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.