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10 posts from April 2009

April 24, 2009

Eye Health Tips for College Students Studying For Exams


My 2 college age daughters will be home in a few weeks!  With the end of the school year fast approaching many college students are busy preparing for finals and exams. Students face special challenges to the eyes when they are under academic performance pressure. Lack of sleep, prolonged computer use and long hours studying make for tired eyes that are dry, scratchy and achy.
Prolonged computer use contributes to eye fatigue because you blink less frequently. Less blinking significantly reduces lubrication in the eye making it feel tired, scratchy and "dry" as a result. Also eyes are not designed for prolonged focus on a single object, such as the computer.
Remedy: place a note on the computer screen as a reminder to blink and to look away from the screen and focus on objects in the distance.  Looking out a window (20 - 20 - 20 rule:  for every 20 minutes of computer work, look away for 20 seconds, and focus on a scene or object at least 20 feet away) is a good break for the eyes. The key is to give your eyes a rest.

Cramming 1

"Dry eye" is a common feeling from not giving your eyes enough rest while some people just naturally do not produce enough tears to keep their eyes healthy and comfortable. Some common symptoms of dry eye are stinging and burning to the eyes, scratchiness, excessive eye irritation from smoke or wind and excessive tearing. Remedy: If you have occasional symptoms of dry eye, you should try eye drops called artificial tears. These are similar to your own tears and help lubricate the eyes and maintain moisture. For persistent "dry eye," see your Eye MD.

Contact Lenses and Sleep Deprivation
When a contact-lens wearer stays awake studying for 18-20 hours or more with their contacts in, it's almost the equivalent of sleeping with contacts in, something that Eye M.D.s warn against. Prolonged wearing of your contact lenses is a problem for people who wear regular hydrogen lenses, since traditional hydrogels are relatively less permeable to oxygen than newer alternatives like silicone hydrogels. The eye needs oxygen to keep it healthy. Without regular exposure to oxygen, the eye's cornea can become inflamed and the vision blurry.  Prolonged contact lens use can even lead to infections or corneal ulcers that in the worst case can permanently damage vision.

Sometimes students fall asleep without knowing it (with their contacts in), while studying. Remedy: Alternate wearing contact lenses with use of eyeglasses during long study periods.  Also, students with irregular sleep patterns can wear contact lenses made of silicon hydrogen, a new material with improved oxygen permeability, which may reduce risk of infection and discomfort.

This article reprinted with permission from the American Academy of Ophthalmology's EyeSmart Campaign.

April 20, 2009

Preventing Eye Injuries At Home


What do a bungee cord, a pan of frying bacon and lawn-care chemicals have in common? They are just a few of the common items around the house that can cause eye injuries. The new Eye Injury Snapshot, a clinical survey of eye injuries across the U.S., found that nearly half of the 2.5 million eye injuries that Americans suffer annually now happen in and around the home in common places like the lawn, garden, kitchen or garage.


In an effort to combat the rate of household eye injuries, the American Academy of Ophthalmology  and ASOT last year issued a new recommendation that every household in America have at least one pair of ANSI-approved* protective eyewear to be worn when doing projects and activities at home to safeguard against eye injuries.


Most Americans think that eye injuries are a workplace phenomenon or related to events like Fourth of July fireworks displays. In fact, Americans are more likely to be injured in their homes from common everyday activities like mowing the lawn, cooking, cleaning and do-it-yourself home improvement projects that impact both participants and bystanders. 


Preventing an eye injury is much easier than treating one. In 2008, there were 775 cases reported from all parts of the country. The survey found that:


·     Nearly half of all eye injuries occur at home, with more than 40 percent happening during everyday activities like cooking, home repairs or yard work

·     Men were more likely to be injured (74 percent) than women (26 percent)

·     78 percent of eye injuries occurred to individuals who were not wearing protective eyewear during the time of the injury.

·     Nearly half of all injuries were to individuals between the ages of 18 and 45.

·     Around the home, the majority of eye injuries occurred in the yard (39.4 percent), garage (11.8) and workshop (8.1 percent). Yet in-home locations, such as the kitchen, family room, bedroom and bathroom were also significant areas prone to injury, accounting for more than 34 percent of all eye injuries reported.


The EyeSmart public opinion survey, conducted by Greenberg, Quinlan, Rosner Research, also found that:


·     Only 35 percent of Americans report that they always wear protective eyewear when performing home repairs or maintenance.

·     Two-thirds of respondents said they own protective eyewear, but, of that group, 30 percent do not consistently wear the eye protection when doing home repairs or projects.

·     Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed never or rarely wear protective lenses for repairs or maintenance, and nearly half (48 percent) report never wearing eyewear when playing sports.


People seem to understand that you need safety glasses when using power tools, but the threat to your eyesight lurks even in basic home repairs and cleaning. People should use protective eyewear during any potentially hazardous tasks around the house, from cleaning your oven with a chemical cleaner to using bungee cords to hold items in place. In the event that you do suffer an eye injury, have an ophthalmologist examine the injury as soon as possible, even if the injury seems minor at first.


The landscape of eye injuries in America has changed significantly since the 1990s, when the majority of eye injuries occurred in workplace settings. Today, due in part to improved safety measures, workplace injuries have fallen off, while a growing do-it-yourself attitude for home projects and increased falls among aging baby boomers may partially explain the increase in household injuries. Of the 2.5 million Americans who suffer from eye injuries each year, 50,000 experience significant vision loss from these injuries.


EyeCare America®, is a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology.  Additional info rmation regarding eye injury prevention and treatment as well as executive summaries of both surveys can be found at www.geteyesmart.org.


April 19, 2009

Make Up Tips For Contact Lens Wearers

As part of Women's Eye Health Month we bring you this information... As a contact lens wearer, you can safely wear eye makeup to complement the beauty of your eyes. To prevent eye makeup from irritating your eyes or damaging your contact lenses, follow these safeguards.


Use cosmetics that are designed specifically for contact lens wearers. These products are free of nylon and rayon fibers and mica articles that can flake off in your eyes and damage your contact lenses. They’re water-soluble for easy removal; and they’re hypoallergenic, so you’re less likely to experience a sensitivity reaction to them.


Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before inserting your contact lenses. Avoid soaps containing oils, fragrances, dyes, and anti-bacterial or anti-fungal agents. These substances can remain on your fingers and contaminate your contact lenses.


Insert your contact lenses before you apply makeup. This prevents makeup on your hands from getting on your hands from getting on your contact lenses and it allows you to see better when applying makeup.


Apply mascara only to the tips of your eyelashes and never use mascara as eyeliner. Apply eyeliner outside your eyelashes, never to the inside rim of your eyelids. This will help prevent the mascara wand from accidentally brushing your eye or contact lens and willhelp prevent your eye makeup from flaking off into your eyes.  Eyeliner on the inside rim of the lids can plug oil glands and lead to infection.


Remove your contact lenses before you remove your makeup. Makeup formulated for contact lens wearers is easy to take off without oil-based removers that could damage your lenses. However, even gentle rubbing of your eyelids and lashes could dislodge your contact lenses or contaminate them with soap or makeup. With your lenses off, you can gently use a fragrance and oil free cleanser to remove makeup.


Close eye makeup containers between uses, discard opened containers after three months, and don’t share friend’s makeup or use department store samples. Open or shared eye-makeup containers can become contaminated and act as a breeding ground for bacteria, leading to eye infections.


Don’t handle nail care products immediately before handling your contact lenses. Nail polish and nail polish remover can damage your contact lenses. Nail polish should be thoroughly washed off before handling lenses.


Try to avoid using aerosol hair spray, deodorant, cologne, and other aerosol products when wearing your contact lenses. These products adhere to contact lens surfaces and can be difficult to remove. If you use these products while wearing contact lenses, keep your eyes closed when applying.

While wearing lenses, should you develop any eye irritation or pain, immediately remove your contact lenses and contact an eye care professional. Prompts diagnosis and treatment is important for your eye health



April 18, 2009

April: Time to be Eye Safe & Eye Smart!

April is here and spring is in the air. This month we observe Sports Eye Safety Month and Women's Eye Health Month.

sports eye safety


Sports Eye Safety Month is a time to raise awareness on how children and adults can have their eye health protected during recreational activities.  Over 40,000 athletes suffer a preventable eye injury each year!  Wearing protective eyewear is the key to prevention!


Image of African American woman in a hard hat

And did you know, women are more likely to lose their vision to eye disease them men? 2/3 ofall blindness and visual impairment occurs in women!  In April we’ll also help raise awareness of eye topics related to women in observance of Women’s Eye Health Month.


So check back often and get educated!

April 13, 2009

LASIK for the Gold: Team EyeCare 20/20 and USA Bobsled

As mentioned previously, two members of the USA Bobsled team have made the trip out to New Jersey to have their LASIK performed at EyeCare 20/20.  Both Erin Pac and Curt Tomacivecz have had their LASIK and are seeing 20/20!  They are both thrilled with their nes vision, and are lookinf forward to competing in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver.  Hopefully their new found vision will help them to attain their dreams of Gold!

Erin and Curt just sent me a few photos of them to post in my office, here they are:

Erin Pac

Curtis Tomasevicz1

Curtis Tomasevicz2

April 11, 2009

Olympic Bobsled Hopeful Curt Tomasevicz Has LASIK at EyeCare 20/20

FIBT Bobsled World Championships Day 4

(L-R) Members of USA 1 Steve Mesler, Curtis Tomasevicz, Justin Olsen and Steven Holcomb celebrate on the winner's podium after winning the the four man competition during the FIBT Bobsled World Championships at the Olympic Complex March 1, 2009 in Lake Placid, New York. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Steve Mesler;Curtis Tomasevicz;Justin Olsen;Steven Holcomb (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images North America)

Curt Tomasevicz, a member of the 09 World Championship 4-man Bobsled Team made the trip down to EyeCare 20/20 this month for his LASIK surgery.  Curt began the sport of bobsled in 2004.  Just two years later, he placed sixth in 4-man with driver Steven Holcomb at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.  In 2007, Tomasevicz won a World Cup gold medal with Holcomb in 2-man on the same Olympic track.   During the first half of the 2008-2009 season, he has pushed Holcomb to silver and bronze World Cup medals in 4-man and a gold medal at the 2009 4-man National Championships.  He recently won a silver medal with Holcomb at the inaugural World Cup race in Whistler, Canada, site of the 2010 Olympic Games.  The season culminated with the 4- man world championship win.

Kurt recently sent us the following note:

It was an amazing feeling as I sat up and for the first time since the third grade, I could read the clock on the other side of the room without the aid of my glasses or contacts. I'm thankful for the life-changing procedure performed by Dr. Silverman and his staff. I hated the discomfort of my glasses and I hated having to rely on my contacts, especially in a sport where perfect vision is vital.
The entire Eyecare 20/20 staff was incredibly kind and friendly. The procedure was explained thoroughly and all my questions were answered clearly. I experienced very minimal discomfort and zero side effects. My vision is now as good as I would have ever dreamed. Thanks 20/20!
Curt Tomasevicz
2006 Olympic Bobsled Team
'09 World Championship 4-man Team


Kurt is anxiously looking forward to testing his new eyes out this upcoming season.  Hopefully a Gold Medal at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver will shine in his future!

April 09, 2009

Stop Wasting our Money: Taking a Stand on the Lucentis vs Avastin Contraversy


In a previous blog post, I lamented about the high costs of using Lucentis in the treatment of macular degeneration over the much less expensive, but equally effacacious Avastin.  I continually receive letters from retinal surgeons who are treating my patients with Lucentis as a primary modality.

I am now sending the following letter to all retinal surgeons who follow this practice pattern, which in my mind, will tax our healthcare resources in the future:


Re:       Lucentis Treatment of my patients




In receiving referral letters about my patients, most recently XXXX  XXXXX, I notice that your group treats my SMD patients with Lucentis as a primary modality.  I am concerned as to why you do not try Avastin first, based on the cost efficacy.  I feel so strongly about this that I now inform all my patients of the economic impact on our healthcare system.  I will also NOT refer patients to practices that use Lucentis as their drug of choice.  I certainly do understand using Lucentis when Avastin is not working..


I am enclosing a copy of a post from my blog that fully explains my position on this matter.  I would appreciate a call from someone in your practice to discuss this further so that I may again feel comfortable referring patients to your practice.




      Cary M. Silverman, MD

It is my hope that this letter will convince these specialists to reevaluate their practice patterns for my patients, if not all their patients.  Should they not comply with my wishes, I will not be referring my patients to these practices in the future!

April 07, 2009

Olympic Short Track Speedskater Hopeful Katherine Reutter Writes About Her LASIK at EyeCare 20/20


Katherine Reutter, the number 1 ranked American Short Track Speedskater, had her LASIK surgery at EyeCare 20/20 last month. Katherine is a 5-time World Cup Medalist, 4-time American record holder, and ranked 7th in the overall World Championships.

We just received this  note from Katherine:

Just 10 short days ago i got LASIK eye surgery from Dr. Silverman at Eyecare 20/20 in East Hanover, NJ and I'm happy to say that I'm recovering wonderfully and have almost fully adapted to a life without glasses or contacts! I had very little discomfort after the surgery even though there were warnings of dry eyes and irritation. The surgery was quick and painless and I'll be happy with the results for the rest of my life.


The office of Eyecare 20/20 was such a quaint and hospitable atmosphere. I felt like the nurses and doctor had been my lifelong caregivers and not just people who'd be helping me on one short visit. The staff was very flexible allowing me to take the time i needed to prepare for the surgery; they were supportive and reassuring through out all of my concerns.


I would highly recommend Dr. Silverman and Eyecare 20/20 for anyone interested in LASIK surgery. I couldn't have had a better experience anywhere else.



We are anxiously looking forward to Katherine's upcoming season with her new visual freedom..

April 06, 2009

10 Reasons Not to Get LASIK... What's yours?


In my ongoing Twit Poll over 92% of respondents say they are so happy with their results that they would do it again.  In this month’s Ophthalmology a paper titled “LASIK World Literature Review: Quality of Life and Patient Satisfaction” reports that:  The overall patient satisfaction rate after primary LASIK surgery was 95.4%.

LASIK is considered among the most successful of all elective procedures, as it compares more favorably with these other procedures in terms of generally higher satisfaction rates.
So, if you are still wearing glasses or contacts, and are asked, “Why haven’t you had LASIK yet?” here is a list of answers you can reply with:


1.    I don’t want to see what time it is when my alarm clock goes off in the morning.  I just want to roll over and go back to sleep.

2.    I have ugly feet and don’t want to see my toes in the shower.

3.    Why get an HDTV with a Blue Ray player when my 20” set plays my VCRs so well?

4.    I am quite happy with my 24 handicap in golf, do you really think I want Tiger’s vision and game?

5.    I love that sandpaper feeling in my eyes when I accidently fall asleep with my contact lenses in.

6.    My wife really likes the indentation my glasses leave on my nose.

7.    I like the peace and quiet when I am sitting on the beach by myself because I can’t find my family.

8.    When I play basketball, people confuse me with Horace Grant and Kareem.

9.    I want to be a professional referee.  (See LASIK the Refs!)

10.    There are just too many cool frames to choose from in Sunglass Hut, I can’t handle the pressure!

What’s your reason for not getting LASIK?

April 04, 2009

Poster Presented at ASCRS Annual Meeting

ASCRS/ASOA Symposium & Congress

I just arrived in beautiful San Francisco tonight to attend the 2009 ASCRS Symposium & Congress.  In my opinion this is the best ophthalmology meeting of the year.  Many papers will be presented in my two areas of interest, refractive surgery and cataract surgery.  New equipment is on display as well. 

H. Jane Kim, a third year ophthalmology resident at UMDNJ, will be presenting a poster with me titled "Late-Onset Dehiscence of LASIK FlapThis poster presents 2 of my patients who sustained eye trauma 4 and 9 years after their LASIK surgery.  This is an extremely rare late complication of LASIK, with the second case being the latest reported case in the medical literature.  Dr. Kim did a wonderful job reviewing the literature on this subject. 

Both of these patients did extremely well after I repaired their LASIK flaps, achieving 20/20 vision.

I will plan on updating the blog this weekend with any new, interesting information that I pick up at the Symposium.