Florida Eye Institute Blog

Is it Coronavius or Pink Eye?

A Virtual Visit with an Ophthalmologist can help.   If you woke up with red, itchy eyes and aren’t sure if you might have something contagious – a telehealth visit with an ophthalmologist could be your first step to fast relief. Red, itchy eyes, with or without drainage, are a symptom of several common eye conditions. Some, like Pink Eye and COVID conjunctivitis, are contagious; others like allergic conjunctivitis, are not. It’s never a good idea to self-diagnose, even with the help of Dr. Google. A telehealth visit with a licensed doctor is a safe and effective alternative to diagnosis and treat a variety of eye symptoms. During the current COVID crisis, it’s no surprise telehealth has taken center stage for many medical specialties, especially ophthalmology. “We now understand much more about the spread of COVID-19,” states Dr. Val Zudans, Board Certified Ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. “Telehealth visits reduce the need for face-to-face, physical exams, protecting both patients and practitioners. This eliminates the risk of contamination from asymptomatic carriers or infectious conjunctivitis.” The power of virtual triage Triage is a recognized strategy for managing healthcare surges. Especially in the age of COVID, reducing face-to-face consultations helps protect patients, doctors, and

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Breakthrough Glaucoma Treatment has Patients Ditching Daily Eye Drops

Glaucoma is a common eye disease that often requires daily eye drops to reduce damaging eye pressure. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the chronic disease, comprises 90% of all cases. Fluid builds up in the front of the eye causing increased pressure on the optic nerve, which is responsible for transmitting images to the brain. This type of glaucoma is often painless but can cause severe vision loss or blindness if not treated properly. The most common therapy for open-angle glaucoma is prostaglandin eye drops. Unfortunately, up to 80% of patients don’t use eye drops as prescribed. Dr. Karen Todd, board-certified ophthalmologist, fellowship-trained glaucoma specialist admits, “One of the biggest treatment barriers for glaucoma patients is the daily management of prescription eye drops. Patients forget to use drops, don’t get drops in correctly, or can’t afford to buy drops altogether. But poor compliance can lead to blindness, which is not something we’re not willing to risk!” So, it was with great anticipation that Dr. Todd was the first physician on the Treasure Coast to perform an in-office procedure using DURYSTA,  a  new dissolvable implant, in July. The tiny implant, no larger than the letter “I” on a penny,

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Dr. Karen Todd First to Offer DURYSTA for Glaucoma Patients on Treasure Coast

Dr. Karen Todd of Florida Eye Institute is the first physician on the Treasure Coast to offer DURYSTA, a sustained release implant for the treatment of open-angle glaucoma. The new technology is a boon for patients who have difficulty using daily eyedrops required to treat the potentially blinding disease. Individuals with cognitive issues and caregivers or with underlying medical conditions like Parkinson’s are especially at risk for missed dosing. Open-angle glaucoma, the most common form of the chronic disease, comprises 90% of cases. Fluid builds up in the front of the eye causing increased pressure which ultimately damages the optic nerve, responsible for transmitting images to the brain This type of glaucoma is often painless but can cause severe vision loss and blindness if not treated. The most common therapy for open-angle glaucoma is prostaglandin eye drops. Unfortunately, up to 80% of patients don’t use eye drops as prescribed. Dr. Todd, board-certified ophthalmologist fellowship trained in glaucoma admits, “The biggest hurdles for glaucoma compliance are patients forgetting to use daily eye drops, not getting the drops in correctly, and not being able to afford the drops. The results of poor compliance can be blindness, not something we want to risk!”

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Diabetes and Vision Loss

Annual Eye Exams are Important for Healthy Vision. According to a large study, 45% of those with diabetes already have some form of eye disease.  Yet, 95% of diabetes related vision loss can be prevented with regular eye exams.  “It is extremely important for anyone with diabetes to have an annual eye exam that includes the dilation of their eyes,”  states Dr. Thomas Baudo, board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained retina specialist with Florida Eye Institute. Since visual symptoms can be one of the first signs of diabetes in many individuals, a dilated eye exam can be a step towards receiving a diagnosis. “It’s just as important for those without a diagnosis of diabetes to have a dilated eye exam as part of their annual wellness routine.” Diabetes affects the entire body through small blood vessels largely concentrated within the extremities, heart, kidneys, and the eyes. Since visual symptoms can be one of the first signs of diabetes in many individuals, a dilated eye exam can be a step towards receiving a diagnosis. “The eyes are full of small vessels that nourish the retina,” Dr. Baudo explains. “When a person’s blood sugars are elevated, one of the first symptoms they experience is

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“How Do I Know if I Have Pink Eye?”

A telehealth visit with an Ophthalmologist can help.   If you woke up with red, itchy eyes and aren’t sure if you might have something contagious – a telehealth visit with an ophthalmologist could be your first step to fast relief. Red, itchy eyes, with or without drainage, are a symptom of several common eye conditions. Some, like Pink Eye and COVID conjunctivitis, are contagious; others like allergic conjunctivitis, are not. It’s never a good idea to self-diagnose, even with the help of Dr. Google and the internet. A telehealth visit with a licensed doctor is a safe and effective alternative to diagnosis and treat a variety of ocular symptoms. It’s no surprise that telemedicine has taken center stage for many medical specialties, especially during the current COVID crisis. “We now understand much more about the spread of COVID-19,” states Dr. Val Zudans, Board Certified Ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. “Telehealth visits reduce the need for face-to-face, physical exams, protecting both patients and practitioners. This eliminates the risk of contamination from asymptomatic carriers or infectious conjunctivitis.” The power of virtual triage Triage is a recognized strategy for managing healthcare surges. Especially in the age of COVID, reducing face-to-face consultations helps

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Erica Magana Achieves Advanced COT Certification

Florida Eye Institute is pleased to announce that Erica Magana has earned advanced designation as a Certified Ophthalmic Technician by the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). Certified Ophthalmic Technician (COT) is a second core designation level that advances an individual from Certified Ophthalmic Assistant (COA) after completing a requisite number of clock hours, passing a rigorous exam, and successfully demonstrating critical assessment skills. The COT examination is given in two parts: a multiple-choice examination consisting of 190 scored questions which is three hours in length and a skill evaluation consisting of seven skills areas which is two hours in length. Magana also holds certification as an Ophthalmic Surgical Assistant (OSA). Achievement of the OSA sub-specialty exemplifies knowledge in the procedures and instrumentation necessary to assist in ophthalmic surgical suites. Magana is the team leader for Dr. Val Zudans in the Cataract Center and has been employed with Florida Eye Institute for over 15 years. Dr. Zudans, Board Certified Ophthalmologist, specializes in no- needle, no-stitch, no-drop cataract surgery, and advanced replacement lenses to help patients eliminate the need for glasses. “We are extremely proud of Erica for completing advanced certification as COT,” states Dr. Zudans. “Florida Eye

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Life a Blur? 5 Things to Know About Cataracts

If life has been a blur lately, it might be more than just the crazy times we live in. You may be developing cataracts. Cataracts often cause cloudy, blurred vision, sensitivity to glare, and trouble driving at night. The good news is research shows cataract surgery greatly improves quality of life, reducing the risk of falls and car accidents. As we grow older, the lens of our eye thickens and becomes cloudy. Eventually, we find it difficult to read street signs or see clearly in low light conditions. Colors may seem dull. All these symptoms may signal cataracts, which affect about 70 percent of people by age 75. If you have any of these or other risk factors, talk to an ophthalmologist. Age isn’t the only risk factor for cataracts. Though most everyone will develop cataracts with age, recent studies show that lifestyle and behavior can influence when and how severely you develop cataracts. Diabetes, extensive exposure to sunlight, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure, and certain ethnicities have all been linked to increased risk of cataracts. Eye injuries, prior eye surgery, and long-term use of steroid medication can also result in cataracts. If you have any of these or other

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Florida Eye Institute Safely Resumes Cataract and ‘Elective’ Surgery

Have you wondered why some surgeries are considered “elective” and why your cataract surgery may have been canceled during the COVID shutdown? According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, ‘elective’ does not necessarily mean ‘optional’.  Elective surgery simply means the procedure can be scheduled in advance. In the case of cataract surgery, that often means when cataract interferes with daily activities like driving, recreation, and work. But delaying cataract surgery may greatly impact patient safety. Studies show an increased risk of car accidents and hip fractures when appropriate cataract surgery is delayed. Recently, elective surgeries were canceled or postponed in Florida due to the Coronavirus pandemic to safeguard patients and to reduce the use of PPE (personal protective equipment) for medical professionals. Postponing scheduled outpatient procedures helped keep PPE available for those professionals working in front line response to COVID-19. The Executive order to resume all procedures in Florida was approved for May 4, 2020. In the coming weeks and months, you will find that additional safety precautions are implemented to mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus including temperature checks, facial coverings, and social distancing in most public settings. If you are ready to reschedule your cataract surgery call (772) 500-2020

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The New Normal for Patient Safety in Eye Care

Eye care and cataract surgery have always been considered safe. In fact, of all out-patient procedures performed in the United States today, cataract surgery remains one of the safest and most frequently performed. A recent study of 200,000 Medicare beneficiaries confirmed that 99.5 percent experienced no severe postoperative complications after cataract surgery. But you may wonder how the current COVID reality changes safety considerations for those seeking eye care and surgery, especially as restrictions on out-patient surgery and medical office visits are lifted throughout the state. Florida Eye Institute is actively implementing current recommendations from the  CDC and the Florida Department of Health as our offices resume full services. Victor Basile, Administrator confirms, “This extraordinary time has fortified our mission to serve all patients, community, and staff with the utmost concern for excellence and safety. We’ve been working nonstop to update our protocols based on the latest advisories from medical experts.” During your next visit, you will notice several new procedures to ensure everyone’s safety and wellbeing. temperature checks for patients and staff entering the facility reduced waiting room capacity for social distancing enhanced cleaning procedures masks for employees in patient care areas patients are asked to wear their own

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Essential Sight Saving Treatments in the Midst of COVID Crisis

Patients with sight limiting diseases like Macular Degeneration know the importance of regular treatments to preserve existing vision. The most common treatments to slow vision loss from wet macular degeneration are anti-VEGF intravitreal injections. These drugs are considered the first-line treatment for all stages of wet macular degeneration and are typically scheduled every 4-6 weeks to maintain effectiveness. That all changed in the past month with the outbreak of COVID-19. Both the American Academy of Ophthalmology and CDC have advised limited medical office visits to minimize risk and exposure to the novel coronavirus for patients and staff. To accommodate the situation, Florida Eye Institute quickly prioritized procedures to continue providing care for their most vulnerable patient populations. “Continuing to treat vision-threatening illness is our top priority even under these difficult circumstances,” confirms Dr. Thomas Baudo, a fellowship-trained retina ophthalmologist at Florida Eye Institute. Retina specialists are frequently on the front lines of urgent care for sight limiting conditions like macular tears, detachments and macular degeneration. Victor Basile, Administrator for the multi-specialty practice adds, “We instituted policies as soon as the CDC recommendations came out. Whereas normally, we see hundreds of patients a day for glaucoma monitoring, corneal disease, cataract consultations

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