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ISSUE 1, 2013


Larry Stewart, MD William Mixon, MD Alan Lacoste, MD William Iglinsky, MD Jon Yokubaitis, MD Mark Crawford, MD Don Bravin, MD

A.J. O’Byrne, MD Virgil Murray, IV, MD Melvin Gehrig, OD Jeffrey Hankin, OD Chad East, OD Donavon LaFleur, OD FYEYE

in The Eye Clinic


Poddy Champeaux is focused on getting the most out of life, every day. So when cataracts started interfering with her vision, she called her ophthalmologist, Dr. Jon Yokubaitis. “I knew I was in good hands,” she said. Cataracts are the leading cause of vision loss among adults 55 and older, and 50 percent of the population over the age of 65 has some degree of cataract development, according to Dr. Yokubaitis. “A cataract is a clouding of the natural lens of the eye. The lens is about the size and shape of an M&M candy and sits just behind the colored part of the eye, or iris. When we are born, the lens is clear but with age it becomes clouded and the vision gets blurry. This is the cataract.” According to the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery, 3 million Americans undergo cataract surgery each year, making it the most commonly performed surgical procedure the United States, with an overall success rate of 98 percent or higher. During the outpatient cataract surgery, the clouded natural lens is broken up, removed and replaced with a very soft plastic, foldable intraocular lens or IOL that restores clear vision. “In most cases, the improvement in the patient’s vision is profound, even more so with the latest advances in lens implants that have become available in recent years,” says Dr. Yokubaitis. Champeaux had her cataract surgery in mid-2010 at Imperial Calcasieu Surgical Center and chose the Tecnis lens to replace her cloudy natural lens. This is one of the premium multifocal lens options that corrects for near, far and in between distances. “The surgery was a simple experience and I experienced no discomfort afterward. In fact, I could see clearly without glasses for the first time in 30 years. What freedom and convenience! It really made me wish I had had it done sooner,” she said. Dr. Yokubaitis told Champeaux that side effects were rare and typically minor, the most common being posterior capsule opacity, or PCO, which develops in 20 percent of patients. 2


Champeaux experienced PCO—a cloudy films that develops behind the lens implant—about two months after surgery. Dr. Yokubaitis says although some people call PCO a “secondary cataract,” it really is not. “Once a cataract is removed, it does not come back. Fortunately, we have a very safe and effective laser treatment option for PCO that quickly restores clear vision.” This painless outpatient procedure only takes a few minutes and doesn’t require sedation or incision. Patients typically resume their daily activities immediately. Champeaux said the simplicity amazed her. “When I walked back, they told my husband to go get the car because I’d be right out – and I was. I went home and read the paper.” FYEYE

Issue 1, 2013

Dr. Yokubaitis demonstrating the YAG laser system with patient Poddy Champeaux.

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Dry eye is the most common of all eye conditions, affecting 20 percent of the population, but the majority of people who have it are unaware that it’s an actual syndrome. Ophthalmologist Dr. Don Bravin explains that dry eye syndrome is a collection of symptoms that stem from an imbalance in the eyes’ tear film. “Ironically, the most common symptom is actually watery eyes, which leads many people to assume their problem is allergies. In addition to watery eyes, other common symptoms of the condition include dry, red, gritty eyes, itching, blurred vision, eyestrain and a feeling of something foreign in the eye. “ Dr. Bravin says our tears are actually more complex in makeup than blood. The eye depends on the flow of tears to provide constant moisture and lubrication to maintain vision and comfort. When there is an imbalance, a person may experience dry eyes. One of the most common reasons for dryness is the normal aging process; as we grow older, our bodies produce less oil and this affects the tear film. Many other factors, such as hot, dry or windy conditions, high altitudes, air-conditioning, cigarette smoke, computer use, contact lenses, and certain medications and medical conditions also contribute to the problem. “When it comes to treating dry eyes, everyone’s needs are a little different,” explains Dr. Bravin. “Many find relief simply from using artificial tears on a regular basis. Preservative-free tears are recommended because they are the most soothing and have fewer additives that could potentially irritate. Avoid products that whiten the eye—they don’t have adequate lubricating qualities and often make the problem worse.” There are also prescription medications that help the eyes produce more tears by reducing inflammation, which is often a cause of dry eye. Closing the opening of the tear drain in the eyelid with special inserts (sometimes called punctal plugs) is another option. This works like closing a sink drain with a stopper. These special plugs trap the tears on the eye, keeping it moist. This may be done on a temporary or permanent basis. Dr. Bravin adds that there are also simple lifestyle changes that can significantly improve irritation from dry eyes. For example, drinking 4


eight to ten glasses of water each day keeps the body hydrated and flushes impurities. Make a conscious effort to blink frequently— especially when reading, watching television or working at a computer. Turn off ceiling fans while you sleep, and avoid rubbing the eyes, which only worsens the irritation.

TOOLS IN THE BATTLE AGAINST DRY EYES The Eye Clinic offers targeted products to alleviate the symptoms of this unique condition, including: Restasis Prescription therapy for patients with dry eye disease whose tear production is suppressed due to ocular inflammation.

Onyix A soft, flexible shield made from silicone developed to shelter the eyes from environmental elements that contribute to dryness.

Oasis Tears Glycerin-based lubricant eye drops that coat, lubricate and moisten delicate ocular tissue for long-lasting relief of dry eye symptoms.

TheraTears A patented balance of nutrients that matches natural tears to soothe and comfort, and to protect against future problems. TheraTears are available in different formulas: single dose vials, bottles, overnight gel and a nutrition supplement.

Tranquil Eyes These goggles help prevent evaporation of natural tears and provide the benefits of increased humidity in the eye area—leaving eyes feeling refreshed.


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KEEP AN EYE ON DIABETES Complacency toward eye health has contributed to an alarming increase in cases of eye disease among diabetics, according to health experts. “Regular monitoring of your eye health is essential if you’re a diabetic,” said ophthalmologist Dr. Alan Lacoste. He says once a diabetes diagnosis is received, it’s a good idea to make an appointment for an eye exam. “There have been times when I’ve examined a patient and I can see the changes from diabetes in their eye, but they haven’t been diagnosed yet. I’ll talk with them and urge them to talk to their primary physician for follow-up.” The changes in the eye occur due to blood sugar fluctuations. Elevated blood sugar can cause the lens of the eye to swell, changing the ability to see clearly. Newly diagnosed diabetics may notice vision changes, if their blood sugar has been high. Diabetics are at risk for three main vision problems: diabetic retinopathy, the leading cause of irreversible blindness in the U.S., which is caused when blood vessels are damaged due to high blood sugar levels; glaucoma, which affects the pressure in the eye and can cause late-stage symptoms such as tunnel vision; and cataracts, a clouding or fogging of the focusing lens in the eye. Diabetics are 40 percent more likely to develop glaucoma and 60 percent more likely to develop cataracts. Even more startling: the percentage of adults over the age of 40 who have been diagnosed with diabetic retinopathy increased by 89 percent from 2000 to 2010. The impact of diabetes on eye health can be postponed by keeping blood sugar levels within the recommended guidelines. This involves healthy eating, regular exercise and routine check-ups with health providers, including eye exams. However, the number of years a patient has the disease remains one of the biggest reasons for complications. “Many of the vision problems have little to no symptoms at first, which means they can go unnoticed for years until it’s too late to reverse the damage. For patients who regularly have eye exams, we can notice small changes from year to year tears ad 7.6x5 12/17/12 5:47 PM Page 1 and take steps to preserve their best possible vision,” said Dr. Lacoste.

For Long-lasting Relief of Dry Eye

Oasis TEARS available from:

The Eye Clinic 1717 Oak Park Blvd. • Lake Charles, LA 70601 (337) 478-3810 Issue 1, 2013



Young Patient Has Extraordinary

Vision m Iglinsky e Clinic’s Dr. Willia Ey e Th ith w ot Maci Fonten

Maci and her mother, Nikki Upchurch Fontenot, have detailed Maci’s journey in a book, You Can’t Take My Vision. It’s a story of the faith, courage, and hope that carried young Maci and her family through an ordeal that began with an otherwise uneventful letter from Maci’s preschool. The letter notified Maci’s parents that the 4-year-old had failed a vision test and should be rechecked. Thinking Maci just needed glasses, Nikki and her husband Ryan scheduled an appointment at the Eye Clinic. The initial comprehensive appointment with Dr. William Iglinsky was marked by minutes of silence as he examined Maci’s eyes. When she said, “Is everything okay? Can they fix the black that I see?” Nikki knew it was more than a matter of her daughter needing glasses. After recognizing a problem with the optic nerve, Dr. Iglinsky arranged for Maci to have an appointment with a neuropediatric ophthalmologist at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. Two days later, an MRI there confirmed that Maci had a tumor called an optical glioma. You Can’t Take My Vision spells out both the good and difficult times that Maci and her family encountered during this unexpected journey. Through surgeries and chemotherapy, their faith, family, and friends offered comfort and strength. Although the chemo took its toll on Maci, “she would put a smile on her face and walk with bravery in her heart,”Nikki wrote. During much of that time, Maci was confined to their home, since her weakened immune system couldn’t risk getting an infection. But Maci was forever the entertainer as she and her younger sister, Ellie Kate, created concert outfits, donned wigs, and performed for the family. After months of treatment, Maci underwent a seven-hour craniotomy, where surgeons “cut a door through her skull, peeled her forehead forward, moved her brain back and went through the roof of her eye orbital area and then clipped out the optic nerve and removed the tumor.” 6


Young Maci Fontenot has a story to tell. At almost 9 years old, she’s an entertainer, an artist, a fashionista, an entrepreneur, and an author. She’s a philanthropist, dedicated to raising money to make a difference in the lives of others. She’s a visionary. And she’s a survivior.

During the weeks in the hospital following the surgery, Maci found ways to have fun while bringing joy to others. From the time she arrived at the hospital, she became quite well known for dressing in Barbie dress-up clothes and rain boots. When the family arrived at the hospital for the various treatments, they brought King Cake and boudin. After the surgery, there was still another phase in the process—recovery. “Maci started occupational therapy, where she would learn to balance, catch a ball, write, and even sit properly in a desk,”Nikki wrote. The Fontenot family relied on their trust in God to help them through the challenges, but accepted that they lived in a world where things happened and hope should be cherished and passed on. That belief became a large part of Maci’s life. When her 7th birthday approached in January of 2011, she asked for contributions to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or to the Make-a-Wish Foundation in lieu of gifts. The $1,300 she raised planted the seed for an annual festival, Macifest, which offers fun and activities for families while raising funds for a good cause. Macifest continues as an annual event, raising funds for the Make-a-Wish Foundation and other projects that support children. Maci has also partnered with the Texas Children’s Hospital Optical Glioma Research team and is donating proceeds from You Can’t Take My Vision to research. Nikki said they have all learned from this experience. “I learned that it’s not my place to put her back together,”she said.“It’s my place to hold her hand as she goes through the journey.” And Maci, instead of feeling impaired, can feel empowered, as she has the desire and the opportunity to do things for others. Macifest is now being planned for spring of 2014. Her goal is to raise $1 million for optical glioma research and have a book signing in every state. Learn more about Maci’s book and how to purchase a copy at FYEYE

Issue 1, 2013

LOOK CLOSELY AT THE RISK OF ORDERING ONLINE Purchasing contact lenses online or through an 800-number service may save you time and a little money, but the process could cause more problems and expense in the long run, according to a study reported in Optometry: Journal of the American Optometric Association. Researchers found that individuals who did not purchase their contact lenses from an eye doctor, but from an online site or mail-order supplier, were potentially placing themselves at greater risk. The findings indicated that these purchasers were less likely to adhere to healthy eye care practices, as recommended by their eye doctor. According to the Contact Lens Institute (CLI), more than 30 million individuals wear contact lenses. The Fairness to Contact Lens Consumers Act mandates that the prescribing eye doctor provide a copy of the contact lens prescription at no charge to the patient. Consumers have the option to purchase their lenses (with a valid prescription) from someone other than their eye doctor. “With the Internet a recognized source for health and medical information, consumers are increasingly purchasing their contact lenses online, and while this may be a more convenient way to get your lenses, it may not be the best for your eyes,” explains optometrist Dr. Mel Gehrig, with The Eye Clinic. Researchers found that a pattern exists regarding the method of contact lens purchasing and following recommendations for safe wearing. “Those who bought contact lenses at their doctor’s office followed a number of FDA eye health recommendations more so than those who bought contact lenses elsewhere,” says Dr. Gehrig. “We have seen the same problems here at The Eye Clinic. Patients who purchase their lenses online or through a contact-lens supply warehouse are much more likely to come in with eye injuries resulting from improper fit and usage. They are missing out on a key quality element of personal contact lens service, which includes fit and tolerance evaluation.” The study, which researched the purchasing and eye care behaviors of contact lens wearers, found that 86 percent of individuals who purchased Issue 1, 2013

their lenses from an eye doctor received a yearly comprehensive eye exam. Only 76.5 percent of those individuals who purchased their lenses online saw an eye doctor on a routine basis. “Frequent optometric examinations are a vital part of a contact lens wearer’s preventive health care routine,” explains Dr. Gehrig. “During a comprehensive eye exam, one of the most important tests we do is an assessment of your contact lens prescription. Eyesight can change rapidly and frequently for some people, and wearing contact lenses with an incorrect prescription can result in eye discomfort, fatigue, blurred vision and headaches.” Despite these uncomfortable side effects, 35 percent of online purchasers did not check that the prescription or fit was correct. Dr. Gehrig says an improper lens fit can lead to corneal abrasions, infections and other more serious problems. “That’s why the contact lens fitting exam that we do when our patients pick up their lenses is so important.” One of the biggest discrepancies found between in-office and out-ofoffice contact lens purchases was seen in the number of individuals who saw an eye doctor for a follow-up appointment to ensure the proper fit of their lenses. Fifty-seven percent of individuals who purchased their lenses from an eye doctor went in for a follow-up appointment; as compared to only 29 percent of online purchasers. “Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction when patients follow the proper care and wearing instructions from their eye doctor,” says Dr. Gehrig. “However, it’s important to remember that contact lenses and the solutions used with them are medical products regulated by the FDA. Just as when using other medical devices, patients should stay in close contact with their eye doctor to ensure they are receiving appropriate and up-to-date clinical guidance based on individual eye health needs.”



OVER 50 YEARS OF VISIONARY CARE What began as the vision of one man in one small office over 50 years ago has grown into a multi-specialty practice with five locations, 13 physicians and over 100 employees. We take a proud look back at our past, while focusing on a future in which we will continue to honor our unwavering commitment to providing Southwest Louisiana with the highest quality eye care.

D. Dale Archer, Sr., MD, opened The Eye Clinic in a small office on Oak Park Blvd. in Lake Charles

First intraocular lens implant surgery in SWLA





Opened Oak Park Optical (later became Optics Unlimited)

Satellite office opened in DeRidder

Satellite office opened in Jennings



1997 First laser vision correction procedure in SWLA

Moved to office on Aster Street

Opened the Aesthetic Center 2001

1999 Opened in-office laser suite for laser vision correction

2004 First to use AquaLase capabilities for cataract surgery in SWLA

First nerve fiber analysis in SWLA




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First phaco emulsifier for cataract surgery in Southwest Louisiana 1978

First YAG laser in private practice in Louisiana 1981




First Laser Teck in the U. S. for treatment of diabetic retinopathy

Satellite office opened in Sulphur

Moved to new (and current) Lake Charles office at 1717 Oak Park Blvd.

First to implant reSTOR multifocal lens during cataract surgery in SWLA

Added Advanced CustomVue LASIK technology

Satellite office opened in Moss Bluff




2007 First OCT testing for glaucoma in SWLA

2009 The Eye Clinic’s 50th Anniversary

2012 Added VEP vision testing system

First pterygium aminiograft in the region




Dr. A.J. O’Byrne in The Eye Clinic’s laser suite.

LASIK PROVIDES RESULTS YOU CAN SEE Like father, like daughter, or so was the case for Torie Craven. She got her first pair of glasses in the fourth grade and transitioned to contacts in the sixth. Like most people who wear glasses, she longed for a life without lenses and was very interested in LASIK, but was apprehensive about having surgery on her eye, regardless of how safe she thought it was. It wasn’t until she watched her father have LASIK through the viewing window of The Eye Clinic’s in-office laser suite that she decided she would do it. Now she wishes she had done it sooner. It’s a sentiment echoed by most LASIK patients. At The Eye Clinic, Drs. Jon Yokubaitis, William Iglinsky and A.J. O’Byrne, all board certified ophthalmologists, perform LASIK. “Our LASIK patients have consistently been very pleased with the outcomes of their procedures,” says Dr. A.J. O’Byrne, who performed Craven and her father’s procedures. “LASIK has become far more sophisticated over the years and offers a viable, affordable and effective alternative for people who have been wearing contacts or glasses for most of their lives. There have previously been many misconceptions about corrective surgery, which have proven to be completely unfounded for the vast majority of LASIK patients. Although there is always the small chance of complications in any procedure, LASIK is considered safe and minimally invasive and the chance of anything less than a satisfactory result is rare.” A 15-year review of clinical trials on the vision-correcting procedure supports the experience of The Eye Clinic physicians and their patients. The research results were published in the journal Current Opinions in Ophthalmology, and revealed that 94 percent of trial patients achieved at least 20/20 vision, with 98 percent achieving 20/25 vision or better. Almost all of the respondents said they would recommend the safe and effective procedure to a friend. LASIK involves the use of a cool laser to permanently change the shape of the cornea, the clear covering of the front of the eye, to better focus incoming light as it reaches the surface of the retina. The procedure itself takes only a few minutes. “LASIK causes very little, if any, discomfort,” explains Dr. William Iglinsky. “Most patients experience improved vision immediately, with continued improvement realized over several days.” Craven says this was definitely her experience. “I could see better right after my procedure. After a few days, everything was crisp. I had no problems 10


and went right back to my normal routine. We went on vacation to Florida as planned two weeks later. It was great being able to see clearly, and not having to worry about salt water or sand in my contacts.” If you’re considering LASIK laser vision correction surgery to correct your vision, additional research presented at a recent conference of the American Academy of Ophthalmology found you can expect longterm vision benefits. Researchers followed the vision of 200 patients who had LASIK for 10 years and found that the vision of the research participants regressed only slightly over the course of 10 years. “To put this another way, these slight changes are what people would normally expect to experience as they age anyway.” explains Dr. Jon Yokubaitis. “This study provides us with additional confidence in the long-term results with LASIK.” Luke Saucier is still very pleased with his LASIK results nearly five years after he had the procedure. At age 43, he had LASIK in just one eye to correct his distance vision. This is a common technique known as “monovision.” With monovision, the laser is used to correct one eye for near vision and one eye for distance vision, and in most cases, the brain switches effortlessly between eyes to meet the focusing requirements. Many people wear monovision contacts to achieve the same effect. In fact, a trial period of monovision contacts is done as a test before the laser procedure is performed to make sure the person will be happy with the results. Saucier says the procedure worked perfectly for him. “There was a short period of adjustment, but Dr. O’Byrne had prepared me for that. Now I can see clearly at both near and far distances. I couldn’t be more pleased with my results.” LASIK can be used to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism. Advances in technology have made LASIK an option for more people, even those who may have been told they were not candidates in the past. Board-certified ophthalmologists at The Eye Clinic were the first to perform laser vision correction 16 years ago in Southwest Louisiana and have continued to bring advances such as Custom LASIK technology to their patients since that time. For more information about LASIK, call The Eye Clinic’s Laser Center at 1-877-95-FOCUS or visit Interest-free financing is available. FYEYE

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SAVINGS IN SIGHT If you’re in search of a vision plan for your company, look to The Eye Clinic’s Vision Louisiana program. Vision Louisiana is a comprehensive vision plan offered to employers in our community for their employees and family members. There are no enrollment fees with Vision Louisiana; it is not a health insurance plan, but is a way for employees and their families to save money on vision needs. Prevention and care for the eyes is the focus of Vision Louisiana. Annually 6.4 million Americans develop eye disorders, diseases that may have been detected and treated through routine eye exams. Detection and prevention are the keys to a lifetime of good vision. Vision Louisiana gives you those keys by providing a comprehensive discount vision plan to offer your employees. It is designed to complement your existing health insurance plan by discounting vision care services not covered under that plan. Employees of participating companies are entitled to receive substantially discounted services from our list of conveniently located providers. These discounts are also available to the employees’ family members. Discounts are offered on services and purchases such as routine vision exams, eyeglasses, contact lenses and laser vision correction. Again, there is no charge to companies or employees for participating in the plan. It couldn’t be easier—quality services and products at very affordable, discounted prices. Ask your employer about Vision Louisiana for your company. Call (337) 478-3810 for more information or email


When it comes to choosing a new pair of glasses, men and women work from a completely different checklist. Style tops the list for most women, but comfort, fit and durability are the top priorities for most men. “When we help men choose eyewear in our Optics Unlimited eyewear stores, they know what they want, and their focus is not typically on the latest designer style. Women, however, often know exactly which designer frame they want before they even have come in for their eye exam,” says optometrist Dr. Jeffrey Hankin. “It’s not that style doesn’t matter to men, they just aren’t willing to sacrifice comfort and fit for the sake of fashion.” A recent Vision Council of America (VCA) survey backs this up. Eight-eight percent of the males who responded to the survey said the comfort and fit of their glasses were the most important factors in choosing a frame, with 59 percent saying the durability of their eyewear was most important to them. Dr. Hankin says men may know what they want from their eyewear, but they don’t always know what features to look for to ensure their new glasses will meet their requirements. He offers these guidelines to help men choose eyewear that will be comfortable, fit well, and be tough and long-lasting: T emple width. To ensure that the temples don’t rub against the side of the head, make sure the frames are wide enough for your face. The edge of the frames should extend slightly beyond your face so that the temples don’t touch your head. Temple length. Frame styles can typically be ordered in a variety of temple lengths. The curve at the end of the temple should extend over the ear without pressing down upon it. The optician can reshape and adjust the curve at the end of the temple, but they can’t make the temples shorter or longer. Nosepiece. Check the nosepiece for comfort and fit. Many glasses have adjustable nose pads to fine-tune the fit. For frames without adjustable nose pads, make sure the fit is secure without pinching your bridge. Overall fit. When you try on the frames, there are a few things you can do to make sure you have a good fit that will feel just as good in real life situations as they do in the optical store. Move your head up and down, and side to side. Then bend over and pick up something from the floor and see how well your glasses stay in place. With the properly adjusted nose pads and temples, your glasses should stay in place without touching your face regardless of how you move your head around.

Dr. Hankin says for men who want eyeglasses that are more durable than usual, frames made from titanium, stainless steel and flexible materials, such as Flexon, should be considered. Titanium and stainless steel are stronger and more durable than other metal frame materials, and Flexon, a titanium-based alloy, will go back into its original shape even if you twist, bend or abuse it in just about any way. Men’s frame styling today has become much more masculine with older shapes and sizes reemerging with fresh, modern twists. The classics are back, but designers are using new materials and innovations to make the modern looks more functional in order to give men what they want. “Men can have all the things they want in eyewear – comfort, fit and durability – and still choose a frame that is stylish,” adds Dr. Hankin. For more information about eyewear for men, stop by any location of Optics Unlimited in The Eye Clinic. Issue 1, 2013




Glaucoma is a disease that steals vision secretly and without warning. Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible vision loss in the United States – affecting about three million Americans. Unfortunately, up to half of them are unaware that they have the disease because glaucoma develops and damages vision without warning. That is why glaucoma is often called the ‘silent thief of sight.’ The key to preventing vision loss from glaucoma is early detection through regular eye exams,” says ophthalmologist Dr. Alan Lacoste. He explains that glaucoma is a group of diseases usually associated with increased pressure within the eye. This pressure can cause damage to the cells that form the optic nerve, the structure responsible for transmitting visual information from the eye to the brain. The damage is progressive with loss of peripheral vision first, followed by reductions in central vision and, potentially, blindness. Risk factors for developing the disease include one or more of the following: • • • • •

Race (African-Americans are at four to five times greater risk than Caucasian Americans) Family history of the disease Age (over 50 if Caucasian; over 35 if African-American) Extreme nearsightedness Diabetes

As the region’s leading provider of eye care services, the physicians of The Eye Clinic have maintained a long-term commitment to bring advanced diagnostic technology to their patients for the early detection of glaucoma. They were the first to offer nerve fiber analysis of the optic nerve in the 1990s, and replaced this device with a more advanced confocal scanning laser ophthalmoscope in the early 2000s. In 2007, The Eye Clinic was the first to offer OCT (optical coherence tomography), and added an improved version of this technology, the OptoVue RTVue a few years later. The OCT laser scans the back of the eye, including the optic nerve, where serious diseases like glaucoma occur. It provides full color, 3-dimensional images and more detailed information than previously available. This mapping establishes the presence and severity of glaucoma and other ocular conditions. 12



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The Eye Clinic has recently added the Diopsys® NOVA-VEP Vision Testing System to its arsenal of early eye disease detection technology. This new vision testing system helps doctors detect vision deficits, including glaucoma and other neuro-visual disorders. Dr. Lacoste says the VEP (Visual Evoked Potential) test directly measures the activity of neurons in the visual system. “This technology is quite amazing and actually helps us determine how your eye talks to your brain in a way that no other instrument, computer or test can. It adds a new dimension to our ability to diagnose vision-threatening diseases like glaucoma in earlier, much more treatable stages.” The VEP is the visual version of the EEG (electroencephalogram), and is recorded with three electrodes that are briefly pasted to the front, middle and back of the head. It is non-invasive and very safe. The VEP records the electrical response of a patient’s entire vision system and provides easy-to-read reports that allow the doctor to more accurately evaluate optic nerve function, allowing him to compare tests over time to track disease progression—an important component of glaucoma management. In addition to aiding in the early diagnosis of glaucoma, VEP has been demonstrated to aid in the diagnosis and treatment of many other disorders, including amblyopia, brain injury, stroke, multiple sclerosis, and other vision-related issues. “The VEP gives us one more tool to help protect our patients’ vision,” said Dr. Lacoste. “Its additional capabilities for detecting other health problems is valuable added benefit and one that we are pleased to be able to offer our patients.” NOVA-VEP Vision Testing System


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Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of vision loss in older adults, according to ophthalmologist Dr. Virgil Murray IV. “This condition gradually destroys the macula, the part of the eye that provides the sharp, central vision needed to see objects clearly.” This type of vision loss makes it difficult to recognize faces, drive a car, read, print or perform detailed work like sewing or fixing things around the house. While AMD does not lead to complete blindness, the wet form of the disease is responsible for 90 percent of all legal blindness classifications. “Wet AMD occurs when new blood vessels under the macula leak blood and fluid. Damage can occur very rapidly,” says Dr. Murray. With wet AMD, abnormally high levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) are secreted into the eye. The macula can become scarred, leading to vision loss. “One way we can counteract these increased secretions is a series of injections into the eye. Anti-VEGF injection therapy can block the effects of VEGF, stabilizing vision in more than 90 percent of patients and actually improving the vision of more than 30 percent.” There are three FDA-approved anti-VEGF medications on the market and one used as an off-label treatment option, all showing very positive results. In FDA clinical trials for one of these, 95 percent of the patients who received the injections demonstrated improved or stable vision compared to only 60 percent using other treatments. While the thought of receiving an injection in the eye may seem unpleasant, it’s actually a relatively simple and painless process. “Before giving the injection, we numb the affected eye and apply antiseptics, then perform the injection,” Dr. Murray says. “We may prescribe antibiotic drops to prevent infection.” He adds that early diagnosis and treatment can delay progression of the disease. “There is no cure for AMD, but with early detection, we can begin a treatment program that can slow the rate of vision loss and in many cases, even improve the patient’s vision.”



Dr. James Maze with Lake Charles Memorial and The Eye Clinic’s Dr. A. J. O’Byrne

High Tech Option Makes Painful Eye Condition Disappear Pain and blurred vision plagued Mandeville resident Val Zimmer for some 20 years. Zimmer, now 47, first noticed the problem in his early 20s. “At first it felt like something was in my right eye. It was irritating and then became painful,” he recalls. “I saw an eye doctor here in New Orleans and was told I had a pterygium.” It is difficult to pronounce - te rij jee em – and even more difficult to live with. Ophthalmologist A. J. O’Byrne with The Eye Clinic explains that a pterygium is a benign growth at the surface of the eye. “A pterygium occurs when the conjunctiva, a membrane that covers the white of the eye, grows into the cornea, the clear covering over the front of the eye,” he says. “We call it ‘benign’ because it’s not invasive, or cancerous, but that doesn’t mean it’s harmless. A pterygium can be very painful. These growths may be small, but can grow large enough to interfere with vision.” In his work with a film production company, Zimmer spent a lot of time outside and under lights, elements which Dr. O’Byrne says likely contributed to his condition. Exposure to ultraviolet light, such as the sun, and dust are believed to be contributing factors to development of a pterygium. Zimmer’s New Orleans doctor told him the only treatment was surgery to remove it, but warned him that the growths often return. He had the surgery, which involved an incision and stitches. “It was not a pleasant experience. My stitches came undone and I had to go back in to have the tissue repaired,” Zimmer recalls. “A few years later I had a growth in the left eye and had that one removed the same way. Then I found out my doctor was right several years later. The growths came back – in both eyes.” 14


The last thing Zimmer wanted was to have to go through that surgery again. He set out to find a better solution. He talked to doctors all over the country with no luck. His researched continued and an online article brought his quest to Lake Charles. Dr. O’Byrne teams up with Lake Charles Memorial Hospital radiation oncologist Dr. James Maze for a relatively new, minimally-invasive procedure that provides a more successful outcome for pterygium removal. “We remove the growth and instead of stitching it closed at the site, we put an amniotic membrane graft over the site to promote healing,” Dr. O’Byrne says. “This heals much more quickly and with much less chance of scarring.” The next step involves a short course of low-dose radiation therapy administered by Dr. Maze. “This type of radiation is comparable to an X-ray, so it’s painless and very low-risk,” Dr. Maze says. “The radiation suppresses the growth of blood vessels that can lead to the return of the pterygium. It’s this additional step that helps prevent recurrence with such a high rate of success.” Dr. O’Byrne has performed the newer removal technique more than 700 times and has had a less than one percent recurrence rate over six years. With a traditional pterygium surgery, there is a greater than 50 percent chance of a recurrence. The Eye Clinic and Memorial are the only team in Louisiana that currently offers this type of treatment and patients have traveled here from across the south to have it done. People with this condition are often desperate for a better option, and unfortunately, many cases go untreated because most eye doctors believe that the pterygium will recur. So, they tell their patients it is not worth the pain, time or expense to treat it. Luckily for Val Zimmer, he searched for the right treatment himself. “I wish I had known about this when I was first diagnosed,” Zimmer says. “It was so much simpler than the surgical treatment and it’s such a relief to have the pain and irritation removed.” FYEYE

Issue 1, 2013

INJECTION MISCONCEPTIONS In the not-so-distant past, the options for effectively dealing with the unwelcome wrinkles and lines that accompany more candles on the birthday cake were few and far between. And unless you were ready to undergo surgery, accepting your changing facial landscape gracefully was just an inevitable part of aging. How times have changed. Today, a variety of cosmetic injections are available – all for a fraction of the cost of surgery. These include Botox and Dysport to relax dynamic wrinkles, and cosmetic fillers such as Restylane, Perlane, Juvederm and Sculptra to fill in lines. Over the last several years, these injections have become the most commonly performed non-surgical, non-invasive procedure of any kind. Mark Crawford, MD, facial cosmetic specialist and medical director of the Aesthetic Center in The Eye Clinic, explains that Botox and Dysport work by relaxing the muscle under the wrinkles in certain areas of the face to smooth it away, and fillers “fill in” lines or creases. Fillers are also used to restore volume, plumping and lifting the cheeks and restoring fullness to thinning lips. “Convenience and results have led to the popularity of cosmetic injections,” he says. “The treatments takes just minutes to perform right here in our office and cause very little discomfort. Results are typically visible right away, and depending on the type of injection, can last up to nine months.” But in spite of the increasing popularity, Dr. Crawford says myths and rumors about cosmetic injections are rampant. “I’m amazed at some of the things my patients tell me they have heard about injections. Like any other type of medical treatment, it’s important to make sure you have accurate information in order to be able to make an informed decision when considering cosmetic injections. Choose an experienced provider you trust, and ask questions.” Issue 1, 2013

Here are some of the most common myths about injections and the facts to correct the misinformation: Myth: All cosmetic injections work the same way. Fact: They are not the same thing—not in chemical composition or in function. They all lessen the appearance of wrinkles but the similarity ends there. Fillers fill and Botox and Dysport relax. They are often used together to address different wrinkle-causing issues. Myth: Botox and Dysport will prevent normal facial expressions. Fact: Not if it’s administered correctly. If too much Botox is injected, it could affect the normal action of facial muscles. That is why Botox is only being injected in small doses into specific muscles, which results in a natural softening of unwanted lines and wrinkles. Myth: Cosmetic injections are painful. Fact: The needle used is very small and most people describe the sensation as a short prick or like a mosquito bite. Topical numbing agents are applied pre-injection to minimize discomfort and many fillers are now formulated with anesthetizing lidocane. Myth: My face will look fake and everyone will be able to tell I’ve had something done. Fact: Like all cosmetic procedures, if done correctly and in moderation, the results should be very natural. “Cosmetic injections may not be the right choice for everyone, and every type of cosmetic injection may not be effective for an individual area of concern,” says Dr. Crawford, “But armed with the facts, you can better discuss your options with your doctor.” For more information on cosmetic injections, call the Aesthetic Center at 310-1070 or visit FYEYE





(State of Louisiana)

(Vision Service Plan)

All of our doctors participate.

All of our doctors participate. • Signature • Select • Advantage • Choice

MEDICARE GLASSES POST CATARACT SURGERY Optics Unlimited eyewear stores are now participating in Medicare glasses after cataract surgery. We also offer a senior citizen discount. The Eye Clinic provides the region’s most comprehensive eye care, from the correction of basic vision problems to the latest treatment options for eye diseases. For more information about our services or the plans we accept, please call the office nearest you or 1-800-826-5223.

All the services in sight.

SUPERIOR VISION All of our doctors participate.

ALWAYS CARE VISION All of our optometrists participate.

800.826.5223 Lake Charles • Sulphur • DeRidder Jennings • Moss Bluff

13 doctors • 5 locations Evening & Saturday appointments

Cataracts? Bring Life Back into Focus with Premium Lens Implants

Premium lens implants available at The Eye Clinic can restore clear vision at every distance—near, far and everything in between—without the need for any type of prescription eyewear in many cases. Call today for more information or to schedule a consultation with one of our board certified ophthalmologists.

It’s time to take a closer look at advanced cataract surgery for your best possible vision.

800.826.5223 •

Lake Charles • Sulphur • DeRidder • Jennings • Moss Bluff 16



Issue 1, 2013

The Eye Clinic FYEYE January 2013  

January 2013 Issue