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Last week in honor of Cataract Awareness Month, we discussed intraocular lens choices for cataract surgery. This week, we’re answering one popular question often fielded by our doctors: “If my cataracts are removed, will they grow back?”

The answer to this question is no. However, months to years after the cataract surgery, you can develop a clouding of the capsule behind the lens implant. This is called posterior capsule opacification (PCO). If this occurs, a surgical laser procedure known as a yag capsulotomy may be necessary to restore vision.

The capsule is like a clear bag that forms the natural outer portion of the lens of the eye. During cataract surgery (in which the discolored natural lens of the eye is removed), part of the front (anterior) capsule is removed while the remainder of the capsular bag is left intact. The lens implant is inserted inside this capsular bag. As long as that capsule stays clear, the patient will have good vision. But in 10 – 30% of people, the back (posterior) of the capsule loses its clarity over time. When this happens, an opening can be made in the posterior capsule with a laser (yag capsulotomy) to restore normal vision.

Before the laser procedure, one of our doctors conducts a thorough ophthalmic examination to make sure there is no other reason for vision loss. A yag capsulotomy is painless and takes less than 5 minutes – Our doctors perform this procedure at our state-of-the-art outpatient facility in Brick, Seashore Surgical. Vision may be blurry for a short while afterwards, but usually improves during the first 24 hours.

In honor of Cataract Awareness Month, our topic today focuses on three intraocular lens choices. When the time comes for you to schedule cataract surgery, this information will prepare you so that you can make an informed decision. In addition to the standard lens, you now have more choices thanks to Advanced Technology lens options. The one caveat – you must be a candidate.

This standard lens corrects for single vision. After surgery, you will need to wear either distance or reading glasses. If you have an astigmatism, it will not be corrected with this lens – so you may need glasses all the time. This advanced technology multifocal lens gives you the benefit of near, intermediate, and distance vision – reducing your dependence on glasses for reading and distance.The difference: We are correcting both your near and distance vision. This advanced technology lens specifically corrects for astigmatism. Your distance vision will be corrected just as the standard, but this lens goes one step further with astigmatic correction. After cataract surgery your dependence on distance or reading glasses will be reduced.
What makes me a candidate?
What makes me a candidate?
What makes me a candidate?
Anyone diagnosed with cataracts can have the standard lens implanted during cataract surgery. You must have good eye health and not suffer from eye disease. You must be diagnosed with an astigmatism.

To find out your eligibility, please call our office at 732-774-5566 to schedule a Cataract Evaluation with Dr. Del Negro or Dr. Senft. Learn which option is best suited for you and your lifestyle – every treatment is customized to meet your individual needs.

Following these guidelines will ensure safe and comfortable results while wearing your lenses – I bet there is at least one thing on the list that is new to you!

  • Do not over-wear your lenses. You may save money in the short term, but wearing them for longer than the prescribed time can lead to infections or other eye conditions.
  • Do not wear lenses if your eyes are red, irritated, teary, painful, light sensitive, or if you have sudden blurred vision or discharge. If these symptoms don’t clear up in a few days, see your optometrist.
  • Do not handle lenses with dirty hands.
  • Do not use saliva to wet or clean your lenses. The mouth is full of bacteria that can be harmful to the eyes.
  • Never use tap water to rinse or soak soft lenses. Minerals and impurities can damage the lenses and can cause infections if absorbed through the eyes.
  • Do not store your soft lenses without solution. They will dry out quickly – multi-purpose solutions are safe to use on lenses for both rinsing and soaking.
  • Do not wear lenses without rinsing them first. The protein deposits loosened while soaking need to be cleaned from the lenses before you insert them.
  • Do not use anyone else’s contact lenses other than your own. Even if you have the same prescription, every lens fits differently. They can damage your eyes if not fitted properly – including colored contacts.
  • Do not swim with contact lenses. Chlorine and chemicals can ruin them, and there is a risk of severe infections due to bacteria and parasites that reside in pools and hot tubs.
  • Do not get makeup, hairspray, or other cosmetics on the lens. Use hairspray before inserting lenses, or close your eyes when using it. Wait to apply eye makeup until after inserting lenses.

Doctors Shah and Wiedeman fit and prescribe contact lenses that are perfect for your lifestyle.

The old saying “a picture is worth a thousand words” couldn’t be more true: aside from capturing the beauty of special occasions, images are also used in the ophthalmology field to document a specific eye condition’s progress by freezing a moment in time.

We use Topcon’s specialized slit lamp camera to document such ocular conditions as pterygium, corneal ulcer, herpes keratitis, and tumor. After determining that an image would be beneficial for a patient, the baseline image is captured within a split second – there is no discomfort or dilation necessary.

Benign growths (referred to as iris nevi) can be found in the colored part of the eye. These growths, which rarely develop into malignancies, are kept in check via these specialized images and incremental follow-ups (usually 6 months to a year).

In addition, these high-resolution images are used as an educational tool so patients can see the severity of conditions such as Blepharitis, where persistent inflammation of the eyelids sometimes presents irritation, itching, and red eyes. On follow-up visits, comparing pre- and post- treatment images shows progress that is not visible to the naked eye. Patients can appreciate first-hand the benefits of adhering to the recommended warm compress, careful daily cleansing of lashes, artificial tears, and/or antibiotic regiment outlined by their physician.

Essentially, the team at Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates can scrutinize every minute change from one exam to the next with a high-resolution image. In the past, doctors tracked these specific conditions/variations by writing down and measuring the findings in the patient’s chart. But now, our team can simply compare images in real time to document and track progression with incredible accuracy.

At Del Negro & Senft Eye Associates, we pride ourselves on providing the highest levels of service to our patients. However, there are millions of people in the world who do not have access to the healthcare they need because of inadequate facilities and lack of funding. We try to help whenever we can through charitable donations and philanthropic ventures.

The Voluntary Health Program is a nonprofit organization that provides surgeries to underserved rural areas of Central America. Drs. Ralph and Robyn Del Negro, along with two of their children Ralph & Emily, recently returned from their 2013 mission to the Dominican Republic. Dr. Del Negro and other volunteer doctors performed 332 surgeries, including 161 cataract procedures.

Of the experience, Dr. Del Negro said, “It’s humbling to see how little some people in other parts of the world have. The lack of healthcare is astounding – people going blind waiting to have cataracts removed or even worse, living with untreated glaucoma or other treatable eye diseases that can cause blindness. We were there for such a short time, but being able to help even in a small way is gratifying.”

You can learn more about how to help from the VHP website.

On May 5th Dr. Wiedeman took part in the New Jersey Half Marathon At The Shore. She accomplished her personal goal of just under 2 hours, completing the 13.1 miles in 1:59:16. The race took the 5,348 runners through the scenic shore towns of Oceanport and Monmouth Beach before ending in Long Branch where they crossed the finish line. In preparation for this event, Dr. Wiedeman trained for 14 weeks and clocked in 220 practice miles.

There is nothing more precious than your health, and setting personal goals can help you maintain your wellness. Don’t forget, the benefits of an active lifestyle extend beyond your waistline: exercise, healthy eating habits, and regular visits to your eye doctor will improve your ocular health too. Maintaining a healthy weight and stable blood sugar help keep diseases like diabetic retinopathy in check, and exercise is a great way to release stress as well.

If you are not quite up for a half marathon, just start with a simple walk to get your body moving. Congratulations to Dr. Wiedeman for reaching her goal and putting her recommendations into practice!

Drs. Del Negro and Senft strive to provide the finest care to their patients. As active participants in their professional community they are constantly educating themselves on the newest surgical and technological advances in ophthalmology. Recently, they attended the ASCRS Symposium on Cataract, IOL, and Refractive surgery in San Francisco.

They gained insight through intensive programs that focused on glaucoma diagnosis and treatment as well as all facets of the cornea. In addition they attended symposiums addressing AMD, macular pucker, caring for patients with both glaucoma and cataracts, and new techniques using a femtosecond laser.

Following their educational trip, doctors Del Negro and Senft are back in the office, ready to continue providing unparalleled care and the most advanced surgical techniques for their patients!

May and June are quickly approaching, and you know what that means…finals, the close of the spring semester, and the anticipation of seeing your college student under your roof again!

Summer is the time to enjoy a brief visit before you once again send them off for another year of educational growth – but since they are only home for a short amount of time, it’s also important to think of what needs to be accomplished in order to avoid the hassle of traveling back and forth to school.

Ultimately the summer is not always downtime, but rather an opportunity to regroup, enjoy each other’s company, and gear up for the fall semester. From making sure computers will run faster and shopping for the newest trends in bedding and accessories for dorm rooms to painstakingly selecting fall wardrobe essentials and most importantly scheduling as many doctors appointments as possible, you will definitely have your hands full.

One thing you must fit in is your college-bound student’s annual eye exam. This will ensure he or she has an updated prescription so the primary focus is on studies and activities, not irritation from allergies or dry eye. Doctors Shah and Wiedeman will work with contact lens wearers to select the best lenses for their lifestyle and educate them on proper care and disinfection of lenses to avoid any complications while they are away. If it’s time for a new pair of glasses to match an updated wardrobe, we also have an optical shop with a wide selection of frames. And if the young adults in your life don’t require corrective lenses, it’s still important to check and make sure their eyes are healthy and ready for another semester of learning!

When an eye issue arises, it is usually seen as a minor disturbance in your daily routine – an annoyance that you choose deal with until it magically disappears. Work, home, and family responsibilities take precedence – or so you think. But changes in your vision that appear to be “no big deal” can actually be signs of a bigger problem that, if left untreated, can lead to severe consequences.

Read on to learn 5 instances when you should definitely call your eye doctor, even if you think you may not have the time…

  1. Floaters and Flashes

    Floaters and flashes are often the first signs of retinal detachment. While they do not necessarily mean that there is a problem, floaters and flashes should NOT be ignored. Seeing more floaters than usual, particularly if you notice the sudden appearance of many small dark dots, is a symptom of retinal detachment.

    The below symptoms constitute a MEDICAL EMERGENCY:

    • Brief flashes or sparks of light at the edge of your vision.
    • A shadow (sometimes described as a “curtain”) across a portion of your vision that doesn’t go away.
    • Any new or sudden loss of a portion of your vision.

  2. Sudden Loss of Vision or Loss of Peripheral Vision (also known as Tunnel Vision)– This type of visual loss could be a sign or symptom of Glaucoma, Retinal Detachment, Retinal Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, or serious conditions that affect the brain such as a tumor or stroke.
  3. Pain – Surface and interior eye pain can both signal a number of conditions. It can point to Bacterial Keratitis, Conjunctivitis, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Fungal Keratitis, and Uveitis as well as other conditions not listed. Seek out your eye doctor to alleviate discomfort and avoid possible complications.
  4. Double Vision– Double vision can be a sign of palsy, diabetic changes, brain tumor, brain aneurysm, or stroke.
  5. Extreme Sensitivity to Light– This condition may be associated with a Chalazion, Corneal Abrasion, Corneal Laceration, Corneal Ulcer, Eye Allergies, Uveitis, and Dry Eye among other conditions. There are a number of treatment options to provide relief.

Remember, a visit to the doctor as soon as symptoms present themselves can prevent severe eye problems in the future!

Spring is finally here! Yes, the buds on the trees are bursting with beauty and fragrance, the bright daffodils are opening up, and patches of color are evident as you drive around town. Like most, the mild weather moves you to open up your windows to let the fresh air in, and maybe even attempt spring cleaning or that landscaping project you had been putting off. But with the renewal of life brought by spring comes another inevitable side effect of the season: allergies.

Airborne allergens such as house dust, animal dander, and mold can cause ocular allergies at any time of the year- but when spring rolls around plant pollen seems to be everywhere, constantly bombarding the eyes and causing everyone to experience allergic reactions.

Seasonal allergic conjunctivitis, or hay fever, is the most common allergic eye problem.

Take preventative measures: make every effort to avoid allergens. An allergist can help determine what you are allergic to so you can stay away. Completely avoiding outdoor pollen may be impossible, but remaining indoors in the morning when the pollen levels are highest may help control symptoms. If you are allergic to house dust, open windows and keep household filters clean.

What You Can Do To Alleviate Your Discomfort:

  • Cool compresses decrease swelling and itching.
  • Artificial tears dilute the allergens and form a protective barrier over the surface of the eye.
  • Various antihistamine and decongestant drops and sprays can soothe irritated eyes and nose.
  • Rubbing the eyes makes symptoms worse and should be avoided.

If seasonal allergic conjunctivitis is a problem, make an appointment with one of our doctors – we will ensure symptoms are not being caused by a more serious problem before prescribing one of the many new, safe, and effective anti-allergy drops.