Diets High in Antioxidants May Help Reduce Risk of Cataracts

Posted on Feb 27, 2014 by

Your patients are likely to understand the importance of adding certain vitamins, minerals and other nutrients to their diets to help keep their bodies healthy. However, some may not realize the impact their diet has on the health of their eyes. But as All About Vision recently reported, the results of a new Swedish study revealed that adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet can help reduce the risk of cataracts in women.


The study, conducted by the Institute of Environmental Medicine at the Karolinska Institute, observed over 30,000 women above the age of 49 for almost seven years. They were specifically monitored for signs and symptoms of cataracts and were given a questionnaire so researchers could learn about their individual diets. Rather than singling out antioxidants like vitamins C and E and other nutrients like lycopene, researchers “used a measure of total antioxidant values in foods, which takes into account how nutrients work together.”


Researchers divided the women into five groups ranging from greatest antioxidant intake to least antioxidant intake. Women that took in the most antioxidants faced a risk of developing cataracts that was about 13 percent less than those with the lowest intake of …


Deciding if Ultra-wide Field (UWF) Imaging is Right for Your Practice

Posted on Feb 25, 2014 by

As we’ve shared in many previous blog posts, Optos’ UWF retinal imaging technology can differentiate your practice from the rest, providing the “wow” factor patients are searching for. However, the “wow” factor isn’t the only thing to consider when determining if UWF retinal imaging is right for your practice.


Optometric Management once discussed the topic of UWF retinal imaging with doctors who were new to the technology, as well as those who adopted the technology early on. They shared the following factors to help determine if UWF retinal imaging was the right choice for their practice.


Dilation: Conventional technology requires a patient’s eyes be dilated in order to examine the retina, which patients see as an inconvenience. Others have difficulties continuing to look in a certain direction during the exam for reasons such as age or disability, which can cause exams to produce less than ideal results. All practitioners that spoke with Optometric Management reported that using optomap® with its nonmydriatic option to capture images of patients’ retinas produced better results in exams that were also quick and comfortable. Patient Education: Dr. David R. Frazee, a practitioner in Texas, says optomap® images help him better “explain how the …


Electronic Health Records and Your Practice’s Workflow

Posted on Feb 20, 2014 by

We’ve previously shared that electronic health records can help improve the relationship you have with your patients, as well as the patient’s overall experience. In addition to the benefits electronic health records can provide in doctor-patient relationships, they can also help improve the workflow in your practice.


While transitioning to electronic health records, or EHRs, isn’t the easiest process to go through, Ophthalmology Business shares that carefully considering your practice’s workflow as you’re choosing and integrating an EHR system into your practice is a must. The article says that in order to avoid common issues that come along with EHR systems, such as turning your back to a patient while reviewing the records or entering new information, a practice should consider set up and staffing, among other points, to help improve the workflow when an EHR is implemented.


Set Up – The way your practice is set up can certainly affect your practice’s workflow. Ophthalmology Business suggests first looking at the exam lane to see what improvements should be made. Remove any items that shouldn’t be there and add what should be included to improve workflow, such as computers that will be easily accessible for inputting notes from …


Optos Case Study: Duke University Eye Center uses Optos UWF Imaging to Illustrate How Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Changes Affect the Patient

Posted on Feb 18, 2014 by

The Optos® ultra-widefield (UWF) scanning laser ophthalmoscope was first introduced at Duke University Eye Center as a part of its comprehensive eye care services in September 2006. Over the past seven years, the practice observed a number of benefits the device added to its services, including improved image quality and increased field of view. In one case of dry AMD, the technology helped illustrate “the unique value of (UWF) fluorescein angiography by Optos” in patients suffering from AMD.


A female patient was diagnosed with dry AMD 1.5 years earlier with nuclear sclerotic cataracts in both of her eyes. At a routine appointment, the exam revealed a change in the patient’s visual acuity since her previous exam six months earlier. Her visual acuity was now 20/100 in the right eye and 20/40 in the left, with an Intraocular Pressure (IOP) of 15 and 18 in the right and left eyes, respectively.


Practitioners used the UWF scanning laser ophthalmoscope from Optos to gather clear images of this patient’s retinas even though she had rather dense cataracts. This used to be a challenge with traditional equipment like mydriatic white-light cameras, however, with the red-green laser functionality, there was “less scatter as …


Tips for Achieving Better Communication with Patients

Posted on Feb 11, 2014 by

Good communication between practitioners and their patients is essential. Patients are entrusting their vision and eye health to their doctors and they need to feel comfortable with the information that they are receiving and how they are receiving it. Unfortunately, there are practitioners across all types of medicine that have patients who are unhappy with the way they communicate them.

Effective communication between practitioners and patients can be difficult, especially when trying to explain medical terminology in understandable terms. There are also other practitioners that simply need a bit of help in developing a better bedside manner with their patients. Experts recently shared with Ophthalmology Business that when practitioners work on their communication skills, as well as their body language, it can make all the difference in a patient’s experience.


A few tips to help you improve your communication skills and body language, as outlined in Ophthalmology Business, include the following:


– Provide empathetic care – Listen to your patients and ensure that you understand their concerns. Dr. John Banja advises matching your behavior to the emotional atmosphere at hand. – Give patients your undivided attention – Put away your charts or notes for the exam …


Remind Patients that Regular Exercise can Benefit Their Eyes

Posted on Feb 10, 2014 by

With getting in shape and working toward a healthier self as a top choice for New Year’s resolutions, it’s highly likely that some of your patients decided to get in shape for 2014. Things seem easy for the first week or so, but as we settle back into post-holiday routines, it’s quite easy to let these good intentions fall to the wayside. What many need is an incentive to keep them motivated in their pursuit of a healthier life, so it’s the perfect time to remind patients that regular exercise will not only make them look and feel good, but will also help keep their eyes in shape as well.

Whether it’s through reminders during an exam, your practice’s newsletter or posts on your Facebook page, here are a few things to share with your patients that they may not know about.


– Exercise helps improve circulation throughout the body, and improved circulation in the tissues of the eyes can help remove certain toxins. – Regular exercise can also reduce intraocular pressure, which aids in the prevention of glaucoma. – Engaging in physical activity can also help lower one’s risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD). One study of 3,800 people revealed that …


February is Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD)/Low Vision Awareness Month

Posted on Feb 08, 2014 by

In addition to February being American Heart Month, it’s also AMD and low vision awareness month. According to Prevent Blindness (formerly Prevent Blindness America), over 2 million adults over the age of 50 in the US suffer from AMD, and the National Eye Institute shares that nearly 3 million Americans have low vision.


Both AMD and low vision rob patients of their sight and, unfortunately for patients with AMD, the condition is often not officially diagnosed until severe vision problems are experienced. Making sure patients understand the importance of routine eye exams is an essential step in detecting AMD before it causes irreversible damage. It also helps to educate patients on these issues, providing them with information on risk factors, symptoms and giving extra resources they can turn to for more information.


Below are a few talking points to help you get the conversation started with your patients.


AMD – The risk factors of AMD include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity and smoking, as well as genetic factors such as age, family history and race. Symptoms include blurred vision, blind spots and straight lines appearing wavy.


Low Vision – Low vision is typically caused …


Babies Born Prematurely may have a Greater Risk of Retinal Detachment

Posted on Feb 07, 2014 by

Research conducted in Sweden has revealed that babies born prematurely face a greater risk of retinal detachment later on in life. According to EyeSmart, these babies are 19 times more likely to develop retinal detachment than others.

Researchers studied national registries to find individuals who were born at less than 8.6 months gestation from 1973 to 2008. These individuals were then divided into two groups; one of those born between 1973 and 1986, prior to the establishment of the national retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) screening program. The group contained those born between 1987 and 2008 and individuals that received ROP screening. The study revealed the following results:


– The risk of retinal detachment for those born extremely premature (approximately 6.5 months) was 19 times greater for those born prior to 1987 – Individuals born very prematurely (approximately 6.5 to 7.2 months) had a risk of retinal detachment four times greater prior to the establishment of the ROP screening program – The risk is three-fold for those born between 6.5 and 7.2 months after the ROP screening program was created.


As babies born prematurely are at a greater risk for ROP and other eye and vision problems, it’s important that their eyes …


Retinal Implant Device Shows Promise for those with Retinitis Pigmentosa

Posted on Feb 05, 2014 by

In March 2013, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced the approval of the first retinal implant device. The device, Argus II, was designed to replicate some of the retina’s functions for patients suffering from retinitis pigmentosa. At the America Academy of Ophthalmology’s annual meeting last fall, research presented revealed Argus II as having strong potential in aiding those suffering from the genetic disease to better recognize common items by enhancing their outlines.

Researchers studied eight patients wearing the retinal prosthesis, asking them to identify white or metallic objects placed in front of a dark background. They were then asked to identify the same items a second time with enhanced outlines. This test was conducted three times per patient – once with the retinal prosthesis in standard mode, once in scrambled mode as a positive control and then again with the device turned off to serve as a negative control.


The results of the identification of “solid objects” increased from 12.5 percent correct with the device turned off to 32.8 percent when the device was turned on. 26.2 percent were identified correctly when the device was placed in scrambled mode. When the items’ outlines were enhanced, 9.4 percent …


Help Patients Understand How the Eyes and Heart are Connected During American Heart Month

Posted on Feb 03, 2014 by

With Valentine’s Day falling in February, it’s only natural for the American Heart Association to declare February American Heart Month. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for both men and women, accounting for one in four deaths annually.


While your patients may not believe it, there are some connections between the eyes and heart disease. Studies have shown that when higher levels of lipids are found in one’s blood, they “develop raised yellow patches of skin around the eyelids, known as xanthelasma,” (The New York Times Well Blog). Once thought to be purely a cosmetic issue, Danish researchers later found these spots indicators of underlying cardiovascular disease, and that those with spots were more likely than others to suffer a heart attack or death due to heart disease.


Researchers at the Centre for Eye Research Australia (CERA) also studied the topic in a project funded by the Medical Benevolence Foundation (MBF). The study showed that “blood vessels of the retina can be photographed and the images analyzed by a computer to accurately determine a person’s risk of heart attack or stroke.”


Even if your practice isn’t located in the …