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6 posts from November 2010

November 17, 2010

Good Guys Wear White Coats (Lab Coats)

November 2010 Premium Practice

I am one of the surgeons featured in an article in this month's issue of Cataract & Refractive Surgery Today!  Good Guys Wear White Coats (Lab Coats) talks about "social capatilism."  The Premium Practice section editor, and a friend, Shareef Mahdavi describes it best:

There is a change underway in how companies do business. This so-called social capitalism in which social entrepreneurs give back to the community is as essential to the enterprise as the profit motive. TOMS Shoes (www.toms.com; Santa Monica, CA) is a great example, having given away over 1 million pairs of shoes to children around the world as part of its “one for one” program. One pair of shoes is donated for every pair sold (these shoes are very cool looking and comfortable, by the way).

Eye care has long been known for eyeglasses donations and surgical mission trips, and the need for today’s premium practice to have its own version of social entrepreneurship has never been greater. Why? Because today’s consumer is spending money more carefully and paying much more attention to whom they do business with—including their health care providers. Being perceived as “authentic” in the eyes of your patient is the goal, and those practices that take a sincere and serious approach to giving back will be recognized and rewarded by patients. This month, we feature surgeons whose practices are “walking the talk” when it comes to giving back. I trust that they will serve as inspiration for you to get started or do even more to use your skills toward making the world a better place.

The article goes on to describe how several ophthalmologists are giving back.  My efforrts with Vision Harvest and Charity:Water are discussed.  Hope you enjoy reading it.  Here is a PDF of the full article:  Download Good Guys Wear White

By the way, I don't wear a white lab coat, never have.  I feel it seperates me from my patients.  I like to be really comfortable, don't wear a jacket or tie either!  I often bike to the office and take a shower, you can usually catch me wearing scrubs!

November 16, 2010

Harvest Vision Once Again: The Music Video

I introduced Warren Barootajan back in August of this year.  Warren is a 63 year cabinet maker from upstate NY. His poor vision from cataracts have contributed to his inability to work. Without insurance he is unable to seek treatment. He has become frustrated with trying to receive treatment thru a broken system.

Warren was able to participate in this year's Vision Harvest free cataract program last month.  Besides being a carpenter, I also discovered he is a songwriter!  he was kind enough to write a song, "Harvest Vision", and produce a music video for our Vision Harvest Program!

He wrote:

It was almost 2 years ago I was declared legally blind in the state of New York and I was without work or health insurance. Now I have 20/20 vision in my right eye thanks to Dr Silverman and so many others. As a songwriter I thought it was my responsibility to thank everyone who volunteered their time,talents and supp...lies on that special day , Oct 28th-2010, hence "Harvest Vision Once Again"
It is all I can do at the moment. please accept this token of gratitude

-Warren E Barootjian

Well, here is the music video, "Harvest Vision Once Again."  I think he did a great job!~  Hope you all enjoy it!


November 15, 2010

Cataract Prevention? Vitamins are Not The Answer!

According to WebMD

Vitamin C is one of the safest and most effective nutrients, experts say. It may not be the cure for the common cold (though it's thought to help prevent more serious complications). But the benefits of vitamin C may include protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling. 

Vitamin E is key for strong immunity and healthy skin and eyes. In recent years, vitamin E supplements have become popular as antioxidants. These are substances that protect cells from damage.  Many people use vitamin E supplements in the hopes that the vitamin's antioxidant properties will prevent or treat disease. Early lab studies of vitamin E supplements were promising. But studies of vitamin E in people have been disappointing.

There was an interesting article in this months issue of Archives of Ophthalmology titled: Age-Related Cataract in a Randomized Trial of Vitamins E and C in Men.

This article assesed whether supplementation with alternate-day vitamin E or daily vitamin C affects the incidence of age-related cataract in a large cohort of men. 11,545 apparently healthy US male physicians 50 or older without a diagnosis of cataract at baseline were randomly assigned to receive 400 IU of vitamin E or placebo on alternate days and 500 mg of vitamin C or placebo daily. After 8 years of treatment and follow-up, there were 579 cataracts in the vitamin E–treated group and 595 in the vitamin placebo group. For vitamin C, there were 593 cataracts in the treated group and 581 in the placebo group.

The study concluded that long-term alternate-day use of 400 IU of vitamin E and daily use of 500 mg of vitamin C had no notable beneficial or harmful effect on the risk of cataract.

There are a few things you can to to slow down cataract formation:

  • Wear sunglasses
  • Quit smoking
  • Maintain a healthy weight

And, if you do develop visually significant cataracts, not to worry.  Cataract surgery is the most common procedure performed in the US with 1.5 million performed annually.  Combined with the implantation of an IOL (intraoccular lens), the results are excellent..

November 11, 2010

Eye Can Hear! Dual Sensory Impairment & EyeCare 20/20...

I see it every day in my office, a patient with cataracts and decreased vision who also has difficulty with their hearing.  It seems to me that a decline in vision goes hand in hand with a decline in hearing.

According to Lighthouse International:

Vision and hearing impairments are among the most common age-related conditions affecting the elderly. While there is an emerging literature regarding the profound functional, social, and physical and mental health consequences of either a vision or hearing impairment in later life, there is a dearth of existing knowledge regarding both short- and long-term consequences of dual sensory impairment for older persons. Yet, with the aging of the population, the numbers of older people experiencing a concurrent age-related loss in vision and hearing can be expected to grow substantially. Even current estimates of the prevalence of dual sensory impairments among the elderly range from 4% to 21%, depending upon used definitions and/or sources of data.

Here are some interesting statistics:

  • Approximately 30 million Americans are hearing impaired.
  • Hearing loss is the third most prevalent chronic condition behind arthritis and high blood pressure.
  • 1 out of 4 people over the age of 65 has a hearing loss and 50% over the age of 75 have a hearing loss.
  •  You could be at risk if you work or spend a lot of time around noise without protecting your ears. Professions at risk may include: musicians, construction workers, military personnel, firefighters and police officers.
  • Hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors – the aging process, heredity, disease, noise and build-up of earwax, among others.
  • Noise can be dangerous. If it is loud enough and lasts long enough, it can damage your hearing.
  • If you experience a number of warning signs or if people often tell you that you’re not hearing well, you may have a hearing loss.

Some warning signs of hearing loss include:

  • People seem to mumble more frequently.
  • You experience ringing in your ears.
  • You often ask people to repeat themselves.
  • Your family complains that you play the TV or radio too loudly.
  • You have been told that you speak too loudly.
  • You have trouble understanding all of the words in a conversation.

A big topic of conversation at this years AAO meeting was the implementation of hearing evaluations in ophthalmology offices.  Well, today at EyeCare 20/20 we have decided to do something with what we call Dual Sensory Impairment.  As part of the annual eye exam im patients over 50, we will also do a brief hearing screening.  We will than go over the results, and if a problem is detected, we will offer a free full hearing evaluation by a liscensed Hearing Care Practitioner.  We have also installed a full service BellTone hearing aid center in our office to deal with our patients hearing issues.


For more information on Dual Sensory Impairment at EyeCare 20/20, click here.  Or, to take a hearing self test, click here.

November 02, 2010

How $55 Can Buy 20 Meals and Save on 20/20 Vision

Join EyeCare 20/20 in our efforts to see that no one goes hungry this Thanksgiving season. Simply make a donation of $55 to the Market Street Mission.  This will provide 20 meals for the less fortunate. Than EyeCare 20/20 will match your donation and extend a $750 discount toward LASIK.

Since 1889, the Market Street Mission has been reaching out to the poor and needy in Morris County, New Jersey. Market Street assists individuals to overcome homelessness, addictions, and disabilities. Last year alone, the Market Street Mission served 88,067 meals to homeless and underprivileged individuals.

Want to do more?   Forward this link to a friend or family member who is interested in LASIK and have them do the same, and then encourage them to do the same, get the picture?! Blog it, tweet it (follow me), post about it on Facebook (become a fan), tell your friends. The more people involved, the more change we can make.

November 01, 2010

ObamaCare limits on FSA Accounts in Future: The Time to Get LASIK Is NOW!

It's that time of year again when patients are coming into our office to see if they are good candidates for LASIK.  If so, they are electing to put money away for their LASIK next year, usually in January.  Also known as medical and health care spending accounts, these are offered by about 85% of large employers and many smaller ones as well.  FSAs allow workers to set aside their own money to cover co-payments, deductibles and other uninsured medical expenses ranging from dentistry to prescriptions.  The advantage:  these expenses are paid with pre-tax dollars!  This amounts to a 20% to 30% cost savings.

You decide how much to contribute (up to the current $5,000 maximum); your company deducts a pro-rata share of that contribution from each paycheck throughout the year.  You do not have to wait for the money to accumulate, procedures may be performed at the beginning of the new year.  To use your FSA dollars, you’re usually given a debit card loaded with the entire year’s worth of savings that you have elected to set aside.

Up till now, there has been one catch: any amount you don’t use by year end is forfeited. This is why it is important to make sure you are a good LASIK candidate before putting that money aside.  I remember one patient several years ago who came in for LASIK surgery in December.  He was planning on using his FSA dollars he had previously set aside, but soon learned that he was not a good candidate.  He ended up scrambling to get a hair transplant to use those dollars before the end of the year!

With the ObamaCare "reform", two new changes will be made in FSA accounts:

  1. Beginning in 2011, over-the-counter medicines will not be eligible, unless you have a prescription from your doctor.  This will have no effect on our LASIK patients.
  2. Beginning in 2013, the new health care reform law will limit FSA accounts to $2,500 per year.  Compare this to the $5,000 limit now in effect.  What this means is that starting in 2013, FSAs will only be able to fund about half the cost of your LASIK surgery!  Obviously, this is another blatant attempt by the Obama administration to tax the middle class!

So, my advice to those with FSAs who are contemplating LASIK in the future:

  • Find out now if you are a good LASIK candidate before setting aside your money.
  • Have the surgery before 2013 so that you can fully fund the LASIK and take adsvantage of the tax advantages that you deserve, but are losing because of ObamaCare!