Thursday, November 3, 2011

Diabetic Eye Disease Month in Birmingham

Alabama Eye & cataract Center wishes to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. This is an important time to spread the word about this potentially blinding disease. We need to work to help patients avoid the complications of diabetic retinopathy, which blinds over 8,000 Americans each year. The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught and treated in time. A recent study found that more than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year.

As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.

Patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising.

The key to successful treatment of diabetic retinopathy is early detection and intervention. If you or someone you know has diabetes or is even prediabetic please feel free to schedule a diabetic eye examination Alabama Eye & Cataract Center by phoning 205.930.0930.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Cataract & Prostate Cancer Treatment

Men who are being treated for prostate cancer with Androgen Deprivation Therapy (ADT) may be at higher risk for developing Cataracts according to a recent study. The side effects of ADT such as weight gain, insulin resistance and blood lipid level problems have been linked to Cataract formation. Although further prospective study is necessary to truly understand the findings researchers from Karmanos Cancer Institute in Detroit used the Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results Medicare database to analyze Cataract formation in prostate cancer patients.

Please feel free to contact Alabama Eye & Cataract Center to schedule an appointment and learn more about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by calling us at 205.930.0930.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lucentis for Diabetic Eye Disease

There is good news for those impacted by the effects of Diabetes. Recent reports have been favorable for the use of Lucentis Injections to treat a complication of Diabetic Retinopathy called diabetic Macular Edema (DME) a cause of significant vision loss in patients with diabetes. Patients with Diabetic Retinopathy in the form of DME who received the drug experienced rapid and sustained improvement in vision compared to those who received a placebo injection.

Diabetic Macular Edema or DME is the swelling of retina in people with diabetic eye disease called Diabetic Retinopathy, which causes damage to the blood vessels of retina. The DME patients suffers fluid leak from the damaged blood vessel to the central portion of retina, causing it to swell leading to blurred vision, severe vision loss and blindness.

Of the 26 million U.S. people with diabetes, a portion of up to 10 percent tends to develop DME during their lifetime, and up to 75,000 new cases of DME are estimated to develop each year. Currently, DME patients are treated with laser surgery that helps seal the leaky blood vessels to slow the leakage of fluid and reduce the amount of fluid in the retina.

Lucentis is approved for use by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of “Wet” Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and for Macular Edema following Retinal Vein Occlusion. In 2011, Lucentis was approved for treatment of visual impairment due to DME in Europe.

The key to successful treatment of Diabetic Retinopathy is early detection and intervention. If you or someone you know has diabetes or is even prediabetic please feel free to schedule a Diabetic Eye Examination Alabama Eye & Cataract Center by phoning 205.930.0930.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Eye Injury Prevention Month in Birmingham

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center wish to announce that October has been designated Eye Injury Prevention Month by the American Academy of Ophthalmology. When most people go out to mow the lawn, jump-start the car or get ready to do some spring cleaning, the last thing they think about is protecting their eyes, but it should be first on their mind. It is a good idea to think about protecting your eyes from the extraordinary damage often caused by the most ordinary of activities.

Many household chemicals, such as cleaning fluids, detergents and ammonia, are extremely hazardous and can burn the eye's delicate tissues. When using chemicals, always read instructions and labels carefully, work in a well-ventilated area and make sure spray nozzles point away from you and others before spraying. Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly after use.

Before using a lawnmower, power trimmer or edger, check for debris. Stones, twigs and other items can become dangerous projectiles shooting from the blades of a lawnmower, potentially injuring your eyes or those of innocent bystanders. Prevention is the first and most important step in avoiding serious eye injuries, so be sure to protect your eyes with appropriate protective eyewear.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Recovery from Cataract Surgery

Cataract Surgery at Alabama Eye & Surgery Center with Corneal Specialist and Cataract Surgeon Marc Michelson, M.D. is much different than years ago and really quite patient friendly. If you are in generally good health it is most likely that your cataract operation will be performed at one of our affiliated ambulatory surgery centers. These eye surgery facilities are comfortable and efficient and your entire cataract surgery procedure should take only 2-3 hours from the time you check in until the time you check out.

Dr. Michelson uses advanced cataract surgery techniques that typically use “topical eye drop anesthesia” so that for most patients the only anesthesia required are some eye drops along with a tablet to help you relax. Thus, there is really minimal if any “recovery” from the anesthesia used. You are usually feeling “back to normal” by the end of the day of your surgery or certainly by the next morning. With the advanced cataract surgery technique of “small incision phacoemulsification” Dr. Michelson performs, there is only a need to create a tiny incision-often just a few millimeters-through which the cataract is removed and the intraocular lens is implanted. This tiny incision is so small so as not to require any “stitches” or sutures in many cases. Thus the wound healing is very quick. Depending on the type of lens implant that is used it is highly likely that your distance vision will be dramatically improved within 24 hours.

In fact many patients actually are comfortable driving the next day after their cataract operation. If you have a multifocal or accommodating lens implant to correct both your distance and near vision, it might take a bit longer to appreciate the full clarity of the near vision correction. So, it is pretty likely that you will be back to work in a few days and depending on Dr. Michelson’s instructions you should be able to resume all of your normal activities with a couple of days.

Please feel free to contact Alabama Eye & Cataract Center to schedule an appointment and learn more about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by calling us at 205.930.0930.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Monovision LASIK for Near Vision

Presbyopia is a condition whereby the crystalline lens inside your eye that is typically soft and flexible begins to lose that flexibility and thus limits your ability to change focus from far to near and near to far. Patients with presbyopia typically report that their “arms are too short” and that near objects and reading material are becoming fuzzy or blurry.

LASIK is usually used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism and provide clear vision for seeing at a distance. Monovision LASIK is a technique that may be helpful in correcting near vision for some people. With monovision LASIK, Dr. Michelson corrects one eye for distance and one eye for near. Thus, the need for glasses with two different focal lengths is resolved by focusing each eye at a different focal length. Monovision LASIK can be effective for some patients with the need for mild near vision correction. Depending on the amount or length of time you need to close work each day monovision LASIK may be a good alternative.

To find out more about monovision LASIK and near vision correction please feel free to schedule an evaluation, examination and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision-205.969.8100.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LASIK Consultation Importance

Making the decision to have refractive surgery should be an easy and positive experience. At Michelson Laser Vision, Inc., it is important that every patient feel comfortable and confident about their surgery. A one-on-one initial consultation is available for you to ask specific questions about your eyes and to learn about the various procedures available to treat them.  Our refractive surgery coordinator will initiate a screening evaluation to first determine if you are a candidate for refractive surgery.

The initial consultation is the patient’s first glimpse at the quality of service and skill offered by Dr. Michelson, Alabama’s leading expert in laser vision correction.  We encourage patients to perform internet searches and inquire about LASIK, but real comfort with your decision is achieved by forming a trusting relationship with Dr. Michelson and the staff at Michelson Laser Vision, where the patient is our priority.  A one-on-one meeting, encountered in your initial consultation, is a necessary ingredient in making a decision to perform laser vision surgery.  Like any surgery, LASIK is customized to fit your specific needs.  An initial consultation, as well as a thorough examination, will leave you feeling confident and optimistic about your decision to have LASIK.

If you are considering LASIK, let us help you determine the best options for your individual visual needs. Contact Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. at 205-969-8100 for a complimentary consultation.

Friday, August 26, 2011

What’s New in Contact Lenses?

Over the past decade, radical advances have been made in contact lens technology.  It is common knowledge that contacts help correct distance vision in patients with hyperopia or myopia. However, in recent years, contacts have been developed for patients with presbyopia, as well.  There is also a market for specialty contact lenses designed for patients who have keratoconus, corneal injuries, corneal transplants, and high degrees of corneal astigmatism.  All varieties of contact lenses are available to help reach a patient’s specific visual goals.  Patients may undergo contact lens trial fittings to ensure proper fit and to achieve their best vision possible.  Once optimum vision and comfort are established, the patient is ready to purchase their new contact lenses.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Do Cataracts come back?

Once a Cataract is removed it cannot come back. But sometimes there can be a clouding of vision after Cataract Surgery that can give patients the impression that a Cataract has “regrown”. The crystalline lens of the eye is where a Cataract forms. The crystalline lens has a soft protein center and is surrounded by a capsule. A Cataract forms because the protein becomes cloudy. During Cataract Surgery Dr. Michelson uses microscopic instruments to break up and remove the cloudy material as this is what blurs your vision. However, Dr. Michelson usually leaves the “capsule” in place and will actually place the intraocular lens implant (IOL) to correct your vision, inside the capsule. In some patients the capsule become “opacified”-called “posterior capsular opacification”- sometime after surgery leaving the patient’s vision cloudy and often with glare sensitivity, much like the symptoms they had from the Cataract. Fortunately, Dr. Michelson can use a YAG Laser to quickly, safely and effectively create an opening in the capsule along the visual axis which restores the vision almost instantly. This procedure called a “YAG Capsulotomy” takes only a few minutes and is performed using simple eye drop anesthesia without discomfort.

Please feel free to contact Alabama Eye & Cataract Center to schedule an appointment and learn more about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by calling us at 205-930-0930.

Friday, August 19, 2011

LASIK and Monovision

Presbyopia is truly the defining point of becoming middle-aged. Occurring generally by the mid-forties, the eyes slowly looses their focusing power for near objects ushering the dreaded need for reading glasses. Small type print becomes almost impossible to discern without the use of readers or magnifiers. Suddenly, hundreds of pairs of reading glasses spring up in every nook and cranny because you never remember where you left your last pair. LASIK may offer a solution to remedy this problem, not only correct your distance vision, but also to eliminate dependence on reading glasses. You may ask, “Can LASIK also help my near or close up vision?” The answer may be yes, but it will depend on a variety of factors that can only be determined by a thorough evaluation. One solution may be monovision.

Monovision, or blended vision, may be the key to allow patients to see near or tiny print without the need for reading glasses. Monovision is really blended vision where one eye (usually the dominant eye) is corrected for distance, and the non-dominant eye is corrected for near vision. Not everyone will be able to tolerate monovision because the brain may not adapt to each eye focusing at two separate focal points. However, many people function perfectly fine with monovision and do not require glasses for near or distance vision. Therefore, it is important to simulate monovision with contact lenses prior to LASIK to determine if this option will meet your vision needs.

If you are presbyopic and tired of wearing bifocals, consider the option of monovision to alleviate your need for eyeglasses and contacts completely. Dr. Michelson, Alabama’s leading LASIK expert, and the physicians and staff at Michelson Laser Vision, Inc., are trained to help you reach your visual goals. Call today to schedule a complimentary consultation at 205-969-8100.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

How Safe is LASIK Surgery?

The two most important factors determining the safety of Laser Eye Surgery are the laser and instrumentation to be used to perform the treatment and even more so, the skill and experience of the LASIK Surgeon.

“I began performing Laser Eye Surgery for the Laser Vision Correction of nearsightedness as part of the original FDA clinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy of the Excimer Laser. As a matter of routine practice we began performing Laser Vision Correction upon Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval of the Excimer Laser on October 20, 1995. The Excimer Laser was specifically FDA approved for LASIK in 1998. So as of 2011, Laser Eye Surgery for Laser Vision Correction has been performed for just over 15 years and the LASIK procedure has been performed under FDA approval for just over 12 years. It is estimated that some 20 million patients worldwide have had LASIK”, commented Birmingham Corneal Specialist and LASIK Surgeon Marc Michelson, M.D.

LASIK is generally considered one of the most successful and safe surgical procedures of any type of eye surgery. In skilled hands nearsighted patients can expect to achieve 20/40 vision more than 98 percent of the time and uncorrected vision of 20/20 or 20/25 90 percent of the time. The safety record is equally as impressive in that rarely is there vision loss of 20/40 or worse after LASIK which occurs in about only 3 per 1,000 cases and serious complications, such as infection or corneal damage occur even more infrequently in fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases.

There is more to safety than simply the laser device itself. As a practical matter FDA approval does not indicate that a LASIK Surgeon is going to provide a thorough evaluation and consultation, guarantee that LASIK Surgeons will provide a complete review of the possible risks and complications of LASIK or that the LASIK Surgeon will use the appropriate screening and decision criteria to be sure that a patient is in fact a good candidate for LASIK or any Laser Eye Surgery. Thus with regard to LASIK safety, choosing the best LASIK Surgeon is the most important decision a patient makes in deciding to have LASIK and is a significant part of making LASIK a safe and effective procedure. You should not choose a LASIK Surgeon based on slick advertising or low price. You should choose a LASIK Surgeon based on reputation in the community, the length of time they have been performing LASIK and the comfort and rapport established during your consultation. While the equipment used may provide a slight advantage or disadvantage in safety, it is ALWAYS the skill and experience of the surgeon that contributes the most to the overall safety of Laser Eye Surgery for the correction of nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism.

The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us at 205-969-8100.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

LASIK Frequently Asked Questions

When considering LASIK surgery, there are many questions and concerns that you will have in your quest to have perfect vision without glasses or contact lenses. A free consultation is a phone call away at Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. for anyone desiring to receive additional information and education about LASIK, refractive surgery, and the risks involved with laser vision correction. Here are some of the more frequently asked questions and answers:

• Does everyone see 20/20 after surgery?

If you can see 20/20 or better with glasses or contacts you will have the potential to see 20/20 or better after LASIK. There are risks associated with the procedure. If you are selected as a good candidate for LASIK at Michelson Laser Vision, Inc, those risks are very low. The percentage of patients who obtain 20/20 or better after LASIK by Dr. Michelson currently exceeds 98%. The patient’s best visual acuity determines how well the patient will see after surgery. In other words, if you are incapable of obtaining 20/20 vision LASIK can only improve you to the best level of your potential before surgery.

• Does having LASIK force me have to wear reading glasses sooner?

No. In people who have perfect vision, beginning in their mid-forties, reading glasses become necessary to see close up due to changes of the lens of the eye making it more difficult to change focus from distance to near. This is called Presbyopia. LASIK surgery eliminates nearsightedness, farsightedness, and/or astigmatism allowing you to have perfect vision. The timing of the development of Presbyopia will determine when reading glasses are required for near vision.

• Does LASIK cause Cataracts?

No. LASIK is performed on the corneal surface of the eye. The laser energy is totally absorbed in the first few microns of corneal tissue and does not penetrate into the eye. Cataracts are only formed in the lens of the eye when the lens becomes cloudy or opaque resulting in diminished vision especially at night. LASIK however, does not prevent one from developing cataracts which will then require cataract surgery with an intraocular lens implant.

• Are all LASIK procedures the same?

No. There are two methods to perform LASIK. The creation of a thin corneal flap is performed to allow the laser to treat the cornea. The flap can be generated by a mechanical blade called a microkeratome or a femtosecond laser. The femtosecond laser fires at a pulse rate of a millionth of a billionth of a second creating an extremely thin and reproducibly precise corneal flap. Otherwise known as “Bladeless LASIK” the femtosecond laser is the choice of corneal flap generation for LASIK at Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. Reproducibility and precision are the ingredients for excellent outcomes.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Meet Veronica N. Oltmanns, O.D.

Veronica N. Oltmanns, O.D. was born in Newport News, Virginia. She attended Old Dominion University in Norfolk and graduated with a B.S. in Biology in 1996. She attended Pennsylvania College of Optometry in Philadelphia where she graduated with a Doctor of Optometry degree in 2000. It was there that she met her husband. Upon graduation, the married couple returned to Newport News.

Dr. Oltmanns began her Optometric career at 20/20 Eyecare, Inc. After two years she then joined Clearvision Optometry advancing her clinical experience in comprehensive eye care and contact lenses. In June of 2007, Dr. Oltmanns, her husband, and two children moved to Gainesville, Florida where her husband Dr. Matthew Oltmanns, began his residency Ophthalmology at the University of Florida. Dr. Oltmanns joined the faculty at the Gainesville Veterans Administration Hospital, and while working in the Ophthalmology clinic she gained invaluable experience with a multitude of clinical ocular pathology. In June of 2010, the Oltmanns moved to Birmingham, Alabama where she began working with Marc Michelson, M.D. of Alabama Eye and Cataract Center, P.C. at UAB Highlands and Michelson Laser Vision, Inc. These two practices specialize in laser vision correction (LASIK), vision restoration with cataract surgery and management of complicated anterior segment surgery of the eye. Dr. Oltmanns is available for appointments for both new and existing patients for general eye exams, cataract evaluations, LASIK evaluations and a variety of eye-related problems and diseases.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Children's Eye Health Month in Birmingham

Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center wishes to announce that August has been designated as Children’s Eye Health and Safety Month by Prevent Blindness America. Eye and vision problems affect one in twenty preschoolers and one in four school aged children. Parents should be aware that it is possible for their children to have a serious vision problem without even being aware of it. Infants should be screened for common eye problems during their regular pediatric appointments and vision testing should be conducted for all children starting at around three years of age. If there is a family history of eye problems or if an eye problem is apparent, it is important to bring it to the attention of and eye doctor so that they can advise the parents about when and how often their child’s eyes should be examined.

Among the conditions an eye doctor will look for are amblyopia (lazy eye), strabismus (crossed eyes), ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid), color deficiency (color blindness) and refractive errors (nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism). Please feel free to phone Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at 205-930-0930 to schedule a consultation and examination.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dry Eye and LASIK

After LASIK some patients may experience dry eyes. Dry eyes may result in blurred vision and mild discomfort. Dry eyes following LASIK can generally be managed with artificial tears but some patients may require more intensive therapy. Fish oil tablets containing Omega-3 fatty acids taken by mouth will generally relieve the symptoms of dry eyes following LASIK. Additionally, patients may be placed on Restasis eye drops to improve tear production and help relieve symptoms.

It is important that you inform your doctor if you have previously been diagnosed to have dry eyes prior to considering LASIK surgery. Patients with tear gland dysfunction- caused by Sjogren’s syndrome, scarring on the surface of the eye or Omega-3 deficiency may not be considered good candidates for LASIK. Other potential contraindications include:

• increased eye exposure as a result of thyroid dysfunction
• eyelid oil gland dysfunction
• inflammation of the eyelid
• decreased corneal sensation- resulting from wear of contact lenses,
  diabetes, viruses, and corneal surgery procedures

A patient considering LASIK should have a thorough examination to ensure they do not currently suffer from acute or chronic dry eye. If a patient does have this condition, a dry eye therapy regime should be implemented until the symptoms subside. Discuss this information with your LASIK surgeon to determine which regime will best fit your eye care needs.

If you suffer with dry eyes, this condition may not keep you from becoming a viable LASIK candidate. Our experienced physicians and staff at Michelson Laser Vision will take every measure necessary to treat your dry eye condition in preparation for LASIK. If your condition improves to a level that is considered satisfactory, Dr. Michelson will determine if it is safe to proceed with LASIK surgery. Feel free to contact our office at 205-.969-8100 to schedule a free consultation.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Alabama Eye and Cataract Center Staff: Verda Logan

Verda is a Front Desk Receptionist at Alabama Eye and Cataract Center. She joined Dr. Michelson’s practice three years ago with 34 years of experience in the medical industry. Her work in medical transcription, coding, and administration, has exposed her to a wide range of responsibilities within a medical practice. Verda says her favorite part of her job is talking to and connecting personally with patients, and her position now allows her to have that one on one experience. When a patient checks out after their appointment, they leave not only with a feeling of confidence in the practice, but also with a true sense of hospitality.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Eye Tests: Don’t be Intimidated

Many patients are nervous about going to the doctor, even for a routine check-up. Some fear that a disease or untreatable problem may be discovered. Rest assured, you will be made to feel comfortable and at ease during your eye exam by the physicians and staff at Alabama Eye and Cataract Center located at UAB Highlands! A comprehensive eye exam will provide accurate and detailed information about your eyes with a comfortable and stress-free experience.

Dr. Michelson utilizes the most advanced and reliable equipment and techniques available today. Just as you see the world with your eyes, we can capture detailed information about your eyes to evaluate and diagnose many eye conditions. Advanced optical cameras, like the Oculus Pentacam, allow us to analyze your cornea or cataract, if one is present. The topographer is another camera that maps out the surface of the cornea, identifying any astigmatism or aberrations that are present. These devices are utilized to help choose a lens implant when considering cataract surgery. Glaucoma no longer involves a fist-clenching puff to the eye, but rather a light being shined into the eye, while the patient sits relaxed. We have even had patients say that the visual field test is like playing a game! These are all non-invasive tests that deliver remarkable results.

Dr. Michelson and his staff will determine the necessary evaluations for your condition, and make sure that you are smiling through it all! You can be at ease knowing the dedication we have to our patients, and the confidence we have in our practices.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

LASIK Consultation-What to Expect

“When you come to Michelson Laser Vision for your consultation we carefully evaluate you, your eye health and your eyes to make sure you are a good candidate who is going get the best possible results”, said Marc Michelson, M.D., Medical Director of Michelson Laser Vision.

The only reliable way to determine whether Laser Vision Correction or Laser Eye Surgery of any type is going to help you achieve your personal vision correction goals is to have a thorough consultation.

Your LASIK consultation should consist of a number of clinical tests including:

 Measurement of your uncorrected visual acuity

 Measurement of your visual acuity with your current eyeglasses or contact lenses

 Optical measurement of the current prescription that you are wearing in your eyeglasses and/or a review of your current contact lens prescription

 A thorough review of your medical and eye history including all prescription and non-prescription medication that you have been or are currently taking

 A refraction-automated or manual-to determine your current prescription

 A topography measurement to digitally map the shape of your cornea

 A pachymetry measurement of the thickness of your cornea

 A measurement of pupil size

 A microscopic evaluation of the health of your cornea and tear film including testing for dry eyes.

From this testing it can be determined whether you should proceed to the final level of testing whereby the actual preoperative measurements are taken for your treatment and a thorough examination of the Retina and Optic Nerve can be performed.

In addition to the actual clinical testing, your LASIK evaluation will include a full discussion of LASIK risks, benefits and complications and a thorough analysis of the personal goals and objectives that you feel are important to your success. The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us at 205-969-8100.

Friday, July 15, 2011

LASIK and Astigmatism Misinformation

Many patients are misinformed that astigmatism prevents them from having laser vision correction. Actually astigmatism is very easily treated with LASIK allowing patients to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses. A great example is a patient who was told he was not a candidate for laser vision correction because of astigmatism. He had an excess of 2.00 Diopters of astigmatism and underwent LASIK by Dr. Michelson with the Wavelight Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q Excimer Laser. The Wavelight Allegretto Wave® Eye-Q Excimer Laser is the latest in laser technology capable of correcting up to 6.00 diopters of astigmatism in a single treatment.

The day following the LASIK procedure, our patient was elated with visual acuity of 20/15 in both eyes. The astigmatism was completely eliminated and his vision was better than 20/20.

Dr. Michelson and his highly trained staff ensure that patients who are interested in LASIK are indeed excellent candidates before undergoing laser vision correction surgery. If you think you have too much astigmatism to have laser vision correction and you want to truly determine if you are in fact a good candidate for LASIK surgery, contact Michelson Laser Vision at 205-969-8100 to schedule a screening evaluation. As always the consultations are free and you have nothing to lose, but possibly so much to gain.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Alabama Eye and Cataract Center Staff: Alena Samal

Alabama Eye and Cataract Center brings excellence from around the world! Ophthalmic Technician, Alena Samal, graduated with honors from Minsk Medical College in Belarus, a small country in Europe. Her advanced degree in Nursing led her to work as an Ophthalmic Nurse for seven years before moving to the United States in 2008. She joined the staff at University of Alabama in Birmingham, assisting in research for the Department of Neurology. In November of 2010, Alena joined Dr. Michelson’s practice to further her experience and interest in Ophthalmology. Her expertise in the field allowed her to quickly adapt and support the staff, while her kind personality has made a positive impression on patients. Alena hopes to someday attend optometry school and earn a degree as a Doctor of Optometry.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month in Birmingham

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center and Michelson Laser Vision wish to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated July as National Fireworks Eye Safety Awareness Month.

Contrary to what you might think, there is no safe way for nonprofessionals to use fireworks. It is only safe to enjoy the splendor and excitement of fireworks at a professional display. According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireworks are involved in approximately 10,000 injuries per year that are treated in U.S. hospital emergency rooms. Of those, 2/3 occurred during the one month period surrounding the July 4th holiday. It is important to note that

• Eyes were the Second Most Commonly Injured Part of the Body!
• Males Were Injured 3x More than Females.
• Approximately 25% of Injuries are to Children Under 15.

Fireworks and celebrations go together, especially during the Fourth of July. But there are precautions parents can take to prevent these injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks. Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous. If an eye accident does occur, what should I know?

• Do not rub the eye.
• Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
• Do not apply pressure to the eye itself- but protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the child's hand.
• Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the child to the emergency room at once.
• Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine.

Once you are seen in the emergency room please feel free to have them call Alabama Eye & Cataract Center or Michelson Laser Vision as we always have an eye doctor “on call” to provide consultation and continued care for you.

Friday, July 1, 2011

LASIK and PRK Recovery

When most of the general population considers laser eye surgery procedures for refractive correction, LASIK is what comes to mind. LASIK however, is not the only method of refractive corrective surgery. LASIK stands for Laser In-Situ Keratomileusis. During LASIK an incision is made “under” the corneal flap using either a femtosecomd laser or microkeratome. The corneal flap helps to alleviate the amount of discomfort the patient experiences, and recovery time is usually one day, which is the day of the procedure. Photorefractive Keratectomy, otherwise known as PRK is an alternative to LASIK that does not require the generation of a corneal flap. In PRK, the “surface” epithelial layer of the cornea is removed. After removal, the excimer laser is applied to the cornea to reshape the cornea and change eye’s focusing power. The epithelial surface layer regenerates in a few days. Because of the slower epithelial regeneration, patients have a longer recovery period of an estimated 3 to 4 days. The amount of time for the patient to regain their best visual acuity is about four to five days. In contrast, after LASIK surgery, patients report having a visual acuity of 20/20, or even 20/15 within 24 hours of having surgery. PRK patients may have about two weeks of vision fluctuations before obtaining their visual acuities of 20/20 or 20/15. The delayed visual acuity for PRK patients is due to the time of surface regeneration after the surgical procedure. The final outcomes between LASIK and PRK however, are not significantly different. There are many patients who might be better candidates for PRK over LASIK.

Dr. Michelson will help you choose which method best suits your eyes and your needs.

When having refractive surgery evaluation it is important to understand which procedure you qualify for and why. During a consultation at Michelson Laser Vision, the staff and physicians will explain the various procedures and why you may be a candidate for either procedure. To schedule your complimentary consultation to understand the differences with your vision and visual needs, contact our office at 205-969-8100.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Cataract Evaluations-What to Expect

If you are considering cataract surgery at Alabama Eye and Cataract Center, you will undergo a series of special testing to evaluate your eyes. Patients scheduled for a cataract evaluation can expect a multitude of tests to determine exactly which intraocular lens will best suit their needs. Today’s more advanced intraocular lens technology gives the patient the option to choose between the correction of astigmatism and/or presbyopia allowing patients to see both distance and near without the aid of glasses or contact lens. Careful screening of patients is necessary to determine the best choice of lens.

It is important for Dr. Michelson to understand the patient’s personal goals for vision correction; just exactly what do they expect after the cataract surgery? People have different visual demands for their jobs, retirement, or leisure. While many are encumbered with long hours of computer work and extensive reading, others enjoy fine craftwork, reading the newspaper, or competing in sports. All require different levels of sight. Designing your vision following cataract surgery and choosing the right implant for your needs requires thorough evaluation and analysis to assist you with your desired goals.

Cataract testing will include:

1. Visual acuity testing distance and near
2. Refraction
3. Contrast/Glare sensitivity
4. Keratometry
5. Topography analysis
6. Pentacam analysis
7. Lenstar optical biometry or immersion biometry (A-scan)
8. Slit lamp exam
9. Dilated fundus exam

Once your eye exam is completed by the doctor, he or she will discuss your options. Together, you will plan the next steps to achieve your goal for your best vision.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cataract Surgery-Do I Still Need Glasses?

“When I perform Cataract Surgery for patients I have 2 main goals. The first is to remove the cloudy crystalline lens which is actually an optical component of the eye that provides focusing power. The second goal is to replace the optical and focusing power by implanting an intraocular lens (IOL) to provide the correct amount of focusing power to allow you to see clearly,” commented Marc Michelson, M.D. of Alabama Eye & Cataract Center.

If you wore glasses because you were nearsighted, farsighted or had astigmatism before you developed a Cataract it is possible for Dr. Michelson to use a carefully calculated IOL power or even special IOL that can correct astigmatism so that you may not need to wear eyeglasses to see at distance after your surgery. Today, it is even possible for Dr. Michelson to select IOLs that can correct both distance and near vision so that you can decrease, or even eliminate, your dependence on bifocals and reading glasses after Cataract Surgery.

If you think you have a Cataract or have been told you have a Cataract and would like to be less dependent on glasses it is worthwhile to schedule a consultation at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center to learn more about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery and Lens Implants by calling 205.930.0930.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Blade Free All Laser LASIK Advantages

The evolution of LASIK has since FDA approval in 1999 has been nothing short of remarkable. The first LASIK procedures were performed by creating a thin superficial corneal “flap or cap” with an instrument known as a microkeratome or “blade”. The microkeratome is a sophisticated device with a mechanical blade that oscillates at a high rate of speed creating a thin flap of corneal tissue about 150 microns thick. The flap would then be elevated exposing the inner cornea. Next, the excimer laser treatment would be directed to the exposed surface of the cornea to reshape the eye. The flap would then be repositioned and allowed to heal. The advantage of LASIK was the fast healing time of the flap allowing rapid return of vision within hours of the procedure. Despite the good outcomes, many complications of LASIK surgery were related to the flap created by a mechanical microkeratome.

Since approval of LASIK in 1999 by the FDA, newer and more sophisticated methods hare now employed to create of the corneal flap that are much safer, more precise, reproducible than flaps created by the microkeratome. ALL LASER “Blade Free” LASIK has evolved and is now incorporated in all LASIK procedures at Michelson Laser Vision. The femtosecond laser fires at speed of 10-15 seconds to create corneal flaps as thin as 90 microns with incredible precision and reproducibility. The femtosecond laser reduces variability and results in better outcomes. Dr. Michelson prides himself on having the latest state-of-the-art technology and equipment and remains a leader in the field of LASIK and refractive surgery.

For the ultimate in blade free procedures, Dr. Michelson currently uses the Femtosecond Laser known as Ziemer, to create “blade free” corneal flaps. The Ziemer alleviates the need to use blades for LASIK.

The femtosecond laser produces millions of tiny submicroscopic closely spaced gas bubbles inside the cornea to aid the surgeon in lifting of the “cap or flap”. An additional advantage of the femtosecond laser is the capability of allowing more patients who might not have been a good candidate for LASIK with a microkeratome to become good candidates for LASIK with the femtosecond laser. People who previously were told that they were not viable candidates for LASIK because their corneas were too thin should be re-evaluated. Since the flaps generated by the femtosecond laser are only 90 microns thick, patients who were told their corneas were too thin may now experience the joy of not depending on eyeglasses or contacts for their vision. If you or someone you know were previously not a viable candidate for LASIK, consider having a free consultation to determine if this technology will enable you to join others in breaking free from the dependency of contacts and eyeglasses by contacting Michelson Laser Vision at 205-969-8100.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Good LASIK Candidates-Who Are They?

“Many many patients from Birmingham and throughout Alabama come see us wanting LASIK. Our first responsibility is to make sure that they are good candidates for LASIK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery for vision correction”, said Marc Michelson, M.D., Corneal Specialist, LASIK Surgeon and Medical Director of Michelson Laser Vision.

The desire or the need to be free of the hassle of eyeglasses or contact lenses for seeing at distance motivates millions of people-just like you-to consider LASIK. Thoughts of being able wake up and see the alarm clock clearly-and just get up and go, have great appeal for anyone who depends on glasses or contacts. But, LASIK is not for everyone. Here are some things to think about to help you determine if you might be a potential candidate for LASIK.

 The great majority of patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism are potential candidates for LASIK.

Good LASIK candidates are at least 18 years of age or older and have stable vision. This means that their eyeglass or contact lens prescription has not changed much in the last year or so. Many people do not have "stable" vision until 21 years of age, however so each person is a bit different.

 Good LASIK candidates have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any other eye diseases. They have normal corneal shapes and thickness as well as healthy tears.

 The best LASIK candidates are those with a lifestyle, activities or occupation in which they are dissatisfied with their contact lenses or glasses.

The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us at 205-969-8100.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Intraocular Lens Implants

Intraocular Lens Implants, Intraocular Lenses, or IOLs as they are more commonly known are artificial lenses that are used to replace natural lenses during Cataract Surgery that have become clouded with Cataracts. They can also be used as a solution for people without Cataracts who suffer from Presbyopia a condition in which the crystalline lens of the eye becomes less flexible, thus losing its ability to focus on near objects. There are many types of Lens Implants that we use at Michelson Laser Vision and Alabama Eye & Cataract Center.

Monofocal vs. Multifocal Lens Implants
Traditional Lens Implants or Monofocal IOLs are able to improve vision at one distance (intermediate, far, or near) only. Dr. Michelson uses Multifocal Lens Implants to help presbyopic patients who are having problems with their near vision see more clearly at a range of distance. This advanced IOL technology allows Dr. Michelson to replace the eye’s natural lens with a new, artificial lens that can help restore visual clarity to near, intermediate and distance vision.

Astigmatism Correcting Toric Lens Implants
People with astigmatism before their Cataract Surgery will have to wear eyeglasses or have additional surgery after the Cataract is removed in order to fully correct their vision unless they elect to have an astigmatism correcting toric lens implanted as part of their Cataract Surgery. “If freedom from glasses for distance vision is important to you, you now have a better option. The unique design of a toric IOL makes it possible to reduce or eliminate astigmatism and significantly improve your uncorrected distance vision after cataract Surgery,” said Dr. Michelson.

Spherical Aberration and Cataracts
A type of visual distortion that is common to patients with Cataracts is called spherical aberration. Spherical aberrations are generally associated with:

• Blurriness
• Halos
• Loss of contrast
• Poor night vision

Dr. Michelson uses Aspheric Lens Implants rather than traditional spherical lens implants for his patients as they provide enhanced clarity, improved image quality and better contrast sensitivity that is especially noticeable in dim illumination or at dusk.

Please feel free to schedule an appointment and contact us with your questions about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by calling Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at 205-930-0930.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

LASIK or PRK-Which is Best for Me?

“Both LASIK and PRK are excellent Laser Eye Surgery procedures for vision correction when they are used to treat appropriate patients with healthy eyes who want to decrease their dependency or even eliminate eyeglasses or contacts for seeing at a distance”, said Birmingham LASIK Surgeon and Corneal Specialist Marc Michelson, M.D. “While the long term visual results of both PRK and LASIK are pretty much identical, there are some differences that we always discuss with our patients”.

Patients who have LASIK may have very slightly reduced contrast sensitivity in dim illumination. If one uses extremely sensitive clinical measuring methods they can sometimes find a slight reduction in “low contrast” vision. Often it is so slight that the patient does not notice it except in the testing conditions or in very extreme instances of reduced contrast situations such as driving at dusk in the rain. Thus it is a limited problem for most patients.

The real differences between PRK and LASIK are based on the fact that PRK is a “surface laser treatment” and LASIK is a “lamellar laser treatment.” PRK is performed on the surface of the cornea whereas LASIK is performed between the layers of the cornea. “To do a LASIK surgery I use a 3-step procedure. First I use a laser to create the “flap”. Then I will gently fold the flap back and apply the laser and then finally I will replace the flap in its original position”, said Dr. Michelson. To perform a PRK is a single step procedure, just applying the laser. “Any procedure with multiple steps has a greater risk of complications. “Fortunately the risks, side effects and complications of LASIK are relatively few and minor so that if we tell you that you are a good candidate the risks are minor.” So, PRK does offer a safer risk profile because it is a single step procedure. However one of the not so subtle differences is that because it is a lamellar procedure, LASIK does not disturb the surface of the cornea during treatment. This provides patients with a much faster visual recovery and significantly less discomfort than PRK. This is why from a consumer perspective patients have tended to want LASIK eye surgery more than PRK. They can get back to pretty much normal activities within a couple of days without any real pain-just some mild discomfort-and with good vision. Most LASIK patients are able to pass a drivers test with 24-48 hours of their laser treatment. PRK patients often experience moderate discomfort that can last a few days and depending on the degree of their prescription can take a week or so to achieve good functional comfortable vision.

The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK, PRK or any type of Laser Eye Surgery is to have an evaluation, examination and consultation at Michelson Laser Vision. Please feel free to schedule an appointment by calling us at 205-969-8100.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center Cataract Awareness Month

Alabama Eye & Cataract Center wishes to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated June as National Cataract Awareness Month. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness worldwide. About 20.5 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans develop cataracts by age 80.
Many patients do not actually know that a cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. They need to understand that cataracts are not a growth or a film over the eye. For many patients cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision. The most common symptoms that bother patients with cataracts include:

• blurring of vision
• sensitivity to light and glare
• double vision in one eye
• poor night vision
• fading or yellowing of colors
• frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions.

 When cataracts do begin to interfere with daily activities or with patient comfort and safety they can be treated surgically. Cataract Surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Today at Alabama Eye & Cataract Center Dr. Michelson uses the full range of Intraocular Lens Implants (IOL) available that allow us to correct near vision as well as distance vision without requiring bifocals or reading glasses for the vast majority of patients as well as correct astigmatism. Please feel free to contact us with your questions about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery or Lens Implants by Alabama Eye & Cataract Center at 205-930-0930.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Misinformation on LASIK and Astigmatism

Many patients are misinformed that astigmatism prevents them from having laser vision correction.  Actually astigmatism is very easily treated with LASIK allowing patients to see without eyeglasses or contact lenses. A great example is a patient who was told he was not a candidate for laser vision correction because of astigmatism. He had an excess of 2.00 diopters of astigmatism and underwent LASIK by Dr. Michelson with the Allegretto Wavelight Excimer Laser.  The Allegretto Wavelight is the latest in laser technology capable of correcting up to 6.00 diopters of astigmatism in a single treatment. 

The day following the LASIK procedure, our patient was elated with visual acuity of 20/15 in both eyes. The astigmatism was completely eliminated and his vision was better than 20/20.

Dr. Michelson and his highly trained staff ensure that patients who are interested in LASIK are indeed excellent candidates before undergoing laser vision correction surgery.  Therefore, if you think you have too much astigmatism to have laser vision correction, and you want to truly determine if you are in fact a good candidate for LASIK surgery, contact Michelson Laser Vision at 205 969-8100 to schedule a screening evaluation.  As always the consultations are free and you have nothing to lose, but possibly so much to gain.