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26 posts from December 2008

December 29, 2008

It's New Year's, What Champagne Should You Drink?


In my last blog today, I discussed eye injuries related to getting hit in the eye with a cork while opening chchampagne.  People are often confused about what chchampagne to buy.  My personal favorite is J. Schram from the California vineyard of Schramsberg

According to their web site:

"Wine grapes from the finest vineyards of Northern California are nurtured throughout the ripening process, before they are hand-picked. Complexity is gained through fermentation in both oak barrels and stainless steel tanks. Some small lots undergo malolactic fermentation to enrich aromas and infuse creaminess on the palate. The wine is then aged in our historical mountainside caves for over five years.

Dedicated to our founder of 1862, Jacob Schram, this special bottling has been a great success since its first
release in 1992. J. Schram reflects Schramsberg’s continuing role as a pioneer in world class sparkling wines. It is our nominee when you want an American statement of international excellence. J. Schram is appealing as an aperitif or enjoyed with fresh shellfish, caviar, smoked salmon, mild cheeses, seafood brochettes and risotto with prosciutto."


Schramsberg has an excellent wine club with which I participate.

Below is a list I found in Wine Spectator which you all may find helpful:


Wine spectator

Champagnes and Sparkling Wines for New Year's Eve

GLORIA FERRER Brut Carneros Royal Cuvée Vintage Reserve 2001 Score: 93 | $32

This sparkling wine is fresh and vibrant, yet with a core of rich, luscious fruit. Aromas of Asian pear, rose water and lemon curd lead to layered flavors of fresh ginger, pippin apple and cinnamon that finish on a showy note. Drink now through 2013. 6.500 cases made. —T.F.

DOMAINE CARNEROS Brut Carneros 2005 Score: 92 | $26

Beautifully focused and refined, with Gala apple and raspberry aromas and flavors that are crisp yet layered, with creamy lemon and lime notes and a finish that lingers with mineral and a hint of yeast. Drink now through 2012. 45,000 cases made. —T.F.

DUVAL-LEROY Brut Champagne NV Score: 91 | $38

This rich, sumptuous bubbly is marked by clover honey, candied citrus and hints of malt and mineral. It's beautifully integrated, with medium weight and a lingering, ginger-infused aftertaste. Drink now through 2010. 35,000 cases made. —B.S.

GOSSET Brut Champagne Grande Réserve NV Score: 91 | $69

Fresh and elegant, revealing a graphite and citrus flavor profile. Shows finesse and a mineral and chalk quality on the back end. Beautifully refined and persistent, with a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2012. 41,000 cases made. —B.S.

ARGYLE Brut Willamette Valley 2005 Score: 90 | $30

Light and creamy, with white pepper and oatmeal nuances to the citrus and pear flavors, lingering on the fine bead of a finish. Drink now. 7,172 cases made. —H.S.

DRAPPIER Brut Champagne Carte d'Or NV Score: 90 | $44

Fresh and pure, offering floral, yellow fruits and mineral flavors, this bubbly is graceful and beautifully integrated. The texture is firm and refined, with a subtle nutty note on the finish. Drink now. 75,000 cases made. —B.S.

LALLIER Brut Champagne Georges Lacombe Sélection NV Score: 89 | $39

Starts out rich and fruity, sporting apple and floral notes that pick up a lemon and mineral edge on the finish, turning more elegant as it does. Drink now. 20,000 cases made. —B.S.

MUMM NAPA Brut Napa Valley Prestige NV Score: 89 | $19

A lively, fruit-driven bubbly, with creamy and yeasty aromas that blend with baked pear aromas and flavors that are crisp and vibrant, finishing with notes of toast and spice. Drink now through 2012. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 95,000 cases made. —T.F.

DOMAINE CHANDON Brut California Classic NV Score: 88 | $22

Offers lively aromas of apple blossom and citrus, with layered, crisp and creamy flavors of Asian pear, spice and freshly baked bread. Drink now. 240,000 cases made. —T.F.

SCHARFFENBERGER Brut Mendocino County NV Score: 88 | $20

Appealing for its sleek sense of focus and proportion. Nutty and spicy aromas blend with citrus and green apple, then open to zesty baked pear and lemon zest flavors. Drink now. 25,000 cases made. —T.F.

DOMAINE STE. MICHELLE Blanc de Blancs Columbia Valley NV Score: 87 | $12

Crisp and peppery, with a spicy note mingling with lime marmalade and toast flavors, lingering gently. Drink now. 32,640 cases made. —H.S.

PIPER SONOMA Brut Sonoma County Select Cuvée NV Score: 87 | $17

Crisp and creamy, with floral jasmine and citrus aromas and appealing green apple, anise and mineral flavors that linger toward the zesty finish. Drink now. 115,000 cases made. —T.F.

ROEDERER ESTATE Brut Anderson Valley NV Score: 87 | $23

Shows good intensity and balance, with baked apple, spice and appealing earthy herb aromas that lead to rich but crisp pear, lemon curd and toast flavors. Drink now through 2012. 80,000 cases made. —T.F.


Wishing everyone a healthy, happy, and prosperous New Year, and remember, be safe!

Happy New Year's! Watch that Cork: Keeping An Eye on Safety



New Year’s Eve is notoriously one of the worst times of the year for eye injuries due to the fact that many people do not know how to correctly open a champagne bottle. When a bottle is opened improperly, the cork is expelled at a high velocity by the gas pressure in the bottle. If the cork accidentally strikes the eye, it can lead to serious injuries including internal hemorrhage, traumatic cataract, and torn or detached retinas.






To avoid turning a happy occasion into a tragedy, follow these common sense rules on how to prevent an injury to you or someone else’s eyes:


  • Chill the bottle- warm champagne generates more pressure behind the cork.

  • Do NOT shake the bottle.

  • With the bottle pointed away from everyone’s face, remove the foil seal and wire that keeps the cork in place. Keep one finger on the cork at all times while you remove the wire.

  • As soon as the wire is removed, cover the top of the bottle with a towel. Get a good grip on the cork until you feel or hear the release of some gas behind the cork.

  • Then remove the towel with the cork. 

Cheers! Make your toast, enjoy your drink and have a happy and healthy New Year from all of us here at EyeCare 20/20!


Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. 


~Benjamin Franklin

December 28, 2008

Leonard Lee Rue III, Nature Photographer, Video Testimonial

white-tailed deer running through water

Leonard Lee Rue III is one of the foremost nature photographers in America.  His wildlife photos are incredible.  I personally performed his LASIK surgery about 10 years ago, and his cataract surgery a year or two ago.

December 26, 2008

Alcon Receives FDA Approval for ReSTOR +3.0

Alcon, Inc. announced the approval of their ReSTOR +3.0 intraocular lens for the treatment of presbyopia following cataract surgery and refractive lens exchange.  This IOL will complement their already approved ReSTOR +4.0.

So what does this mean to our refractive cataract patients?  The ReSTOR +4.0 is an excellent multifocal IOL that allows my patients both near and far vision without glasses.  Some patients receiving this lens will complain that they cannot see intermediate distances well.  These patients need to sit close to computer monitors to see clearly.

The ReSTOR +3.0 will provide better intermediate vision.  Most likely patients will begin to receive a +3.0 in one eye and a +4.0 in the other eye.  This will afford these patients excellent near, intermediate, and distance vision without glasses!

For our patients that wish to rid themselves of bifocals, the results from premium IOLs have been excellent.  The introduction of the +3.0 will only enhance these outcomes.  EyeCare 20/20 will be one of the first practices in the country to have access to the ReSTOR 3.0 within the first few weeks of 2009.

December 25, 2008

New Video Testimonial Section

We recently purchased a Flip Video Camcorder.  It's amazing the quality of the video from it.  We will be using the Flip Mino HD to record testimonials from many of our refractive LASIK and cataract patients.  These will be posted here from time to time, on YouTube, and at the EyeCare 20/20 fan page on Facebook.  My hope is that these videos will be of some value to those contemplating refractive surgery.
We would appreciate your feedback...

This first testimonial is of Lon Tabatchnick, a real estate developer from South Florida, who had LASIK about 10 years ago at EyeCare 20/20.

December 24, 2008

Coat Drive Proceeding Well, Please Drop Off a Coat

Thank you to everyone who has dropped a coat off at our office. We have collected a lot of coats already. We plan on bringing the coats to Burlington Coat Factory the first week of January. Please continue to drop of your unwanted coats for those less fortunate during these difficult economic times. Wishing everyone and their families a happy and healthy holiday!

Coat drive proceeding well
Coat drive proceeding well

December 23, 2008

Happy 25th Birthday Excimer LASER!

Hard to believe it was 25 years ago this month that Dr. Stephen Trokel, et al. published the first article discussing the potential uses of the excimer laser in corneal surgery.  The journal article "Excimer Laser Surgery of the Cornea", was published in the December, 1983 issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology.  The abstract of the article stated:

"The excimer laser, which produces light in the far-ultraviolet portion of the spectrum, allows precise removal of corneal tissue through a photochemical laser-tissue interaction. This interaction is not thermal and does not involve optical breakdown; rather, it directly breaks organic molecular bonds without tissue heating. We used this process of ablative photodecomposition to remove corneal tissue in a series freshly enucleated cow eyes. Applying the far-ultraviolet light in short intense pulses permitted us to control the depth of the incision with great precision. We found that 1 joule/cm2 ablates corneal tissue to a depth of 1 micron. Adjacent tissue suffered no thermal damage and the stromal lamellae adjacent to the incision showed no evidence of disorganization."

1983 also saw Dr. Trokel also receive the first patents that led to the 1996 FDA approval of the excimer laser to treat mild to moderate nearsightedness.  1996 also marked my becoming involved in LASIK surgery, leading to acquiring the first VISX laser used for LASIK in a private practice in New Jersey. EyeCare 20/20 was also the first New Jersey practice to use the new Allegretto Wave Excimer laser in 2003.

The photo below is of me receiving the VISX Star Award  in 1999 from Dr. Trokel for being one of the top 5% of all VISX LASIK surgeons in the US:


LASIK surgery has come a long way over the past 25 years.  Results are excellent, with stable vision, and high patient satisfaction ratings.

LASIK the Refs: Learn How to Flip a Coin!!

Did you see Monday Night's game between the Pack and the Bears?  The game goes into overtime after Mason Crosby has his field goal blocked at the end of regulation.  Referee Ron Winter begins the coin toss. Ryan Grant of the Packers calls "tails".  Winter tosses the coin, it veers left, bounces off the helmet of the Bear's Brian Urlacher, hits the ground,everyone scrambles to find the coin, and... "heads!" The announcer yells, "What kind of terrible coin toss is that?  It hit Brian Urlacher in the head!... I have never seen people chase after the coin..." 

Chicago receives the ball, marches down the field and kicks the game winning field goal. UNBELIEVABLE! Who knows what happens if we get a normal coin toss, maybe the Pack wins it, marches down the field, and wins?!

I know Ron Winter was wearing his glasses during the toss.  Maybe the sub zero temperature caused the glasses to fog leading to the errant toss!  I'll say it again:  "Winter, get your eyes examined, if you are a good candidate for LASIK, come to me and I'll do it for free!!"

December 22, 2008

LASIK the Refs: Give Brook Lopez a Call!!

The NJ Nets" rookie center, Brook Lopez, is having a great start this season.  He is averaging over 10 points and 7 rebounds a game in over 27 minutes of play.  He has established himself as one of this year's best rookies and is my pick for Rookie of the Year.  

In Saturday's game vs the Miami Heat, Lopez had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and 5 blocks.  How many foul shots did he have?  ZERO!  This included a non-call by ref Derrick Collins when Udonis Haslem hit Lopez in the throat with one minute left in the first half.  Lopez made the basket anyway.

Strange story goes with it: In the last five games, the Nets' rookie center has taken 66 shots from the floor, the vast majority from point-blank range (such as those taken after his 18 offensive rebounds), and with most of these shots challenged by large men whose job it is to bash other large men as part of a grander plan to win basketball games and influence people.

Yet Lopez has attempted a grand total of six foul shots in those five games.

Something is amiss, the Nets know it, but they don't say much about it.

I think it's time for the NBA refs, and Derrick Collins in particular, to open their eyes and make some calls.  Refs, get your eyes checked, if you need LASIK, come on in, I'm offering it for free!  Maybe then you won't miss so many calls!!

December 19, 2008

A New Year, A New You

Your eyes are the window to the world and keeping them healthy is important. So as you make your New Year's resolutions this year, consider these helpful hints to ensure you continue seeing clearly.


QUIT SMOKING…Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to lose their sight in later life from Advanced Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of sight loss. Stop smoking, or better still don't start!


LOSE EXCESS WEIGHT…If you are overweight, studies have shown the risk of developing cataracts can double that of people who are not overweight. Extra pounds, especially around the waist, also seem to speed up damage to the macula.


EAT HEALTHY…Eating a diet low in fat but rich in vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), fruit, nuts and fish can help prevent AMD and cataracts. Using vitamin and mineral supplements for eye health is not generally recommended as a preventative measure as a healthy diet should be sufficient. However, people who have AMD may consider supplementation with vitamins and anti-oxidants but should consult their doctor first.


PROTECT YOUR EYES IN THE SUN… your eyes can be damaged by prolonged exposure to intense sunlight and could lead to AMD and cataracts. Use quality sunglasses and/or wear a wide brimmed hat in the sun. Limiting UV exposure can also reduce the risk of skin cancer around the eyelids.


BOOK AN EYE EXAM… Of the four leading causes of blindness- cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration- all but cataracts can progress without your knowing it. Just getting a new presciption for glasses isn't enough. Be sure to schedule routine eye examinations with a dilation.

There's a right way and a wrong way to make a New Year's resolution. Be realistic by setting achievable goals. Make a plan and stick to it, while still remaining flexible.