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.