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 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 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 to schedule an appointment.