Print Friendly

Finding Help For Your Dry Eye Disease

 It is estimated that 33 million Americans have some form of Dry Eye Disease.

Tears are more than a means of expressing sadness and joy. They are an essential part of maintaining healthy eyes and good vision. When tears are functioning well, we don’t even think about them. But when they aren’t, we begin to notice the following symptoms:

  • Stinging and itching
  • Burning sensation
  • Inflammation, redness
  • Sandy, gritty feeling
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Excessive tearing

Excessive tearing? How can this be a symptom of Dry Eye Disease (DED)? Because healthy tears are made up of a specific formula containing three components: an outer layer of oil, a middle layer of water, and an inner layer of mucus. If this composition is out of balance, your eyes will not be lubricated sufficiently. And, when the cornea becomes too dry, tear glands will overcompensate and stimulate too much of the watery component. Odd as it seems, your eyes can be overflowing with tears and still be “dry”.

Why Do We Get Dry Eyes?

There are many reasons for this to happen. Aging is one of the most common causes. Environment can play a role too. Hot, dry and windy weather as well as heaters and/or air conditioners may be a problem. Ceiling fans that blow directly on you at night could be another reason you wake up with that scratchy, sandy feeling. Computer and all digital use are also a big issue because users have a way of staring at the screen for long periods of time and forgetting to blink. In younger people, this non-blinking behavior is a marked cause of dry eyes, as is long term use of contact lenses. Even problems with your eyelids can cause dry eyes. Sometimes the lids will turn outward (ectropion) or inward (entropion); conditions which can be addressed surgically. Inflamed eyelids (blepharitis) are often another cause. This can be related to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Certain types of medical conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, and Sjogren’s syndrome, to name just a few, can cause dryness. Some medications, like antihistamines or diuretics, also produce dry eye symptoms.

Are There Treatments to Help?

If you have any of the symptoms above, come in to confirm a diagnosis. The Eye Associates is an Accredited Dry Eye Center of Excellence and can perform an osmolarity test, (saltiness of your tears) which analyzes the quality of your tears and determine if you have dry eye disease.

Dry Eye Disease is generally a condition that is not cured (depending on the cause), but it can be managed. Treatment options usually fall in four categories: increasing the amount of tears kept in the eyes, decreasing tear evaporation, treating inflammation, addressing eyelid function and meibomian gland dysfunction.

Keep in mind that DED is frustrating and requires patience. It is a complex medical problem that has no quick fixes, and one that may need several therapies before finding a treatment that works for you. And treating dry eyes in the early stages is important. If meibomian gland dysfunction is the cause, waiting too long to treat may allow the glands to atrophy. Once that happens, there is no way to restore gland function. If the quality of your tears is poor, the long term effect is that the ocular surface cells can become damaged.

Click here or call 941-792-2020 today to make an appointment with one of our dry eye specialists.

Blue-U Light Therapy Treatment for AKs

The Blu-U Treatment is a convenient and effective way to treat pre-cancerous AKs (actinic keratosis). It is less invasive than previous treatments and with much less down time.

Aks are rough-textured, dry, scaly patches on the skin that are caused by excessive exposure to ultraviolet light (UV) such as sunlight. More then 10 million Americans have AKs and they are the first step in the development of skin cancers. Some AKs have the potential to progress to Squamos Cell Carinoma (SCC) within an average of 2 years. Since there is no way to know a head of time which AKs could develop into SCC, it is important to be under a dermatologist care to help with prevention.

Blu-U is type of photodynamic therapy. The Levulan Kerastick Topical Solution is applied to the AK and the solution is then absorbed by the AK cells where it is converted to a chemical that makes the cells extremely sensitive to light. When the AK cells are exposed to the Blu-U, blue light illuminator, a reactions occurs which destroys the AK cells and their potential to form into skin cancer.

Call 1-877-816-derm (3376) or click here for a skin check with our Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Paul Stevenson.

Are you over 40 and been told that LASIK is not the best procedure for you?

Clear Lens Replacement, known as CLR, has become the rage for people over 40 that want to be less dependent on glasses. The new high tech lens implants help with distance, intermediate and near, unlike LASIK that only offers distance vision correction. And the best news is that they will never get a cataract or have to have cataract surgery! How cool is that! Come in for a FREE CLR screening with Dr. McCabe or Dr. Foster to find out if you are a candidate.

Remember the ABCDEs of Melanoma!

(A)Asymmetry: One half of the area does not match the other half.
(B)Border: The edges are uneven or ragged.
(C)Color: The color is not the same all over and may have more than one shade or color present.
(D)Diameter: The size is larger than a pencil eraser (6 millimeters).
(E)Evolving: Changing

If you are worried about a spot, call 1-877-816-3376 or click here for a full body skin check appointment with our Board Certified Dermatologist, Dr. Paul Stevenson.

Important New UV Protection For Your Eyes

Protect your eyes from UV exposure.

Because of the vast research on UV and its harmful effects of skin cancer, we are hyper-sensitive about protecting our skin. But are you taking those same precautions with your eyes?

Studies show that only 1 out of 4 people consistently wear sunglasses with UV 400 protection.

No matter what weather conditions are, cloudy or sunny, the invisible ultraviolet rays (UV) are always present. We know that exposure to UVA & UVB radiation is known to contribute to Cataracts, Macular Degeneration, Pterygiums, and Photokeratitis (sunburn of the cornea), to name a few.

What can you do?

Zeiss is setting a new standard of care when it comes to UV protection by introducing ZEISS UVProtect Technology as part of ALL of their clear lenses. This is the first time that ‘sunglass-level UV 400 protection’ will be available in all clear lenses. Other lens manufacturers only offer protection up to UV 380, and this gap in protection can account for consumers being exposed to as much as 40% of the most harmful UV rays, UV 400. Even though there are some UV coatings that can be added to clear lenses, there is no guarantee that the coating is applied consistently. This new lens will have the ZEISS UVProtect Technology embedded in the lens material, and it will not alter the clear lens effect at all nor will it deteriorate.

Children and UV

We think this new ZEISS lens is especially important for children since most wear clear lenses. Studies show that less than 10% of parents are aware that kids are exposed to 3 times the UV radiation as adults, and 50% of the eye damage from UV occurs before the age of 18.

ZEISS feels so strongly that this is an important step in eye protection that they have announced that they will not patent-protect this UVProtect Technology. They want it to become the standard of care for all lenses.

The Eye Associates is the area’s exclusive provider of ZEISS eyeglass lenses. We, in association with ZEISS, have an ongoing commitment to optical innovations in order to protect our patients’ vision and help them see their best. We are pleased and excited to offer ZEISS UVProtect Technology to our patients at the Optical Gallery in our Venice office. Summer is coming, so be sure your eyes have the protection they need.

The Eye Associates is proud to be the area’s exclusive ZEISS Certified Eyecare Center.


6 Warning Signs of a Serious Eye Problem

Do you know when an eye problem requires prompt attention? Some eye issues can be scary, so if you or a loved one experiences any of the following symptoms, I urge you to act quickly. Saving your vision might be at stake.

eyechart over eye


1) A sudden decrease in vision in one eye…

Retinal problems, including a macular hole, a retinal

detachment, or an abnormality in the optic nerve are the most common cause. Women are at higher risk than men, and risk increases with age.

2) A gradual loss of central vision or distortions when looking at straight lines…

Central vision loss is a common symptom of Macular Degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in older Americans. I recommend that seniors monitor their eyes for changes daily with an Amsler Grid. Pick up your FREE Amsler Grid at any of The Eye Associates locations.

 3) Flashes, a shower of floaters in the eye, or a dark curtain across your field of vision…

Most floaters are benign, but if you experience a sudden onset, it could indicate a retinal problem. A retinal tear or detachment needs to be treated immediately. If left untreated, permanent vision loss could occur.

4) Loss of peripheral vision….

Loss of peripheral vision happens so slowly that it often goes unnoticed, but it could indicate that you have glaucoma. Because there are usually no glaring symptoms signaling the presence of glaucoma, I advise everyone to have a yearly comprehensive eye exam in order to catch it in the early stages. Any vision loss from glaucoma cannot be regained, but with medication and/or surgery, it is possible to halt further loss.

 5) A sudden onset of eye pain, halos around lights, nausea, vomiting, and redness…

This may signal an acute attack of Narrow Angle Glaucoma. If you do not receive immediate treatment, this condition can permanently damage your optic nerve, causing loss of vision. I sometimes suggest a preventive laser treatment for patients with ‘narrow’ angles to prevent them from suffering one of these painful attacks.

6) Double vision or ‘ghost like’ images…

Double vision can be caused by a variety of eye and general health conditions, including giant-cell arteritis (or temporal arteritis), cataracts, migraine headaches, brain tumors, strokes or aneurysms. Get help promptly so the underlying cause can be determined and treated.

 Sometimes, it’s not an emergency…

Cloudy vision, or feeling like a film is over your eyes….

I would suspect cataracts. During a comprehensive eye exam, I can determine whether cataracts are causing these vision problems. Luckily cataract surgery is quite commonplace these days and we can return good vision to you quickly and safely.

Saving sight is The Eye Associates’ most important mission. Please call 1-866-865-2020 if you or someone you know needs immediate care. Even after business hours, The Eye Associates has a doctor on-call to take care of emergencies.

Have You Heard of Serum Tears for Dry Eye Treatment?

By Dr. David Rubin

If you have chronic dry eyes, you know the discomfort and the stress associated with this eye condition. Because of aging, or because of medication, or because of some diseases like Sjogren’s, but mostly for unknown reasons, almost 5 million Americans suffer from Dry Eye Disease.

You may have tried over-the-counter artificial tears at the first sign of symptoms and they may have worked for a while, but then the tearing, itching, irritation and fluctuating vision returned. The problem could be with your tear film. Tears are made with a perfect balance of water, mucus, oil, and other vital biologically active elements. If any of these components gets out of balance, then the quality of the tears is reduced.

The Eye Associates is one of the few practices that has the technology to actually measure the quality of your tears. We take a small sample of a patient’s tears, and then using the TearLab Osmolarity System, we are able to determine quantifiably the quality of the tears. Treatment is then prescribed based on the finding from the TearLab.

One way to address this problem is with the use of Autologous Serum Tears. Again, The Eye Associates is one of the few practices in this area to offer Autologous Serum Tears treatment. Since over-the-counter artificial tears lack the biologically active elements found in your natural tears, eye drops made from components from your own body have been found to be highly effective for most patients. These customized eye drops are made by separating components of your own blood. The red blood cells and clotting factors are removed, leaving behind blood serum which is used to make customized eye drops for you. The benefit is that these man-made tears possess the same biological nutrients naturally found in your own tears, giving natural relief for dry eyes and other corneal-related conditions.

I have many patients successfully finding dry eye relief with serum tear treatment. I got a call recently from a patient that had been unable to drive due to pain and fluctuating vision. After a few weeks of treatment with serum tears, she is now able to drive her husband to his twice weekly medical treatments. She is so thankful for the help.

As an Accredited Dry Eye Center of Excellence, the doctors at The Eye Associates have extensive experience in the diagnosis and treatment of Dry Eye Disease. Good vision makes all the difference to our lives. That is why saving sight is The Eye Associates’ most important mission. Click here to request a dry eye consultation. Or call 1-866-865-2020.

Nail Problems

Nail problems make up about 10 percent of all dermatological conditions, and can signal health problems. Nail problems usually increase throughout life and affect a high number of senior citizens.

Fungal infections cause about half of all nail disorders and are more common in toenails. Even though rare, melanomas can grow under the nail and are often mistaken for an injury. Any changes in nails should be looked at by a Board Certified Dermatologist.D r. Paul Stevenson at Dermatology at The Eye Associates has great experience and much success with treating these unattractive conditions.

Some Important Considerations Before Having LASIK

Some important considerations when about having LASIK:

  • Make sure you are examined by your surgeon BEFORE LASIK surgery. It’s important for you to get all your questions answered by the person that is going to be performing your surgery.
  • Ask the surgeon about his/her enhancement rate. It is important to know the skill level of your
  • surgeon and how often a second procedure is needed.
  • Ask what other refractive procedures that your LASIK surgeon performs. Today there are
  • many types of vision correction procedures. You want to know that your surgeon is qualified to
  • perform them all and will choose the best procedure for your eyes.
  • Ask about your surgeon’s qualifications and how many procedures she/he had performed.
  • Do your research BEFORE scheduling LASIK surgery. Price advertising is not always what it
  • seems. Make sure that the pricing includes the latest technology, your level of prescription, and all the visits that you will need to complete your care.

LASIK is a wonderful procedure and one that can easily change one’s life for the better. You only have one set of precious eyes. Only trust yours to the best!

The Eye Associates – Come in for a FREE LASIK screening with Dr. McCabe or Dr. Foster to find out if you are a candidate.

What is Amblyopia?

Amblyopia, often called ‘lazy eye’ and occurs when the eyes are turned or when one eye has a much different prescription than the other. The brain will “shut off” the image from the turned in or blurry eye. When left untreated, amblyopia can stunt the visual development of the affected eye, resulting in permanent vision impairment. It often occurs during early childhood so detecting the condition early increases the chance of successful treatment, especially if detected before the age of five. The earlier the underlying cause is corrected with spectacles, patching and/or surgery, the more successful the treatment in equalizing vision between the two eyes.