invasive and very interesting. I especially liked all the pretty colors some of them caused me to see! The pre-op with Barbara was easy and she's so knowledgeable. It seems odd to say this, but by the time she was done with me, I was looking forward to the procedure! Eye drops a few days prior to check in was simple and check in day? The team didn't even give me a chance to sit down and wait for my name to be called. I was led to the next room and given a really comfy seat while more eye drops were rapidly installed. Then Dr. Sise appeared, and with a grin on his face, asked which eye? Then the black pen appeared and he gave me a big black X to mark the spot! I was never uncomfortable and I was awake enough to join in conversations before they started. Can't believe it’s so quick! Voila! And we were done! I have to say, don't forget to say "yes" when the nurse asks you if you'd like a cinnamon muffin afterward! And by the way......Cataract Surgery number two! Just as smooth as the first and the muffin was something I looked forward to on the way there! Don't hesitate to work with any of the Doctors at EMG. The ones I've met are top notch....as is everyone there. Thanks SO much for my new eyes!”

If you or someone you know suffers from cloudy, blurry vision with night vision problems or fading of colors you should be checked for cataracts and learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants. 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.



Sunday, September 18, 2016

Macular Degeneration Risk: Diet, Lifestyle & Genes

Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Risk
Unhealthy lifestyles that include smoking, high levels of alcohol consumption, high fat diets and other vascular risk factors are known to contribute to your risk of age related macular degeneration (AMD). Further, we also know that those with a family history of AMD are even at additional risk. Recently a study published in Ophthalmology told us about the further risk that you might experience if you actually have a genetic predisposition. The results showed that odds of developing AMD were 3.3 times greater if you had both unhealthy lifestyle behaviors in combination with high genetic risk as compared to those who had low genetic risk and healthy lifestyles. This shows the powerful negative effect both your genes and lifestyle can play in your risk of developing age related macular degeneration (AMD).

If you or someone you know has a family history of AMD and demonstrates unhealthy lifestyle behaviors it is important to have a comprehensive eye exam on a regular schedule recommended by your eye doctor, at which you clearly make the doctor aware of your risk factors and concerns. Please call 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, September 12, 2016

Corneal Crosslinking for Keratoconus

I am often asked to evaluate patients with a disease of the cornea called ectasia. This is a group of conditions where the cornea becomes thin and unstable. The result is that the cornea takes on a conical shape compared to its normal spherical contour. The most common type of ectasia is keratoconus. This is a condition often diagnosed in adolescence when patients note a change in their glasses prescription with increasing astigmatism. An analysis of the corneal shape, called topography, reveals signs of thinning with associated changes in the corneal shape. Currently there is no cure for this disease. Therapies are used to improve vision and include contact lenses, intrastromal corneal inlays, and even corneal transplantation. We are fortunate because a treatment has become available for Keratoconus and other ectasias. This procedure is called corneal collagen crosslinking. Eyecare Medical Group was proud to be a part of the investigative trial for this technology. The treatment aims to strengthen the cornea and prevent progressive thinning and warpage of the cornea. Our results are very promising and many of our patients were able to benefit from this treatment as part of the investigative trial. This is a major milestone in the treatment of ectasias and EMG is excited to be able to offer this treatment to our patients.

If you or someone you know has questions about Crosslinking/Keratoconus 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, September 5, 2016

Thyroid Disease and Eye Problems

Thyroid Eye Problems
Did you know that having thyroid disease can cause eye problems? And, thyroid eye problems can be quite different depending on your age. In general, younger patients under the age of 40 are more likely to have thyroid eye disease characterized by “eye bulging”, clinically called proptosis, along with a retraction or “pulling back” of their eyelids. Older patients, those above 40 years old are more likely to have thyroid eye disease characterized by double vision or “diplopia” from eye muscle problems as well “optic neuropathy” or damage to their optic nerve. In most cases younger patients have milder signs and symptoms of eye problems.

If you or someone you know has thyroid disease or experiences any of the signs or symptoms of bulging eyes, double vision or reduced vision, it is important to immediately schedule an eye exam and share your diagnosis of thyroid disease with your eye doctor or the symptoms you are experiencing. 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.



Sunday, August 21, 2016

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Your Eyes

Rheumatoid Arthritis & Eye Problems
What does arthritis have to do with your eyes? Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory disease characterized by swelling and irritation. The inflammation of RA occurs when your body's defense system (immune system) attacks your own body tissues instead of foreign invaders like viruses or bacteria. Most of these attacks occur in your joints, but RA inflammation can also affect other parts of your body, including your eyes. In fact, your eyes are especially vulnerable. Some of the more common eye complications of rheumatoid arthritis include dry eyes, scleritis-an inflammation of the “white” of your eye-which is uncomfortable and even painful, iritis-an inflammation of the colored part of the eye or the iris, or uveitis, an inflammation of the middle lining inside the eye that supplies blood to other internal structures.
Any of these rheumatoid arthritis complications can requirement treatment to avoid at a minimum discomfort and more seriously vision loss. So, if you have been told you have rheumatoid arthritis and experience dry eyes, redness, pain, or changes in your vision, you should make sure to see us for a diagnosis and treatment if needed.

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about how rheumatoid arthritis can cause eye problems, 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, August 15, 2016

Cataract Surgery with Dr. Sterrer at EMG

Connie C. shared her cataract surgery experience with Dr. Sterrer at EMG:

“Cataract surgery! How could this be? Tales of yesteryear when this was a tedious procedure with a tedious recovery made today's "simple" procedure seem almost too good to be true. Yet the end results would surely be worth the effort, right? I was about to find out. One must believe that first impressions are lasting impressions. So when I entered the Eyecare Medical Group it was clear that folks were confident, knowledgeable and able to put the patient at ease from the first receptionist encounter until the last good-bye with Dr. Sterrer. The waiting room was comfortable with coffee and ample reading material to help pass the time. There was, however, never much time to read anything because appointments were always prompt with little to no wait time. The staff on each leg of the surgical team was equally professional yet gentle and kind. It was such a pleasant environment. Lots of reassuring! One could easily surmise that no one here was an entity unto itself: It was a team approach from beginning to end. I clearly remember happy chatter in the operating room. And music! Very soothing for the nerves.

It all went so fast. And there was absolutely no pain! I was able to drive myself to the Eyecare Medical Group facility the next day for a follow-up appointment. As I also had toric implants for my astigmatism, it was doubly wonderful to see so much more clearly. Yes, cataract surgery. How easy could this be? VERY EASY! Thanks to all with whom I came in contact with.”

If you or someone you know suffers from cloudy, blurry vision with night vision problems or fading of colors you should be checked for cataracts and learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants. 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, August 8, 2016

Eye Problems and Psoriasis

Psoriasis and Retinal Vein Occlusion
What does having psoriasis have to do with eye and retina problems? As it turns out having psoriasis is associated with a higher risk of developing an eye problem called Retinal Vein Occlusion (RVO), a condition where one or more veins in the retina become blocked with a high risk of vision loss and many complications.

Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease that causes raised, red, scaly patches to appear on the skin. It typically affects the outside of the elbows, knees or scalp, though it can appear on any location. Some people report that psoriasis is itchy, burns and stings. Psoriasis is associated with other serious health conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and depression. If you develop a rash that doesn't go away with an over-the-counter medication, you should consider contacting your doctor. Further, if indeed you are diagnosed with psoriasis, you should make sure to have regular eye exams and tell us that you have this condition.

If you or someone you know suffers from psoriasis, you should schedule regular eye exams and be sure to tell your eye doctor about your condition. Please call please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, or visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Sunday, July 31, 2016

Contact Lens Case Safety

About Contact Lens Case Safety
There is good news for contact lens wearers from the American Society for Microbiology 55th Interscience Conference of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy (ICAAC/ICC). New research has developed a “microbiosensor”-novel sensor device that alerts contact lens wearers when it is unsafe to put contact lenses in their eyes. This new device could reduce the incidence of severe eye infections which occur when dirty contact lenses are worn. This technology has potential for use as a both a research tool in clinical studies to monitor levels of bacterial growth associated with contact lens wear, and as a new approach to reducing and even preventing eye infections associated with contaminated contact lenses. While contact lenses are quite safe and effective properly fitted and cared for, there are a significant number of patients who just don’t take great care and misuse their solutions and especially their cases. Most often, they simply don’t keep their cases clean or replace them or don’t replace the solution in the case each and every day they wear their lenses. These kinds of risky behaviors expose the contact lens wear to increased eye safety risk of infection.

If you or someone you know wears contact lenses and has questions about contact lens safety, please call Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup.



Monday, July 25, 2016

Blueberries Can Help Night Vision?

Blueberries Can Help Night Vision?
Everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyes. Many folks are probably even aware that eating green leafy vegetables is helpful for those at risk for age related macular degeneration (AMD). But, have you ever heard that blueberries are good for your night vision? Blueberries are considered “super stars” among health food advocates, who tout the fruit for not only promoting heart health, better memory and digestion, but also for improving night vision. Now, scientists have taken a closer look at this and have found reason to doubt that the popular berry helps most healthy people see better in the dark. Their report appears in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry. Blueberries were thought to be possibly be helpful for your night vision because they contain anthocyanins, which are pigment molecules in blueberries and other plants, that promote the regeneration of key molecules in the eye involved in perceiving light. But reviews of the earlier clinical research that tested the effect of blueberries on night vision in human subjects revealed that the studies were poorly controlled. The researchers found that a blueberry-supplemented diet did not improve sight in the dark, but they did help subjects recover normal vision after exposure to a bright light. The enhancement, however, was small and not likely noticeable to most healthy people, the researchers concluded. So, if you like blueberries feel free to eat and enjoy them, but don’t wait for your night vision to improve.

If you or someone you know has problems with night vision, it is important to have a thorough eye exam to rule out the possibility of cataracts or other eye problem, condition or disease that may affect the retina or optic nerve. 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



Sunday, July 17, 2016

Tumors on the Eye Surface

Ocular Surface Tumors
As part of my fellowship training I expanded my experience in evaluating and treating various tumors that can appear on the surface of the eye including Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia, or OSSN. These tumors are similar to early skin cancers that can develop on the face, nose, scalp, and ears as people age. Diagnosis is based upon the clinical appearance in combination with an imaging technique called Ocular Coherence Tomography. Sometimes an excisional biopsy must be performed to reach a definitive diagnosis. The most important risk factor for the development of OSSN is exposure to UV light. Fortunately, these lesions are uncommon and carry a good prognosis if diagnosed early. The two main forms of treatment are surgical excision and topical chemotherapy. Depending on the size and appearance of the lesion, one treatment may be more effective than the other. In most cases, however, the two treatment options are both effective in treating the cancer, and a discussion with each patient helps better determine which therapy is best for them. While this can be a scary diagnosis for a patient to receive, prompt diagnosis and treatment often results in excellent outcomes.

If you or someone you know has questions about Ocular Surface Tumors 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, July 10, 2016

LASIK Story from Dale

“I recently had LASIK eye surgery at Eyecare Medical Group in Portland Maine. My experience was nothing short of outstanding. From the very thorough pre-op exam to the post-op exam, the staff was very kind and courteous. They really took the time to make sure all of my questions were answered and ensured that I was comfortable with the procedure. My doctor even came in on his day off to do my post-op so I could travel home to Fort Kent sooner. I would recommend LASIK to anyone who is a good candidate. I had 20/450 vision in both eyes. After LASIK my corrected vision is 20/15, which is amazing. I had the team under correct one of my eyes so that I wouldn’t need bifocals and could read without glasses. I really found the procedure to be painless. I didn’t take any pain meds and three hours after the surgery I was watching TV with no glasses. I am a 1000% satisfied I only wish I would have done it sooner.”

Dale

If you or someone you know wishes to learn more about freedom from the hassle of glasses and contact lenses with Bladeless LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation, 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.



Thursday, July 7, 2016

Cataract Surgery Story

“From my first contact with Dr. Cassidy's office to the conclusion of my cataract surgery, I was overwhelmed with the courtesy, professionalism, friendliness, and above all, competence, of this medical practice. I have recommended Dr. Cassidy to all of my friends who are candidates for cataract care. My results were even better than we had anticipated, and I am THRILLED to be enjoying 20/15 vision now! I am deeply grateful to the entire staff at Eyecare Medical Group.”


Anne P.

If you or someone you know suffers from cloudy, blurry vision with night vision problems or fading of colors you should be checked for cataracts and learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants. 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 27, 2016

Kid’s Sunglasses Help Avoid Solar Retinopathy

About Solar Retinopathy
Solar retinopathy is a condition where the retina becomes damaged as a result of bright light from the sun. The retina is made up of layers of light sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don't realize what they're doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy has been reported to occur from staring at the sun, regardless of its phase. Sometimes people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time causing serious damage as well adherents of sun worshipping religious sects are also victims. BUT, children too can stare at the sun and painlessly lose their vision from solar retinopathy!

Sunglasses for Children Not Simply About Fashion
Making sure children wear UV protective sunglasses is important to help kid’s protect their eye health and vision as sun damage to the retina, called “solar retinopathy” does affect BOTH children and adults according to researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

If you or someone you know has children and would like to learn more about sunglasses for kids 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 20, 2016

Cataract Surgery Patient Satisfaction

Patient Satisfaction & Cataract Surgery
The benefits of cataract surgery in restoring poor vision as well as quality of life are very obvious. As cataract surgeons we are also very pleased to report that cataract surgery has an extremely high level of overall patient satisfaction-in our practice as well as in national surveys collected by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement. By 2030, 38 million Americans will suffer from cataracts, a number that will increase to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, from the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement, 99.7% of patients would recommend the procedure to friends or relatives suffering from cataracts. 96% of patients reported that their vision was better post-surgery, and 98 percent said they were comfortable during the procedure and right after their surgery. What’s more, 96% returned to normal activities of daily living within one week of their cataract surgery procedure. This is very typical of what we see at Eyecare Medical group and the data clearly shows that patients find value in cataract surgery and are generally very pleased with the outcomes of the procedure,” said Bruce Cassidy, M.D.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, 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 13, 2016

Cataract Surgery Lens Implants and Driving

Driving, Cataract Surgery & Lens Implants
People with cataracts often are unaware of the subtle changes in lifestyle and mobility that they adopt as they await the “right time” for cataract surgery. Almost always, people who have cataract surgery immediately feel an improved quality of life from the restored freedom of clear vision, especially for those who wish to continue to drive. A
recent study also tells us that the choice of lens implant can play a role in restoring driving habits. When you schedule an appointment for a cataract evaluation or if you are visiting us for a cataract eye exam before surgery, please be sure to discuss and advise us of your driving habits and desires-especially night driving-so that we can counsel you on the different types of lens implants that we might use to help you return to a comfortable, convenient, safe and active driving pattern along with the other activities that the cataract might have limited for you.

If you or someone you know has a cataract or wishes to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants especially as related to driving and mobility, please schedule a cataract eye exam by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, or visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Monday, June 6, 2016

Spring & Pollen Means Itchy, Watery Eye Allergies

Help for Itchy, Watery Eye Allergies

Spring is beautiful, except for pollen and itchy eyes! While many people enjoy the spring, millions of others live with hatred of those times when the trees, grass and weeds begin to pollinate. People who are sensitive to these allergens experience seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, the most common type of eye allergy. Allergic conjunctivitis-which causes red, itchy, watery eyes-results in the conjunctiva, the clear membrane like skin that covers the eye, becoming inflamed when triggered by an allergen. It is estimated that in the United States, some 20 percent of the population suffers from eye allergies making them anything but unusual. Further, the incidence appears to be on the rise. Some researchers believe that our increasingly clean, modern society which no longer requires our bodies to fight off multiple childhood infections has caused our immune systems to shift from an infection-fighting stance to more of an allergic stance. When the body's immune system becomes sensitized and overreacts to substances such as seasonal pollens and pet allergens, an allergic reaction can occur whenever they come in contact with your eyes.

If you or someone you know suffers when pollen season and spring arrives, resulting in red, itchy, watery eyes, 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.



Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Concussion Eye Test for Student Athletes

Eye Test for Concussion in Student Athletes
An eye test for concussions might be helpful for student athletes playing contact sports who are known to be at risk for head trauma. Up to 3.9 million sports related mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, occur annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but researchers say that number is likely higher since the CDC only tracks emergency room visits. Experiencing a concussion in a game increases an athlete’s risk for sustaining a second condition in the same season by three times. Other complications include the dangerous second impact syndrome, or other short and long term side effects.

Research on Concussion and Eye Tests
Research from the NYU Langone Concussion Center shows that a simple eye test, which can be administered in less than two minutes, can effectively diagnose a concussion and help determine whether a student athlete as young as 5 years old should return to a game. A study published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, was conducted on 89 NCAA athletes and a younger group of 243 youth athletes under age 17, and shows how the eye test, known as the King-Devick test, could help minimize the problems that make the diagnosis of concussion difficult in student athletes involved in youth sports. The researchers report that the test can easily be administered on the sidelines by parents and non-health care professionals when athletic trainers and doctors are not available to monitor sidelines at youth sports games.

About the King-Devick Test
As part of the King-Devick test, athletes read numbers off of three pieces of paper while being timed with a stopwatch. A worsened performance from a baseline reading suggests a concussion has occurred. Since concussions may cause devastating short and long term cognitive effects, tools like vision testing that can objectively diagnose a concussion are critical. Some sideline tests only measure cognition and balance, but visual testing is rarely performed, despite longstanding evidence that vision is commonly affected by concussion, according to a review article published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. Previous research suggests about 50 percent of the brain’s pathways are tied to vision.

If you or someone you know plays youth sports and is concerned about the risk and evaluation of concussion, 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.



Sunday, May 22, 2016

Corneal Transplantation

Corneal Transplantation is a technique for replacing diseased or damaged cornea with clear corneal tissue from a deceased donor. If only a single layer of the cornea is damaged it may be able to be replaced with a partial thickness transplant. If multiple layers or the entire thickness of the cornea is involved then a full thickness transplant is required called a Penetrating Keratoplasty. Unlike transplantation of other organs, most patients that receive a corneal transplant do not need to take powerful oral immunosuppressive medications. Topical steroid drops are used to prevent rejection and control inflammation. At Eyecare Medical Group we partner with Eye Banks across the country to provide our patients with the highest quality graft tissue. We perform several transplants each week using both full thickness and partial thickness techniques. It is from the generosity of people who choose to become organ donors that we are able to pass along the gift of sight to our patients. It is my privilege to assist in the donor’s generosity and an honor to facilitate this sight saving surgery.

If you or someone you know has questions about Corneal Transplantation 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 8, 2016

Slowing Nearsighted Progression

About Nearsighted or Myopic Progression
Myopia is a common disorder, affecting approximately one-third of the U.S. population. High myopia is associated with an increased risk of sight-threatening problems, such as retinal detachment, choroidal degeneration, cataracts, and glaucoma. Slowing the progression of myopia could potentially benefit millions of children in the U.S. To date, few clinical approaches for myopia control and slowing myopic progression have proven to be consistently effective. Treatment options such as undercorrection of myopia, gas permeable contact lenses, and bifocal or multifocal spectacles have all been proven to be ineffective for myopia control, although one recent clinical trial using executive top bifocal spectacles on children with progressive myopia has shown to decrease the progression to nearly half of the control subjects. The most effective methods are the use of orthokeratology contact lenses, soft bifocal contact lenses, and certain eye drops not specifically approved for this use. We encourage parents children experiencing rapid myopic progression to discuss which if any of these options might be helpful or appropriate for their children.

If you or someone you know has a question about myopic progression or the ways to slow nearsighted prescription increases, feel free to discuss your concerns with us and 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, May 2, 2016

Special Eye Exams Predict Diabetic Retinopathy Damage

Recently reported information in Retina Today from research conducted at the Joslin Diabetes Center’s Beetham Eye Institute demonstrated that for people with diabetes who are showing evidence of diabetic retinopathy, it is of important predictive value for us to carefully evaluate lesions not simply the center of the retina, but more importantly those in the periphery of the retina, as these changes generally tell us that the disease will progress more rapidly. What we now know is that these peripheral lesions, which are not detected by traditional eye imaging, correlate very closely with the loss of retinal blood flow called retinal “non-perfusion” which tells us that there is damage to the small blood vessels or capillaries in the retina.

Thus, if you are diabetic and we are following you for retina changes and diabetic retinopathy we may recommend that we take both the routine retina photographs and fluorescein angiography of the central retina as well as the peripheral retina. If this extra measure of safety is required we will advise you of this extra step at the time of your diabetic eye exam.

Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis and treatment the last decade or so has given us many major success stories for the treatment of diabetic eye disease, including diabetic macular edema (DME), with drugs that target a protein called vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). It’s possible that such anti-VEGF drugs might also help to treat peripheral lesions and slow or even eliminate the risk of progression.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, having regular eye exams and testing to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is an important part of your care. Please schedule a diabetic eye exam by calling Eyecare Medical Group, 53 Sewall Street, Portland, Maine 04102 at 888-374-2020, or visit Eyecare Medical Group, Google+ or facebook.com/eyecaremedicalgroup to schedule an appointment.



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Monitoring Multiple Sclerosis with Eye Testing

About Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disease that can cause patients to experience decreased vision due to optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve, as well as diplopia or double vision. We believe that MS occurs because there is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system whereby it is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin-the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers as well as the nerve fibers themselves. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.

About Optical Coherence (OCT) Eye Testing for MS
In our office, we routinely use very precise imaging technology called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as part of evaluation, diagnosis and monitoring glaucoma and retina diseases because it allows us to examine the actual nerve fibers of the retina and the optic nerve.

Recent research has taught us that OCT can be used to monitor the degree of atrophy of specific retinal layers-called the “inner plexiform layer” and “ganglion cell layer”-and used as an as an indicator of neuronal tissue damage in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). For patients with Multiple Sclerosis this is quite valuable as it gives us a non invasive in office test, that in concert with their neurologists, helps us help patients asses the stability of their disease as well as their response to new medications or treatments.

If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with MS or has questions about the eye problems that can be associated with Multiple Sclerosis, 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.



Saturday, April 9, 2016

Dry Eye Discomfort Slows Reading

Dry Eye Slows Reading Speed
Anyone who experiences the symptoms of dry eye is familiar with dryness, discomfort, burning, light sensitivity and even watering that can mark the presence of dry eye disease. But, did you know that dry eye problems and disease can impact visual function? Researchers reporting in Cornea compared visual function using reading tests including the Radner Reading Test, the International Reading Speed Texts [IReST], and the Wilkins Reading Test and studied cognitive function, fatigue, dry eye symptoms, reading acuity, reading rate and blink rate. The results showed significantly lower reading rates in all reading tests in patients with dry eye and a significantly increased fatigue level when reading in dry eye patients.

If you suffer from symptoms of dry eye such as dryness, burning, light sensitivity or watering and have noticed an uncomfortable slowing of your reading ability and even greater eye fatigue or tired eyes when reading, 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, April 4, 2016

Dry Eye Disease and Hair Loss

About Dry Eye and Hair Loss
What do dry eye and hair loss have to do with each other? As it turns out, recent research suggests there may very well be a link through your immune system. Alopecia means hair loss. When a person has a condition called Alopecia Areata the hair falls out in round patches on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Alopecia is not contagious and it is not due to anxiety as some people think. Alopecia is actually due to your immune system attacking the hair follicles and resulting in hair loss. This disease is most occurs in otherwise healthy people. We now know that people with alopecia often suffer from dry eye disease. Researchers examined a series of patients who were previously diagnosed with Alopecia Areata and compared them to a control group who did not have the hair loss problem. They had each patient complete an Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire and evaluated their tear film using a Schirmer Test for tear quantity, a tear break-up time test and corneal staining stage tests. Dry eye disease (DED) was diagnosed in 84% of Alopecia Areata patients and in 15% of the controls, and there was a significant difference between the groups. They believe that a certain type of cell mediated autoimmunity has a key role in BOTH Alopecia Areata and dry eye disease and that the inflammatory mechanisms causing Alopecia Areata may trigger dry eye disease or vice versa. Based on this research it is recommended that all patients with Alopecia Areata be examined and evaluated for dry eye disease.

If you or someone you know suffers from Alopecia Areata hair loss and wish to be evaluated for dry eye disease and problems, 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.



Quality of Life after Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery Quality of Life
When we think of the impact that cataracts have on people, it is pretty easy to identify that vision decline or loss comes mainly from the blurry cloudy vision that cataracts cause, but also the night vision problems from the glare and haloes associated with cataracts. What is much more important than the vision loss itself is the negative impact on patient’s quality of life. Recent research published in Acta Ophthalmologica studied the effect of patient quality before and after having cataract surgery. The researchers compared patients with no known cataracts of the same age, health and lifestyle to those who had cataracts before and after cataract surgery. When compared with the general population, cataract patients had much lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than those without cataracts as measured by five dimensions: seeing, moving, hearing, performing their usual activities and general discomfort and symptoms. Then at 12 months after cataract surgery there was significant improvement in the quality of life index (HRQoL) across these same dimensions. While this seems obvious, it is a reminder that cataracts and vision loss affect more than just vision and reason to avoid suffering if you feel that your vision might be impacting your quality of life.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, 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, March 21, 2016

Eyes Can Help Monitor Huntington’s Disease

About Huntington’s Disease
We now know that certain eye tests may help serve as “biomarkers” for the progression of Huntington’s Disease as well as help understand whether some of the new medications prescribed might be helping to slow its progress. Huntington's Disease is an inherited disease that causes the progressive breakdown and degeneration of nerve cells in the brain. Huntington's disease has a broad impact on a person's functional abilities and usually results in movement, thinking and psychiatric disorders. Most people with Huntington's Disease develop signs and symptoms in their 30s or 40s, but the onset of disease may be earlier or later in life. Medications are available to help manage the symptoms of Huntington's Disease, but treatments can't prevent the physical, mental and behavioral decline associated with the condition.

Eye Problems with Huntington’s Disease
One of the earliest and most recognizable eye problems of Huntington’s Disease is a change in eye movements or “saccades” where there is a lag initiating an eye movement to look at something and/or an involuntary reflex saccadic movement that the person can’t control. This loss of eye movement control is quite common. Recent research using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) testing that we do right in our offices allows us to study the health of the retinal nerve fiber layer and the health of the nerve fibers around the center of vision, called the macula. What we know is the thinning of the nerve fiber layer on OCT, along with a loss of the macular volume is an indicator of the progression of the disease and can serve to monitor that progression.

If you or someone you know has Huntington’s Disease or questions about eye problems with Huntington’s Disease 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, March 14, 2016

Diabetic Eye Exams: Don’t Delay!

About Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye problems include an increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, neurological eye muscle problems and the potential for serious vision loss from diabetic retinopathy a retinal vascular disease. Vision loss from diabetic eye disease is manageable and in many instances preventable but requires early diagnosis and treatment to be effective. This means ALL patients with diabetes must be diligent in having eye exams at intervals recommended by their eye doctors and/or their primary care physicians, internists or endocrinologists.

About Diabetes
According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics 21.7 million U.S. adults aged 18 and over (9.2%) have been diagnosed with diabetes and this percentage increases with age. One in five adults aged 65 and over (20.5%, or 8.7 million) has diagnosed diabetes, compared with 11.0% (11.3 million) aged 40–64 and 1.9% (1.7 million) aged 18–39.

About Delay in Seeking Diabetic Eye Exams
There seems to be a trend in that the more recently you are in having your diabetes diagnosed, the longer you delay in seeking and annual diabetic eye exam. This is troubling in preventing vision loss and avoiding diabetic eye problems. Among all adults, the percentage who visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months increased with years since diabetes diagnosis. About half, 50% of those diagnosed with diabetes within the prior 5 years had visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months, compared with 57.3% of those diagnosed 5-10 years ago and 61.2% of those diagnosed 10 or more years ago. Among adults with diagnosed diabetes, the percentage who had visited an eye doctor during the past 12 months increased with age: 38.2% for those aged 18–39, 53.8% for those aged 40–64, and 66.5% for those aged 65 and over. Thus, among adults with diabetes, both age and years since diagnosis may play a role in visiting an eye doctor in the past 12 months.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, please take the time to schedule and eye exam in order to prevent the risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems-most of which are preventable with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. 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, March 7, 2016

Thought About a LASIK Screening?

Many people have a desire to be free of their glasses or contact lenses and will inquire about LASIK surgery. During a screening visit we take time to evaluate your eyes and determine the type of activities and visual demands that you require. While LASIK surgery has been well established as a safe and effective means of providing vision correction, not every person is a candidate for the procedure. In addition to evaluating your baseline vision, it is important to ensure you do not have any undiagnosed medical problems that might affect the long term health of your eyes. This can include the presence of cataracts, glaucoma, corneal scars, or retinal degeneration. As LASIK surgery is performed on the Cornea, we also perform several scans of your cornea to evaluate its thickness and curvature. Depending on these parameters we can determine if your cornea has the ideal shape to obtain the best visual outcome. While most people will meet our strict criteria, there are some people who are not candidates for laser refractive surgery. Fortunately, we are able to offer alternative options for vision correction surgery, including Implantable Collamer Lenses and Clear Lens Exchange. All refractive surgery is rewarding to perform and LASIK is no exception. The excitement in their voice and the expression on their faces at their postoperative visits makes my job extremely rewarding and fun.

If you or someone you know has questions about LASIK Screening 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, February 28, 2016

Dry Eye Help with Punctal Plugs


Dry Eye Help with Punctal Plugs
Dry eye is a very common we hear about from patients almost each and every day. There are many causes of dry eye and we must first carefully examine patients to find the cause and type of tear film deficiency in order to offer help for dry eyes. The good news is that there are many helpful treatment options we can prescribe. One of the most helpful and convenient ways we can help dry eye is by inserting tiny microscopic “plugs” into the tear ducts where your tears would normally drain. These tear ducts are located in the nasal area of your eyelids and are easily visible to us during your eye exam and dry eye consultation using a slit lamp in the examination room. The opening to the tear ducts is called a “puncta” and the tiny plugs are called “punctal plugs.” Researchers reporting in the American Journal of Ophthalmology confirmed the benefits of punctal plus with little risk of complications. Punctal plugs are a convenient treatment we can prescribe when necessary to help you with the symptoms and problems of dry eyes.

If you or someone you know has a question about dry eyes or needs help for dry eye problems or symptoms, 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, February 15, 2016

Eye Problems from Medications

About Medications and Eye Problems
Did you know that a number of medications for various health problems can cause eye problems? If you get any new prescription filled you should be aware of whether it can have any eye or vision side effects by itself or in combination with other medications-prescribed, or even over the counter (OTC) or even supplements you might purchase. Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. Here are some things to know about medications and your eyes.

Which Drugs Pose the Most Risk?
Some medications that stand out when it comes to causing eye and vision problems include: 

  • Corticosteroids-People take steroids for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, steroids can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and potentially even lead to cataracts. Even an over the counter spray for allergies such as Flonase® comes with risks.
  • Antihistamines-They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients’ risk for glaucoma. Even over the counter antihistamines can be trouble for those who are at risk for some types of glaucoma.
  • Mental Health Medications-Medications such as Thorazine and Mellaril, used as antipsychotic treatments, can be toxic to your retina. A number of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Tofranil may put certain individuals at risk for angle closure glaucoma.
  • Anti-Malaria & Anti-Arthritic Medications-Medications such as Chloroquine, under the brand name Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria but also Lupus and some forms of arthritis can have toxic effects on the retina.
What to Watch For with New Medications
If you get a new prescription or even start a new OTC medication, be aware of anything that causes pain to the eyes, or distorted or blurred vision. If you do experience a problem, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. Don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice. They’ll want to assess whether the medication is the likely culprit-and sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels, too- especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes. A variety of medications have warnings that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them.

There are many other drugs that can have eye side effects and may increase your risk of complications if you need eye surgery. During your eye exam, be sure to ALWAYS tell us if you are taking ANY medications whether prescribed or purchased over the counter (OTC) as well as any supplements of vitamins you are taking. Also, if you or someone you know is taking any medication with known side effects as listed above, or is at risk for glaucoma or has diabetes, it is important to schedule a routine eye exam. Please call 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, February 8, 2016

Back Surgery and Vision Loss

About Vision Loss from Back Surgery
What does having back surgery have to do with vision loss? According to neurosurgeons who perform spine surgery, one of the risks of spine surgery is post operative vision loss (POVL). When operating on the spine, a rare but potentially devastating complication of lumbar spine surgery is indeed POVL, of three types that seems to be increasing in frequency. These include one type called ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) which occurs due to restricted blood flow to the optic nerve, another is called central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) which is due to a blockage in the main artery that supplies the retina with oxygen and nutrients and third is called cortical blindness (CB) most likely due to some blockage in the visual cortex of the brain that is responsible for “seeing.” These complications are quite rare but the risks can occur when there are very long operation times, in patients who have a difficult time being positioned on the operating table and especially in those that are obese. Neurosurgeons take many preoperative and intraoperative precautions to avoid these complications which, except for an unusual event, are successful in avoiding vision loss.

However, if you or someone you know is having or has had back or spine surgery, please be aware that any change in your vision should immediately be reported to your neurosurgeon and you eye doctor so as to prevent vision loss. If you would like more information or have concerns 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.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Contact Lens Eye Problems: Avoid Risky Behaviors

Avoid Contact Lens Problems
Eye health and vision problems from contacts lenses can be prevented by avoiding known risky behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention almost all of the 41 million estimated contact lens wearers in the United States may be engaging in at least one behavior known to increase their risk of eye infections. Nearly one-third of contact lens wearers who participated in a national survey reported going to the eye doctor for red or painful eyes related to wearing contact lenses. More than 99 percent of survey respondents reported at least one risky behavior. The majority of wearers reported:
  • Keeping their contact lens cases for longer than recommended
    (82.3 %)
  • "Topping off” solution in the case by adding new solution to the existing solution instead of emptying the case out fully before adding new solution (55.1%)
  • Wearing their lenses while sleeping (50.2 %)
Each of these behaviors has been reported in previous studies to raise the risk of eye infections by five times or more!

An online survey was administered to a sample of contact lens wearers to determine how often contact lens wearers engaged in behaviors that could put them at risk for an eye infection. CDC collaborated with the Contact Lens Assessment in Youth (CLAY) group, a multi-university group of researchers, to conduct the survey. A separate survey was used to estimate the number of contact lens wearers – about 41 million adults. Taken together, the survey results indicate that millions of Americans could be at risk for serious eye infections because of poor contact lens hygiene behaviors.

We know that contact lenses can be worn safely if wearers are mindful of using good hygiene. To prevent eye infections, contact lens wearers should:
  • Wash hands with soap and water and dry them well before touching contact lenses
  • Take contacts out before sleeping, showering or swimming
  • Rub and rinse contacts in disinfecting solution each time they remove them
  • Rub and rinse the case with contact lens solution, dry with a clean tissue and store it upside down with the caps off after each use
  • Replace contact lens cases at least once every three months
  • Avoid “topping off” solution in lens case (adding fresh solution to old solution)
  • Carry a backup pair of glasses in case contact lenses have to be taken out
If you or someone you know has questions about contact lens care, hygiene, safety and how to avoid eye infections from contact lens wear, 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.