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LASIK-Co-managementJust as you may have a team of doctors managing a heart or diabetic condition, so too can you have a team of eye care professionals managing your eye care. Co-management is the process of eye care professionals working as a team to provide a patient’s care. In most cases, this occurs when an optometrist such as the doctors at Bissell Eye Care provide the initial evaluation and care after the surgery with an ophthalmologist performing the surgical procedure. Often the optometrist has been the patient’s trusted eye care provider for years. This is especially valuable to patients as they have established a doctor patient relationship with our office over the years.

Co-managed care provides an additional check and balance between the patient and surgeon, with an optometrist assisting the patient’s questions and concerns.

LASIK/Cataracts Co-Management

In LASIK, “co-management” is the term commonly used to describe a situation when an optometrist provides pre-op and post-op care with an ophthalmologist providing surgery. For example, an optometrist will provide the initial LASIK, All-Laser Lasik, PRK, LASEK or any other refractive surgery evaluation, and then care for the patient after the surgery.

Some factors Bissell Eye Care will take into account to determine which surgery may be right for you:

  • An overall health assessment will be conducted to determine if any systemic diseases are present that may impair your ability to heal such as autoimmune or immunodeficiency diseases.
  • Corneal health including dry eye disease, thin corneas, irregular corneas, or corneal diseases such as keratoconus are considered.
  • Stability is determined by your eyeglass prescription.
  • Analysis of your retinal health ensures there is no other ocular disease present that would prevent you from achieving 20/20 vision after laser vision correction.
  • Candidacy for some refractive surgeries may be limited due to lifestyle and occupation.

Patient Benefits for co-managed care:

  • Familiarity with your optometrist and the convenience of pre- and post-operative follow-up.
  • A central hub of patient care coordination.
  • Often less costly depending on copays and insurance deductibles.

Bissell Eye Care has working arrangements with eye surgeons and specialized eye care doctors to provide many of the surgical services such as cataract surgery, laser surgery, refractive surgery, retinal detachments, retinal tears and hemorrhages. You can be assured that your eyes will be comprehensively managed by the best eye care professionals.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

diet and eye diseaseFor many, summertime means taking care of the garden. It also means less trips to the grocery store as you are able to find your favorite vegetables just a few steps from your back door. This ease of access along with a free price tag often lead to many of us eating healthier throughout the summer.

As winter quickly approaches it is important to keep up the healthy diet that many of you enjoy during the summer months. A proper diet can help to reduce the chances of certain eye diseases.

Having a diet full of vitamins and nutrients is not only good for overall health, but in some cases, may help to prevent issues associated with vision loss. Nutrients that are linked with eye health are Vitamins C and E, B12, B9, B6, carotenoids, beta carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin.

Antioxidants are important in your diet as they help to deter build-up of waste products in the retina, reducing your risk for age related macular degeneration, or AMD for short. Vitamin B6 and Folate, or Vitamin B9, help to lower the blood chemical homocysteine, which helps to lower your risk for AMD. Antioxidants also help to prevent protein from linking which can cause cataracts.

Some foods that contain eye-healthy nutrients are:

  • Dark green vegetables such as spinach and kale for lutein and vitamin E.
  • Yellow and orange fruits and vegetables for beta carotene and zeaxanthin.
  • Fruits and vegetables for vitamins C and E.
  • Fish for omega 3 fatty acids.
  • Citrus fruits, dried beans, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms and nuts for folic acid.
  • Dairy products, eggs, meat, and poultry for vitamin B12.

Avoid selecting carbohydrates such as white rice, white bread and pasta. These foods have a high glycemic index which means they are broken down rapidly into blood glucose or sugar. Choose breads and pasta made from whole grains and brown rice.

Keeping a healthy diet will not only help to improve your overall health, but also will help you to see clearly into the future. Choose foods that are high in vitamins and nutrients, even if that means going to the store to get them, until next year’s gardening season begins.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

cataractsIf you are over the age of 60 and have noticed that your vision has become blurry or cloudy, you may be suffering from cataracts. April is cataract awareness month and we want to talk about what the symptoms are and how you can treat cataracts to bring your world back into focus.

Every year, thousands of Americans will suffer vision loss associated with cataracts. Cataracts form when the protein, part of what helps to make up the lens in your eye, clump together forming what appears to be a cloud over the eye. Fortunately, cataracts are treatable and can be removed allowing you to see clearly again!

At the onset of development, cataracts are small in size and generally have minimal effect on your vision. As they progress you may feel as though you are wearing dirty contacts or glasses, leaving you with the sensation that you are looking through a cloudy piece of glass. During the day, light such as the sun or a lamp may feel very bright or create a glare which you never noticed before. At night you may have increasing difficulty driving because on coming headlights have more glare or a halo look. Colors will be dull and not appear as bright and vivid as they once did. The most surefire way to determine if you are suffering from cataracts is to see your eye doctor for a routine eye exam.

While there is no answer as to why the eye’s lens changes over time as we age, there are a few factors that put you at higher risk of developing cataracts.

  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Hypertension
  • Significant alcohol consumption
  • Family history
  • Prolonged exposure to ultraviolet radiation from the sun

You can help to prevent cataracts by wearing protective sunglasses that block 100% of the sun’s UV rays when you are outdoors. Eat a proper diet that is high in leafy greens and fruits which are high in vitamins and antioxidants. Some examples of food to add to your diet are:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Leafy vegetables
  • Broccoli
  • Turnip greens

Now to the important part, TREATMENT! Many people feel that losing your vision as you age is inevitable. If you have cataracts however, this is not the case. Cataracts can be removed with surgery. The surgeon will remove the protein that has built up to form the cataract. Surgery may be a word that makes many people cringe. However cataract surgery is relatively simple and painless procedure. Nine out of ten people who undergo cataract surgery will regain vision between 20/20 and 20/40.

Remember that routine eye exams will help to detect cataracts early. This will prevent you from spending years of your life feeling like you are living in a fog, letting you enjoy everything that our beautiful earth has to offer us!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

AGE-RELATED MACULAR DEGENERATION, Tri-State-Low-VisionAs you age not only does your wealth of knowledge grow, but also the chances increase that you may develop Age-Related Macular Degeneration or AMD. It is important to maintain not only routine doctor appointments, but eye doctor and dental checkups as we age. Doing so may help you to have a better quality of life as you enter the golden years.

With February being national AMD awareness month we want to educate you on the signs, symptoms and treatments of AMD. Knowing not only what to look for, but also how you can treat AMD will help ease the apprehension of maintaining your routine eye exams.

AMD is the leading cause of vision loss of people above the age of 50. AMD causes damage to the macula, a spot near the center of the retina. This disease blurs the sharp, central vision you need for “straight-ahead” activities such as reading, sewing, and driving. AMD affects the macula, the part of the eye that allows you to see fine detail. The rate at which damage can be done can vary. In some people it is a slow process over years. While with others it is more quickly and can also involve both eyes. While Age-related Macular Degeneration does not result in complete vision loss it can interfere with activities of daily living.

Who is more susceptible to developing AMD? Can your lifestyle make a difference as to your chances of developing AMD? As we discussed, people over the age of 50 are most likely to develop this disease.

Additional factors that may increase your risk are:

  • Smoking. Research shows that smoking doubles the risk of developing AMD.
  • Family history. If your family history includes AMD you are at a higher risk.
  • Ethnicity. AMD is more common in Caucasians that other races.

You have the power to take control of your health. These are some things you can do to help prevent AMD:

  • Exercise Regularly
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in leafy veggies and fish
  • Avoid smoking
  • Maintain proper vitals such as blood pressure and cholesterol.

AMD is best detected by maintaining routine eye exams. Often people question why dilation is part of a regular exam. This allows us to look into the back of your eyes for any changes that may be occurring.

While there is no cure for this disease, things such changing your diet and adding proper exercise can help to slow down the loss of vision. You have the power to choose. Take control and choose a healthier lifestyle. Your eyes will thank you for it.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Glaucoma, Tri-State Low VisionA new year is a time for a new beginnings, resolutions and making a fresh start. The top resolutions on the list typically are to lose weight and take better care of your health. As we turn the page on another calendar year and move into 2017, make sure taking care of your eyes is on the list.

January is National Glaucoma awareness month. Learn the effects of this disease, how early detection can prevent permanent vision loss and what treatment options are available should you be diagnosed with Glaucoma.

Risk factors and family history play a role in your chances of developing the disease. That’s why when you have an eye exam at Bissell Eye Care, we review your medical history to see if you might fall into any of these categories.

You are at a higher risk of developing glaucoma if you are over the age of 60, an African American over the age of 40 or if your family has a history of glaucoma. Other factors such as, high eye pressure, abnormal optic nerve anatomy and thinness of the cornea can contribute to increasing your risk factor. It is important to maintain routine eye exams in order to help detect glaucoma early.

During the early stages of glaucoma there are often no symptoms, no pain and no vision loss. Without treatment, as glaucoma develops it will cause a slow loss of the peripheral vision that may go unnoticed. As time progresses, peripheral vision continues to deteriorate and it will begin to appear as though you have tunnel vision. If left untreated, glaucoma can eventually lead to total vision loss.

Early detection is key in helping to prevent permanent damage before it begins. During your routine eye exam you doctor will perform several checks that help to detect glaucoma. Some of the tests may include:

Visual Acuity Test: utilizes an eye chart to measure how well you see at different distances.

Visual Field Test: is used to measure your peripheral vision. It can show signs of early vision loss which could be one of the symptoms of the onset of glaucoma.

Pachymetry: is a simple, painless test to measure the thickness of your cornea — the clear window at the front of the eye. A probe called a pachymeter is gently placed on the front of the eye (the cornea) to measure its thickness. Pachymetry can help your diagnosis, because corneal thickness has the potential to influence eye pressure readings.

Ophthalmoscopy: this dilated eye exam uses drops to dilate your pupils allowing the doctor to look through your eye and examine the shape and color of the optic nerve and retina for signs of damage.

While there is currently no cure from glaucoma, preventative measures can help to reduce the chances of developing it. Once vision is lost to this disease it is impossible to ever regain that vision.

Be informed, take control of your health and protect your vision.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Diabetes-Awareness, Tri-State Low Vision

With diabetes, early detection is key!

If you are one of the estimated 29.1 million people that have diabetes, then you have most likely had a discussion with you doctor about possible health related issues that comes with the disease. Diabetes also can have a negative effect on your eyesight. Obtaining regular screenings will allow you to monitor your health and react to any changes that may have occurred.

While it is important for everyone to maintain routine visits with their optometrist, people with diabetes need to be especially vigilant in scheduling their annual exams. Diseases such as Glaucoma, cataracts, and retinopathy are best treated when they are detected early. Talk to your eye doctor about any concerns or vision loss you may be experiencing for the best chances of early detection and treatment.

Glaucoma occurs when pressure builds inside the eye and is 40% more likely to occur in individuals who have diabetes. The pressure pinches blood vessels that carry blood to the retina and optic nerve. Vision is gradually lost as the retina and nerves are damaged from the increase in pressure. There are several treatments available for Glaucoma; however, some treatments may require surgery. Early detection of high pressure may be able to be managed by medication. Maintaining the proper eye pressure is key to preventing permanent damage to the eye.

As we age, many people run a higher risk of developing cataracts. Those with diabetes are 60% more likely to develop them. By detecting cataracts early you can help to slow down the progression. The typical corrective action for cataracts is to remove the lens of the eye. Patients then would typically receive a new transplanted lens. In people with diabetes, vision can get worse after the removal of the lens and glaucoma may start to develop so additional treatment may be necessary.

Retinopathy is a general term used for all disorders of the retina that are caused by diabetes. The good news that there have been giant strides in the past decade on treatment for retinopathy.

Have you noticed a pattern? Particularly those with diabetes must be extra vigilant with screenings and health checkups. The key to being able to keep your vision as clear as possible when you suffer from diabetes is early detection. Keep in mind that you often can lose more than 60% of your vision before you begins to see significant differences. Talk with your doctor if you have diabetes so you know what symptoms to look for and schedule your annual vision screening.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Healthy Aging, Vision Loss, Tri-State Low VisionHave you turned around twice and ten years have passed?  Are the kids grown and out of the house when it feels like just yesterday that they were born?  It happens all too fast that the time seems to just slip away.  As we age it becomes more important than ever to take care of yourself because the quality of our lives later on will depend on what we do today.

With age often comes wisdom.  What does this mean though?  Aging wisely is taking care of yourself, scheduling your annual and routine doctors’ visits and making sure that you stay as healthy as possible.

September is National Healthy Aging Month and we want to point out some advantages of annual screenings and health visits.  When it comes to your vision there are many diseases that can be slowed down, stopped or even reversed if caught early.  Having routine screenings helps to give a baseline for your doctor to better be able to notice changes in your eyes.

Vision loss is not always noticeable immediately.  Many times an individual can lose a significant amount of vision before it becomes noticeable.  When vision loss is detected early, the person stands a much greater chance of being able to slow down or even prevent their vision loss.

Medical screenings are important too.  Annual physicals, bloodwork and regular cancer screenings can be a pivotal point of identifying a problem and taking the proper steps to treat it.  These screenings also provide peace of mind that you are as healthy as you can be.

Diet and exercise also play in role in healthy aging.  It’s easy to come home from a long day at the office, run through the take out window and grab a quick bite.  Taking time to plan and cook meals on the weekend allows for better eating habits and healthier food all around.

Put regular exercise into your routine that will help shed some unwanted pounds.  Take a walk at lunch or right after work if you can.  As we grow older, gone are the responsibilities of running kids to their various activities.  Make taking care of yourself the priority and put exercise into your calendar.

While we, at Bissell Eye Care, focus on vision and helping our patients to see to the best of their ability, we want to stress that importance of not just routine eye appointments, but all suggested medical appointments and screenings.  Early detection is key to living a long happy life.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

eating-healthy-vision

Proper nutrition can delay or prevent certain eye problems.

Age related eye-diseases such as cataracts and macular degeneration commonly cause impaired vision and blindness in older adults. By changing your diet to include proper nutrition, you may be able to help delay or prevent certain eye problems, as well as prevent diseases caused by being overweight.

As children we were always told to eat our vegetables so that we would grow up big and strong. As time passed and you grew older, and wiser, it is often all too easy to forget about those things that our parents instilled in us when we were younger. Simple life choices, such as what you eat, may affect your eye sight more that you think.

Your diet is one of your life choices that will affect the quality of your life both now and as we age. A diet that is high in saturated fat and sugar may increase your risk of eye disease. By choosing a diet that has greens, fruits and vegetables, you may help to prevent eye diseases, along with other health-related conditions that occur with being overweight.

Age-related cataracts and age-related macular degeneration have been shown to occur less frequently in people who eat diets rich in vitamins, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids and healthy protein. You should try to consume at least 5-10 servings of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables daily.

Proper hydration can also play a role in your eye health. Healthy beverages such as 100% vegetable juice, fruit juices, caffeine free teas and plenty of water, are extremely important to eye health. As you look at the labels, check out the sugar content. Try to consume less juice and more water. By staying properly hydrated you help to prevent dry eyes, which can cause irritation and lead to other eye complications.

As we grow older, and wiser, it is important to take care of our bodies. Having a proper diet is not only important to your body’s overall health, but is also important to you eye sight. Eating the proper amount of fruits and vegetables, along with staying properly hydrated, are keys to success. So take advantage of the summer and support your neighborhood farmers. Stop by the local farm stand and pick up some fresh fruits and vegetables to help boost your immune system and live a happy healthy life!

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Summer Eye Safety, Macular Degeneration

Prevention against cataracts and macular degeneration begins young!

Towel, swim suit, flip flops, a cooler full of drinks, a bag of snacks, and sunscreen are common items to grab as you run out the door to the neighborhood pool, waterpark, or beach. With the sun blazing down there is nothing better than taking a dip in the water to cool off while you kick back and relax and enjoy the summer. Did you notice the one important item left of this list? Your sunglasses.
Eye care is essential as you head out this summer to take that dip and cool off in the summer sun. The Ultra Violet rays of the sun, or UV rays, can harm more than burning your skin. UV rays can also have a negative effect on your eyes. By wearing the proper eye protection, you can help reduce the short term and long term effects of UV exposure to your eyes.

The short term exposure to high amounts of UV rays can be similar to your skin becoming sunburned. This is referred to as photo keratitis, and is considered a sunburn of the eye. Photo keratitis can be painful and is usually accompanied with symptoms such as, red eyes, the feeling of foreign object in your eyes, gritty feeling in the eyes, excessive tearing and sensitivity to light. These symptoms are usually temporary and rarely result in permanent damage.

Long term effects of high exposure to UV rays can include a greater risk of developing cataracts or developing macular degeneration in the later years of life. Wearing a hat with a wider brim and proper sunglasses can help to reduce your exposure to these damage causing rays of the sun.

With sunglasses coming in all shapes and sizes, it is important to insure that your sunglasses have the following features to help block out the most UV rays possible:

  • Screen out 75-90 percent of visible light.
  • Block out 99-100 percent of UV-A and UV-B radiation.
  • Have gray lenses to aid in proper color recognition.

If you spend a large amount of time outdoors consider wrap around style of glasses. This style blocks out the most light possible granting the most protection. Also, if you are involved in outdoor work or sports, be sure to have sunglasses that are impact resistant to prevent eye injuries from broken glasses entering the eye.

Remember as you grab your outdoor gear and get ready to hit up the pool, beach or spend time outdoors, to grab your sunglasses and eye protection. Don’t forget…the kids need sunglasses too. Prevention is the easiest way to help ensure that your vision lasts well into the future, keeping your head up and you moving forward.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

Vision loss from cataracts is oftentimes reversible.

Vision loss from cataracts is oftentimes reversible.

Have you noticed that your vision has become cloudy, or that you have trouble seeing in dark settings? These are signs of cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss in the United States; however, vision loss due to cataracts is reversible!

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s lens which blocks or changes the light that passes into the eye. Cataract surgery is one of the most common types of eye surgery with a 95% success rate. Recent studies have also shown that cataract surgery patients have a significantly reduced rate of bone fractures from falls.

Some of the signs of cataracts are:
• Blurred vision, double vision, a sense of film over the eyes or ghost images.
• Reading, working or driving in low light is difficult.
• Changing your prescription for your eyes often and the changes may not seem to help.
• A milky or yellowish spot in the pupil.
• Halos around lights.
• Sensitivity to light.

If you have these symptoms it may be time to talk to your doctor. Cataracts are caused by natural aging. Old, dead cells build up in the lens of your eyes, causing them to become cloudy. As light passes through the lens, your sight becomes distorted causing your vision to be degraded. Cataracts often develop slowly over a period of years before they are formed enough for an individual to notice them.

If you are diagnosed with cataracts there is good news. This is one form of vision loss that is reversible. Surgeons are able to remove the deteriorated lens and replace it with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens. Annually over 3 million Americans undergo surgery to correct cataracts with a 95% success. The surgery is short and lasts only about 20-25 minutes and most people are able to return to a normal, clearer life in a short amount of time.

There is no way to prevent cataracts other than living a healthy lifestyle. You can help to avoid the progression of cataracts by avoiding smoking, reducing exposure to UV rays by wearing sunglasses, eating a healthy balanced diet and wearing proper eye protection to avoid eye injuries.

About the author: John D. Bissell, owner of Tri-State Low Vision Services – a division of Bissell Eye Care, offers comprehensive eye examinations for the entire family, ocular disease detection and treatment, eye glasses, sun glasses, active wear, contact lenses, and low vision examinations for those with significant vision loss. He has undergone specialized training for treatment of low vision by the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists utilizing customized telescopic eyeglasses, prisms and telescopic implants for patients who qualify. The practice accepts most types of vision and health insurance plans.

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