Blog of Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates

SERVING TOMS RIVER, BRICK, MARLBORO AND NEARBY AREAS IN NEW JERSEY

soft contact lenses hard contact lenses new jersey eye specialists If you wear glasses but are looking to make the switch to contact lenses, you may have wondered if soft or hard contacts are right for you. Maybe you enjoy sports or outdoor activities that make wearing glasses difficult. Or you’re just tired of misplacing or breaking your glasses. Whatever the reason, there are advantages to both type of contact lenses, and depending on your lifestyle and preference both can be a great solution for clearer vision.

Soft contact lenses are the most popular choice when it comes to deciding on contact lenses. Generally made of a flexible plastic, soft contacts are more comfortable than hard lenses but can be more fragile. With a variety of options for extended or daily wear lenses, soft contacts give you more control over how often you can change out your lenses. Other advantages of soft contacts include:

  • Offer disposable lenses in daily, weekly, or monthly versions
  • Stay in place on the eye better
  • Easier to adjust
  • Correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism
  • Great for active lifestyles

Hard contact lenses are a rigid lens that is made of a gas-permeable material to allow oxygen to pass through and reach the eyes. The two main types of hard lenses are conventional hard lenses (PMMA) and rigid gas-permeable lenses (RGP). Hard contacts are generally used to correct refractive errors on the eye, including astigmatism, and can help slow down the development of nearsightedness in young and adult wearers. Other advantages of hard contacts include:

  • Relatively inexpensive compared to soft lenses
  • Offer crisp vision
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Retain their shape
  • Available as multifocal and bifocal

If you’re tired of hiding behind bulky glasses and want to learn more about the various types of contact lenses available, call Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates at 732-349-5622 to schedule an appointment today. We have four convenient locations in Marlboro, Toms River, Brick, and Barnegat, New Jersey.

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February 27, 2017

candidate for contact lenses new jersey eye doctor ophthalmologist If you have vision problems that require you to wear glasses you may have at one time considered switching to contact lenses. Many people who wear glasses wish to eliminate the hassle of dealing with glasses but are unsure if they’re a candidate for contacts. At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates we understand the concerns many have regarding contacts but want to assure those who may be interested that we have the knowledge and experience to help you make the best decision for your vision.

Contacts are great for those who play sports or work in an environment that makes wearing glasses difficult. They’re also great solutions for those who are not candidates for LASIK. But while you may have considered switching to contacts, it’s important to know that not everyone is a candidate, as certain factors can affect if they’re right for you. Certain factors that may inhibit you from wearing contacts include:

  • If you suffer from chronic eye infections
  • Have dry eyes
  • Have problems with your cornea
  • Work in an environment that has particles, chemical fumes, or other noxious vapors (note that you can still wear contacts but it’s recommended to remove them in this type of environment)

If you’re curious about switching to contacts, our experienced eye doctors can talk you through any concerns and questions you may have. If you’re a candidate we will provide you with information on how to insert and remove your lenses safely and easily and how to care for your lenses so that they continue to help you see clearly.

Contact Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates at (732) 349-5622 today to schedule your consultation. We proudly serve the areas of Marlboro, Toms River, Brick, and Barnegat, New Jersey.

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February 08, 2017

Myopia (nearsightedness) occurs  because the clear front cover of the eye (cornea) has too much curvature. As a result, light entering the eye focuses incorrectly, making distant objects look blurred. While there is evidence that this “refractive error” is hereditary, there is research indicating that performing too much close-up work may also influence myopia development. Because myopia is reaching epidemic proportions among children in urban areas of the East and Southeast Asia  in particular, Chinese researchers sought to see what difference it might make to add one 40-minute outdoor session to young school children’s days. After three years, those playing outside regularly realized a 23% reduction in the development of myopia over children  who didn’t get the extra outdoor time.  

P.S. Being outdoors may help children focus their vision more on long distances, thereby reducing the incidence of myopia.

  

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April 13, 2016

Because glaucoma may initially cause no symptoms, it is important to detect it early with a comprehensive eye exam. At that point, the eye doctor will carefully inspect the optic nerve at the back of the eye and measure eye pressure. Both “open-angle glaucoma” and “closed-angle glaucoma” involve elevated inner eye pressure. However, in about one-third of all cases, eye pressure remains in the normal range, but optic nerve damage still occurs. Because “normal-tension glaucoma” can still result in optic nerve damage, it is important that it be treated. Research shows that, even if a patient’s eye pressure is still in the normal range, lowering the pressure can prevent optic nerve damage from worsening.    

P.S. Treatment for glaucoma to improve the eye’s natural drainage or create a new route for drainage may include medications, laser treatment, or eye surgery.

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March 22, 2016

Over the course of the most recent year  for which there is available data, over 250,000 children under the age of 12 were treated for toy-related eye injuries in emergency rooms across the United States. Of particular concern is the related finding that children’s eye injuries from non-powdered guns (such as BB guns, pellet guns, airsoft guns, and paintball guns) increased by 511 percent over a recent two-year period, when 3,000 children received treatment for such injuries. The most common injuries sustained by these children were corneal abrasions (scratches on the outer surface of the eye) and “hyphema” (pooling of blood in the front of the eye). The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends against giving projectile-propelling toys to children.

P.S. When purchasing sports equipment for children, be sure to include protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses that is appropriate to the sport.

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March 14, 2016

“Uveitis” is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the “uvea,” which includes the iris (the colored portion of the eye); the ciliary body (which produces fluid, aqueous humor, inside the eye); and the choroid (which provides nutrition to the retina). While the most common type of uveitis involves inflammation of the iris called “iritis” (anterior uveitis), there are many types of uveitis, each of which is classified by where the inflammation occurs in the eye. Causes of this eye inflammation often remain unknown and often occur in healthy people. In other cases, an underlying autoimmune disorder or infection may be the cause. Symptoms, which include blurred vision, floaters, and eye pain, warrant an immediate eye exam.   

P.S. If left untreated, severe cases of uveitis can potentially lead to cataracts, fluid in the retina, glaucoma, retinal detachment, or vision loss.

 

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March 02, 2016

If there is one nutrient that is important for healthy eyes, it is zinc. This essential trace mineral plays a vital role in producing melanin (a protective pigment in the eyes). Zinc deficiency has been linked with impaired vision, poor night vision, and cataracts. Zinc is also recommended for people diagnosed as being at high risk for “age-related macular degeneration” (AMD) or who are already experiencing the early stages of AMD. With all this in mind, adequate daily intake of zinc through diet, nutritional supplements, or fortified foods is encouraged for good eye health. Good dietary sources of zinc include red meat, oysters and other seafood, eggs, poultry, wheat germ, mixed nuts, black-eyed peas, tofu, and baked beans.

P.S. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has established a dietary reference intake for zinc of 11 mg/day for males and 8 mg/day for females. Higher doses (beyond 100 mg.) should not be taken without consulting with a doctor.

 

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February 29, 2016

If you develop a lump on your eyelid, it could be either a “stye” or a “chalazion.” A stye occurs when an oil or sweat gland in the eyelid (usually in an eyelid follicle) becomes infected with bacteria (i.e., Staphylococcus aurus). Characterized by a small yellowish spot inside an inflamed red pimple, styes occur on the outside of the eyelid and are more painful than chalazia. A chalazion occurs when a “meibomian” or other sebaceous (oil) gland in the eyelid becomes blocked and triggers an immune response. The result is a firm, roundish, and (usually) painless lump, which more commonly forms on the upper eyelid. Never squeeze a stye or a chalazion. Medical treatment may be required. 

P.S. A stye is often professionally treated  by pulling out the affected eyelash(es) to allow for drainage. Chalazia may be treated with corticosteroid injections, incision, or surgical removal.

 

 

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February 22, 2016

While ready-made drugstore reading glasses are quite inexpensive and available without an eye exam, they only offer the same degree of correction in both lenses, and the optical center of the lenses is not customized to each wearer. These off-the-rack readers are essentially two magnifying lenses mounted in an eyeglass frame. They are not a good option for people who need a different correction in each eye or who have astigmatism (irregularity in the curvature of the cornea). Prescription reading glasses, on the other hand, are not only personalized to each wearer, but they also come with the benefit of a comprehensive eye exam, which is important for detecting other age-related conditions and diseases that pose a threat  to vision.

P.S. Prescription bifocals, trifocals, and progressive lenses (“no-line bifocals”) combine needed correction for distance viewing with near correction for reading in a single set of lenses.

 

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February 18, 2016

By 2020, an estimated 43 million Americans will be at risk for significant vision loss or blindness from age-related eye diseases such as cataracts, diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration.  This number represents an increase of more than 50 percent over the current number of Americans with these vision-robbing diseases and conditions. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that adults with no signs or risk factors for eye disease undergo a baseline eye-disease screening  at age 40, which is the time when early signs of disease and changes in vision may begin to occur. Individuals with risks of, or symptoms for, eye disease are advised to schedule eye exams even earlier. A baseline evaluation determines future screenings.

P.S. A baseline evaluation of eye health is not intended as a replacement for treatment of diseases or injuries or for vision examinations needed for eyeglass and contact-lens prescriptions.

 

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February 12, 2016

While the ancients extolled the eyes as “windows to the soul,” today’s physicians value the eyes for their ability to provide a non-invasive look inside the body. The fact is that the eye is the only place in the body where a doctor can see nerves, arteries, and veins without using a scalpel. When the eye doctor peers into the eyes to look for signs of eye disease, he or she  may also be able to see disease processes that are occurring elsewhere in the body. For instance, the ophthalmologist may see narrow or enlarged blood vessels and hemorrhages, which can be indicators for hypertension. In addition, cholesterol buildup may be observed, prompting an appointment with the cardiologist.

P.S. Because elevated blood sugar can lead to swelling in the eye lens, vision problems may be indicative of diabetes.

 

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February 03, 2016

Because “age-related macular degeneration” (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans aged 65 years and older, any information about a potential new treatment is welcomed. As a starting point in searching for new ways to treat AMD, researchers noted that people with highly pigmented and darker-colored eyes are less prone to developing AMD and more likely to have higher levels of a chemical called L-DOPA, which is prescribed to Parkinson’s patients (who have low levels of this dopamine precursor in their brains). When researchers examined the records of people prescribed L-DOPA, they found that they were less likely to develop AMD, and when they did, it began much later. Clinical trials will follow.

P.S. Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) affects the central portion of the retina (macula), which is responsible for seeing the center of the visual field and fine detail.

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January 26, 2016

Because glaucoma is an eye disease that leads to permanent vision loss without first presenting symptoms that might warn of its potential danger, it is very important to undergo regular comprehensive eye tests. Bearing in mind that more than 2.2 million Americans have glaucoma and only half of them know it, people ages 40 to 60 should be examined by the ophthalmologist every three to five years. Anyone over the age of 60 should have his or her eyes examined every one to two years. These examinations will screen for the disease with “tonometry,” which measures eye pressure. In addition to measuring intraocular pressure, the exam will also likely include an “ophthalmoscopy,” which involves examination of the optic nerve.  

P.S. The most common treatment for glaucoma involves the use of eye drops known as “prostaglandin analogs,” which lower eye pressure.

 

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January 13, 2016

Because myopia (nearsightedness) is becoming more prevalent among younger generations, increasing numbers of nearsighted youngsters are predisposed to cataracts, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. For this reason, nearsightedness is seen as an indirect cause of visual impairment and blindness, which has led researchers to look for risk factors. While past research has suggested that major risk factors for myopia include genetic background, time spent outdoors, and time spent doing “near work” (such as reading and writing), there are also indications that first-borns are more likely to be myopic. The latest research shows that parents’ inclination to expose first-borns to educational environments makes them about 10% more likely than later-born individuals to be myopic and 20% more likely to have high myopia.  

P.S. Research seems to suggest that parents can reduce their children’s risk of becoming nearsighted by encouraging them to play outdoors more and limit their use of computers and computer games.

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January 11, 2016

Amblyopia, which affects approximately two to three of every 100 U.S. children, is the most common cause of childhood visual impairment. Often referred to as “lazy eye,” this developmental disorder involves reduced visual acuity in one eye because the brain is favoring the other eye. To address the problem, amblyopic children usually wear a patch over the stronger eye for several months, forcing the weaker eye to become stronger. Now, research shows that wearing 3-D glasses and watching “dichoptic” movies (which present different and separate images to each eye) helped children with amblyopia overcome their vision problem more quickly. After watching three dichoptic movies weekly for two weeks, all the children with amblyopia showed a significant improvement in visual acuity.

P.S. Amblyopia may be caused by a large amount of refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, or astigmatism) between the child’s eyes; misaligned eyes (strabismic amblyopia); or cataract in one eye.

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January 04, 2016

Welcome back to all of our Brick location patients!! We are now OPEN five days a week, (and two late nights) for your convenience.  Please also visit our totally updated Optical Gallery for all of your eyeglass and sunglass needs!!!   Please call (732) 477-6981 for additional information or to schedule an appointment. 

Happy New Year!!!

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA

www.oceancountyeye.com

 

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December 28, 2015

When it comes to making medical decisions, particularly those involving children, it is important that parents and eye doctors are on the same page. Sometimes, however, it only takes misunderstanding of a term in a diagnosis to create a divide. Case in point comes from a recent study in which researchers used the term “pink eye” to describe a conjunctivitis diagnosis with parents. As it turns out, upon hearing the “pink eye” diagnosis, parents were much more likely to insist on antibiotic treatment even after being told that antibiotics were not necessary. On the other hand, parents who received an “eye infection” diagnosis  only wanted antibiotics  when they believed that antibiotics would be effective. 

P.S. Conjunctivitis, or “pink eye,” can be caused by bacteria (which respond to antibiotics), viruses (which do not respond to antibiotics), or allergic reactions.

 

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December 23, 2015

Because a visual acuity test is usually performed under normal daylight conditions, it does not indicate how well a person can see in low light. This distinction is important to make  because “twilight vision” can be noticeably worse for some people with certain eye conditions. As a result, they may find it difficult to drive or perform other important tasks under low-light conditions. Decreased twilight vision (often referred to as “night myopia”) can be a problem for many young adults who have a slight shift toward nearsightedness. Older adults may also experience night myopia as a result of clouded eye lenses (cataracts), while others may have retinal eye diseases that cause decreased vision at lower light levels.

 

P.S. Twilight vision can be tested during a visual acuity test with a Snellen (E) eye chart by using filters that block out light at varying levels.

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December 16, 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a disease of the macula, the area of the retina responsible for sharp central vision. Symptoms include blurry or fuzzy vision, darkness in the central portion of the visual field, and wavy lines that should appear straight. There are two types of the disease. About 90 percent of all cases are “dry” AMD, in which the light-sensitive cells in the macula slowly break down to cause gradual loss of central vision. “Wet” AMD occurs when fragile new blood vessels behind the retina leak blood and fluid  under the  macula, causing rapid deterioration of central vision. Wet AMD is treated  with lasers or  injected medication, while dry AMD can be treated with specific vitamins and minerals.

P.S. While no treatment is currently available to reverse dry macular degeneration, the disease is usually only slowly progressive, and taking high-dose antioxidants and zinc  can delay and possibly prevent intermediate AMD from progressing to severe vision loss.

 

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November 09, 2015

While “osteoarthritis” is largely caused by wear and tear that primarily affects the joints, “rheumatoid arthritis” (RA) is an autoimmune disease that can exert its inflammatory effects over various parts of the body, including the eyes. For instance, RA is often associated with “keratitis sicca” (“dry eye syndrome”), which refers to any condition that decreases moisture in the eyes. In addition, while cataracts are most often associated with older individuals, inflammatory forms of arthritis make cataracts more likely to occur at any age. Inflammatory forms of arthritis can also lead to glaucoma  as a result of increased  pressure of the fluid in the eye, which causes nerve damage. These are all reasons for RA patients to undergo regular eye exams.  

P.S. Rheumatoid arthritis increases the risk for “scleritis,” inflammation of the “sclera,” the white outer coating of the eye.

 

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October 27, 2015

Fibromyalgia is a multimodal disease that produces pain and lethargy (among a variety of other symptoms) that may be caused by a number of undetermined factors. The overwhelming characteristic of fibromyalgia is longstanding pain at defined tender points (myofascial trigger points). Fibromyalgia patients are also afflicted with chronic fatigue, malaise, dizziness, numbness, tingling, a swollen feeling in tissues, and stiffness. Recently, researchers have also found that fibromyalgia sufferers are hypersensitive to everyday sensory stimulation, including sight, sound, and touch. As a result, they may experience difficulty processing everyday sights, which is something that the eye doctor can help ascertain with a comprehensive eye exam. This may be one more clue to determining fibromyalgia’s cause(s).  

 

P.S. Fibromyalgia remains a mysterious disease, but the research noted above suggests that it may have its origins in the processing centers of the brain and the sensory nerve fibers in blood vessels.

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October 14, 2015

The inflammatory disease known as “sarcoidosis” produces an anti-inflammatory response that can affect various areas of the body. One of the defining characteristics of the disease is the formation of “granulomas,” microscopic clumps of inflammatory cells that group together and look like granules. When too many of these clumps form in an organ, they can interfere with how that organ functions. Any part of the eye can be affected by sarcoidosis, and about one-quarter of patients experience burning, itching, tearing, pain, red eye, sensitivity to light (photophobia), dryness, seeing black spots (called “floaters”), blurred vision, and even vision loss. It is important, therefore, that those suffering from sarcoidosis schedule annual eye exams.

P.S. Uveitis, which is commonly linked with sarcoidosis, involves inflammation of the middle layer of the eye (uvea).

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September 29, 2015

New contact lens materials and designs are changing the way wearers are utilizing contacts to improve their vision. Based on data involving approximately 7,700 contact lens fittings, a recent survey reveals that contact wearers prefer soft contacts over hard contacts by a 9:1 ratio. Currently worn by nearly three-fourths of contact lens users, silicon hydrogel lenses have a water content of greater than 60% that is more compatible with the cornea. The survey also notes increased use of daily disposable lenses, which now account for nearly 30% of prescriptions. In addition, soft toric lenses are gaining favor for their ability to treat astigmatism, while older presbyopic patients are turning to multifocal contact lenses that correct both near and distant vision.

P.S. According to the survey mentioned above, multipurpose lens care solutions are now used by at least 90% of patients, who recognize their safety and convenience advantages over previous cleaning and storage systems.

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September 21, 2015

Poor night vision can create problems with driving at night and can have several causes, one of the most common of which is nearsightedness. In these cases, an eye exam and an updated corrective-lens prescription may help. Other possible causative factors include cataracts, which helps explain why poor night vision so often afflicts older adults. As the lens of the eye becomes clouded, the amount of light reaching the retina is reduced. Fortunately, this problem can be alleviated with cataract surgery. Poor night vision can also result from taking certain glaucoma medications or from conditions such as “diabetic retinopathy” (caused by weakened retinal arteries) or “retinitis pigmentosa” (which can produce retinal degeneration and vision loss). 

P.S. Older adults should not accept changes in vision as a natural part of aging. The eye doctor can identify causes and treat them.

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September 03, 2015

Those who work and play outdoors in sunny, windy, and dusty conditions without wearing protective eyewear  commonly develop non-cancerous growths on their corneas (the clear front window of the eye) and conjunctivas (the membrane that covers the white part of the eye, the sclera). Similar to a callus on the skin, a “pinguecula” is a yellowish patch or bump consisting of a deposit of protein, fat, and/or calcium that usually appears on the side of the eye closest to the nose. The triangular-shaped growth of fleshy tissue known as a “pterygium” that develops on the sclera may eventually extend over the cornea and grow large enough to interfere with vision. Although these growths may be removed surgically, a pterygium may return.

P.S. A pterygium can often develop from a pinguecula.

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August 24, 2015

Aside from experiencing the distinct disadvantage of not being able to see, blind individuals may suffer from a sleep disorder known as “circadian rhythm disorder.” This inability to sleep in accordance with regular sleeping and waking times stems from a blind person’s inability to take time cues from daylight. Normally, a person’s “internal body clock” is set on its 24-hour cycle by exposure to natural light. Beginning in the morning and extending throughout the day, the eyes’ photoreceptors detect sunlight and transmit the information to the brain, which uses it to suppress melatonin (the sleep hormone) production. Once circadian sleep disorder is properly diagnosed, treatments ranging from behavioral therapy to medication can help blind individuals establish a regular sleeping pattern. 

P.S. Tasimelteon (Hetlioz) was approved by the FDA in January 2014 for treatment of circadian rhythm disorder in totally blind individuals.

 

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August 13, 2015

The fast-growing cancer of the eye known as “retinoblastoma” primarily affects children before age five. Because this condition is aggressive, it is crucial to detect and treat it early, which provides the best hope of saving vision, eyes, and lives. As its name suggests, this type of cancer begins in the retina, the sensitive lining on the inside of the eye. This most common form of eye cancer affecting children may occur in one or both eyes and is usually detected when a flash photograph reveals a white color at the center of the pupil. Because the gene responsible for this cancer is passed from parents to children, those with a family history of the disease should be particularly vigilant. 

P.S. Because children treated for retinoblastoma have a risk of recurrence in and around the treated eye, it is important to schedule follow-up exams with the ophthalmologist.

 

 

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August 04, 2015

Because the ability to drive preserves seniors’ independence, drivers over age 65 should do everything they can to preserve their driving skills, including having their vision checked. The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that those aged 65 years and older have their eyes examined once every one to two years even if they experience no issues. An exam can determine if eyeglass prescriptions need to be updated and whether there are any signs of disease that could compromise vision and hamper driving ability. For instance, cataracts can make objects appear blurry and/or make vision more sensitive to the glare of oncoming headlights, and glaucoma decreases peripheral vision, making it harder to see objects away from the direct line of sight. 

P.S. “Contrast sensitivity” is particularly important for discerning objects at dawn and at dusk and should be checked in a senior’s eye exam.

 

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July 09, 2015

Because our tear ducts grow less productive with age, individuals aged 65 years and older are more likely to develop “dry eye syndrome.” Other symptoms of dry eye include itching, stinging, and burning sensations. Causes range from medications that inhibit tear production as a side effect to diabetes, arthritis, and long-term use of contact lenses. Whatever the cause, it is important to treat dry eye since keeping the eyes moist is essential to eye health and good vision. Blinking the eyelids spreads fluid from the tear glands over the eyes, after which it is drained away through the tear ducts. This moist condition keeps the outer layer of the eye free from debris and the cornea clear for optimum vision.

P.S. Tears protect the eyes against infection.

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June 25, 2015

As increasing numbers of diagnoses have made “attention deficit hyperactivity disorder” (ADHD) one of the most common childhood disorders, researchers have wondered if it is being overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This question led to the finding that many of the academic and attention-related behaviors associated with ADHD are also present in children suffering from a common eye-teaming problem. “Convergence insufficiency” occurs when the eyes do not work well together to focus on a nearby object. As a result, convergence insufficiency makes printed words blur or seem to move on the page. Consequently, profound reading difficulties may produce hyperactivity that is misinterpreted as ADHD. Children should be tested for convergence insufficiency before accepting an ADHD diagnosis.

P.S. Normally, the eyes’ ability to turn inward together (converge) provides “binocular vision,” which enables the brain to see a single, clearly defined object.

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June 17, 2015

Chronic eye-watering and irritation of the outer portion of the eyeball (cornea) may be due to inward-turning eyelashes. Abnormally positioned eyelashes can result from an eye infection, inflammation (swelling) of the eyelid, autoimmune conditions, and trauma. This misdirection of the eyelashes, a condition known as “trichiasis,” results in the errant eyelashes brushing against the eyeball. Left untreated, trichiasis may lead to corneal ulceration, which is a potentially serious concern that can lead to loss of eyesight in the affected eye. When there are multiple lashes growing toward the eye, the ophthalmologist may recommend surgery to have them removed permanently. If so, “ablation” utilizes radiofrequencies or lasers to remove the offending lashes.

 

P.S. Some cases of trichiasis are caused by “epiblepharon,” an extra horizontal fold of skin that causes inversion of the eyelashes against the cornea.

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June 01, 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a leading cause of vision loss in people aged 55 years and older, causes damage to the central portion of the retina (macula) that is responsible for sharp, central vision. While the “wet” form of AMD is less common (10%-15% of cases) than the “dry,” it accounts for 90% of all cases of severe vision loss from the disease. The wet form of the disease is characterized by abnormal blood vessels under the retina that tend to break and bleed, causing the retina to lift. Fortunately, there is treatment that inhibits the growth of these blood vessels. It involves injecting bevacizumab (Avastatin) or ranibizumab (Lucentis) directly into the vitreous, the gel-like filling inside the eye.   

P.S. Prior to the use of bevacizumab (Avastatin) and ranibizumab (Lucentis), “wet” AMD was treated with lasers that stopped the bleeding.

 

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May 18, 2015

If diabetics allow chronic high glucose levels to damage small blood vessels in their retinas, they can develop “diabetic retinopathy.” While the condition generally causes no symptoms in its early stage, it can eventually lead to blurry vision, floaters, flashes of light in the peripheral area of vision, and even sudden blindness in one eye. To prevent these unwanted outcomes, those with diabetes are strongly urged to control their blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and blood pressure and get regular eye exams. It is also important that the eye doctor monitor the development of “diabetic macular edema,” swelling of the macula due to fluid leakage and accumulation, and “proliferative diabetic retinopathy,” the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the retina.  

P.S. Diabetic macular edema (DME) and proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) can be managed with intraocular injections of medication, laser surgery, and direct surgery of the retina.

 

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May 05, 2015

It usually comes as a shock to most people when they first discern spots or lines drifting across their fields of vision. This phenomenon is most evident when looking up at a clear blue sky or other solid background. These so-called “floaters” are extremely common and not dangerous. Most people experience floaters at some point in their lives, but they tend to disappear over time. Floaters can be explained by age-related changes in the vitreous humor, the jelly-like substance in the eyeball. As this substance shrinks, it tends to clump, which causes shadows to be cast on the retina that the brain perceives as dark spots. If floaters become bothersome and interfere with daily life, laser treatment may be considered.  

P.S. The laser treatment used to treat bothersome floaters, laser vitreolysis, utilizes an Nd:YAG laser to vaporize floaters.

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April 21, 2015

“Corneal abrasion,” which is scratching of the clear outer layer at the front of the eye, is one of the most common kinds of eye injuries. Corneal abrasions are quick to heal, but they are painful. The traditional treatment for this injury involves wearing an eye patch. However, there is research that suggests that the initial use of an eye patch actually slows healing and does not reduce pain. Moreover, researchers conclude that since corneal abrasions do not affect vision to a great extent, it is rather pointless to render patients with scratched corneas “monocular” (one-eyed). Foregoing the use of an eye patch may actually help corneal abrasions heal more quickly on the first day after the injury. 

P.S. The cornea is vulnerable to burning from excessive exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.

 

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March 30, 2015

“Uveitis” is inflammation of the middle layer of the eye, called the “uvea,” which includes the iris (the colored portion of the eye); the ciliary body (which produces fluid, aqueous humor, inside the eye); and the choroid (which provides nutrition to the retina). While the most common type of uveitis involves inflammation of the iris called “iritis” (anterior uveitis), there are many types of uveitis, each of which is classified by where the inflammation occurs in the eye. Causes of this eye inflammation often remain unknown and often occur in healthy people. In other cases, an underlying autoimmune disorder or infection may be the cause. Symptoms, which include blurred vision, floaters, and eye pain, warrant an immediate eye exam.   

P.S. If left untreated, severe cases of uveitis can potentially lead to cataracts, fluid in the retina, glaucoma, retinal detachment, or vision loss.

 

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March 23, 2015

When the protective outer layer of the eye (“white of the eye”) becomes red and inflamed, the condition can become quite painful. About half of all cases of “scleritis,” the medical term for inflammation of the “sclera,” are believed to be caused by an underlying autoimmune disorder, such as rheumatoid arthritis. The most common type, “diffuse scleritis,” involves widespread redness and inflammation throughout the whole (or a portion of) the front portion of the sclera and is the most treatable.  “Nodular scleritis” presents with nodules or bumps on the surface of the eye, which are tender to the touch. The much more severe “necrotizing scleritis” is characterized by extreme pain and tenderness and can destroy scleral tissues.

P.S. The sclera makes up  83 percent of the eye’s surface.

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February 23, 2015

When eyeglasses, contact lenses, medications, or surgery fail to provide the degree of visual competence needed to perform everyday tasks, a person is said to be experiencing “low vision.” This condition, which is most common among those over the age of 65, can result from eye diseases, health conditions, birth defects, and other causes. Regardless of cause, after a careful evaluation by an eye doctor that includes a comprehensive dilated eye exam, a program of vision rehabilitation can help those with low vision make the most of the vision they have left. This includes training for magnifying and adaptive devices, ways to complete daily living skills safely and independently, and guidance on home modification.  

P.S. Common types of low vision include loss of central vision, loss of side (peripheral) vision, blurred vision, generalized haze, extreme light sensitivity, and night blindness.

 

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February 16, 2015

By looking through the cornea and eye lens, eye doctors are afforded the only look inside the body that can be attained without making an incision. This glimpse inside the eye offers a good look at the size and condition of blood vessels, which can provide valuable information. For instance, researchers from Duke University were recently able to come to some conclusions about brain function by looking at the small blood vessels at the back of the retina. They were able to do so because retinal blood vessels are similar in size, structure, and function to the blood vessels in the brain. Consequently, a comprehensive eye exam can provide a way of examining brain health. 

P.S. A look at the blood vessels in the eye can reveal any damage brought by high blood pressure, which may provide clues about heart health.

 

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February 11, 2015

When you experience a gradual blurring or dimming of vision, you may have the earliest symptoms of a cataract. You may also see “halos” around lights. A cataract is any clouding or opacity in the normally transparent eye lens. Most cataracts develop as part of the aging process as the chemical composition of the lens changes. Studies have also shown that prolonged exposure to sunlight over many years (particularly the ultraviolet-B rays) can hasten the development of cataracts. Cataracts can occur at any age and may be due to an eye injury, certain eye diseases, medical conditions (such as diabetes), heredity, birth defects, some medications (such as steroids), excessive alcohol consumption, and smoking.

P.S. In the early stages of a cataract,  stronger lighting and eyeglasses can help with blurred vision. When impaired vision interferes with your usual activities, safe and effective cataract surgery is the best answer.

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February 06, 2015

Your heart and kidneys are not the only organs that can become damaged by high blood pressure (hypertension). It can also damage the retina, the layer of tissue at the back of the eye that converts light and images entering the eye into nerve signals that are transmitted to the brain for interpretation. “Hypertensive retinopathy” is caused by high blood pressure that damages the blood vessels in the retina. The more pronounced the hypertension, and the longer that blood pressure has been high, the more severe the damage is likely to be. Symptoms include double vision, dim vision, or vision loss, which should be reported to the ophthalmologist, who can determine their causes.

 

P.S. Individuals who smoke, have diabetes, or have high cholesterol levels have a higher risk of retinal damage and vision loss.

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February 04, 2015

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the eye disease that robs people of central vision and for which there is no cure; however, there is hope for slowing its progression. AMD involves the breakdown of the crucial central portion of the retina. As a result, the disease makes it difficult for AMD sufferers to see fine detail and read printed material. “Dry” macular degeneration is the more common, less destructive form of the disease. It occurs when deposits called “drusen” collect behind the retina. Since dry macular degeneration can develop into the more serious “wet” form of the disease, it is important to see an ophthalmologist if your vision starts getting blurry or if you have trouble reading or recognizing faces.

P.S. Caucasians are more likely to develop drusen as well as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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January 19, 2015

Certain individuals are at increased risk for “retinal detachment,” which occurs when the delicate light-sensitive membrane (retina) separates from the back of the eye. People with a high degree of nearsightedness are susceptible to this problem because their eyes are longer than average from front to back. Others at high risk for retinal detachment are those with a family history of the condition; cataract- and glaucoma-surgery patients; and diabetics (who are at risk for “diabetic retinopathy,” which leads to the formation of new blood vessels on the retina). While retinal detachment is a medical emergency, approximately 90% of cases are treatable. Early detection of symptoms such as the appearance of persistent flashes of bright light should prompt immediate treatment.    

P.S. One warning sign of retinal detachment includes the appearance of an unusual amount of black dots (“floaters”) in the field of vision; a dark curtain spreading across the visual field; and new, unexplained blurred vision.

 

 

  

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January 06, 2015

Today’s cataract surgery makes use of an ultrasound probe to break up and remove the cloudy eye lens. Left behind is the lens capsule, which once held the natural lens in place and is later used to hold the replacement artificial lens. More than 90 percent of patients experience improved vision immediately after cataract surgery. For some, however, the blurriness returns months or years afterward due to posterior capsule opacity, also known as “after-cataract.” It is caused by tiny clumps of cells and thin scar tissue on the inner back surface (or posterior wall) of the capsule. To remedy the problem, the ophthalmologist uses a Nd:YAG laser to create a small hole in the posterior wall of the capsule which will help reduce the cloudiness and bring back visual clearity.

P.S. Nd:YAG laser posterior capsulotomy is an outpatient procedure that is painless and requires no anesthesia.

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December 30, 2014

That small bump that sometimes appears on either the upper or lower eyelid is caused by a blocked oil gland. A “chalazion” usually disappears in about a month without treatment. However, most patients seek treatment when a chalazion is large enough to block vision or looks unsightly. The bump that characterizes a chalazion is caused by a blockage in the Meibomian gland on the eyelid, which produces oil in both the upper and lower eyelids. Chalazia are sometimes confused with styes, which, unlike chalazia, are caused by infections and are usually painful. In addition, chalazia are usually found away from the edge of the eyelid while styes are most often found right on the eyelid edge.

P.S. Home care for a chalazia includes a warm compress to the eyelid several times a day for about ten minutes at a time.  If the chalazion does not heal after treatment, it can be surgically removed.

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December 18, 2014

Over 80% of what we learn comes through our eyes, making them our most important connection to the world around us. While we may take our vision for granted, there is no underestimating the critical demands our eyes make for their continued good health and proper functioning. The brain and visual system account for only two percent of our body weight, yet they consume about 25% of our nutritional intake. Thus, adhering to good nutritional habits can play a big role in how well we see. In addition, although regular checkups are important for maintaining and/or correcting vision, most Americans are overdue for an eye exam. If you are one of them, do your eyes a favor and schedule an appointment. 

P.S. Certain antioxidants and minerals have been shown to lower the risk of developing cataracts and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

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December 17, 2014

Most people are familiar with glaucoma’s well-earned reputation for being a “sneak thief of sight” due to the facts that symptoms usually go unnoticed and the disease progresses slowly. However, there is a form of glaucoma that can occur quite suddenly among generally older individuals with diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or some other cardiovascular problem. “Neovascular glaucoma” is often referred to as “90-day glaucoma.”  This is because it develops nearly 90 days after some type of ischemic vascular event in which tissue may be deprived  of blood flow or suffer a slow perfusion of blood supply and oxygen that prompts uncontrolled blood-vessel growth. Immediate treatment is needed for this “secondary glaucoma” to reduce inner eye pressure and inflammation.

 

P.S. Unlike the much more common “open-angle glaucoma,” “closed-angle glaucoma” can develop very quickly and necessitate immediate treatment. 

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December 08, 2014

Good News!!!!   Optical Gallery® at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates in Toms River now has Oakley and Coach glasses and sunglasses!  And, coming soon, Michael Kors glasses and sunglasses!  Please contact Peggy, Ralph, Judy or Dawn at (732) 914-1499 and ask about our pricing and convenient office hours.  For existing patients, please visit our beautiful eye glass showcases with a wide variety of options from comfortably priced eye glass packages to the most popluar and asked for brands of glasses and sun glasses.

Bring a friend in and you will both receive 10% off a complete pair of *select glasses or sunglasses. Offer expires February 28th, 2015.

*Some frames, glasses, and sunglasses cannot be discounted.  Please ask the Optical Gallery® staff.  NOT TO BE COMBINED WITH ANY OTHER DISCOUNTS, OFFERS AND CERTAIN VISION PLANS. (VSP and SPECTERA)

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December 03, 2014

In an effort to isolate the causes of eye strain, which is one of several major symptoms of “dry eye” disease, researchers analyzed the tear fluid of office workers who spend long periods of time peering at computer screens. They found that those who spent the most time looking at their monitors had the least amount of the protein (known as MUC5AC) that is secreted by cells in the upper eyelid to create the mucus layer in tears (“tear film”) that keeps the eye moist. In fact, the workers who spent the most time watching their computer screens had MUC5AC levels that approached the levels seen with individuals diagnosed with dry eye. Treatment with artificial tears can help.

 

P.S. Because they tend to blink less often than usual and open their eyes wider, people in front of computer screens are likely to be more susceptible to ocular fatigue and dry eye symptoms.

 

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November 24, 2014

“Eye melanoma,” also known as “ocular melanoma,” occurs when the cells that produce pigment in the eye become cancerous, much in the same way that they can in the skin (skin melanoma). While this form of cancer is rare, it is the most common eye cancer in adults. It usually occurs in the middle of the three layers of the eye, the “uvea,” which is positioned between the outermost “sclera” and the innermost “retina.” Because this type of cancer is not visible when looking in the mirror and does not cause symptoms, it is usually detected as a result of a comprehensive eye examination. Diagnosis begins with a dilated eye exam by an ophthalmologist that often leads to ultrasound examination.

 

P.S. Because ocular melanoma may spread to other parts of the body, early diagnosis is essential.

 

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November 13, 2014

Currently, when the clear outer lens on the front of the eye (cornea) needs to be replaced, the cornea of a donor is used to conduct a corneal transplant. One of the most common transplants performed, it is often recommended for patients with vision problems caused by a thinning cornea (usually due to keratoconus), scarring of the cornea (due to infection or injury), or vision loss caused by cloudiness of the cornea (usually due to Fuchs’ dystrophy). While current procedures call for harvesting donor tissue from deceased individuals, researchers were recently able to regrow human corneal tissue using adult-derived human stem cells. It is hoped that this may lead to the future use of stem cells in reversing corneal damage.  

P.S. The ability to regrow corneal tissue may have a great impact on the lives of many since loss of corneal tissue is one of the leading causes of blindness.

 

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November 03, 2014

While the mere sight of a broken blood vessel on the white of the eye (sclera) is enough to raise concerns, the condition known as a “subconjunctival hemorrhage” is usually a harmless condition. Because neither pain nor changes in vision are involved, many people do not realize that they have the characteristic bright red patches on the whites of their eyes until they see them in the mirror. Causes can range from a violent cough or sneeze to vomiting or heavy lifting. In some cases, eye trauma or roughly rubbing the eyes is enough to cause rupturing of the blood vessels underneath the clear surface of the eye (conjunctiva).  In most cases, the body reabsorbs the blood within two weeks.

P.S. If you experience recurrent subconjunctival hemorrhages, schedule an appointment with the eye doctor.

 

 

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October 27, 2014

The Catalys laser is similar to the femtosecond laser technology used in LASIK laser vision correction.  This laser replaces the most technically demanding steps in cataract surgery that previously were performed manually. The Catalys assists Dr. Almallah and Dr. Pidduck in performing previously manually performed parts of the procedure with much more precision the initial incisions in the cornea, creation of the opening in the lens capsule perfectly centered on the pupil and the laser fragmentation and softening of the cataract. The manual approach limits predictability and precision and can potentially affect visual outcomes and complication rates.

“The precision of the Catalys (Femto) laser allows more perfect centration of the intra-ocular lens,” says Dr. Almallah.“Regardless of how good a surgeon is, the surgeon's hand cannot be as precise as a laser beamin making incisions. This is the greatest advance in cataract surgery in my 25 year career as an eye surgeon.” “We always strive to bring the latest technology to our patients. The addition of the Catalys (Femto) laser will deliver more accurate results with faster recovery times,” Dr. Almallah said. “Since astigmatism is corrected simultaneously, most patients do not require distance spectacle correction to drive. If the Catalys laser cataract surgery is combined with the Tecnis Multifocal® intra-ocular lens, reading glasses can be eliminated after cataract surgery.” The laser additionally works with Crystalens, Trulign, and toric premium lenses to allow patients to enjoy less dependence on spectacles for activities of daily living.

 

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October 17, 2014

With the number of U.S. Alzheimer’s patients expected to climb to 13 million over the next 35 years, the search is on to find a reliable diagnostic test. Until very recently, there have only been clinical tests that help detect fairly advanced cases, and current biological markers of early disease (proteins in spinal fluid, MRI scans of the brain, and brain PET amyloid imaging) are fairly inaccurate, invasive, and expensive. However, breakthrough research has revealed that a simple eye scan may uncover the earliest signs of Alzheimer’s disease. By identifying buildups of proteins (beta-amyloid “plaques”) in the eye that are similar to those that collect in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients, doctors can detect this most common form of dementia.

 

P.S. The eyes are essentially an extension of the brain, which is why and how the “plaques” associated with Alzheimer’s disease may travel from the brain through the optic nerve to the eyes.

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October 14, 2014

Glaucoma is called the “silent thief of sight” because it can slowly damage the eye and cause irreparable harm before its victims ever become aware of symptoms. For this reason, it is imperative to undergo regular eye examinations for early diagnosis and treatment that can save sight. Among those most at risk are African-Americans, for whom glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. People of African descent are six to eight times more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasians. The risk for Hispanic populations is also greater than those of predominantly European ancestry, and that risk increases among Hispanics over age 60. In fact, anyone over age 60 is six times more likely to get glaucoma than younger individuals.  

P.S. Because the most common type of glaucoma (“primary open-angle glaucoma”) is inherited, those with a family history of the eye disease are at a much higher risk than the rest of the population.

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September 02, 2014

If you wondered what was wrong with Bob Costas’ eyes during the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics, the sports announcer was forced by a common eye infection to miss nearly half of the event. “Conjunctivitis,” also popularly referred to as “pink eye,” is a highly contagious infection that is commonly seen among school children. It is caused by bacteria or a virus that inflames the thin membrane (conjunctiva) that lines the eyeball and inner eyelid. The conjunctiva becomes red and swollen, and there is often a discharge from the eye as well as the experience of blurred vision, a gritty sensation, and/or light sensitivity. Viral conjunctivitis, the most common type, usually clears up on its own in about a week.  

P.S. While bacterial conjunctivitis is more serious than viral conjunctivitis and may require medical treatment, allergic conjunctivitis is caused by pollen or another airborne irritant and does not resolve until the source is eliminated.

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September 02, 2014

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates (Brick Town Location) will be closed temporarily for the purposes of complete renovation.  We are expecting to reopen our doors within 12 months, but ask our patients to please be patient, as it could take longer.  For additional information or to schedule your appointments, please call our Toms River location at (732) 349-5622.  We will be accommodating our Brick Town patients in any one of our other four locations for your convenience.  Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience. 

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates 

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July 03, 2014

Dear Dr. Almallah,

On behalf of the Sales and Marketing leadership team at Bausch and Lomb, we would like to thank you for being one of our top 25 implanting surgeons for Crystalens and Trulign Toric this year.
We sincerely hope that our products have, and continue to, enhance the lives of your patients following cataract surgery.   We believe that the surgeons who understand, adopt, and utilize Crystalens and Trulign Toric at the highest levels, are visionary, highly committed to their patients, and highly skilled in the operating room.  We also believe that this combination yields extremely satisfied patients who share their stories with others.
Thank you one again for your partnership and trust.  Please let us know any time we can help.

Very Best Regards,

Alan

Alan Peck
U.S. Director, Premium IOL Sales

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July 02, 2014
Susskind and Almallah Eye Associates are proud to announce Laser Cataract Surgery using the Catalys Precision Laser System. Find out how this state-of-the-art technology can you help you!  Read about it here.
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February 19, 2014

Chronic inflammation of the eyelids, known as “blepharitis,” is often associated with inflammatory skin conditions such as eczema and acne rosacea (a condition common among postmenopausal women). When flare-ups occur, those affected with the inflammation experience red eyes, a burning/gritty sensation in the eye, swollen/itchy eyelids, flaking of the eyelid skin, crusting eyelashes, and blurred vision. In addition to these very uncomfortable symptoms, blepharitis causes the eyes and eyelids to become more susceptible to infection. Eyelashes may also fall out or grow abnormally. While there is no cure, symptoms and flare-ups can be greatly reduced with a regimen of eyelid cleansing and care. This treatment begins with a thorough eye exam that rules out other causes of symptoms.

Blepharitis may be caused by a combination of factors. At SUSSKIND & ALMALLAH EYE ASSOCIATES, P.A., we want to emphasize that periodic eye examinations are an important part of routine preventive health care. Early diagnosis and treatment are important for maintaining good vision, when possible, preventing permanent vision loss.

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December 01, 2010

Recent research has found that a compound that occurs naturally in the skins of grapes may someday prove of real value in treating age-related macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, and retinopathy of prematurity. Resveratrol, an anti-oxidant compound that has already shown real benefit in promoting heart health, has also recently been found to control abnormal blood vessel growth (angiogenesis) related to certain potentially blinding eye diseases. Equally important is that researchers also uncovered the pathway [known as a eukaryotic elongation factor-2 kinase (eEF2) regulated pathway] that is responsible for the compound’s protective effects. Utilizing this valuable information, scientists hope to develop new treatments to prevent the abnormal growth of blood vessels in the eye that can rob patients of their vision. Our staff is happy to guide you through every aspect of your vision care. From providing thorough eye examinations to explaining in detail all the various treatment options, we will be with you every step of the way, answering questions about AMD, or helping with any concerns you may have.

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November 15, 2010

A remarkable ground-breaking procedure that involves using the patient’s own stem cells has recently proved successful in restoring the sight of people blinded by caustic chemicals. This approach involves taking stem cells from the patient’s healthy eye, growing them in a lab, and transplanting them to the patient’s burned eye. Specifically, stem cells are taken from the limbus of the healthy eye, the rim around the cornea. Stem cells in the limbus produce new cells to replace dead corneal cells. In this case, they are used to replace damaged tissue in the burned eye. Stem-cell transplants offer hope to the thousands of people who suffer chemical burns to their eyes from caustic chemicals at work and at home each year. Although numerous impediments remain, the use of stem cells is promising and may epitomize the future for replacement and regeneration of some ocular damage. At SUSSKIND & ALMALLAH EYE ASSOCIATES, P.A., our patients’ needs and concerns are our top priority. We offer a wide range of eye care services to you and your family. Your eyesight is precious, so be sure to have your eyes professionally checked by an ophthalmologist on a regular basis.

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October 04, 2010

 So-called Floppy Eyelid Syndrome (FES) is characterized by rubbery upper eyelids (caused by muscle weakness or decreased elastin in the eyelids) that distort easily. As a result, those with this condition (usually older, overweight males) experience droopy eyelids, dry/red/ swollen eyes, mucous discharge, frequent infections, easily inverted eyelids, and eyelashes that point downward and irritate the eye. While these symptoms can be managed with the help of the ophthalmologist, those with FES should be aware that Floppy Eyelid Syndrome has also been linked with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), which involves breathing stoppages during sleep. Because untreated OSA can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and heart failure, any signs of FES should lead to a check for signs of OSA. Floppy eyelid syndrome often is unrecognized. We encourage you to ask questions and take an active role in your health care. We are committed to providing you with the best possible eye health care. Patient education and awareness are keys to prevention and early detection of eye health problems. Our ultimate goal is your good sight.

Please call Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates at (732) 349-5622 ext. 37 and schedule your appointment to be checked for FES at any one of our five locations in Ocean and Monmouth Counties.

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June 30, 2010

A condition that commonly results in temporary paralysis of facial muscles, Bell's Palsy is a viral infection that affects the facial nerve. The side of the face affected can display a drooping mouth, sagging eyebrow and lower eyelid, and the inability to close the eye. This can result in an extreme form of dry eye known as exposure keratitis. Most people with Bell's Palsy suffer from this and may develop the appearance of a teary eye, but in fact it remains dry due to its inability to blink or completely close. Patients with Bell's Palsy are recommended to see an ophthalmologist for consultation, as treatment will likely involve the application of artificial tears during the day and an ophthalmic ointment at night. Lubrication in the affected eye is highly suggested to maintain the overall health of the eye. Nearly 80 percent of Bell's Palsy patients recover within six months, but without proper care for the eye affected, needless suffering and permanent consequences such as corneal ulceration and scarring can occur.

More common in adults, people with diabetes, and pregnant women, Bell's Palsy should be followed-up with an ophthalmologist through periodic professional eye examinations.

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April 13, 2010

If you are noticing droopy eyelids and think you might like to have them surgically enhanced, call us to schedule a complimentary evaluation with Dr. Almalah. Also know as "Cosmetic Blepharoplasty," this surgical procedure is designed to improve the appearance and functionality of the eyes by redesigning the surrounding structures.

Commonly done for both upper and lower lids, cosmetic Blepharoplasty entails the removing or repositioning of fat and skin and may also include muscle reduction or tightening, and the supporting of the tendons. Of course, we first recommend that you have a complete evaluation with Dr. Almallah before any decisions are made to have this surgery to fully understand what is performed during cosmetic eyelid surgery.

Blepharoplasty can be combined with BOTOX® treatments to raise the eyebrows or reduce the appearance of wrinkles, crow's feet or dark circles under the eyes.

Please feel free to contact Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA at (732) 349-5622 ext. 37 or visit our website at www.oceancountyeye.com.

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March 29, 2010

Due to a growing number of requests for dermal fillers Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates is now offering JUVÉDERM® injectable gel to our patients. We are very fortunate to have Dr. Omar Almallah, a Board Certified surgeon, listed in the "Guide to America's Top Ophthalmologists" here to administer JUVÉDERM®.

Dr Almallah is Board Certified by both the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Eye Surgeons and has been practicing in Ocean and Monmouth Counties for over twenty years. Patients are aware of his knowledge and training in and around the eyes and face and now seek him out to help restore a refreshed appearance. He is known for his gentle touch and confident ability to put patients at ease.

JUVÉDERM® injectable gel is a doctor administered non-surgical facial procedure which is primarily used for "smile lines", nasolabial folds (around the nose) and lips. JUVÉDERM® is made of hyalronic acid, a naturally occurring substance in our skin that helps to add volume and fullness. After receiving approval in 2006, JUVÉDERM® has become one of the most popular injectable dermal fillers on the market.

One treatment could smooth out your lines for up to one full year. You should see immediate improvement after your treatment. Many patients will need an additional treatment to achieve optimal wrinkle smoothness, however results vary and the correction is temporary. Supplemental "touch-up" treatments may be required to maintain desired results.

Dr. Almallah offers complimentary evaluations for JUVÉDERM® injectable gel in any one of our five locations in Ocean and Monmouth Counties. Please call Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates at (732) 349-5622 ext. 37 for your evaluation today.

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February 25, 2010

Ocean and Monmouth Counties, NJ

BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments are the most popular way to reduce the appearance of aging in the face. Millions of people, both men and women, receive BOTOX® Cosmetic treatments to rejuvenate their skin and look younger.

How BOTOX® Cosmetic Works

BOTOX® Cosmetic is a doctor administered non-surgical facial procedure. In fact, it is the world’s number one cosmetic procedure. It involves placement of Botox, a purified protein, into selected muscles to improve facial lines and wrinkles. The toxin paralyzes the muscles beneath the injection site for a period of three to four months. In the days following the injection, the muscle weakens causing the skin to relax. The wrinkle then becomes less noticeable and in some cases can even disappear.

Anesthesia is not required for the injections and there is little discomfort. Side effects may include minor and temporary redness at the injection site. There is also little downtime, so you may return to your schedule after you leave our office. We recommend you avoid exercise for a few hours after your BOTOX® Cosmetic injections.

BOTOX® Cosmetic is useful for the treatment of:

  • Forehead creases
  • Frown lines between your eyes
  • Crow's feet around your eyes
  • Smile lines
  • Neck bands


Botox® is the most popular non-surgical cosmetic procedure performed. For example: In the year 2003 there were 2,272,080 botox® injections performed.

Botox® is proven to be safe and effective. Over the past 20 years, Botulinum Toxin Type A has been evaluated in more than 200 studies. There are no documented systemic complications associated with Botox® injections. Botox® has been widely used for more than 11 years with over 1 million people. You should only receive BOTOX® Cosmetic injections from a certified professional like those at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates.

If you are interested in finding out more about BOTOX® Cosmetic in the Monmouth or Ocean County, New Jersey area, please contact the experienced BOTOX® Cosmetic professionals at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, P.A. for an initial consultation.

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January 11, 2010

When did you last exhibit signs of contact lens overwear? Probably not so long ago. This condition continues to plague patients who wear lenses made from even the most advanced oxygen-permeable materials.

What causes contact lens overwear and more importantly, how can you help avoid it?
Contact lens overwear is caused by lack of oxygen to the cornea, which produces distinct symptoms. Patients may not realize they've overworn their lenses when they remove them because the presence of corneal abrasions is masked by reduced sensitivity secondary to oxygen deprivation. Unsuspecting patients often go to sleep only to awaken 1 to 2 hours later with severe, stabbing pain, extreme light sensitivity, tearing, cloudy, blurred vision and grittiness.

If early symptoms of overwear aren't identified and addressed quickly, patients risk developing long-term changes, such as:

  • Neovascularization: Abnormal blood vessels growing in the clear cornea
  • Polymegethism: Abnormalities of endothelial cell size
  • Pleomorphism: Abnormalities of endothelial cell shape
  • Epithelial microcysts
  • Corneal thinning
  • Reduced corneal sensitivity.

What's more, long-term adverse reactions ultimately may cause corneal exhaustion syndrome and contact lens intolerance.

Please schedule an appointment with one of the many qualified eye physicians in Ocean County, New Jersey at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates and see if you may be a contact lens overwearer.

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December 10, 2009

At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, the physical health of your eyes is extremely important to us. Vision is the manner in which most of us make our first sensory perceptions of the things around us- our sight can extend far beyond our reach of touch, sense of smell, and range of hearing. Because of that, it is important to maintain the physical health of your eyes and make routine visits to have your eyes examined.
Eye Conditions
Eyes can exhibit a wide variety of symptoms that can indicate a possible problem with their physical health. Some symptoms, such as itchiness, may just be an indicator of allergies, however other symptoms should be treated as warning signs and you should consult with an eye physician right away. Common indicators of poor physical health of your eyes are:

  • Swelling
  • Burning
  • Trauma
  • Pain
  • Blurred Vision
  • Spots/Halos

If you do experience any of these symptoms come in and talk with us as soon as possible. Make sure you make a note of how long the symptoms have been persisting and if you have any ideas of what may be causing them. Once in our office we'll check for a variety of conditions including:

Many of these conditions are treatable/curable if they are caught early on. That is why the most important thing you can do to prevent these conditions is to get your eyes routinely checked, at least once a year. If you do exhibit any symptoms or have had any trauma in between check-ups, it is always better to be safe than sorry and come in and have us check your eyes out.
Schedule an appointment with one of the many qualified eye physicians in Ocean County, New Jersey at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates.

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November 17, 2009

If you make routine visits to have your eyes examined, chances are your familiar with the procedure and have formed a trusting relationship with your eye physician. You and your physician should have a mutual relationship, one where information is passed back and forth between the two of you. At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, we want you to feel like an integral part of keeping your eyes healthy and that is why it is important that you keep the physical health of your eyes a top priority.

During your eye exams, we will check not just for your prescription and whether or not you need glasses, but also for:

Crossed or lazy eyes
Eye tearing problems
Focusing problems
Glaucoma and cataracts

If we do find anything out of the ordinary during an eye exam we will discuss with you the possible treatment options.

If you are getting routine eye exams, chances are that you are having them once a year. If you notice any symptoms that seem out of the ordinary to you leading up to your eye exam, make sure you write them down and bring them in to us. Ask us why your vision is the way it is and what options you have for preventing further vision degeneration.

Remember, your comfort and understanding are important to us and we want to equip you with the right tools and knowledge to take care of your eyes and their health.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our eye physicians in Ocean County, please contact us at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates.

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October 19, 2009

The vast majority of our patients who seek LASIK surgery are good candidates. If they are not, then in some cases it may only be necessary to let some time pass. An ideal candidate is in good general health, has an active and healthy lifestyle, has no pre-existing eye diseases, and has realistic expectations for the outcome of the procedure. This being said, your candidacy can only be determined after a thorough eye examination from one of our ophthalmologists.

As of now, you must be at least 18 years old to undergo the procedure. However, we often recommend that our patients wait until after the age of 21, as the eye is still changing during this time. If you have unhealthy, scarred, or thin corneas, cataracts, glaucoma, extreme dry eye, a history of herpes infection in the eye, or any other recent eye infection or injury, you will not be a good candidate. Sufferers of lupus, HIV, or other autoimmune disorders are not good candidates. LASIK is also not recommended for women who are pregnant due to the effect fluctuating hormones have on refractive errors. Furthermore, we do not like to perform LASIK on anyone who has had a considerable increase in their prescription over the previous year.

Certain careers, occupations, and employers prohibit LASIK surgery. Be sure to check your employer's rules and regulations regarding LASIK before choosing to get the surgery. LASIK is irreversible, so if you aspire toward a career that may prohibit the procedure, be sure to do your research. Our doctors know which occupations do not allow LASIK and will be able to help you make your decision. If your current or future occupation does not allow LASIK, then there may be other options available to reduce your dependency on glasses or contacts.

A thorough eye exam will be necessary in order to determine your candidacy for LASIK. If you live in the New Jersey area and want to reduce your dependency on glasses or contacts, please contact us today to schedule an exam.

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September 17, 2009

At Susskind and Almallah Eye Associates, PA we help answer the age old question, "why is it that when we get older, our near vision gets worse?" The answer is Presbyopia. Presbyopia is an age related condition that affects the lens of the eye in a way that keeps the eye from accommodating or focusing clearly up close.

A quick fix may be a cheap pair of reading glasses or cheaters as they are also know, but most people find it an inconvenience to keep multiple pairs around the house and in their car. There is another option though. Crystalens® is a "premium" intraocular accommodating lens implant commonly associated with cataract surgery, but can also be used to treat Presbyopia. Crystalens is the ONLY FDA-approved accommodating lens available in the United States. More than twice the number of patients implanted with the Crystalens can see at all distances compared to standard lens implants, giving patients that otherwise would have had to wear reading glasses a youthful way to see the world again.

"As a successful interior designer with a very active lifestyle, my eyes are very important to me. I also enjoy traveling and spending time outdoors. I can't believe how well my vision is now that I have Crystalens."
Mary Campbell

More often, patients in their 40's, 50's and early 60's are researching their options for corrective eye surgery and realizing that lens replacement with Crystalens is the way to go when they have been diagnosed with either presbyopia or cataracts. An added bonus with Crystalens surgery for presbyopia is that patients will not have to undergo cataract surgery later in life. The reason Crystalens offers such superior results is based primarily on its design, which mimics the eyes natural muscle "flexes" to accommodate near, far and everywhere in between. Omar F. Almallah, MD, FACS, FABES is a premier ophthalmic surgeon and is the areas market leader having performed hundreds of crystalens procedures here at the Jersey Shore. Dr. Almallah routinely attends the ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery) meetings, an international educational and scientific organization with 9000 member ophthalmologists, where he has spoken on the techniques he uses to make crystalens so successful in his own practice.

"At age 60, as my cataract worsened, I was forced to do something, or stop working, but retirement is not an option for me. I work with computers as a Quality Control systems tester and I rely heavily on my eyesight for observing patters to detect system errors. I also drive 27 miles to get to work everyday in congested traffic.

Having the Crystalens procedure performed by Dr. Almallah definitely increased my quality of life. I have no doubt about it! Thanks, so much."
Richard Goldgraben

In a clinical study performed in the United States, crystalens® was implanted in 497 eyes in 324 adult patients over 50 years of age. The results showed that most of the patients that underwent crystalens® implantation in both eyes had vision that was good enough to pass a driver's licensure exam. All patients had good "intermediate" vision; simply meaning they could see their computer screen or items at an arm's length without their glasses. Amazingly, 98.4% of patients in this study could read print the size of stock quotes in the newspaper or phone numbers in the telephone book without glasses. In addition, patient questionnaires have shown that 93% of patients involved in this study and having the crystalens® implanted in both eyes, state that they can perform most daily activities such as shopping or applying makeup without the use of their glasses. If you have noticed that your vision seems to be failing you, we encourage you to come in for a thorough eye exam to determine if you are presbyopic or if cataracts are present. The doctor will discuss with you the options now available for vision restoration.

Dr. Almallah is a Board Certified ophthalmologist both by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Eye Surgeons. His primary practice is devoted to eye surgery and he has been practicing in Toms River and the surrounding communities for the last twenty years. He is internationally recognized as a refractive ocular surgeon and is acknowledged by his peers as one of the finest and most skilled eye surgeons. In fact, patients have traveled from England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Korea, India and across the United States to have their eye surgery performed by Dr. Almallah. He has also operated on several ophthalmologists. Dr. Almallah graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and received his Doctorate of Medicine from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. His training to be an eye specialist was at Temple University Hospital where he was ranked number 1 out of 500 applicants for one of 3 very coveted training positions. He completed his residency and was Chief Resident his senior year at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Almallah evaluates every surgical candidate personally and applies his extensive knowledge in ocular surgery to educate patients and their families to the appropriateness of recommending particular ocular procedures to patients. When he does recommend a procedure, it's with great confidence that the patient will benefit. One of the many conveniences offered to Dr. Almallah's patients is that the surgery center where he performs Crystalens and cataract procedures is located just next door to his main office in Toms River, giving his patient's the comfort of familiar surroundings with less travel time.

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA have five convenient locations in Ocean and Monmouth counties for medical and routine eye exams, contact lens fits, glaucoma treatment, cataract evaluations, LASIK evaluations and consultations for "premium" cataract lens upgrades such as Crystalens and also Verisyse lens evaluations and surgery for patients with high nearsightedness corrections.

To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Almallah, simply contact Ed Brooks at the Toms River location at 732-349-5622 ext. 37.

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September 16, 2009

Multi-focal intraocular lenses are used to approach the accommodation processes of your eye more closely. The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL from Alcon is one of several multi-focal lenses available for lens replacement surgery. There are two technologies involved with these lenses and this is how the AcrySof ReSTOR lenses work.
 

  • Apodized diffraction - Small concentric rings of differing diffractive values allow accommodation or focusing at various distances, not simply near or far distances. The apodized section of the lens is in the interior portion and has 12 concentric steps of decreasing depth, mimicking natural lens focusing.
  • Refraction - The refractive part of the lens is situated to the outside and helps refract light when the pupils are dilated, for more effective distance vision.

Together these technologies provide you with a much greater range with fewer visual disturbances.

The AcrySof ReSTOR IOL is the only multi-focal lens with apodized diffractive technology. The lens gives the cataract or presbyopia patients like you an increased range of vision and helps eliminate the need for any type of additional corrective lenses.

To find out more about multi-focal vision correction with AcrySof ReSTOR IOL, please contact the Ocean County vision correction specialists at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates and schedule an initial consultation.

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July 18, 2009

Treatment for cataracts used to be limited to replacing your cloudy lens with a mono-focal type intraocular lens (IOL). These lenses would limit your focus ability to just one distance, near of far. Additional vision correction was treated with an extra pair of glasses. With new multi-focal lenses like AcrySof ReSTOR, your near and far vision is corrected with one lens implant.

The surgical procedure to replace the natural crystalline lens of your eye with an AcrySof ReSTOR lens is called refractive lens exchange. During this surgery, the natural lens of the eye is broken up with the use of lasers and removed. The ReSTOR lens is put in place in the area where the lens was removed.

The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis and you should expect to be at the surgery center for a few hours. You should see improvement in your vision almost immediately. You can return to normal activities right away, but recommend 1 to 2 full days of rest before going back to work.

Please contact the experienced refractive lens exchange professionals at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates today for an initial consultation. The Ocean County and Monmouth County vision specialists are more than happy to answer all your vision correction questions.

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June 24, 2009

Most of us have heard the term “20/20 vision” being used in reference to healthy, normal eyesight. Perhaps you have been told you have 20/20 vision, 20/40 vision, or even 20/15 vision. As a measurement of visual acuity, 20/20 vision is considered “good” vision. Most people, however, are unaware or have forgotten exactly what these numbers mean. Let us take a quick look at the meaning behind these figures.

Anyone who has undergone a physical examination at a doctor’s office or a comprehensive eye exam at an eye clinic has seen what is called a “Snellen chart.” This is the chart hanging on the doctor’s wall with the large “E” printed at the top. This chart has been used since the late 1800’s to measure an individual’s visual acuity. Many modern eye clinics and family physicians use an electronic “viewfinder” version of the Snellen chart, but the ratios and results are the same.

Standing 20 feet from the chart, you are asked to cover one eye and read the characters on the chart. If you have 20/20 vision, then you are able to accurately read from 20 feet what someone with normal vision can read from 20 feet. Someone with 20/40 vision is able to see at 20 feet what someone with normal vision would be able to see at 40 feet, and so on.

This visual test only measures visual acuity and cannot sufficiently account for the quality of a person’s vision. Other tests are necessary to determine an individual’s ability to see color and contrast, for example. In other words, 20/20 vision is only one component of normal vision.

A comprehensive eye examination by a certified ophthalmologist or optometrist will measure both the acuity and quality of your vision, as well as help determine whether you have other eye conditions. If you live in the New Jersey area, please contact us today to arrange your comprehensive eye exam.

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May 29, 2009

We count many athletes - from the recreational to professional level - among our regular patients. Many of them suffer some form of refractive error that holds them back from achieving their optimal athletic performance. Until recent years, laser vision correction was not a good option for many athletes, particularly those involved in contact sports. Fortunately, with today’s advanced techniques, this is no longer the case. Laser vision correction is now an option for all athletes competing in the entire range of sporting events.

In the early days of laser vision correction, and until recently, the only technique that existed was traditional LASIK. The traditional LASIK procedure requires that a flap be cut on the outer layer of the cornea in order to re-contour the inner cornea. This flap is the primary reason why athletes involved in contact sports are not advised to undergo the procedure. If this flap is disturbed in any way during the healing process, many serious complications may result, including loss of vision.

LASIK is still not recommended for those who compete in contact sports. However, a new laser vision correction procedure is now available that eliminates the risks involved with the LASIK flap. Advanced Surface Ablation, or ASA, reshapes the cornea without cutting a flap. Athletes who undergo this procedure can continue to compete without having to worry about damaging their corneal flap.

LASIK may still be a good option for you if you do not compete in contact sports. Our ophthalmologists will be able to help you determine which laser vision correction option is best for you. If you live in the New Jersey area and are interested in laser vision correction, please contact us today to arrange a consultation.
 

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April 13, 2009

For many of us, driving is a normal part of our daily routine. We use our vehicles as transportation to and from work, frequent visits to the grocery store, and weekend getaways with family or friends. Imagine now that you’re in your sixties or seventies and your eyes are not quite what they used to be. What was sharp and in focus years prior is now cloudy and undefined, even if you wear glasses or contacts. This poses a threat to you and others sharing the roads with you and could lead to a situation that could have been avoided with a simple visit to your eye doctor.

Cataracts are the leading cause of vision impairment in older adults in the United States, according to the American Medical Association.

Cataracts result in lessened visual acuity and contrast sensitivity and may increase the perception of distracting glare.

In a study done for the American Medical Association, patients between the ages of 55 and 85 years were recruited from twelve eye clinics in Alabama from October 1994 through March 1996, with 4 to 6 years of follow-up to March 1999. The main outcome was measured by police-reported motor vehicle crash occurrence involving patients who elected cataract surgery compared to those who did not through reports made available by the Alabama Department of Public Safety.

This study concluded in part that patients with cataracts that elected to have cataract surgery and intraocular lens implantation had half the rate of crash involvement during the follow-up period compared with those patients with cataracts that chose not to undergo surgery. Of course, with any study there are many variables to take into consideration, but having a cataract can significantly impair your vision and impaired vision can increase your likelihood of being involved in an accident.

Fortunately for patients, eye doctors have been treating cataracts with a high success rate for the majority of cases. Cataracts are treated through crystalline lens removal followed by intraocular lens insertion (IOL). Cataract surgery can lead to the improvement of visual acuity and contrast sensitivity as well as reducing distracting glare. This study is an example of results that may have a variety of benefits to driver safety in our society with the increased population of older drivers and the percentage of cataracts in the population older than 65 years of age.

If cataracts are impairing your vision, having cataract surgery protects not only you, but other drivers on the road as well. For yourself, for your loved ones, and for your community, schedule a cataract surgery consultation at Susskind & Almallah, Eye Associates, P.A. today to learn how your life can be safer and richer after cataract surgery.
 

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March 11, 2009

In May 2003, the IRS confirmed that laser vision correction qualified as a medical expense. If your medical expenses reach 7.5% of your income in any given year, the price of your LASIK/laser vision correction can be deducted for tax purposes. Most people, however, end up not reaching the 7.5% threshold, therefore, they turn to another popular program: Flexible Spending Accounts.

Your company may offer a FLEX account, and you may not even know about it. A Flexible Spending Account (FSA), (also called flex plan, reimbursement account, Flex 125, Tax Saving Plan, Medical Spending Account, a Section 125, or a Cafeteria Plan), is an employer-sponsored benefit that allows individuals to pay for their eligible medical expenses on a pre-tax basis (there are also similar accounts for dependent and child-care expenses). If you expect to acquire medical expenses that won't be reimbursed by your regular health insurance plan, you may consider taking advantage of your employer's FSA, if one is offered.

A FLEX account allows you to choose an amount to be withheld from each paycheck, and deposited in a special account. You can then use the money in this account to pay for your LASIK.

The advantages of using a FLEX account are that you save automatically,and the money is pre-tax, which means you can save up to over 30%! You must use all the money in your Flex Account before Dec. 31 or you lose the unspent money. You can allocate the expense of LASIK and it would then be deducted from your FLEX account. Ask your Benefits or Human Resource Department for details.

How can I benefit?
FSA saves you money by reducing your income taxes. The contributions you make to a Flexible Spending Account are deducted from your pay BEFORE your Federal, State, or Social Security Taxes are calculated and the contributions are not taxable. The result is that you decrease your taxable income and increase your spendable income. You can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars per year.

How does it work?
At the beginning of the flex spending plan year (which usually starts January 1st), your employer asks you how much money you want to contribute for the year (typically there are limits). You usually have only one opportunity to enroll in a given year, unless there is a qualified "family status change," such as marriage, birth, divorce, or loss of a spouse's insurance coverage. The amount designated for the year is taken out of your paycheck in equal installments each pay period and deposited in a special account by the employer. As medical expenses are incurred, that are not fully covered by your insurance, you submit a copy of the Explanation of Benefits or the provider's invoice and proof of payment to the plan administrator for reimbursement.

What expenses are eligible?
Any expense that is considered a deductible medical expense by the IRS and is not reimbursed through your insurance can be reimbursed through the FSA. These include most elective surgery, LASIK/laser vision correction, deductibles, eyeglasses, and prescription drug co-payments.

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March 06, 2009

While the vast majority of our LASIK patients are satisfied with the results of their initial surgery, there are instances when a patient requests or may require an enhancement.
We will perform a follow-up LASIK enhancement if you are unsatisfied with the initial result and it is reasonable to do so, or as a corrective measure due to complications during the surgery or healing process.

Generally speaking, we do not recommend follow-up enhancements unless you are left unable to perform necessary activities as a result of your surgery. With an enhancement come all the risks of the initial surgery, so the choice to undergo an enhancement should be taken just as seriously.

We typically allow 3 to 4 months to pass before considering a follow-up enhancement. This time allows the eye to heal from the initial surgery and the vision to stabilize. It is important to be patient while your eye heals, as it is very likely that the quality of your vision will fluctuate during this time. If you are unable to perform necessary tasks at any time during these first few months due to vision problems, we will gladly provide glasses for you to wear temporarily until your vision stabilizes and an enhancement becomes feasible.

It is important to have realistic expectations before choosing to undergo LASIK surgery. Additionally, there are many factors which will affect your satisfaction with the results of your LASIK procedure. Your eye doctor will discuss these with you in depth during your initial consultation and examination. If you live in the New Jersey area and are considering LASIK surgery, or have any further questions about the LASIK procedure, please contact us today to arrange a consultation.

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February 11, 2009

Cataracts are the number one cause of blindness in the world. While ophthalmologists are able to treat thousands of people a day in this country and give them their sight back, it may be useful to understand the factors that cause cataracts in an effort to reduce the chance that you will get one in the future.

First, a cataract is a clouding of the lens in the eye. The lens is responsible for letting in and focusing light onto the retina so that you can see sharp and clear images. The lens is made up of protein and water, and when protein builds up or clumps together, not as much light is able to get through to the retina. When the light is diminished, so is the image, which can appear cloudy, fuzzy, or blurred, and color can appear faded. If cataracts are not treated they can lead to irreversible blindness.

Causes
Some of the risk factors of cataracts can be reduced, including:

  • Smoking
  • Heavy use of alcohol
  • Eye drops that contain steroids
  • Diabetes – proper treatment can reduce the chances of getting cataracts
  • Excessive exposure to sunlight – ultraviolet light and cosmic rays may be a factor according to some studies
  • Diet heavy in salt
  • Dehydration

Other risks cannot be reduced, including:

  • Aging – the number one reason people get cataracts
  • Eye injuries or severe trauma to the eye
  • Genetic predisposition

While some of these causes could be argued, such as environmental factors, or others where more studies are needed, once someone has a cataract, it is important that they see an experienced cataract surgeon as soon as possible to have it removed.

If you are in the Monmouth or Ocean County, New Jersey area, and you are interested in finding out more about cataracts and their causes, please contact Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, P.A. today.

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January 06, 2009

When you have been diagnosed with a cataract, you want to be sure that your ophthalmologist is going to give you quality care that meets or, hopefully, exceeds the standard. But in the end, all you probably really want is to know that you’ll be able to see again. We understand that, but hope that you think about who will be performing your cataract surgery.

First, your cataract surgeon is called an ophthalmologist. Ophthalmologists specialize in both the medical and surgical care of the eye. They have completed four years of pre-med undergraduate education, four years of medical school, and then gone on to specialize in medical and surgical training. They are qualified to provide overall eye care with the added service of diagnosing and treating diseases and other conditions of the eye. Other things to keep in mind when choosing a cataract surgeon include:

  • Qualifications – Your cataract surgeon should be willing and able to discuss their qualifications with you if you so desire. Their credentials should include an accredited medical institution and they should be licensed in the state in which they perform. Look around the practice to see that licenses and credentials are displayed where patients can see them.
  • Experience – While everyone who needs a cataract surgeon wants one who has performed successful cataract surgery, you want to look for one who has experience. You may even want to look for an experienced cataract surgeon who has trained with some of the best eye surgeons in the world. Experience of your cataract surgeon is key, and you should not be shy about asking them how much experience they have and getting an honest answer in return.
  • Patient Satisfaction – Patients are the cornerstone of any successful eye practice. Many of the most successful are that way because someone has referred friends or family. While patients should be satisfied, good cataract surgeons take pride in their work, and this shows. You should be able to ask your cataract surgeon for other satisfied patients, or view testimonials.

At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, P.A., we have qualified and experienced ophthalmologists able to treat cataract patients successfully and with the care they deserve. Please contact us to set up an initial examination where we can answer any of your cataract surgery questions.

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December 04, 2008

We advise women who are pregnant or nursing not to undergo LASIK or any other similar refractive surgery until nursing is complete and several months have passed. We give the same advice to women who plan on becoming pregnant within six months following refractive surgery. There are a couple reasons for this:

Pregnancy and lactation naturally cause huge fluctuations in a woman’s hormone levels. What many women are not aware of is the fact that these hormonal fluctuations can have a direct and significant effect on vision and the degree of their refractive error. In fact, it is common for pregnant women to experience periods of increased nearsightedness during gestation.

In order for us to get an accurate measurement of a woman’s refractive error, her hormone levels need to be relatively stable. Measuring refractive error during pregnancy or lactation will inevitably give us unreliable data to work from. Working from unreliable measurements almost ensures a less-than-optimal surgical outcome.

Another important thing to consider is the possibility of complications resulting from the refractive surgery itself. In the event that there are complications, it may be necessary to administer certain medications that may be harmful to the infant - whether the infant is in-utero or breastfeeding.

If you live in the New Jersey area and are considering refractive surgery, or have further concerns about how refractive surgery may affect pregnancy or nursing, please contact us today to arrange a personal consultation.

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November 06, 2008

Many of our prospective LASIK patients come to us with concerns that their night vision might be compromised as a result of the surgery. We understand this concern, as many of our patients’ livelihoods depend upon a lot of nighttime activity, particularly driving. Post-LASIK night vision problems have been a prohibitive risk for many patients in the past. Fortunately, improved LASIK technology and refined surgical techniques have come a long way in eliminating most post-surgical night vision complications.

You will be screened for risk factors during your initial consultation with one of our eye doctors. If you have large pupils, then you are at an increased risk for post-LASIK night vision problems. Those with more severe myopia or astigmatism are also at a greater risk. Once these risk factors are identified, your eye doctor can adjust your procedure accordingly. Please note that if you have an extreme form of any of these risk factors, LASIK may not be right for you.

Today’s technology allows eye doctors to create what is called a “blend zone” around the laser treatment site. The ability to create and manipulate this blend zone allows a skilled eye doctor to greatly reduce or eliminate night vision problems. In fact, many of our patients who had night vision issues before LASIK now have no such problems.

All LASIK patients should expect some night glare, haloes, or rings during the first few weeks of recovery. These conditions should go away as the corneal flap heals and swelling subsides.

In order to avoid post-LASIK night vision problems, it is crucial that your eye doctor has the most up-to-date excimer laser technology. At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates we not only have the technology, we also have the experience necessary to make sure your risk of post-LASIK night vision problems is minimized. If you live in the New Jersey area, please contact us today to arrange an appointment.

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October 27, 2008

Half of the adults reading this column have a refractive error. This assertion is based
on data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), which
shows that about half of all U.S. adults are either nearsighted or farsighted or have an
irregular corneal curve known as astigmatism. These common eye-focusing problems,
known collectively as “refractive errors,” affect young, old, and middle-aged people of
all races. According to researchers, 3.6 percent of those surveyed were farsighted and
about one-third were nearsighted. Slightly more than 36 percent were found to have some
form of astigmatism. The high prevalence of refractive errors among the population may
be due to the heavier loads placed upon the eyes by TV, computers, and video games.
How refractive errors are treated or managed depends upon the amount and severity
of the condition. Do you need more information?

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October 06, 2008

Just a reminder for those people with "Flexible Spending Accounts"(FSA)" through their employers, now is the time to allocate funds for 2009. This would be the time to approach your human resources department to inquire about 2009's allocation limits. FSA's can be used for out of pocket expenses such laser vision correction (LASIK). By allocating a determined amount through your FSA, you can put money in an account "pre-tax" for these reasons. Many patients use this arrangement to lower their annual income for tax purposes and have the opportunity to save money for something they really need and want. If you have any questions regarding FSA's start with your employer. It may just be the option you are looking for to change your life with laser vision correction!

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October 01, 2008

With diabetes at epidemic proportions in the United States, this disease has emerged as the biggest threat to the eyesight of working-age Americans. While much attention is (correctly) directed at the havoc that erratic blood glucose levels have upon the blood vessels in the retina (diabetic retinopathy), there are also other potential problems. For instance, diabetics are 40% more likely to suffer from glaucoma than non-diabetics. This risk increases with age. In addition, diabetics are 60% more likely to develop cataracts. This clouding of the eye lens also occurs at earlier ages and progresses faster among people with diabetes. Because all of these complications can be either successfully treated or managed with early detection, regular comprehensive eye exams are mandatory.
November is American Diabetes Month. Diabetes is the number one cause of blindness in the United States. Your eyesight is a precious possession and should be protected with periodic professional eye examinations.

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October 01, 2008

When children are farsighted, have astigmatism, or experience both of these refractive errors in both eyes, they may develop “bilateral refractive amblyopia.” Unlike single-eye amblyopia (or “lazy eye”), in which one eye presents an unclear image to the brain, bilateral amblyopia affects both eyes and is less common. If left untreated, bilateral amblyopia may result in permanent vision loss. The good news is that recent research shows that the condition can be successfully treated with corrective lenses, particularly when it is diagnosed and treated early. After one year of treatment, visual acuity among children between the ages of three and nine with bilateral refractive amblyopia had improved an average of about four lines on the traditional Snellen eye chart.
Amblyopia will not go away on its own, and untreated amblyopia can lead to permanent visual problems and poor depth perception. At SUSSKIND & ALMALAH EYE ASSOCIATES, P.A., we stress preventive health care for the entire family. When is the last time you had a thorough eye examination? We will discuss all your options with you. We’re currently accepting new patients and welcome you.

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October 01, 2008

With the incidence of myopia (nearsightedness) rising worldwide,
researchers recently sought to look for possible causes, which remain
uncertain. While genetic factors probably play the biggest role, some
studies have suggested that there may be an association between this
refractive error and light exposure. With this in mind, Israeli researchers
looked at data on youths ranging in age from 16-23 specifically to see if
there is a relation between the incidence of nearsightedness and birth
months. To their surprise, the researchers found that the babies born in
June and July had a 24% greater chance of becoming severely myopic
than those born in December and January. This finding suggests that
early-life exposure to natural light may be linked with myopia.
Nearsightedness is a very common vision condition that affects
nearly 30 percent of the U.S. population.

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September 25, 2008

While there seems to be an adequate supply of corneas (the transparent
covering at the front of the eye) for transplantation, there is some concern that there
may be a future shortage. With this in mind, researchers set out to see if there was
an age limit beyond which corneas should not be accepted from older donors.
Generally speaking, when it comes to most types of implants, younger tissue is
preferable to older. However, researchers found that corneas from donors as old
as 75 years can perform just as well as younger tissue. While other factors have a
bearing on the selection of corneas for transplantation, this new study shows that
age is not necessarily a limiting factor.

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September 22, 2008

Eye cataracts are named in accordance with their location. The
most common type, a “nuclear” cataract, occurs in the center of the
lens and may induce nearsightedness. As a result, there may be a
temporary improvement in reading vision, known as “second sight,”
which unfortunately disappears as the cataract worsens. A “cortical”
cataract begins as wedge-shaped spokes in the cortex of the lens
that extend from the outside of the lens toward the center. Although
it develops slowly, it may impair both distance and near vision to the
point where surgery is indicated at a relatively early stage. Lastly, a
“subcapsular” cataract slowly develops as a small opacity under the
capsule. Symptoms may not appear until it is well developed.
Cataracts are a common cause of vision loss, especially as we age,
but they are treatable.

Thanks!

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August 29, 2008

The most common type of eye injury in the home and at work involves irritants
that contact the outer surface of the eye. For instance, sawdust may float into the
eye in a home workshop, or a chemical may splash up into the eyes in the kitchen.
In case of chemical irritation, the consequent pain may cause a person to close her
or her eyes, which may make matters worse because the eyelid traps the irritant
next to the eye. It is important to flush the affected eye as soon as possible with
lukewarm water. Flush for about fifteen minutes, checking every five to see if the
particle has been washed away. Seek medical advice and attention, if necessary.

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August 29, 2008

Eye Surgery Cost: Insurance and Financing

Although most vision insurance plans consider LASIK (refractive surgery) cosmetic or elective, some companies do offer generous discounts to their members. Also, you may qualify for a tax deduction for refractive surgery, so check with an accountant.

Given today’s economy, patients may be tempted to choose a surgeon solely based on the fee charged, but this could be a costly mistake. It is wise to choose the best surgeon you can find, and then, if you need, find the most affordable financing available. Just think of it this way, if you choose Surgeon (A) because his charge is $400 less than Surgeon (B), but you know Surgeon (B) is the better choice, you’re risking your vision for the sake of $1 per day over the course of 13 months! Is it really worth the risk for the monetary savings?

At Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates we offer Chase Health Advance financing to our patients. They have 12, 18, or 24 month NO interest payments for those patients who qualify or you may also choose and extended payment plan with a reasonable interest rate. We also use Chase Health Advance for Crystalens (cataract replacement lens) and Verisyse (High Myopia) lens implants as well. Please ask our Refractive Director for more information if you are interested.

Also, some large companies are now offering subsidized health plans that cover at least a portion of LASIK costs. If you work for a major company, ask about the possible benefits they offer that might cover elective corrective eye procedures.

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August 21, 2008

Think that bladeless procedure will benefit you more so than traditional LASIK? Think again. A recent study compared the use of femtosecond lasers (used in bladeless LASIK) with the mechanical microkeratome. The results of the study did not suggest use of the femtosecond necessarily improved patient outcomes. In fact, the results six months post surgery showed that LASIK outcomes were comparable to those of the bladeless procedures.
The study's findings are important, especially considering bladeless surgery runs the risk of side effects, such as transient light sensitivity (TLS), a condition commonly associated with the use of the Intralase femtosecond laser, which can linger for a year after the surgery.
The study's findings will be presented to the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.
Blade vs. Bladeless Surgery_Traditional LASIK procedures can treat patients with various visual disturbances including nearsightedness, astigmatism and farsightedness. They work by allowing the surgeon to reshape the corneal surface by creating a flap in the cornea using a mechanical microkeratome.
Newer procedures, including IntraLase or bladeless LASIK offer surgeons the choice of creating the corneal flap with a new laser called the femtosecond laser. This type of lasik surgery is sometimes also referred to as "all laser" surgery because of this.
The results of this most recent study show that six months following surgery few differences if any are apparent among patients that had surgery using the femtosecond laser or the microkeratome.
That said, there are still some surgeons who prefer to use bladeless surgery because they believe it is safer. Even if outcomes following surgery may be equal, some surgeons believe using the femtosecond laser during bladeless procedures is safer because it allows more controlled precision. On the other hand, there is the issue of transient light sensitivity (TLS) to contend with along with post surgical swelling, which can delay visual clarity.
Of course, it is important to note there are also relatively few risks from surgery using the traditional microkeratome blade. Typically serious risks including vision loss following surgery occur in less than 1 percent of the population undergoing such procedures.
Which Surgery Is Best?_It is important to note this study followed patients during their long-term recovery. All findings reported represent results of this study six months or more following surgery. In the short term, there are a few differences between the two procedures. What is important to note however, as researchers point out, is the long-term effects any surgery will have on a patient.
When it comes to blade vs. bladeless surgery, it appears patients have an equal likelihood for successful surgery six months post operation. Talk with your eye care professional about the pros and cons of each surgery before deciding which may be best for you. Remember there are surgeons who still prefer to use the femtosecond, whereas others still believe the microkeratome is a superior tool for creating a precise corneal flap. Ultimately, the decision is yours.

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August 20, 2008

The laser-sculpting surgery known as LASIK (laser-assisted in situ keratomileusis) is not suitable for everyone. Because this procedure involves making a flap in the cornea and removing a portion of corneal tissue below before replacing the flap, nearsighted patients must have corneas of sufficient thickness. In cases of patients with corneas that are too thin, there may be an alternative to LASIK. For patients with mild nearsightedness, in particular, corneal rings in the shape of transparent crescents may be implanted around the cornea's periphery. This has the effect of flattening the cornea without permanently removing tissue. In fact, the rings may be removed at any time if patients' correction needs change or if patients suffer side effects such as glare.

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August 05, 2008

As its name implies, the condition called "dry eye" involves insufficient tear quantity or quality to keep eyes healthy and comfortable. As a result, the eyes may begin to feel hot and gritty, as well as appear swollen and red. Treatment of "dry eyes" usually begins with the introduction of artificial tears. If this eye-drop product is either inconvenient or ineffective, the ophthalmologist may recommend the insertion of punctal plugs into the tear drainage ducts. punctal plugs prevent tears from draining out of the eye via the tiny opening (punctum) in the inner corner of the eyelid. There are a variety of plugs available which can be removed in minutes if desired. Symptoms of dry eyes can include redness, dryness, burning, grittiness,excessive tearing, tired eyes blurry vision, and sensitivity to light.

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August 05, 2008

Welcome to all Susskind and Almallah viewers. We encourage you to take some time to view all the entries and information in our blog and make comments or contact us directly.

Please feel free to also visit the credentials of each of our surgeons on our home page.

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July 18, 2008

Nearly two and a half million Americans have open angle glaucoma with the majority of them unaware of this problem because this condition usually presents no symptoms. It is very difficult to define clear-cut risk factors for glaucoma, however some include being African American, increasing age, nearsightedness, males greater than females and family history of glaucoma. Elevated intraocular pressure in the eye occurs in five to ten million Americans, but only about 10% of such people develop glaucoma due to this pressure. In some cases, elevated intraocular pressure can be normal.

What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is defined as a disease of the optic nerve, in which the nerve fibers are injured, usually, but not always, by abnormally increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Open angle and closed angle glaucoma are the two primary forms of glaucoma. In rare circumstances, a person may have a combination of the two. Another common form of glaucoma is known as normotensive glaucoma, in which damage occurs to the optic nerve but the IOP is normal or even low. There are many more forms of glaucoma, ranging from congenital glaucoma (babies born with the disease) to pigmentary glaucoma. To further complicate the disease, approximately 10% of Americans have high intraocular pressure but do not have glaucoma…a condition called ocular hypertension. These individuals, however, are considered to be at risk for glaucoma.

To understand how this disrupts the normal processes of a person’s sight, it must first be explained how we see. Light passes through the cornea, the clear tissue at the front of the eye. Directly behind the cornea is the iris…the colored tissue of the eye, which opens and closes like a camera shutter to regulate the passage of light. The lens is located behind the iris, it focuses the light which then hits the retina…a fragile electrical membrane of nerve cells that receives light. The retina translates light into signals that are sent to the optic nerve. This nerve is a cable of about 1.2 million nerve fibers that transmit signals from the eye to the brain, which then interpret these signals into images. The eye is also composed of two fluid filled chambers. These chambers are responsible for nourishing the area around the colored iris and behind the cornea, and exert pressure to help maintain the eye’s shape. Aqueous fluid is continuously produced within the front of the eye itself causing pressure within the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). Normal pressure is usually maintained at measurements of 10 to 20 mm Hg. To offset the inflowing fluid and to maintain normal IOP, the fluid drains out between the iris and the cornea.

Glaucoma treatments focus on lowering intraocular pressure. If the fluid system stays balanced, the pressure in the eye stays normal. If the drain becomes blocked, the fluid cannot leave the eye, and the IOP increases. Prescription medications, usually in the form of eye drops, and can lower IOP are used as treatments. Lowering the IOP is the main goal in the treatment of glaucoma.

Glaucoma, which can cause blindness, usually has no warning signs. Not knowing you have glaucoma is the greatest risk. Simple tests done by your eye doctor can diagnose glaucoma early and help slow or stop further loss of vision. Early treatment with medications, laser treatment, surgery, or combination of these can nearly always maintain safe pressure preventing optic nerve damage and blindness.

The most important part of glaucoma treatment is you, the patient. Become aware and learn about glaucoma and how it is treated. The more information you know the more successful the treatment. It is not always necessary to see a glaucoma specialist for diagnosis, many ophthalmologists are also very well educated and trained to handle glaucoma treatments as well. If you think you may have glaucoma or even suspect that your eye pressures are high, simply call your eye physician’s office and schedule an appointment.

Written by:

Ed Brooks
Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA
20 Mule Rd.
Toms River, NJ 08755
(732) 349-5622 Ext. 37
www.oceancountyeye.com

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June 24, 2008

Potential LASIK candidates just aren’t getting the right information. Many patients are being told that they aren’t good candidates because they wear reading glasses are farsighted or have astigmatism. In most cases, this is not so. Regardless if you are wearing readers, nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism, chances are, you may be a candidate for corrective surgery. With today’s improved and expanded technology; we are able to provide patients a wider range of treatment possibilities.

Dr. Omar Almallah (Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates) implements CustomVue™ LASIK, a unique approach for each individual, which employs the VISX WaveScan, a diagnostic system that captures a “fingerprint” of the eye 25 times more accurate than what was previously measurable by standard methods. WaveScan data identifies more specific imperfections in an individual’s vision, which in turn generates an individualized treatment. In essence, your vision is compared to a “fingerprint”, as it is specific only to you. WaveScan technology provides your eye surgeon with an individualized map of your vision. The surgeon than has the ability to “customize” this mapping and calculate the correction that most suits your needs. Once calculated, the treatment is downloaded into the laser and used specifically for your correction.

The VISX Star 4 Excimer laser combines Variable Spot Scanning (VSS), ActiveTrak 3-D eye tracking and Iris Registration to provide the most advanced laser technology platform available today. (Not all LASIK centers offer this technology) Iris Registration via the WaveScan, captures specific points of recognition on a patients Iris for reasons of detection when the patient is set for surgery. This is especially valuable for patients with astigmatism, as this identifies individual characteristics of the patient’s iris so that when preparing for treatment, the same characteristics can be recognized and acknowledged for an amazingly accurate result.

The promise of improved results and clearer vision come with technological developments in refractive surgery, but it is also true that the physicians using this technology also be sophisticated in their knowledge of its use. Dr. Almallah is a premier cataract and refractive surgeon who has not only been trained and credentialed on these advanced procedures, but has been performing them on his patients with great success. He has performed over 20,000 refractive procedures and only advocates surgery for those patients that are good candidates.

The biggest advantage of having LASIK with Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates is that we perform this procedure in our Toms River office. We have a fully equipped LASIK suite specifically designed for only the best outcomes. Outfitted with state of the art equipment and technology that include; climate controls, humidity regulation and HEPA filtration, this laser suite is unmatched in Ocean County.

In addition to LASIK, Dr. Almallah is also a world-renowned intraocular surgeon recognized internationally for his results using the Crystalens® cataract replacement lens. Crystalens® “deluxe” cataract implant gives patients seemless vision. The crystalens is the result of more than 14 years of research and development by J. Stuart Cumming, M.D., F.A.C.S., and was approved by the FDA in November 2003. More than 50,000 lenses have been implanted worldwide. During clinical trials, all of the patients who received the crystalens greatly reduced their need for corrective lenses or eyeglasses. The patented crystalens technology is designed to allow the lens to move in the eye in a manner similar to the natural lens. By using the eye's muscle to move the lens
back and forwards naturally, patients can focus through a continuous range of vision
including near, far and everywhere in between. All other intraocular lenses are designed
to remain fixed in the eye. Dr. Almallah is the areas market leader having performed hundreds of crystalens procedures here at the Jersey Shore. He recently attended the ASCRS (American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery) meeting in San Diego, an international educational and scientific organization with 9000 member ophthalmologists, where he was an invited speaker on the techniques he uses to make crystalens so successful in his own practice. At the crystalens® users symposium, his lecture focused on the mechanics of this lens and the subtle nuances in surgical technique needed to achieve optimum results. Dr. Almallah shared the podium with a select group of internationally renowned ophthalmologists, including Dr. Richard Lindstrom from Minneapolis and Dr Stephen Slade from Houston. After the symposium, many surgeons already using this lens as well as those just getting started, asked Dr. Almallah to further share his techniques so that they too could achieve the kind of successful results Dr. Almallah has achieved in his practice in New Jersey.
Dr. Almallah is a Board Certified ophthalmologist both by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Eye Surgeons. His primary practice is devoted to eye surgery and he has been practicing in Toms River and the surrounding communities for the last sixteen years. He is internationally recognized as a refractive ocular surgeon and is acknowledged by his peers as one of the finest and most skilled eye surgeons in the world. In fact, patients have traveled from England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Korea, India and across the United States to have their eye surgery performed by Dr. Almallah.

"He has also performed both Lasik and Cataract Surgery on not only several
ophthalmologist, but also many physicians and surgeons." Dr. Almallah graduated Magna Cum Luade with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and received his Doctorate of Medicine from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. His training to be an eye specialist was at Temple University Hospital where he was ranked number 1 out of 500 applicants for one of 3 very coveted training positions. He completed his residency and was Chief Resident his senior year at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA have five convenient locations in Ocean and Monmouth counties for routine eye exams, contact lens fits, glaucoma treatment, cataract evaluations, LASIK evaluations and consultations for crystalens® and verisyse™ lenses.

To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Almallah, please contact Ed Brooks at the Toms River location at 732-349-5622 ext. 37.
 

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June 24, 2008

The importance of a routine eye exam can mean the difference between seeing the street sign you are looking for or making a wrong turn onto a busy interstate. Very often people let the fact that they are seeing poorly go too long before scheduling an appointment with their eye doctor. Of course the opposite is also true, when things look clear, chances are they could be seen even clearer with new eyeglasses, contact lenses, cataract surgery or laser vision correction.

Although an eye exam may not be at the top of the priority list, many practices offer additional convenience to their patients by providing evening and weekend hours. A meticulous doctor will provide a thorough examination and can inform a patient of any issues that need to be addressed or simply to let them know that their eyes are doing well. A regular eye exam is recommended at least once a year.

A complete eye exam should include a number of reassuring tests and measures including a glaucoma test, dilation (to determine the health of the inner eye including the lens), refraction, (commonly performed to establish the patient’s current prescription) and a patient history, to enable the doctor to evaluate the patient’s chief complaint, previous conditions and/or complications. These test results will give the doctor the information needed to let the patient know if additional care is needed. Most often it is the reassurance of having these tests that will give the patient sound piece of mind.

Although fairly common after the age of sixty, cataracts and glaucoma should be taken seriously if detected during an examination. A consultation with the eye doctor can determine if a patient has cataracts or glaucoma or if the patient may be at risk in the future. In the hands of a skillfully trained and experienced surgeon, these issues may be remedied with routine surgery and/or prescribed eye drops and can have remarkable results.

In the unfortunate case of an emergency involving the eye(s), call the eye doctor’s office. If the situation is serious, the patient will be seen immediately. If the emergency occurs after regular office hours, the doctor on call will be notified and will return the patient’s call to determine the nature and severity of their situation. If necessary, the doctor will advise the patient to meet him at the office. Of course if the patient should go to the hospital first, the doctor on call will meet the patient there. No matter what the situation, the patient comes first. Choose the practice that will provide premiere service and professional care. Take the time to ask friends and family whom they recommend. A good practice will be easy to find.

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June 08, 2008

Allergy season is upon us and of course it comes with the inconvenience of runny noses and itchy watery eyes. A sniffle here and there isn’t too bad compared to the annoying and sometimes troublesome allergic reactions of the eyes. Most of us know the common causes for these symptoms and may even have taken steps such as monthly allergy shots or eye drops to remedy them. However, you may be missing the boat if your eyes develop more serious symptoms. Allergies are the body’s defenses against substances it feels will do it harm. For example, the body’s strategy against dust, normally harmless to most people, is to flood the eyes with tears and mucus.

Most allergens are airborne, such as pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. Of course these are the allergens that come into contact with your nose and eyes and are difficult to avoid. The obvious “treatment” would be to stay indoors with the air conditioner on and
to lock your pet away in the closet, but of course, these options are not very realistic.

Allergies cause other, more serious problems as well, like conjunctivitis or “pink eye.” More than 20 million Americans suffer from allergies, with most being affected with conjunctivitis caused by a variety of allergens, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Conjunctivitis due to allergens is defined as irritation of the covering of the eyeball (conjunctiva) as a reaction to a substance which one may feel sensitivity. Although not contagious, conjunctivitis causes the eye to become itchy, watery, red and swollen and is often painful. Whether caused by seasonal allergies or those experienced throughout the year, discomfort is typically followed by frequent “rubbing” of the eye, which could lead to permanent eye damage.
Identifying the specific allergens causing the problem is the first step to preventing these symptoms. In some cases, it may be necessary to consider medical treatments as a method of relief.

Speaking with your eye physician regarding treatment options is always recommended to identify the specifics of each allergic symptom and the alternatives, including their unique side effects and benefits. Together with your eye physician you will be able to select the treatment that best alleviates your symptoms.

August and September are the months that many of us dread due to the on-set of runny noses and itchy watery eyes caused by seasonal allergies. A sniffle here and a cough there aren’t too bad when compared to the inconvenience allergies cause our eyes.

Most of us know the primary causes of these symptoms and may have even taken the steps to temporarily relieve them. However, when it comes to our eyes, extra care should be taken to prevent more serious reactions. Allergies are the bodies defenses against substances it feels will do it harm. For example, the body’s strategy against dust, normally harmless to most people, is to flood the eyes with tears and mucus.

Most allergens are airborne, such as pollen, mold, dust, and pet dander. It is these types of allergens that frequently come into contact with the nose and eyes and are difficult to avoid. The most obvious “treatment” would be to stay in an air conditioned home, have no real plants and have a goldfish as the family pet. Of course these remedies are not very realistic or favorable.

Allergies can also cause more serious problems, like allergy related conjunctivitis of the eye, a form of “pink eye.” More than 20 million Americans suffer from allergies, most affected by conjunctivitis caused by a variety of allergens, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology.

Conjunctivitis due to allergens is defined as an irritation of the conjunctiva (the covering of the eyeball) as a reaction to a substance which one may be sensitive to. Although not contagious, conjunctivitis of the eye can be very itchy, watery, red, swollen and is often painful. Whether caused by seasonal allergies or those experienced throughout the year, discomfort is typically followed by frequent “rubbing,” which can lead to permanent eye damage.

Identifying irritable allergens is the first step toward preventing and treating symptoms. It is always recommended to schedule an appointment with an eye physician. In many cases, medical management can help single out the allergy or allergies causing discomfort.

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June 06, 2008

Skin cancer, freckles, and premature aging, are just a few detrimental outcomes of Ultraviolet exposure. Now consider the impact the sun has on our eyes. Ultraviolet light is the high-energy rays projected from the sun just beyond the violet/blue end of the visible spectrum.

Although 99% of UV light is absorbed by the eye’s anterior structures, some of it does make it to the light sensitive retina. UV absorption by the eye may be connected to a number of serious eye diseases. These diseases are not unfamiliar to most, however, are not commonly connected to UV rays. Such ocular diseases include age-related cataract, cancer of the skin around the eye, photokeratitis/keratitis and corneal degenerative changes, and may contribute to age-related macula degeneration, to mention a few.

Worldwide, cataract is a major cause of visual impairment and blindness. A cataract can be defined as cloudiness of the lens developing over a period of many years. According to laboratory studies, UV exposure can be considered a casual factor for cataract. Additionally, studies have shown certain types of cataract are associated with higher exposure to UV and especially UV-B radiation.

A major cause of reduced vision in the United States for people over 55 is age-related macula degeneration. UV exposure in laboratory experiments has shown retinal tissue damage and scientists have speculated that chronic UV exposure may contribute to aging processes in the retina.

The importance of good glasses and sunglasses cannot be argued in light of this information. Now glasses and sunglasses with UV protection and Polarization are used more often as a method of protection rather than just for appearance. Polarization in addition to UV protection helps eliminate annoying glare and distortion associated with bright sunlight and night driving.

Understanding the potential risks associated with sun damage to your eyes can be helpful when deciding on the right pair of glasses that fit your lifestyle. A yearly eye exam is recommended regardless, why not take advantage of this time with your eye doctor and ask about the effects of the sun and the type of glasses or sunglasses that would best suite your needs.
 

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June 06, 2008

Technology has undoubtedly made our lives more comfortable, but what about the physicians using it? It would seem that when you go for an evaluation for a surgical procedure that the surgeon would be properly credentialed, Board Certified and knowledgeable about the technology he chooses to use. Dr. Omar F. Almallah is just such a surgeon. Not only is he Board Certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology, but also the American Board of Eye Surgeons. It provides us with a sense of security and comfort when we think of surgical procedures such as cataract surgery and Laser Vision Correction (LASIK). “Deluxe” lenses such as Crystalens®, an accommodating intraocular lens, Restor®and ReZoom® multifocal lenses and the Verisyse™ lens, for patients with a higher degree of nearsightedness, are just a few examples of options patients have with Omar F. Almallah, M.D. at Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA.

The crystalens® accommodating intraocular lens by Eyeonics™ is designed to mimic the eye’s natural process of accommodation, allowing patients, in most cases, freedom from glasses or contacts. Omar F. Almallah, M.D. is one of the areas premier ophthalmologic surgeons credentialed and performing the crystalens® procedure here at the Jersey Shore.

In a clinical study performed in the United States, the crystalens® was implanted in 497 eyes in 324 adult patients over 50 years of age. The results showed that most of the patients that underwent crystalens® implantation in both eyes had vision that was good enough to pass a driver’s licensure exam. All patients had good “intermediate” vision; simply meaning they could see their computer screen or items at an arm’s length without their glasses. Amazingly, 98.4% of patients in this study could read print the size of stock quotes in the newspaper or phone numbers in the telephone book without glasses. In addition, patient questionnaires have shown that 93% of patients involved in this study and having the crystalens® implanted in both eyes, state that they can perform most daily activities such as shopping or applying makeup without the use of their glasses. When patient’s cataracts are adequately advanced so that they require surgery, their insurance covers the cataract portion of the procedure, but the “deluxe” portion of the surgery is an out of pocket expense. Nevertheless, the demand for this technology is high and an experienced surgeon is likely to produce the results patients expect.
If you have recently turned 63 or 64 you may be making the decision as to whether or not you will be taking advantage of the Medicare system, as promised by our government to you at age 65. We encourage you to come in for a thorough eye exam to determine if cataracts are present. We will discuss with you the options now available for vision restoration. Fortunately, Medicare allows patients the opportunity to upgrade from traditional lens implants to “deluxe” implants such as crystalens®, ReStor® and ReZoom®. Medicare does not fully cover cataract lens upgrades and it is important to meet with our surgical coordinators for more information.

The Verisyse™ Phakic IOL is used to treat moderate to severe myopia, the medical term for nearsightedness. With over 18 years of use and 150,000 procedures performed worldwide, results prove that the Verisyse™ design is safe and effective for very nearsighted people who are tired of thick glasses and are not candidates for Custom LASIK. The procedure involves placing the Verisyse™ Phakic IOL behind your cornea and on top of your iris. This gives your eye another focusing lens that provides high-quality, high-definition vision like a normal eye. The word “phakic” means that your natural crystalline lens is left in the eye. This is important because your natural lens plays an important role in helping your eye adjust between seeing objects that are near and far. As with the crystalens®, Dr. Almallah offers a complimentary evaluation for those patients interested in having their nearsightedness corrected, especially patients that may not be good candidates for laser vision correction.

Dr. Almallah is a Board Certified ophthalmologist both by the American Board of Ophthalmology and the American Board of Eye Surgeons. His primary practice is devoted to eye surgery and he has been practicing in Toms River and the surrounding communities for the last nineteen years. He is internationally recognized as a refractive ocular surgeon and is acknowledged by his peers as one of the finest and most skilled eye surgeons. In fact, patients have traveled from England, Germany, Saudi Arabia, Korea, India and across the United States to have their eye surgery performed by Dr. Almallah. He has also operated on several ophthalmologists. Dr. Almallah graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh and received his Doctorate of Medicine from Temple University School of Medicine in Philadelphia. His training to be an eye specialist was at Temple University Hospital where he was ranked number 1 out of 500 applicants for one of 3 very coveted training positions. He completed his residency and was Chief Resident his senior year at the Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Dr. Almallah evaluates every surgical candidate personally and applies his extensive knowledge in ocular surgery to educate patients and their families to the appropriateness of recommending particular ocular procedures to patients. When he does recommend a procedure, it’s with great confidence that the patient will benefit.

Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates, PA have five convenient locations in Ocean and Monmouth counties for routine eye exams, contact lens fits, glaucoma treatment, cataract evaluations, LASIK evaluations and consultations for cataract lens upgrades such as the crystalens™ and verisyse™ lenses.

To schedule an evaluation with Dr. Almallah, simply contact Ed Brooks at the Toms River location at 732-349-5622 ext. 37.

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May 30, 2008

Welcome to the Susskind & Almallah Eye Associates blog. Here you will find information about eye care and cosmetic ophthalmology services.

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May 21, 2008