Thursday, March 31, 2011

PixelOptics emPower Lenses

They're coming! Electronic full-lens glasses that change their focus so that you can see near, far, and in-between. The PixelOptics emPower glasses will arrive at Skyvision Centers in September, 2011!

The emPower lens can change it's focus automatically, or you can change it manually with a button on the frame. No more narrow column of clarity--you can use the WHOLE LENS to see your book, your computer, or your horizon. The lenses focus as fast as your eye can blink.

Lisa and Erin visited the PixelOptics folks at the Vision Expo East and they were blown away by the technology. Seems the PixelOptics folks were blown away by Lisa and Erin, too! Dr. White will have the first pair of emPower glasses in Ohio!

Stay tuned for more info on PixelOptics in Cleveland right here at Skyvision!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Laser Cataract Surgery

Hello from San Diego and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons Convention! The organizers tell us that attendance is up and that the city is full. The weather has been pretty iffy which is good news for the organizers (the doctors don't go to the beach), and not such good news for the doctors' families (the doctors don't go to the beach)!

The buzz, the big news, is all about laser cataract surgery, specifically "Femptosecond Laser" cataract surgery. There are no fewer than three laser platforms that can do parts of the cataract surgery, and two of them are now FDA approved (LensX and LensAR). These lasers are designed to do several things that are now completely under the control of the cataract surgeon: make incisions, including incisions to treat astigmatism, enter the cataract itself (capsulorhexis), and soften the cataract so that it can be removed. On paper these are all very exciting developments because of the very repeatable and reproducible aspects of the procedure.

What does Dr. White think? Is this a "now" thing, something that we will or should see as a standard part of cataract surgery? Is this the next big transition in cataract surgery, the next "manual to ultrasound"? In a word, no. The transition to a fully manual surgery (so-called extra-cap) to ultrasound (phaco) created tremendous efficiencies and time savings which allowed for an equally tremendous decrease in the actual cost of cataract surgery. The "entry fee" to buy the equipment necessary was in the $10's of thousands, and the new technology was entirely covered by insurance for everyone.

Now? The cost to acquire the lasers is $500-750,000. Each laser procedure has an additional cost of $3-500 before the surgeon's fee and before any payment to cover the cost of the machine. Adding the laser to the cataract procedure will double the time it takes to perform the surgery and double the space necessary to do so. None of the additional expenses will be covered by insurance, and in the hands of the nation's best surgeons there will be minimal, if any, improvement in outcomes.

While this is simply thrilling, Buck Rogers type science stuff, for now it appears that the Femptosecond Laser for cataract surgery is a technology in search of a market.

Monday, March 21, 2011

A Note of Gratitude

At Skyvision Centers, as at most eyecare centers that do medical and surgical care of the eye, we take care of lots of people who are much older. Skyvision Centers is a private medical practice; we are not part of any large group, so patients who come here do so because they have chosen to see us. Sometimes it is clear that we are seeing one of our long-time friends for the last time. This is what we overheard Dr. White saying to one of his patients today:

"You know, we may not see each other again. Just in case I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to tell you how very flattered I am, on behalf of all of us at Skyvision, that you've let us take care of you all these years. We're a private practice, and I know you could have chosen to go anywhere. I'm so glad that you chose to come here; it's such a nice compliment that you chose us to take care of your eyes.

I just wanted to be sure to tell you, just in case, that it's been an honor and a privilege to take care of you.

Thank you."

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Stem Cell Research in Macular Degeneration

Even though there is no treatment available for Dry Macular Degeneration (AMD) there is lots and lots of research going on all of the time. In many ways Dry AMD is similar to a disease called Stargardt's Disease in which the retinal photoreceptors, the rods and the cones, degenerate and die as a result of degeneration in the pigmented layer of the retina. This retinal pignmented epithelium (RPE) might be saved with an injection of  RPE cells that are generated from Stem Cells.

Advanced Cell Technology is about to conduct a clinical trial on patients with Dry AMD in order to determine if injecting these cells is safe. The goal is to preserve RPE cells and therefore preserve vision. Pre-clinical trials on animals did show improved vision with no side effects.

While there are no FDA approved treatmenst for Dry AMD there are now at least 4 possibilities in active trials. Stay tuned here at Skyvision for the latest news!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Thin Corneas NOT a LASIK Risk!

A massive study under the supervision of Dr. Steven Schallhorn looked at LASIK surgery performed in almost 82,000 eyes and found that thinner corneas were NOT at any greater risk for severe complications than corneas with more normal thickness! Prior to this very large study there had been a nagging question about whether it was safe to do LASIK with a corneal thickness under 500 microns.

Dr. Schallhorn: "Somewhat surprisingly, patients with thin corneas were not younger than the overall LASIK poplulation and they did not have higher levels of myopia (nearsightedness) or astigmatism. They appear to be normal in every respect but happen to be on the end of the  [thickness] distribution."

The study was performed at Optical Express and patients have been followed for more than one year. Some of the worrisome complications of LASIK, like ectasia, can develop over longer periods of time. The study will continue to monitor all of the patients going forward.

Our own Dr. White, our Skyvison Centers LASIK surgeon, had this to say: "It's still unclear just why a very small number of people develop ectasia after surgery. Two things are cleared up from this study, though: it appears that having a thinner cornea is not , in and of itself, a risk factor, and secondly that it is STILL impossible to identify every person who might have ectasia prior to surgery."

LASIK remains one of the most exciting surgeries in all of medicine, and each year hundreds of thousands of people all over the world are able to bid "so long" to their glasses and contact lenses after LASIK surgery!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Enhancing Your Game! Start With Your Brain and RevitalVision!!

Skyvision Centers is about to embark on a Sports Vision Quest! Imagine how good you could be, how well you would play your game if your eye-hand coordination was better, and if you could see better! No matter what your game might be.

Our eyes collect visual data, but we actually SEE with our BRAINS. Think of your brain as the computer, the control center where all of the vision cues you collect are analyzed and then put into action. If you see better, you will play better.

RevitalVision is a program to improve your visual "control center". It works by taking advantage of something called NEURAL PLASTICITY, your brain's ability to change and adapt. With RevitalVision we open new neural pathways that exist in a "sleeping" state right next to the ones you have been using all of your life. It's like adding one or two or three additional computers to every task you do. Imagine how much faster all of your work would go! That's how RevitalVision works.

You can do RevitalVision's Sport program RIGHT NOW! The gains you make in vision will then be there when Skyvision Centers begins to offer other Sports Vision programs. Give us a call and let's get going on being a better athlete!!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Dry Eye and the Tylenol Syndrome

Do I have to keep taking my Restasis? Why? I feel great!

Well, that's the exact feel great! In fact, you feel great BECAUSE you are taking your Restasis. Dry eye is a chronic problem, one that needs to have on-going treatment. When Restasis is the right medicine to use it's important to understand just how and why Restasis works. It takes a while for Restasis to decreas the inflammation that causes lots of dry eye; that's why it can be several weeks before you feel better. Then, after the inflammation is controlled it's necessary to keep taking the Restasis in order to prevent the same inflammation from making your eyes hurt again!

Dr. White likes to say that Restasis is not a typical American medicine. It takes a while for it to kick in. Not like Tylenol for a headache. You have a headache, you take a Tylenol and you feel great. You don't have to keep taking the Tylenol to keep the headache away, but you DO have to keep taking your Restasis in order to keep comfortable eyes!

If you have Dry Eye and a Skyvision Center's doc prescribed Restasis you should keep using it until he tells you it's OK to stop. It's not like a Tylenol!