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Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Melanoma – A Mole Gone Bad

The bad news is melanoma is on the rise! The good news is that melanoma is almost always curable AS LONG AS IT IS TREATED EARLY. What does that mean to you? You need to get a yearly skin check as well as keep any eye on your own skin for any signs of skin cancer.

Look for the ABCDEs of melanoma.

A for Asymmetry – If you were to draw a line through the middle of the mole and the 2 sides don’t match, then you should have it checked immediately.


B is for Border – If the borders are not smooth, have it checked.

C is for Color – If the is an unusual color, you should have it checked.

D is for Diameter – If the diameter of the mole is larger than a pencil eraser, it could be melanoma…even though some melanomas can be small.

E is for Evolving – Keep a watch on your moles and if you see it changing in any way, or if it starts to bleed, make an appointment.


It is better to have wasted an appointment for a ‘perfectly normal’ mole than to miss catching this deadly cancer early. Call 1-877-816-DERM (3376) for an appointment with Dr. Gary Rosen. NOTE: You will be seeing Dr. Rosen; not a PA or NP. 


Tears for My Dry Eyes from Olive Oil

The next time you travel to the Napa Valley (California), do your Dry Eyes a favor. Visit the wonderful OLIVE OIL tasting rooms. Yes, there are now several excellent olive orchards producing what has been described as "liquid gold" of extra-virgin olive oil, right here in the good ole US of A.
 
Right behind the Omega 3 fish oils is extra-virgin olive oil. That is why it should be on the top of every dry eye patient's cooking list. It is a member of the "short list" of foods that offer our body assistance in reducing inflammation our joints, but also the inflammation in our tear producing glands that leads to our dry eye symptoms.  Use it as often as you can for cooking or take it straight. I call it the "dry eye shot". Pour out the tequila and fill your shot glass with olive oil (flavored, if you would prefer). The chocolate-infused oil is said to be great over ice cream. Wow, we can now enjoy our ice cream AND feel good because we are improving our dry eye condition at the same time. 

From one ice cream lover to another,
Richard Hector      



Friday, March 6, 2015

The World After Cataracts By Jean Steiger

I thought I was pretty well preserved for my age. A few friends made nice comments about my skin, sometimes new friends were surprised when they learned my age and I felt reasonably good about my image in the mirror. Then I had cataract surgery in my right eye.
When the dilation and fog of surgery cleared after a few days, I gazed at my reflection and my heart sank. I had had the lens corrected for astigmatism and distance and I was seeing a whole new me. In fact, I was seeing a whole new world. When I closed the left eye (cataract and astigmatism still in place), objects were no longer fuzzy; everything had well-defined edges and colors were vibrant. My vision was clear and I could see far into the distance.
Which also meant I could see every wrinkle. When had those tiny lines on my cheeks appeared? And what about my forehead? The circles under my eyes made me look tired and – there it is – old! I would have to start wearing bangs that came down over my eyes.
Why hadn’t someone warned me about this aspect of cataract removal and vision correction? If they had, I might have gone on until the end of my life, believing I still looked 16. Okay, maybe not 16, but how about 60? I was probably a bit unrealistic. But, oh, how I loved my visual fog. Now I would have to get used to the new “mature” me.
Half-way into the first week with the new eyesight, I turned to the computer. At my last visit to the dermatologist, I had asked the doctor to recommend a face cream for wrinkles. I googled the brand he had mentioned and was immediately rewarded: a dozen sites appeared. When I hit one of them, I found the cream and almost closed the computer. Two ounces of the lotion cost $75! How long would two ounces last? The directions recommended two or three pump-fulls spread over your face every day. Maybe, if I was lucky, it would last a week!
I kept searching, desperate in my new awareness. Finally I found the cream on Amazon for half the price. I ordered two and watched for their arrival, meanwhile avoiding mirrors. When they came, I unwrapped one and carefully pumped out a few drops. Forget three pumps every day; I was going to get along on three drops. These two containers were going to have to last a long time!
When I returned to the Eye Associates for a check-up, I told Dr. McCabe, my cataract surgeon, about my mirror shock. She laughed and told me about one of her patients who, after cataract surgery, took a good look at the walls in her house and repainted every room. My brother, also an ophthalmologist, told me about a patient who bought a new wardrobe after cataract surgery and a third who complained about how old her husband had become. So I wasn’t alone!
With one eye changed, my glasses are no longer useful. In fact, it’s just the opposite; they cloud my vision. Of course, part of this problem is because they are so scratched. I’m one of those people who take my glasses on and off ten times a day, leaving them between couch cushions, under bed covers and in bathroom drawers. Then I spend 30 minutes searching for them while my husband is waiting for me or when I need to be out the door and on the way to an appointment. Now, with distance vision improved, I can buy inexpensive readers and leave them all over the house! Maybe this will make up for the new wrinkles!
It’s strange to drive the car without wearing glasses. I keep wondering what will happen if I get pulled over and a policeman looks at my license which specifies that I need glasses to drive. Will he or she believe my cataract story? On the other hand, this is Florida and I’m guessing I am one of thousands, if not millions in this predicament. When I made my appointment for the cataract surgery, the eye counselor told me the schedule was very full because this is “cataract season”. This is a new one. I know it is tourist season, but cataract season?
The other thing about cataract surgery is the drops; there are four of them – an antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, pain-inflammation and lubricating drops. All of these are given at different times and for different periods of time and different amounts. The office does give you a nice sheet with everything clearly listed so you can actually cross off each drop after you’ve used it. At first I resisted this approach, certain I could keep track of this myself, but as the second eye approaches, I have given up. The check-list and a pen are in place by the little bottles of drops. And tomorrow I return to the eye surgery center for cataract removal, astigmatism and distance correction in the left eye. I’m just wondering how many new wrinkles I’m going to see by the middle of the week!

NOTE: The second eye is done and my vision is wonderful! I love my crisp new eyesight and my great distance vision; I’m even making peace with the previously invisible wrinkles. Thank you, Dr. McCabe.

Blog repost from: www.stayingyounginflorida.com and the entertaining writings of Jean Steiger


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Thursday, February 5, 2015

How do smartphones and tablets affect kids?

A study published in Journal of Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus found that electronic use could be contributing to increased dry eye problems in children. Researchers in Korea examined 288 children and classified them as either having dry eyes or having a normal, moist eye surface (control group). Smartphone use was more common in the dry eyes group than the control group and increased daily duration of smartphone use was associated with increased risk of dry eye disease. One interesting finding is that increased duration of “computer use and television viewing” did not increase the risk of dry eye disease, concluding that ‘smartphone’ use is an important dry eye disease risk factor in children, and that parents should monitor the amount of time their children spend using video displays, especially smartphones, on a daily basis. 
Courtesy of AllAboutVision.com

Friday, January 23, 2015

5 REASONS TO HAVE AN EYE EXAM......even if you don't wear eyeglasses.

5 REASONS TO HAVE AN EYE EXAM......even if you don't wear eyeglasses. 

1) Eye Exams Save Sight
Some sight-threatening eye diseases do not have early warning signs, and many can only be detected during a dilated eye exam.
2) Eye Exams Detect Other Health Problems Too
Many general health problems are often first detected during a routine comprehensive eye exam, because the eye is the only place where blood vessels can be viewed without a surgical procedure.
3) Good Vision Increases Safety
Poor vision can have an adverse effect on many life issues, such as depression, increased car accidents, drug-related errors, and falls. Falls are among the leading causes of death of people 65 and older.
4) Vision Affects a Child’s Success in Life
80% of all learning is through the visual system, and decreased vision can significantly affect childrens’ grades, athletic performance and even social interaction.
5) Changing Eyecare Technology
Sight-saving technology is changing at an astonishing rate. Conditions once considered untreatable are now able to be corrected with cutting-edge technology. 

Call 1-866-865-2020 for an appointment today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

7 Things You Might Not Know About Dry Eye Disease


7 Things You Might Not Know About Dry Eye Disease


1. Do you need another reason to quit smoking? Add dry eye disease to the list. Recent studies have shown even second hand smoke is very harsh to the surface of the eye. There are so many toxic chemicals in cigarette smoke that can break down your protective tear film and the surface corneal tissue. If you are around a lot of cigarette smoke, you probably have noticed the need to increase the use of artificial tears. Also, smoking is known to be a strong contributor to the development of macular degeneration. Outside of family history, smoking is the most common denominator in macular degeneration patients.

2. I know ‘m spoiling your fun but alcohol is also not dry-eye-friendly. It causes dehydrate which is never good for Dry Eyes. And forget that drink on the plane because studies have shown that the atmosphere on a commercial aircraft is drier than any desert. Drink plenty of water on your trip instead.

3. Make-up and dry eyes: Make-up, such as waterproof eye make-up, mascara, shadow, etc., has a much higher discomfort rate and sometimes causes a toxic reaction to the sensitive skin of dry eye sufferers. Always keep your make-up fresh by disposing old bottles after 2-3 months. And thoroughly clean off your make-up every night before going to bed.

4. 
Contact lenses are not just an aggravating factor for dry eye sufferers, but they can even cause dry eye damage to the cornea. Daily disposable lenses are the safest contact lens for dry eye patients. And never, never wear your contacts if your eyes are red and uncomfortable.

5. We used to recommend that you avoid too much caffeine because it is a mild diuretic. But some recent studies have shown a reduced risk of dry eye in coffee drinkers, and that caffeine might actually stimulate tear production.

6. Did you know that children can also suffer from dry eyes, secondary to congenital endocrine, autoimmune and inflammatory disorders. If your child has persistent complaints of painful, irritated eyes, don’t ignore it… Bring it to the attention of your pediatrician or better yet, make a visit to an eyecare professional for an evaluation.

7. Those simple carbs that are bad for the waistline are also bad for your eyes. They compete with the complex carbs needed by ocular tissue and aggravate your dry eye symptoms.

Do you need any more evidence that Dry Eye Disease is a very complex problem that needs something more than an artificial tear once or twice a day?

By 
Richard Hector, MD

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Diabetes and Your Eyes

Diabetes and Your Eyes


Diabetes affects your entire body, including your eyes. According to The American Academy of Ophthalmology, diabetics are 25 times more likely to lose vision than those without this disease. The most common complication of diabetes is diabetic retinopathy, and the longer you have diabetes, the more likely it is that you'll develop diabetic retinopathy.

High blood sugar levels, as associated with diabetes, often affect blood vessels in the retina of the eye, causing diabetic retinopathy. There are 2 stages of classifications of diabetic retinopathy: non-proliferative or proliferative.

Non-proliferative retinopathy, sometimes known as background diabetic retinopathy, is the most common form of the disease. This condition is first diagnosed when small retinal blood vessels start to swell. As the disease progresses, these blood vessels break and leak blood.

Proliferative retinopathy is the more advanced stage of diabetic retinopathy. As the condition progresses, more and more blood vessels are blocked. Sensing the need for new blood vessels to supply nourishment, new blood vessels grow, but they are frail and abnormal, often hemorrhaging and scarring. Patients with this type of diabetic retinopathy can experience severe vision loss, and even blindness.

At both the early and advanced stage, fluid can leak into the macula, the center of the retina that allows you to see fine detail. Known as macula edema, it is another common cause of vision loss in diabetics.

It is worth noting that smoking does accelerate the damaging effect that diabetes has on the retina. Several other influencing factors include your genes, your blood pressure levels, how long you have had diabetes and of course, your blood sugar level.

In the early and most treatable stages of diabetic retinopathy, there are usually no visual symptoms or pain. In fact, many times the disease can even progress to an advanced stage without your noticing the gradual change in your vision.

Symptoms of diabetic retinopathy may include:

    Abnormal patterns in the field of vision
    Dark streaks in your vision
    Sudden onset of decreased vision
    Distorted central vision
    Floaters
    Red film that blocks vision
    Blind spots
    Poor night vision
    Items may have a blue-yellow color tone, interfering with color perception

We strongly recommend that all diabetics have yearly comprehensive medical eye exams. Your eye doctor will dilate your eyes and check your retina, blood vessels and optic nerves for changes. We may also order a fluorescein angiography to track and photograph dye as it flows through the retina to look for leaking blood vessels.

We also commonly perform an Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) to assess fluid accumulation (macular edema) in the retina of diabetics. The OCT can show areas of retinal thickening and is often a useful tool in assessing a patient’s response to a treatment.
Treatment

The most important tool for treating diabetic retinopathy is good management of the underlying diabetic condition. Nevertheless, once diabetic retinopathy has presented itself, there are several methods of treatment. Lasers are the mainstay; often used to treat the early stages of diabetic retinopathy by sealing leaking blood vessels. More advanced cases may require a vitrectomy, a surgical procedure needed when the vitreous, the gel in the eye, contains a great amount of blood.

The optimal time for treatment is before the patient experiences visual symptoms so early detection and treatment is the best protection against significant vision loss. Diabetic retinopathy can progress into its advanced stages with no pain, no recognizable vision loss. That’s the reason it is so important for all diabetics to get a yearly comprehensive medical eye examination.

Please take time to educate yourself, and any loved ones with diabetes, on how to preserve their vision.


If you are diabetic and would like to schedule an appointment for a comprehensive medical exam at The Eye Associates, please call 1-866-865-2020.

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