Research & Publications

Spend Your FSA Account Contributions Before You Lose Them

An HSA, or health savings account, and a FSA, or flexible spending arrangement, are both accounts that allow people with health insurance plans to put away income for medical costs. Medical costs, also referred to as qualified expenses, include co-pays, deductibles and monthly prescription costs.

A primary benefit to HSA’s and FSA’s are that they are TAX FREE!
A primary difference is that HSA’s allow you to roll over unused contributions to next year while FSA’s are “use it or lose it.”

If you have a flexible spending arrangement account (FSA) with an unused balance and require laser vision correction or suffer with Pterygium, schedule an appointment with Dr. Michel before the end of the year.

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What You Need to Know About Blepharitis

Blepharitis. Difficult to pronounce and almost as difficult to manage. Very little information is available as to how many Americans suffer from this common ocular disorder, but one study has placed the prevalence as high as 47%. Considering the effects of blepharitis range from entirely asymptomatic to severely affecting vision and quality of life, it would not be surprising that there are many living with this condition completely unaware. Equally unsurprising would be the number of people with blepharitis who have always thought something was not quite right but just put it down to “how things are” or “it must be the weather” or “it’s because my mother has so much pungent potpourri around the house”, and ignored the discomfort in their eyes.

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What You Need to Know About Diabetic Eye Disease

About 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year. In 2015, over 30 million Americans had diabetes, with almost a third (10 million) not even aware they had the disease. In the same year, about a quarter of a million deaths in the US were attributed to diabetes, with this disease being considered the seventh leading cause of death in the nation. For reference, heart disease is the leading cause of death and Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause.
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Age-related Macular Degeneration

Age-related macular degeneration, or AMD for short, can strike fear into the bravest hearts. These words can conjure up images of total blindness, complete loss of independence, white walking sticks, and Labrador guide dogs (which should be considered a perk of vision impairment, really). While permanent vision loss isn’t generally a topic to laugh at, the fear factor of AMD often arises from a public misunderstanding of what it actually is. Asking the right questions can help to allay these fears.

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What Is Glaucoma?

Glaucoma is an eye disease you’re likely to have heard of before – whether it’s in the media, from your eye care practitioner, or your Great Aunt Edna announcing to the family that she’s been diagnosed with “gloocoma”. In the United States, approximately 3 million Americans have glaucoma. Specifically, in the state of California, an estimated 300,000 people live with this eye disease.

Describing Glaucoma
Inside the eyeball, a fluid known as aqueous humour is constantly being produced. It must be drained from the eye at a similar rate, otherwise with an increase in volume of fluid in the confined space of the eyeball, basic physics tells us the pressure inside this eye is going to rise. As the pressure rises, again physics tells us that something is going to get squished, and in the case of glaucoma, this something is the optic nerve. The optic nerve responds to light from the world around us and is responsible for carrying these neural signals to the brain to produce what we call vision. If the optic nerve becomes damaged from an increase of intraocular pressure (that is, pressure inside the eyeball) it can result in irreversible loss of sight, typically beginning with peripheral vision. Because we are not always actively aware of our peripheral vision, glaucoma has been labeled as the sneak thief of sight as its effects on the peripheral vision are often not noticed until the disease is at an advanced stage. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause total blindness and in the US, 9 to 12 per cent of blindness is due to glaucoma. The best way to ensure you catch this sneaky bugger early is to schedule regular check-ups with your eye care practitioner even if you don’t feel your vision has deteriorated.
 

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What is Keratoconus?

Keratoconus is a type of corneal ectasia, which refers to a group of diseases in which the cornea is thinned and weakened. The name is derived from the Greek word for “horn” (keratos) and “cone” (konos) – “I have a horn-cone on my eye” (said no one, ever).  As the corneal tissue thins, the pressure inside the eyeball may push outward and distort the cornea into a cone shape, leading to distorted vision. Think of a balloon with a weakness in one particular spot – this area will bulge outwards more than the rest of the balloon. While keratoconus does not cause total blindness, vision impairment may progress to the point of causing legal blindness. In the US, legal blindness is defined as a visual acuity of less than 20/200, or a visual field of 20 degrees or less.

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Everything You Need to Know About Cataracts

In the eye care world, there is a mixed variety of reactions a doctor might encounter from a patient after announcing that he or she has signs of a cataract.

“Cataract? Is it bad? But I’m only 65 years old!”

“Ah yes, cataract. It runs in the family so I knew I was going to get It. All my grandparents and also my parents got cataracts.”

“What’s a cataract? Is that the same as macular degeneration?”

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The 40 Year Old Woman Who Cried Tears of Joy

I’d like to venture into the human component of what I do. A little story that reminds me of the true essence of what I do for a living. At the end of the day, it’s not about the money. It’s all about affecting people’s lives and how much I’m affected by affecting those lives.

We spend a lot of time trying to provide useful research to our website visitors especially in the fields of LASIK/LASEK and Pterygium. I think there are times, though, when a good old fashioned story is called for.

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The Effects of Ultraviolet (UV) Radiation on the Eyes

What words come to mind when you think of a bright and sunny holiday destination such as California? Beach, white sand, water? Surfing, sun, sunburn, awkwardly-located tan lines? How about Pterygium?

Pterygia, or its singular form, pterygium, is a benign overgrowth of conjunctival tissue on the eye and has a worldwide prevalence of about 10.2%1. The first part of the word, ptery, is derived from the Greek meaning “wing” (think of the winged pterodactyl), as the typical shape of a pterygium is a triangle. The conjunctiva is a membrane that sits over the whites of the eye, and if it grows over the cornea, the clear bubble over the coloured part of the eye, we get what we call a pterygium. Its little cousin, a pingueculum, is also an overgrowth of conjunctival tissue that presents as a little white or off-white yellowish bump on the sclera but doesn’t encroach onto the cornea.

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A Laser Eye Surgeon’s Confession: I Love LASEK

Yes, you read that right. I love LASEK. I fully admit it. When done properly it is a great procedure.

Quick story: I recently had a Navy veteran in for a Laser Vision Correction consult. He told me that the Navy requires LASEK to be performed on all of its pilots. So if you are going to land a plane on a ship, you have to go with LASEK (or equivalent) instead of LASIK. Who would not want the same LASEK technique used on them as the Navy demands for its pilots?

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Research & Publications

Spend Your FSA Account Contributions Before You Lose Them

An HSA, or health savings account, and a FSA, or flexible spending arrangement, are both accounts that allow people with …

What You Need to Know About Blepharitis

Blepharitis. Difficult to pronounce and almost as difficult to manage. Very little information is available as to how many …

What You Need to Know About Diabetic Eye Disease

About 1.5 million Americans are newly diagnosed with diabetes every year. In 2015, over 30 million Americans had diabetes, …