Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Skyvision Center's Electronic Medical Record is Approved!

Congratulations to the executives and staff of SRS Software  on achieving the milestone of "Meaningful Use" from the U.S. Government. Here is a part of their press release:

MONTVALE, NJ – July 14, 2011 – SRS, the leader in productivity-enhancing EHR technology and services for high-performance specialty practices, today announced that its EHR has received certification as a complete EHR by the Drummond Group, an Authorized Testing and Certification Body (ATCB) of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The SRS EHR is now certified for use by physicians to demonstrate meaningful use and to qualify for the EHR incentives offered under ARRA.

"Government certification provides confirmation of the superior data management and reporting capabilities inherent in the SRS EHR," says Evan Steele, CEO of SRSsoft. "What differentiates SRS is the delivery of these capabilities in a productivity-driven, specialty-specific manner. An extremely talented and devoted development team has enabled SRS—once again—to demonstrate its ongoing and unwavering commitment to the needs and interests of physicians. We look forward to enhancing the SRS data platform as we advance toward Stages 2 and 3 of meaningful use."

Skyvision Centers installed SRS in the Fall of 2004. We have been using this fantastic software as an integral part of our patient-centered showcase eyecare practice. All of the doctors and staff offer their heartfelt congratulations and thanks to SRS for their hard work and dedication!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Skyvision Smarphone App!

Did you read the latest statistics about smartphones? some 40% of American adults now have some kind of smartphone, a cell phone that does more than just make calls or text messages. Now you can reach us at skyvision through your smartphone! We have an app that works on both iPhones and any Android phone, no matter which provider you might have.

The Skyvision Centers App is like a "mini-website". You can be in contact directly with the Skyvision department you need. Want to know if we are open? Contact the "Front Desk"! Checking on your glasses or contacts? Send off a note to our "Optical" address.

We are trying to make it as easy as possible to stay in touch with your eye doctor! If you are in the Cleveland area and you have a smartphone check us out in the App Store or the Android Market. Just search for "Skyvision"!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Smartphone App to Detect Cataracts!

Researchers at MIT have developed a cheap and easy to use system, called Catra, that uses a cameraphone clip-on device to map out cataracts.

The technology functions by sweeping the eye with a beam of light and using the phone’s camera to detect fuzzy spots. It can provide both a map of the cataracts and maybe help make an overall assessment of whether surgery might be necessary.

From MIT News:

While the standard test for cataracts in an ophthalmologist’s office assigns a score on a scale of 1 to 4 — from no cataracts to completely blocked vision — the new, inexpensive test actually provides much more information. Media Lab graduate student Vitor Pamplona, a member of the team developing Catra, explains that it “scans the lens of the eye and creates a map showing position, size, shape and density of cataracts.”

At the moment, that’s more information than doctors need, Raskar acknowledges, since they’re essentially faced with a binary decision: whether or not to surgically remove the lens. But he notes a possible similarity to the evolution of devices to measure the eye’s refractive errors — the information needed for a prescription for corrective lenses. Decades ago, a new test was developed that could map local variations in the eye’s refraction, giving far more information than the three numbers needed for a simple prescription. Initially, there was no therapeutic value in the added information, but with the advent of Lasik laser eye surgery, the detailed refraction map of the lens later became important."

What do we think at Skyvision? The most important part of the story is that our patients and our doctors work as a team to decide when the vision has gotten bad enough from the cataract to have surgery. We'd LOVE to know that you have a cataract before you come to the office, though!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Skyvision Centers Macular Degeneration Vitamin Program

So, what are we doing at Skyvision Centers with all of the Macular Degeneration (AMD) research on anti-oxidant vitamins? We have found it very difficult over the years to give vitamin advice that we felt was good enough. Either the commercial vitamin brands were too confusing, or the best vitamins available were too expensive, or it was just too complicated to figure out how to combine the AREDS anti-oxidant vitamins with our patients regular multi-vitamins (and we are BIG fans of a multi-vit!).

After years of struggling  with this we have decided to offer what we feel is the best available vitamins at this time, both in terms of quality and value. We have arranged to provide AMD vitamins from DOCTOR'S ADVANTAGE, a specialty vitamin producer dedicated to serving the needs of eye patients and eye doctors. There are some very strong advantages to you and to your Skyvision Centers doctors to using these vitamins.

First, "Macular Shield" vitamins provide the exact AREDS1 vitamins along with Lutein and Zeaxanthin. "Macular Shield" is also a complete multi-vitamin as well; this removes all of the difficulty in trying to decide what, and how much, you should take of a regular vitamin. All of your vitamin needs are in the one pill. If you are a smoker (or qualify as a smoker by AREDS criteria) there is a "Macular Shield-S" which does not have beta-carotene. People with other reasons not to take high doses of beta-carotene can take this as well.

We think that the AREDS2 trial is going to find that Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil are helpful. Doctor's Advantage has the highest quality, mercury-free fish oil possible in "Omega Shield" that can be added to your "Macular Shield". All of these products are similar in price to store-bought brands, and much less expensive than other specialty vitamins.

If you live in the Cleveland area and visit us at Skyvision Centers be sure to ask us about the advantages of having your vitamins shipped right to your door!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Preventing Vision Loss In Macular Degeneration, Part 2

As the Baby Boom generation ages we anticipate more and more people will be diagnosed with Macular Degeneration (AMD). Estimates run as high as 6.5 million Baby Boomers with some degree of AMD over the course of their lifetimes. One of our Skyvision Facebook friends, a Baby Boomer herself, asked us how to treat early AMD.

Research in the late 1980's suggested that oxidative stress was involved in AMD and vision loss. Equally compelling evidence suggested that anti-oxidative vitamins in high doses reduced that risk. The National Eye Institute supported the AREDS1 study to evaluate this, and is finishing up the AREDS2  right now.

The AREDS1 showed that a combination of Vitamen C 500mg, Vitamin E 400IU, Vitamin A in beta-carotene form 15mg, Zinc 80 mg, and Copper 2 mg reduced  the risk of vision loss by 25% in so-called "high-risk" macular degeneration. Further research showed that using this formula in moderate risk AMD was also reasonable, but that the full AREDS1  formula should NOT be used in smokers because of an increased risk for lung cancer from the beta-carotene.

The AREDS2 study has added Lutein 10mg, and zeaxanthin 2mg to the mix, as well as high-grade fish oil (DHA/EPA: 350mg/650mg). Some minor alterations in zinc have also been made in AREDS2. We have been recommending AREDS1 vitamins for essentially all AMD patients who are non-smokers. Formulations without beta-carotene are available for smokers. With a few exceptions for very specialized medical conditions or drug interactions, the doctors at Skyvision Centers simply see no reason NOT to take high quality fish oil supplements!

In an upcoming post we'll try to answer some questions that come up frequently when we talk about vitamins and macular degeneration.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Preventing Vision Loss In Macular Degeneration Part 1

One of our Skyvision Centers Facebook Friends asked a question about how we treat early Macular Degeneraton (AMD). AMD is an aging change in the center of the retina, the area we call the MACULA. This is the part of the eye that controls our central vision, the part of our vision we use to read, drive, recognize faces, and stuff like that. AMD destroys the center of the macula and therefore the center of the vision.

There are two general types of AMD, wet (or bleeding) and dry (or non-bleeding). We'll talk more about the direct treatment of wet AMD another time. Let's concentrate on what we can do to prevent AMD from getting worse whether it's dry, or dry with a risk to become wet.

There are four traditional risk factors for developing AMD. Age is the first, of course. The older we get the greater the risk we have of developing AMD and vision loss. Family history is the next most important. If you have a parent, brother, or sister you have a much higher risk of getting AMD. Gender (women more than men) and eye color (blue more than brown) are mild risk factors. Some newer data shows that obesity and lack of exercise are also associated with AMD and visual loss.

So right off the bat we have a couple of things we can do to prevent AMD, or if we have it to prevent or slow vision loss. STOP SMOKING! We can't emphasize this enough. The most important thing you can do if you smoke is STOP. A healthier diet, losing weight, and increasing exercise will all lower your risk as well. Eating healthy carbohydrates like fruits and vegetables, and making sure to eat only beneficial fats like nuts, olive oil, and avacado to fuel your new exercise program is the way to go.

In an upcoming post we'll talk specifically about nutritional supplements to prevent vision loss.