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Georgia Eye Partners Acquires Eye 1st

November 9th, 2015

Georgia Eye Partners Acquires Eye 1st

Vision & Laser in Johns Creek

Georgia Eye Partners will acquire Eye 1st Vision & Laser, effective January 1, 2014. The combined companies will move forward under the name Georgia Eye Partners. The addition of the former Johns Creek office of Eye 1st Vision & Laser (10080 Medlock Bridge Road) will be Georgia Eye Partners’ third office in the metro-Atlanta area. The company currently has offices at Northside and Emory Midtown. Two existing Eye 1st physicians, Dr. James A. Stewart and Dr. Julie A. Wolf, will join the list of skilled physicians currently providing services through Georgia Eye Partners.
“We are thrilled to be adding the wonderful facilities, staff, and patients of Eye 1st Vision & Laser to the Georgia Eye Partners network,” said Georgia Eye Partners CEO, Scott Bullock. “This acquisition will only enhance our continued efforts to provide exceptional eye care services to the greater Atlanta area.”
Patients with questions about the acquisition should call the Johns Creek office at 770-623-3931.

 



Skin Cancer of the Eyelid

May 13th, 2014

 

As our knowledge of the preventability of skin cancer increases, so too should the measures that we take to reduce our own risk. The importance of SPF and protecting the skin from sun exposure is routinely preached and practiced by most individuals. But is sunscreen itself enough?

 

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, “The eyelid region is one of the most common sites for non-melanoma skin cancers; skin cancers of the eyelid account for five to ten percent of all skin cancers.”  95% of these tumors are basal cell carcinomas or squamous cell carcinomas. In most cases, these malignant lesions of the eyelid are slow to grow and spread, however they can cause significant damage to the delicate tissues of the eyelid and other vital ocular structures if left untreated for too long. Also of concern is the rising incidence of melanoma, which is the 6th most common cancer in men and the 7th most common in women.

 

All malignant tumors must be removed to prevent continued growth and invasion into adjacent structures. Unfortunately, eyelid tumors are often difficult to detect because they tend to grow under the skin for years before coming to the surface.  The most common presenting symptoms for skin cancer on the eyelids include: a firm, raised lump with a lesion in the center on the eyelid; ulceration (sore) of the eyelid; loss of eyelashes (or misdirected eyelashes); brown or pigmented lesion on the eyelid; prominent red vessels leading to a growth on the eyelid; and a stye that does not heal.

 

Many patients with eyelid lesions can monitor the growths themselves for a period of time, but are strongly encouraged to have the lesion checked by their eye doctor, dermatologist, or primary care physician. Lesions considered to be most suspicious will characteristically appear scaly, will tend to crack and bleed, and can also grow or change in size and appearance over time. It is always best to have any new lesions evaluated by a specialist to ensure that it is properly monitored or treated if necessary.

 

Once diagnosed with an eyelid skin cancer, how is it treated?

 

Basal cell carcinomas and squamous cell carcinomas involving the eyelid are usually treated with microscopically controlled surgery (Mohs micrographic surgery). Mohs surgery is the most effective treatment for these types of skin cancers due to the tissue-sparing nature of the procedure and high cure rates. The five year cure rates are 99 percent for basal cell carcinoma and 98 percent for squamous cell carcinoma. Also, because the minimum amount of tissue necessary is removed, one can achieve the best cosmetic result and maximally preserve function.

 

How do we prevent eyelid cancer?

 

Often people will not apply sunscreen/sunblock to the eyelids because of the irritation it causes when it is inadvertently rubbed into the eye. However, if judiciously placed, this can be avoided. For optimal protection, a physical blocker containing zinc oxide or titanium dioxide, and/or chemical blockers such as avobenzone, oxybenzone or MexorylTM should be used. Additionally, epidemiologic data suggest an important way to prevent eyelid cancers is by wearing photoprotective eyeglasses and sunglasses. The eyewear must absorb most UVA and UVB rays, thus blocking 99-100 percent of UV radiation. Use of hats is also a smart way to prevent exposure of the eyelids to harmful radiation.

Kristina Price, M.D.

Medical Director of OPAL Aesthetics



No Symptoms, Big Problems in Open Angle Glaucoma

February 21st, 2014

Maybe you or your family member was recently diagnosed with open angle glaucoma and now you are wondering, “What is glaucoma? What does this mean for my future? Is there a treatment or cure for open angle glaucoma?”

Open angle glaucoma usually occurs when increased pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure, damages the optic nerve responsible for transmitting images to the eye. Although the eyeball may be healthy, if the optic nerve is damaged, permanent vision loss is possible.

Although open angle glaucoma can be easily diagnosed, it is estimated that only half of the 2.2 million Americans who have the disease know it. Open Angle Glaucoma often presents no symptoms in the early stages. Only when the disease progresses into later stages, does it begin to damage vision, and unfortunately, glaucoma can often lead to blindness if not properly treated.

Because most people experience no symptoms in early stages of glaucoma, it is important to understand your risk level and visit with your eye doctor regularly to screen for the condition. Open Angle Glaucoma is especially prevalent in people over the age of 40 or with a history of the disease. Other risk factors include:

  • Increased intraocular pressure.
  • African-American, Asian, or Japanese descent.
  • Certain medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and hypothyroidism.
  • Retinal detachment.
  • Inflammation of the eye.
  • Nearsighted or farsightedness.
  • Long-term corticosteroid use.

Sadly, most people with open angle glaucoma do not realize they have the disease until they have already lost a lot of vision.  In beginning stages of glaucoma, loss of peripheral vision is common. However, because we often do not use this vision, we may not recognize this sign.

To prevent vision loss due to open angle glaucoma, it is necessary to receive routine dilated eye exams from an eye doctor. Tests for glaucoma are painless and take as little as 15 minutes of your time. So, don’t delay! Once you lose your vision from glaucoma, there is nothing your doctor can do to bring it back. Schedule your annual dilated eye exam with Georgia Eye Partners today!

 

 

 

 

 



What Do Black Spots in the Eye Mean?

February 21st, 2014

At Georgia Eye Partners, we often see patients who experience symptoms they find troubling, especially when they have not yet experienced vision problems. One of these conditions is known as vitreous floaters and can be easily diagnosed.

Floaters appear as small black dots or threadlike strands in the vision that move away as you focus on them. They are usually caused by a buildup in small flecks of collagen, produced in the gel-like vitreous in the back of the eye. As you age, the vitreous shrinks, causing the collagen fibers to tear away and block light from reaching the retina.

The condition typically affects those aged 50 and above. Several other risk factors include:

  • Nearsightedness.
  • Eye surgery or trauma.
  • Diabetic retinopathy.
  • Eye inflammation.
  • Migraines.

While floaters may be annoying, many people forgo treatment and learn to ignore them over time. However, they could indicate the presence of a more serious, underlying condition. If you experience any of these five signs with floaters, we strongly recommend seeking medical treatment as soon as possible:

  • Sudden increase in the number of floaters.
  • Presence of floaters after surgery or trauma.
  • Eye pain.
  • Flashes of light.
  • Temporary vision loss.

Retinal detachment, retinal tear, and internal eye bleeding are the three most common conditions to blame when these symptoms appear. If not properly treated, they lead to permanent eye damage or even complete loss of vision.

To prepare for your vision exam, keep a log of symptoms you are experiencing or any medications you may be taking. Also, be sure to include questions you have for your eye care specialist.

Although severe retinal complications due to floaters are rare, early detection is important! To prevent vision damage or loss, schedule your appointment with Georgia Eye Partners when you experience floaters or any of the symptoms described above.



A Common, Aging Problem

January 17th, 2014

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the most common cause of blindness among seniors in America, and continues to be a growing problem as our baby boomer generation matures. Due to the prevalence of the disease, we are often faced with this question from our patients, “Are there any new developments in the treatment of macular degeneration?”

Although there is no cure for AMD yet, your doctor could recommend a variety of treatments, depending on the presence of dry or wet AMD. Dry macular degeneration, the type present in 90 percent of patients with AMD, occurs when yellow drusen gradually build up in the macula, eventually dimming or distorting vision. In severe cases of dry AMD, blind spots and total vision loss can occur.

Wet macular degeneration occurs when blood vessels leak fluid into the retina. This strand typically progresses more quickly than dry AMD and can cause substantial vision loss in a brief period of time.  Although only 10 percent of AMD patients have the wet variety, the condition is blamed for almost all cases of blindness.

Typical signs and symptoms of AMD include:

  • Difficulty adapting to low light levels.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Decreased intensity of brightness or colors.
  • Decreased central vision.
  • Hallucinations of geometric shapes, animals, or people.
  • Blind spots.

Traditional treatments for AMD include laser and invasive surgery, both of which can leave significant scarring. Fortunately, newer treatment options could significantly reduce the progression of AMD without the discomfort and physical side effects of lasers or surgery.

Don’t hesitate to call or contact Georgia Eye Partners when you have questions. Most patients with early and intermediate AMD exhibit no symptoms and only a comprehensive eye exam can detect the disease. We recommend annual eye examinations to check for this common condition and can offer tips to reduce your risk of vision loss from the disease.



How to Determine a Corneal Abrasion

January 8th, 2014

Irritation in the eye, especially after sleeping in contacts or a brush with a fingernail or tree branch, may indicate the presence of a corneal abrasion. One of the most common injuries we see, corneal abrasions can be especially damaging to the eye if neglected.

This injury involves a scratch of the cornea, or the protective layer coating the eyeball and can occur in a number of ways. The cornea consists of five layers. To keep it simple, the main layers consist of a top layer known as the epithelium, a middle layer known as the stroma, and the deepest layer known as the endothelium. Fortunately, most corneal abrasions occur in the epithelium and heal relatively quickly.

Common symptoms of a corneal abrasion include:

  • Pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tearing
  • Redness
  • Blurred vision or loss of vision

Although corneal scratches are self-limiting and may heal within a day or two, it is necessary to visit a trained eye doctor to determine an appropriate plan for treatment. If an abrasion involves a tree branch or other vegetation, the cornea should also be monitored to prevent a possible fungal infection. Although an infection is rare, serious corneal problems can occur, including scarring.

If you believe you have suffered a corneal abrasion, it is important to immediately rinse the eye to remove any debris that may have caused the injury. If you wear contact lenses, discard them to prevent any further damage to the eye.

Once you have rinsed the eye, schedule an appointment with Georgia Eye Partners to receive a full assessment of the abrasion. Depending on the size and location of the injury, your doctor may prescribe antibiotics, pain medication, and artificial tears. In cases of larger abrasions, a bandage contact lens may be necessary to aid in comfort and healing.

Only a trained eye doctor can properly diagnose a corneal abrasion and develop the right treatment plan to help you recover as quickly as possible. For more information on scheduling your appointment with Georgia Eye Partners, visit www.GAEyePartners.com.



Georgia Eye Partners Acquires Eye 1st Vision & Laser in Johns Creek

January 7th, 2014

Georgia Eye Partners will acquire Eye 1st Vision & Laser, effective January 1, 2014. The combined companies will move forward under the name Georgia Eye Partners. The addition of the former Johns Creek office of Eye 1st Vision & Laser (10080 Medlock Bridge Road) will be Georgia Eye Partners’ third office in the metro-Atlanta area. The company currently has offices at Northside and Emory Midtown. Two existing Eye 1st physicians, Dr. James A. Stewart and Dr. Julie A. Wolf, will join the list of skilled physicians currently providing services through Georgia Eye Partners.

“We are thrilled to be adding the wonderful facilities, staff, and patients of Eye 1st Vision & Laser to the Georgia Eye Partners network,” said Georgia Eye Partners CEO, Scott Bullock. “This acquisition will only enhance our continued efforts to provide exceptional eye care services to the greater Atlanta area.”

Patients with questions about the acquisition should call the Johns Creek office at 770-623-3931.

 



Dry Eye Syndrome in Women

December 27th, 2013

Dry eye syndrome is believed to be one of the most common eye conditions in the United States, especially among women over the age of 40. Dry eye has several risk factors and is caused by numerous etiologies including inflammation, lid gland dysfunction, increased age, gender, systemic disease, medication side effects, and a change in hormones. Dry eye can result in eye discomfort, burning, itching, light sensitivity, and even loss of vision.

Researchers believe an imbalance of estrogen and progesterone is responsible for the increased risk of dry eye syndrome in women. While testosterone, the male hormone, is beneficial to the tear glands, estrogen may inhibit cell growth in the tear glands, leading to dry eye syndrome. Estimates suggest 1 in 20 women over the age of 50 and 1 in 10 women over the age of 75 suffer from dry eye syndrome, for a total of 3.2 million women in the United States alone.

Patients having Sjörgen’s syndrome understand dry eye all too well. The condition, which causes the body to mistakenly attack moisture-producing glands like those that produce tears, is commonly associated with dry eye. Ninety percent of people with Sjörgen’s syndrome are women.

While dry eye syndrome may sound like more of a nuisance than a serious medical condition, if left untreated it can lead to permanent loss of vision. Inflammation, infection, and scarring of the eye can also occur.

At Georgia Eye Partners, we aim to provide maximum and fast relief from your dry eye symptoms. Dry eye treatment can be as simple as a change in your daily habits or medicated eye drops. With the right treatment, patients with dry eye symptoms can experience little to no discomfort in their daily lives.

If you believe you have dry eye syndrome, it is important to schedule an appointment with your eye care professional. Your Georgia Eye Partners physician will discuss all test results with you in detail to keep you closely involved in your treatment plan.

Don’t let dry eye syndrome inhibit your life. Schedule an appointment with us today!



The Causes of Dry Eye Problems

December 13th, 2013

Dry eye is an extremely common condition where tears do not sufficiently lubricate and nourish the eye. People who experience dry eye either do not produce enough tears or have poor quality tears that do not lubricate effectively. Tears are crucial for reducing the risk of eye infection, rinsing away foreign debris, and keeping the surface of the eye clear and smooth.

Symptoms of dry eye include irritation, gritty, scratchy, or burning sensation in the eyes, excess watering, and blurred vision. Without proper treatment, dry eye can damage the surface of the eye and impair vision.

Dry eye is often chronic, meaning it will not go away by itself, and progressive, meaning it will get worse over time.

The most common form of dry eye is called keratoconjunctivitis sicca (KCS) or dry eye syndrome, and occurs when there is an inadequate amount of the water layer in tears or a poor tear film being produced by the glands in the eyelids.

Dry eye has many different causes, including:

  • Age—as you age, your eyes naturally become dryer. Most people over the age of 50 will experience dry eye symptoms.
  • Gender—women are more likely to develop dry eye than men due to hormone changes caused by pregnancy, menopause, and the use or oral contraceptives.
  • Medications—antihistamines, decongestants, blood pressure medicines, antidepressants, and other medications can decrease tear production, causing dry eye.
  • Environmental Conditions—exposure to smoke, wind, flying on an airplane and dry air can tears to evaporate more quickly than normal, which dries out the eyes.
  • Computer Screens—staring at a screen for long periods of time can cause people to blink less often than is normal, which can result in dry eyes.
  • Contact Lenses or LASIK Surgery—people who wear contact lenses and those who have had refractive eye surgeries, such as LASIK surgery are more susceptible to dry eye.
  • Inflammation—in the past several years, researchers have discovered a significant link between inflammation in the body and dry eye.
  • Blepharitis and Meibomian Gland Dysfunction—this is a common chronic condition involving inflammation of the eyelids. If blepharitis occurs, there is decreased secretion from these glands creating a poor tear film layer that increase evaporation rates of tears causing dry eye.

At Georgia Eye Partners, our initial goal is to diagnose and identify dry eye, and then provide maximum relief from your dry eye symptoms. Treatment will range from palliative methods such as over-the-counter lubricants to therapeutic treatments such as Restasis, which is an immunomodulator that reduces inflammation.

Once your dry eye symptoms begin to improve, your doctor will work with you to discover the underlying cause of your dry eyes. Inflammation, which is a common underlying cause of dry eye, can cause many other health problems, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, hot flashes, night sweats, cold body temperature, and digestive problems.

Below are some common causes of dry eye that your doctor may evaluate:

  1. Hormone Imbalance—especially common in females and more common during menopause.
  2. Thyroid—Under or overactive thyroid gland function
  3. Iodine Levels—If the thyroid is functioning at less than optimum levels, it may be due to improper iodine levels in your body. Iodine plays a crucial role in the function of all secretory glands.
  4. Vitamin D—has a key role in the immune function of the body
  5. Chronic Food Allergy—especially allergies to gluten and/or dairy
  6. Lifestyle Issues—bad diet, dehydration, lack of sleep, and smoking can all increase inflammation in the body
  7. Stress—being over-stressed can exhaust your body’s ability to reduce inflammation
  8. Immune Diseases-systemic diseases can directly cause dry eye

Your Georgia Eye Partners doctor will discuss all test results with you in detail to keep you closely involved in your dry eye treatment plan. The ultimate goal of your therapy is to provide sustained relief from your dry eye symptoms by getting to the root of the problem.



How to Identify a Chalazion and Stye

December 6th, 2013

Small bumps that form on the upper or lower eyelid may indicate one of two conditions: styes or chalazions. The easiest way to distinguish between the two is by level of pain. While styes are usually red and quite painful, most people will not feel a chalazion, even if the bump grows to pea-size.

Styes are an infection of the oil glands on the eyelid and are caused by poor hygiene or inflammation of the glands. They are accompanied by pain, swelling, tearing, or crusting of the eyelid. If you notice these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor within 48 hours to have the infection properly treated.

Chalazions, on the other hand, occur when the oil glands become clogged. People with the following characteristics are more likely to develop chalazions:

  • Chronic inflammation of the eyelid or lash line
  • Acne rosacea
  • Seborrhea
  • Tuberculosis
  • Viral Infection

Believing your chalazion will just go away could be a mistake. Thankfully, initial treatment for a chalazion is conservative. You doctor may recommend an in-office procedure to remove the chalazion. This treatment is a common procedure performed by our eye care specialists and will not alter the normal function of the lid.

If you believe you may have a chalazion or stye, schedule an appointment with Georgia Eye Partners to talk with a doctor about which treatment plan is right for you.