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Individuals with diabetes should be aware that they may experience signs of MGD (Meibomian Gland Dysfunction) at a greater rate than the average person, according to a recent article in Ocular Surgery News. As we approach Diabetic Awareness Month, it is important to take note that MGD “was found to be more severe in patients with diabetes, possibly contributing to a greater prevalence of dry eye disease in these patients.”

According to Patricia Nale’s article, Johanna Garzon, PhD, and colleagues in Colombia formulated this conclusion based on a study of 37 patients with type 2 diabetes and 36 healthy controls used to assess the Meibomian glands, ocular surface, and tear function of its participants. The standout finding was that “if the blood glucose is higher, the symptoms [of MGD] are worse.” Diabetes affects so much, including MGD and dry eye, even if this is not one of the more prevalent discussions for those diagnosed with the disease.

“In the group with diabetes,” Garzon explains, “major changes in lids and tear function correlated with meibomian gland inflammation and obstruction.” Furthermore, “in both groups, 71% of participants presented with MGD: 76% in the diabetes group and 67% in the control group.” Even with the best of intentions to keep blood glucose levels in check with daily medication, diet, and exercise, chronic MGD and dry eye still responds best to a tailored regimen to prevent flare-ups.

To keep these frustrating symptoms at bay, feel free to schedule a dry eye evaluation any time. Our eye doctors will customize a program that works for your particular situation, which may include LipiFlow®, an in-office treatment designed to remove blockages from the Meibomian glands, allowing them to properly function and produce the oils that make up the top protective lipid layer of the tear film.

Be proactive, not reactive, and live your best life — free from the irritation and annoyance of this chronic disease.

October is our favorite time of year – we get to enjoy the colorful foliage, football, comfort food, and our annual pumpkin decorating contest. It also presents us with the perfect opportunity to educate our patients and the public on the dangers that exist when purchasing decorative contact lenses. At Halloween time, specifically, people tend to make one big mistake when purchasing the finishing touches to their costume. To save yourself pain, discomfort, and possibly an irreversible issue with your vision, NEVER purchase non-prescription lenses or lenses not regulated by the FDA. In fact, it is illegal to purchase any contacts without a valid prescription.
A recent AAO.org post educates to this point by publishing guidelines that should be followed to safely wear costume contact lenses for Halloween or any time of year:
  • Get an eye exam from a licensed eye care professional, such as an ophthalmologist or optometrist  — an eye medical doctor — who will measure each eye and talk to you about proper contact lens care.
  • Obtain a valid prescription that includes the brand name, lens measurements and expiration date.
  • Purchase the colored contact lenses from a retailer who asks for a prescription.
  • Follow the contact lens care directions for cleaning, disinfecting and wearing the lenses.
  • Never share contact lenses with another person.
  • Get follow-up exams as directed with your eye care provider.
If you notice redness, swelling, excessive discharge, pain or discomfort from wearing contact lenses, remove the lenses and seek immediate medical attention from an ophthalmologist or optometrist. Eye infections can become serious very quickly and sometimes the damage is not reversible.

It is with heavy hearts and great sadness that we mourn the loss of a member of the Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates’ family. Priscilla Del Pizzo’s loyalty, hard work, dedication, and friendship truly made a mark on the practice and our lives. Over the course of her 23 years as our billing manager, Priscilla touched the lives of many patients with whom she developed a strong bond.

Although Priscilla retired in May of 2015, we continued to feel her presence. She came back to visit often and continually checked in to update us on her life after retirement, as well as, exciting family happenings. She had celebrity status in our office, whether walking through the halls or taking a seat in her spot at the lunch table while talking over a cup of coffee. We will miss her terribly, but she will forever have a place in our hearts. She truly was family.

Priscilla is survived by her loving family: son Tony, daughter-in-law Cleo, and grandchildren Gina and her husband Mike, and Danielle.

Nina Avramova’s CNN article brings to light findings from a new study by researchers of the University College London. It is significant because it established that the number of cases of a rare infection, Acanthamoeba keratitis (AK), have nearly tripled in the southeast of England since 2011.

The study found that “ninety percent of Acanthamoeba keratitis cases in the UK are discovered in contact lens wearers, due to most risk factors being related to lens hygiene,” according to researcher Dr. John Dart. Symptoms: “Infection with Acanthamoeba keratitis, a cyst-forming microorganism, causes an inflammation of the cornea. Symptoms include excessive pain and compromised vision.” Dart points out that “only 70% of patients were cured within 12 months. For the remaining 30%, the treatment took over a year.” So treatment is unfortunately not a quick fix.

Dart explains that 90% of cases in the UK can be traced to hard-water areas. Do not introduce tap water to your lenses, EVER. Other risk-factors associated with infection for disposable contact lens wearers, highlighted in Avramova’s article, are that “people who did not wash and dry their hands before handling their lenses, those who used disinfectant products containing Oxipol (now phased out by the manufacturer), and people who wore their lenses in swimming pools or hot tubs. Showering and face-washing while wearing contact lenses are also likely to be risk factors, the study found.”

The takeaway here is that having proper contact lens hygiene is non-negotiable. Being a responsible contact lens wearer can literally save your sight. If you ever experience any pain or discomfort, do the right thing and schedule an appointment to see your eye doctor right away. Time is of the essence with any eye infection, and, even more so with a rare microorganism as powerful and as infiltrating as AK.

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