Eye Center, Inc.
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National Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

National Age-Related Macular Degeneration Awareness Month

February is Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness month. AMD is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, affecting more than 10 million people 50 years of age and older. Early detection is crucial. Over the last 10 years, new treatments have drastically changed the course of many AMD patients, making it more manageable, though a cure has yet to be found.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration is caused by the deterioration of the central portion of the retina. The retina is the inside back layer of the eye, and records what we see, and helps to send the information from the eye to the brain. The macula is responsible for focusing central vision and controls our ability to see objects in detail.

In some people, AMD advances so slowly that there are little to no symptoms, and vision loss doesn’t develop for a long time. In others, AMD advances faster and ultimately results in vision loss in one or both eyes.

Causes:
The specific causes of AMD are not 100% known, but we do know there are both genetic and environmental factors.

Risk Factors:
Smoking- Smoking doubles the risk of AMD. And plenty of other health issues… you know what we’re going to tell you: don’t smoke.
Race- Caucasians over the age of 50 are more like to develop AMD than African-Americans or Hispanics/Latinos.
Family History/Genetics- People with a family history of AMD are at higher risk than those who do not.

Stages of Age-Related Macular Degeneration:
Early AMD- Vision loss is rare and most people do not experience symptoms.
Intermediate AMD- There is some vision loss but most people retain very functional vision.
Late AMD- Vision loss is noticeable. People with fully developed AMD can be considered legally blind.

Treatment:
To this day, there is no cure for AMD, but there are things you can do to reduce your risk. Incorporating green and leafy vegetables into your diet, regular exercise, and not smoking are all things you can do to help prevent yourself from developing the disease.
Getting an annual eye exam will allow for your doctor to evaluate the macula, and and make more specific recommendations, if necessary.

For more on healthy aging and your vision, click here.

Source: https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen/armd_facts

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Staff Feature: Dr. Madison Easterling

Staff Feature: Dr. Madison Easterling

Dr. Madison Easterling is a native of Manatee County and is the granddaughter of Dr. John Marcin who founded Eye Center, Inc. in 1966. After graduating from Palmetto High School, she attended University of Florida and University of South Florida before continuing her higher education with Pennsylvania College of Optometry at Salus University where she earned her Doctorate of Optometry. While in Optometry School, she served on a medical mission trip to Haiti to deliver eye care to those in need. During her rotations, she traveled all over the country learning different specialties of Optometry and earning Honors in her Ocular Disease, Pediatric, Primary Care, and Contact Lens externships.

Dr. Easterling practices full-scope optometry, including but not limited to: primary eye care, emergency eye care, the fitting of contact lenses (traditional and custom lenses), pediatrics (including infants), geriatrics, and the treatment and management of ocular diseases such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, and diabetic eye care. Additionally, Dr. Easterling enjoys seeing patients of all ages, and is pleased to be an InfantSee provider. This program allows her to provide a comprehensive eye assessment on infants between the ages of 6-12 months free of charge. Dr. Easterling is a member of the Junior League of Manatee County, Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee Optometric Association and enjoys being involved in her community and church. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, hiking, boating, and many other outdoor activities.

Why did you choose to work in this industry?

After my sophomore year of undergrad at University of Florida, I needed a summer job. My grandfather (Dr. John Marcin) hired me to work as an ophthalmic technician at Eye Center, Inc. I quickly fell in love with the profession (and the company) and switched my major to Biology. After undergrad, I went to optometry school, and then came right back here as an Optometrist.
I love my job and my patients, and I will forever be grateful for that summer job that changed the entire course of my life!

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Definitely my patients! I love that each and every person is a bit different, and my favorite aspect of my job is probably getting the chance to meet and talk with so many different people.
Most recently though, I am really enjoying fitting specialty contact lenses, especially Scleral lenses. They help people with corneal problems see better than they have in years, which is an incredible (and fun) thing to be a part of.

What is your signature comfort food?

Stuffed crust pepperoni pizza! YUM!

Is there something that excited you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

I’m a great sleeper, so not much keeps me awake…but I am always SO excited to travel. The night before a big trip, I often wake up way too early hoping that it’s time to go!

Describe the most incredible view you’ve ever seen.

Hiking in Glacier National Park, though I don’t think I could settle on only one view! I did an internship on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation and spent all of my free time hiking in the park.

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Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Importance of Regular Eye Exams

Yes, we know you’re busy… but the frequency of eye examinations is vital as we age and we want you to understand the importance of them.

Your eyes should be checked regularly to ensure that you are able to see as well as possible, and for some eye diseases that have minimal or do not have symptoms at all, such as glaucoma, macular degeneration, cataracts and diabetic retinopathy. During your regular eye exam, we look for initial signs of these diseases. Early detection for eye disease and treatment is essential to stopping or slowing down the progression of the disease.

 

Adults (18 up to 60 years)

Adults should have complete eye exams every two years, if there are no risk factors. If you have a family history of eye disease, you need to have an eye exam at least once a year. Most lens prescriptions for contacts and glasses expire after one year, so keep that in mind as you re-order your next eyewear.  

Adults (61 years & older)

After the age of 61, it’s important to receive complete eye exams annually. When our body ages, our eyes do as well. Age is also a risk factor of glaucoma and early detection can save your vision with necessary treatment.

Children (6 months up to 18 years)

Children should receive their first complete eye exam at 6 months of age, and again before they start school. If there are no risk factors, children should have eye exams every two years until they reach 18 years of age.

Children are developing myopia (nearsightedness) more frequently than ever before. When children suffer from vision loss or eye disease, it tends to progress as they age. Receiving regular eye exams can help with early detection, prevention and treatment. Eye exams can also tell us more than just how your vision is. We can determine serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and cholesterol, diabetes and more.

People with Special Risks

Adults or children with diabetes, family history of eye disease, a previous eye trauma, etc. may need to receive complete eye exams more frequently.

 

Regular eye examinations are important for all ages. At each stage of life your body changes, and most likely your vision will too. Don’t let the New Year get ahead of you – make an appointment today! Call: 941-756-2020

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Staff Feature: Dr. Brad Laudicina

Staff Feature: Dr. Brad Laudicina

Dr. Brad Laudicina is a native of Bradenton and began working for Eye Center, Inc. at the age of 15 where he quickly found his passion for the field of optometry. Upon graduating from Manatee High School, he attended Florida State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He continued his education at Nova Southeastern University receiving a second Bachelor of Science in Vision Sciences and his Doctorate of Optometry, while earning honors in his primary care and retina care rotations. Dr. Laudicina practices the full-scope of optometry, specializing in the treatment of ocular diseases including glaucoma, macular degeneration, dry eyes, diabetic care, in addition to other ocular diseases as well as the fitting of many different kinds of contact lenses and glasses.

Dr. Laudicina is a member of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce and the Manatee Optometric Association and is always looking to get involved with the community. He currently serves on the board of We Care Manatee, an organization committed to arranging free, comprehensive healthcare for eligible uninsured Manatee County residents. He also enjoys being involved with the Manatee Young Professionals and is a recent graduate of the Leadership Manatee program.  Dr. Brad Laudicina is married to our own Dr. Paige Laudicina, and together they have one adorable son, Chase.

Why did you choose to work in this industry?

Believe it or not, I started working right here at the Eye Center at the ripe age of 15, making eye glasses, and fell in love with the job! Patients love seeing their eye doctors and leave happy. Basically that’s my job, I come to work and make people happy. I love it.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?

Patient care but more specifically emergency visits. These appointments are when patients are usually at their worst or are most scared, so being able to provide immediate care that promptly resolves their issues is very rewarding.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

“Never take your eyes off your opponent.” – my Dad

Is there something that excited you so much it keeps you awake the night before?

I sleep like a baby!!

If you were a crayon, what color would you be and why?

Lipstick Red! It’s the color of my favorite car.

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Five Toys that are High Risk for Eye Injuries

Five Toys that are High Risk for Eye Injuries

Christmas is right around the corner and we’re here to inform you about toys that are dangerous to your child’s eyes.

Five toys that are high risk for eye injuries:

  1. Projectile Toys
    • Any toy that shoots projectile, including soft darts can be a hazard to your child. Toys that can shoot up to 75 feet, especially. These toys travel at high-speed and if used in close range, they can cause serious eye injuries. We recommend using protective eyewear.
  2. Laser Points and Bright Lights
    • Direct exposure to laser pointers or bright lights can cause permanent vision loss or temporary blindness. If you decide to purchase a toy with a bright light or laser pointer, make sure your child is aware of the severity of eye damage the toy can cause and remind them to not shine directly into their or anyone else’s eyes.
  3. Wands, Swords, Sabers
    • Kids love sword fights…we get it. Just make sure they know to aim for the neck down, or preferably their opponent’s weapon only!
  4. Water Guns and Water Balloons
    • When water guns or water balloons are used at close range, your child is at risk of permanent vision loss or retinal detachment.
  5. Fireworks
    • Fireworks should always be handled by an adult. If your child is struck in the face, it can cause serious irreversible injuries and burns. Always wear protective glasses while working with fireworks.

Should your child happen to suffer from an eye injury, you must act fast. If a foreign object is stuck in your child’s eye, do not try to remove it. By attempting to remove the object, you could cause further damage. Take your child to the closest emergency room immediately and if possible tape a styrofoam or paper cup over the eye to protect it during your travel.

After hour and and weekend emergencies happen, and we’re here for you. If the injury is subtle, call our 24 hour service line at (941) 756-2020. If your child’s eye is protruding or bleeding, go to the emergency room promptly.

We know your child loves the toys listed above, and let’s be honest…so do we! If you plan to purchase your child any of the aforementioned toys, make sure to read the label and look for the letters ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials). If you see these letters, it means that the toy conforms to national safety standards.

Have a safe and very Merry Christmas!

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News for Manatee County Government Insurance Participants

News for Manatee County Government Insurance Participants

To our valued patients and friends,

 

Recently, the Manatee County Government and the School District of Manatee County has offered its employees new vision insurance options.

We wish to assure our patients that Eye Center, Inc is happy to accept whichever insurance plan you choose. We would be honored to continue your care.

Eye Center, Inc has proudly served the vision and eye health needs of Manatee County families for more than fifty years. Thank you for choosing to continue our relationship!

 

With gratefulness this holiday season,

The Eye Center, Inc. Family

 

Dr. Michael Mackie

Dr. Sarah Mackie

Dr. Paige Laudicina

Dr. Brad Laudicina

Dr. Douglas Black

Dr. Madison Easterling

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Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

The most important investment that you can make is your health. With the hustle and bustle of the day to day routine, certain things can go on the back burner. November is Diabetic Eye Disease Month and we are taking this time to raise awareness about this pressing issue. Many people with diabetes are unaware of the risk of diabetic eye disease because there are no early symptoms.

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic eye disease or diabetic retinopathy, the most common form of diabetic eye disease, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in adults 20–74 years of age. Other optical complications surrounding diabetes also include cataract and glaucoma.

What that means is anyone with diabetes is at risk for vision loss and blindness from diabetic eye disease. The aging community has the highest risk of developing this disease. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater the risk is of developing diabetic eye disease. Other groups at high risk for diabetic eye disease are Native Americans, Latinos and African Americans.

There are some ways to reduce the risk of this disease like careful diabetes management, but because there are little to no early symptoms of this disease, the only way to fully protect yourself is by undergoing a comprehensive eye exam at least once a year.  All diabetics should have a comprehensive dilated eye examination at least once a year. Early detection and timely treatment is the key to preventing vision loss and blindness.

Over 7.7 million people aged 40 and over suffer from diabetic eye disease, and the number is projected to increase to more than 11 million by 2030. Protect yourself from becoming another statistic by having frequent comprehensive dilated eye examinations for early detection and prevention of retinal damage.

Schedule an eye exam today at Eye Center, Inc. to protect your most valuable asset — your sight.

 

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Binocular Vision

Binocular Vision

Written By: Dr. Paige G. Laudicina

Kids are now a couple of months back into school life, and with that comes a reminder of the importance of eye exams. I want to introduce and discuss a topic that I believe to be both undervalued and under-examined – binocular vision.

Binocular vision means using the two eyes together to create a single, clear, and comfortable image for the viewer. It is very important for a child (and an adult!) to have adequate binocular vision, in order to be efficient in their school work. It is also important to mention that binocular vision is not assessed during vision screenings and can only be measured through a comprehensive eye exam.

One of the first components of a patient’s binocular vision we examine, is the ability to converge the eyes. Convergence is the act of bringing the two eyes together while looking at something up close (think “crossing your eyes”.) It’s crucial the eyes do this well, for someone to read or do homework for an extended period of time.

Without adequate convergence, someone might get very tired while reading, experience a headache, or may even experience double vision, or the perception that words and letters are moving around on the page.

How distracting! Once diagnosed, certain glasses and/or vision therapy exercises can help improve and sustain convergence.

Another element to assess in binocular vision is a patient’s ability to accommodate, or “focus” their eyes. When we look to the distance, our eyes should be relaxed, but when we look at things close to us, it requires eye muscles to engage. It’s important these muscles work efficiently and rather effortlessly to provide clear and comfortable vision for the individual. Accommodative insufficiency is a term that describes weak focusing muscles and is commonly treated with reading glasses.

Lastly, it’s important to examine what we call a phoria, or the eye’s natural resting position. In an ideal world, a person’s two eyes would point in exactly the same direction and move fluidly together, as we view the world around us. However, it’s quite common for the eyes to turn inwards or outwards, slightly. In small amounts, this is normal and easily compensated for, and the viewer will have no symptoms.

In other cases, one eye can drift too far in or out, and the viewer may experience uncomfortable vision, and possibly double vision. To improve this, we sometimes prescribe glasses with prism.

Prism reduces the amount of effort the eyes must expend, to maintain a single, clear, and comfortable image.

It’s also important to evaluate a phoria to prevent a condition called amblyopia, more commonly referred to as “lazy eye.” If an eye develops a tendency to turn inward or outward too often, one eye may become visually impaired due to lack ofuse. It’s imperative to diagnose and treat amblyopia while a child is still young, as it gets significantly more difficult, and perhaps impossible, to correct after the visual system is fully developed, around age eight or nine

This may seem like a lot of information to digest, but fear not. At Eye Center, Inc., your child will receive a very thorough eye exam. We assess the possible need for glasses or contact lenses, evaluate the binocular system, and examine the health of the ocular anatomy. We will make absolutely certain your child has the best vision possible to succeed in this school year, and those to follow.

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