My family and I have been enjoying the Florida Keys. Between swimming, fishing, snorkeling and just relaxing, its been a busy 6 days so far.
I’ve also been reading a few blogs that friends have pointed me to, specific to HCR (how I’ll refer to Health Care Reform for now). Here’s a link to one of them: http://commonamericanjournal.com/?p=12357 The unintended consequences in this mess of a bill that was rammed through are just starting to bubble up. But I guess they’re not too unexpected given the fact that neither the authors or the legislature or president read and understood it all.
We’re in for a very interesting summer and fall.
Enough of that for now, back to the last two full days of vacation!
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Just a few vacation pictures…..
The details of how the House of Representative’s actions last night won’t be known for a long time (I can guarantee you that no one who voted “yes” last night knows them for sure. However, I am very concerned on several levels.
Personally, my HSA is going to go away in three years. Our premium for 4 healthy people is now $760 per month, for a $5,000 annual deductible. That premium and potentially the deductible will go up for sure.
I know that my cost of doing business will go up due to increased health care premiums for my employees. Do I pass that along to the employees or do I pay it from my personal funds (the money left after I pay all of my expenses)?
I know that payments for medical services will go down. There’s no way that insurance plans will be able to operate under the current legislation without cutting doctor’s payments. Medicare will more than likely be cutting physician payments significantly, a 21% cut is pending already.
So, higher personal expenses, higher business expenses and reduced income. Not a good equation for any health care providers.
I can assure you that its not getting any less expensive to provide the care that my patients have come to enjoy and expect. I will not cut corners on the quality of care and patient experience that I provide. This will mean some hard decisions in the months and years to come.
The details are still to be learned, but I am sure that we as Americans are worse off today than we were before 9:47pm Central time last night…..
Happy St. Patricks Day!
We’ve updated the eNewsletter Archive. You can access the archive here. Below is a link to the latest eNewsletter….
From Facebook to Yelp and Twitter, the manner that we communicate is constantly changing. I can remember when having an email address was somewhat unique. Now many of us have a Facebook account, Twitter about current events and use Yelp to find businesses to visit.
We’ve been working with various social media formats over the last few years and now concentrate on our blogs, Facebook, Twitter and Yelp. Myspace has somewhat faded into the background, and Bing hasn’t caught on yet, but the rate that social media changes and morphs is pretty stunning so who knows what we’ll be doing next year!
Another great event/day in downtown Racine. Too bad the weather didn’t cooperate.
Thanks to Doug Nicholson for kicking off this event a few years ago.
Our own Dr. Nicholson and her family were the parade Grand Marshall Family!
Diabetes is on the rise, some public health experts even refer to the “Diabetes Epidemic”. One of the first things that physicians tell their newly diagnosed Diabetic patients to do is have their eyes examined. While it is rare to find Diabetic Retinopathy in a newly diagnosed patient, it is critical to set a baseline for their ocular health.
From then on, we can tell if there has been any change in ocular health status or visual functioning. Traditional examination techniques include evaluation of the external and internal eye as well as checking the intraocular pressure. We have been performing Retinal Thickness Analysis on all of our Diabetic patients for over two years now. It is amazing how often we will find subtle yet important areas of retinal thickening (one of the very first stages of Diabetic Eye Disease) with the Retinal Thickness Analyzer when we cannot visualize this change with traditional examination techniques.
If you or a loved one are Diabetic, be sure that you/they are having at least an annual dilated eye examination, and even better yet including Retinal Thickness Analysis in their annual Diabetic Eye Care.
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Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve. Damage to the optic nerve prevents visual information from moving from the eye to the brain, resulting in a loss of vision. This vision loss is permanent. Early detection and proper treatment is required to prevent this vision loss, there is no cure for Glaucoma.
Patients who have Glaucoma may or may not have an elevated pressure inside of the eye. The signs that cause concern about possible Glaucoma are changes to the health of the optic nerve, an increase in the pressure in the eye or a change in the patient’s visual field. None of these are detectable by the patient, unless the damage is so severe that the patient is close to legally blind. The only way to detect this disease is through a complete eye examination.
When a patient is determined to be at risk for Glaucoma, there are several tests that are performed, sometimes more than once to insure an accurate and proper diagnosis of the disease or to determine that the patient does not have Glaucoma. These tests include a Visual Field examination, repeat measurements of the intraocular pressure and measurements of the optic nerve and retinal thickness with a device referred to as a “Scanning Laser Ophthalmoscope”.
As you can see, Glaucoma is a complex condition. To insure that you and your loved ones don’t allow Glaucoma to cause permanent vision loss, be sure to have an eye exam once per year, even if your vision seems perfectly normal. Normal vision does not indicate normal eye health.
Bausch and Lomb has a great rebate program running for their PureVision lenses. They are rebating up to 1/2 the cost of an annual supply of PureVision, PureVision Toric and PureVision Multifocal lenses. This is a limited time offer but its a great one!
With the allergy season just around the corner, we’re always looking for ways to help our contact lens patients enjoy great lens comfort and vision throughout this challenging time. Some patients have zero issues with allergies, but many experience decreased lens comfort, shorter periods of lens wear and even reduced visual clarity due to their allergies. There are several great allergy medications that can help, another very helpful solution is a daily disposable lens. Because these lenses are worn once and discarded, they are often times the preferred lens option not only during the allergy season but year round. The new Soflens Daily Disposable lens by Bausch and Lomb is a great lens which has a wetting agent and aspheric optics for superior visual clarity.
If you’re interested in learning more about the promotions or products, give us a call at (262) 752-2020!
There are dozens of great websites about children and vision, I’m going to list just a few at the end of this blog post. However, its important to remember just a few things when thinking about your child’s vision.
- Kids don’t know that they see things differently than their peers might. If the leaves on the trees are all blurred into one mass of green, they figure that’s how everyone else sees things. If the words on the page run together when they read, they figure that’s normal.
- Because we have two eyes, a vision deficit in one eye can be difficult to detect because the other eye will “cover” for it and allow the child to perform some visual tasks well. Tasks such as hitting a baseball, threading a needle etc can be much more difficult for children who have one eye that performs below normal. The only way to know for sure that your child is seeing normally is a professional eye examination.
- Vision Screenings are a great part of overall public health. Children who are nearsighted or have very crossed or misaligned eyes will certainly be found needing further evaluation. However, up to 30% of children who have a significant vision problem will still pass a well designed vision screening. This means that along with regular vision screenings, a complete eye exam still needed on a regular basis also.
Now for the links….
Check Yearly See Clearly
Wisconsin Optometric Association
Macular Degeneration or “MD” for short is a devastating disease that we don’t have very good treatments for. That doesn’t mean that a diagnosis of MD dooms a patient to visual disability, but the best treatment for MD is prevention and delay of onset.
A very large multi-center study called the “Age Related Eye Disease Study” (AREDS for short) looked at the ability of nutritional supplementation to prevent, delay or slow down the progression of MD. AREDS found that patients who were at risk for MD could expect a 25% reduction in the likelihood of developing MD or having their MD progress if they took the supplement used in the study. Patients were not able to achieve this benefit by diet alone, supplementation with the AREDS formula was required.
I have recently written an article on nutritional supplementation for Optometric Management which is a widely read professional magazine. Here’s a link to the article.
Here is a link to the information on our website about Macular Degeneration. There are also support groups/websites for MD patients. Here’s a link to the Macular Degeneration Foundation.