Use your Flexible Spending Account or Vision Benefits Before the End of the Year!

It’s the end of the year – do you have a Flexible Spending Account or vision benefits that expire this month?

The benefits for many vision plans expire at the end of the year, and those benefits that you’ve already paid for will expire on December 31and won’t carry over into 2017. Also, if you set aside money for your Flexible Spending Account, you need to use it or lose it!
If you haven’t  had your annual eye health exam, call Southern Eye Associates to schedule an exam, or order a supply of contact lenses. If you need glasses, our optical is open Monday through Friday from 8AM until 5 PM.

Fight Fraud by Guarding Your Medicare Number

medicare-fraudHealth care fraud drives up costs for everyone in the health care system. One way to protect against such fraud is to guard your Medicare number. Fraud schemes often depend on identity thieves getting hold of people’s Medicare numbers, so treat your number as you would a credit card.

Follow these important steps to protect yourself from fraud:

• Don’t share your Medicare number or other personal information with anyone who contacts you by telephone, email, or by approaching you in person, unless you’ve given them permission in advance. Medicare will NEVER contact you for your Medicare number or other personal information.

• Tell your friends and neighbors to guard their Medicare number.

• Don’t ever let anyone borrow or pay to use your Medicare number.

• Review your Medicare Summary Notice to be sure you and Medicare are only being charged for actual services.

• Be wary of salespeople who knock on your door or call you uninvited and try to sell you a product or service.

• Don’t accept items received through the mail that you didn’t order. You should refuse the delivery and/or return it to the sender. Keep a record of the sender’s name and the date you returned the items.

And if you’re looking to enroll in a Medicare plan:

• Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you about Medicare plans unless you gave them permission.

• There are no “early bird discounts” or “limited time offers.”

• Don’t let anyone rush you to enroll by claiming you need to “act now for the best deal.”

• Be skeptical of free gifts, free medical services, discount packages or any offer that sounds “too good to be true” – especially if you need to hand over your Medicare number in order to receive these items or deals. Decline politely but firmly.

• By law, any promotional items you’re offered to enroll in a plan must be worth no more than $15, and these items can’t be given on the condition that you enroll in a plan.

 

Call 1-800-MEDICARE to report suspected fraud. Learn more about protecting yourself from health care fraud by visiting www.Medicare.gov/fraud or by contacting your local Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP).

To find the SMP in your state, go to the SMP Locator at www.smpresource.org.

This information prepared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Southern Eye Welcomes New Ophthalmologist, Dr. Wade Reardon

Southern Eye Associates is proud to announce and welcome Dr. Wade A. Reardon as its newest ophthalmologist.

SouthernEyeAssoc_020Dr. Reardon was born and raised in Kingstree, SC. He studied at the College of Charleston Honors College where he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry and a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry. For his medical education, he attended the Medical University of South Carolina. He completed his intern year in general surgery at the Medical University of South Carolina and completed his ophthalmology residency at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Storm Eye Institute. He is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, the Gold Humanism Honor Society, Christian Ophthalmology Society, and the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons. He specializes in cataract surgery, Oculoplastics, including blepharoplasty, Botox and fillers, and glaucoma.

Dr. Reardon will begin seeing patients on August 17, 2015. To schedule your appointment with him, call us at 864-269-3333.


Southern Eye Voted Best of the Upstate 2013 – Ophthalmology

We are honored to announce that our practice was voted Best of the Upstate in Ophthalmology 2013 by the readers of The Greenville News! Thank you to all those who voted for us.

We will continue striving to provide excellent and compassionate eye care in 2014 and the years to come!

 

 


February – AMD Awareness Month!

Seniors: Don’t Be Blinded by Old Notions of Eye Disease

Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but new treatments have dramatically changed the course of this disease over the last 10 years, making AMD more manageable than ever. During AMD Awareness Month this February, Southern Eye Associates reminds people with AMD that they can save their vision thanks to recent treatment advances, but early detection is a critical first step.

In the United States, an estimated 11 million Americans have some form of AMD, which is a disease that erodes central vision. AMD has two forms – wet and dry. While dry AMD leads to a gradual loss of vision, wet AMD leads to faster vision loss and is the most advanced form of the disease. It is responsible for 90 percent of all AMD-related blindness. Ten years ago, the “wet” form of AMD was considered largely untreatable and many patients went blind. Then came the introduction of injectable anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs which block formation of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that cause permanent vision loss. The usage of anti-VEGF drugs has nearly halved the incidence AMD-related blindness in some countries.

There are several anti-VEGF drugs available that are currently used to treat AMD. Two of these, ranibizumab (brand name Lucentis) and aflibercept (brand name Eylea), were designed specifically for the treatment of AMD. A third drug, bevacizumab (brand name Avastin), was originally developed to treat various types of cancer, but is commonly used “off-label” in patients with AMD. The recommended frequency of these injections varies from every few weeks to every few months, and duration of treatment varies by case.

Multiple studies have compared these anti-VEGF drugs and found comparable effectiveness in helping patients retain their ability to see.  The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that people with AMD talk with their ophthalmologist about which treatments are right for them. Patients may differ in how their eyes respond to one treatment versus another. Eye exams are critical to diagnosing AMD in its early stages, monitoring its progression and, if it advances to wet AMD, starting treatment before vision deteriorates.

“Ten years ago, wet AMD was a one-way ticket to blindness, but now I have patients with the condition who are able to read and drive; and some even maintain 20/20 vision,” said Rahul Khurana, M.D., a clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Ophthalmology and retina specialist. “Unfortunately, some seniors may still harbor old notions of wet AMD being untreatable and may avoid exams in fear of this. Now this is no longer the case thanks to anti-VEGF treatments, which is one of the biggest advances in the field of ophthalmology – but patients can only take advantage of them if they get diagnosed early enough through an eye exam!”

Because AMD is progressive, treatments vary according to disease stage. Risk factors for AMD include increasing age, ethnicity and genetics. Smokers have an increased risk, while studies have shown that a diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (common in fish) may lower risk. In its earliest stages, AMD may not have any symptoms. As it progresses, slight changes in vision may occur such as blurry or distorted vision, blank spots in vision and colors appearing less vivid or bright.

Learn more about AMD and its effect on vision at www.GetEyeSmart.org.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends a baseline eye exam by 40 and that older Americans get an eye exam every one to two years. Seniors who have not had a recent eye exam or for whom cost is a concern may qualify for EyeCare America, a public service program of the Foundation of the American Academy of Ophthalmology that offers eye exams and care at no out-of-pocket cost for eligible seniors age 65 and older. Visit www.eyecareamerica.org to see if you are eligible.


Ora et Labora, Pray and Work

The Angelus by JEAN-FRANÇOIS MILLET

The Angelus by JEAN-FRANÇOIS MILLET

I was reminded of a Benedictine Tradition called “Ora, Labora et Lectio.”  It is a 3-part phrase derived from The Rule of St. Benedict. That rule (book) became the foundation of guidance for monastic communities. Ora, Labora et Lectio is translated as Pray, Work, and Bible-Study.  The Rule of St. Benedict was a required read during my freshman orientation at Belmont Abbey College.

In the 19th Century, Ora et Labora, Pray and Work, took shape after a popular publication on the Benedictine life by German abbot Maurus Wolter.  Simply,Ora et Labora, is a way to balance life, giving Him praise and thanksgiving and performing the work that God has called you to do.  The Benedictine monks and sisters spend about 2-3 hours in church, 2-3 hours of bible-study, with the remainder of the day dedicated to work depending on their vocation and abilities. That work varies from teaching (Belmont Abbey College, Belmont, NC) to jams and jellies to chicken eggs (Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, SC) and beyond.

Our society has gotten off track regarding this basic way of life. Off track in a way that often we find ourselves working without keeping God in mind or stopping to pray.  He is the reason for our work, “in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 4:11.  Our prayer and work should be oriented to Him.

Sometimes the necessity of our work can require a great many hours, and subsequently will subtract from prayer time. Let us keep in mind those Benedictine principles of Ora et Labora, and Ut in Omnibus Glorificetur Deus –  Pray and Work, and That in all things God may be Glorified.

-Dr. Steigerwald


November is Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month

Diabetes and Eyes: What You Need to Know

 

Diabetes is the leading cause of vision loss among adults age 20 – 64 in the United States, yet 90% of diabetes-related vision loss is preventable. Unfortunately, Americans at higher risk for diabetes have the lowest awareness of diabetic eye disease. During National Diabetes Month this November, Southern Eye Associates, along with the American Academy of Ophthalmology, is sharing information about the different types of diabetic eye disease and reminding people about the importance of getting an annual dilated eye exam.

While “diabetic eye disease” is often used, people may be unaware that this term encompasses a number of diseases and conditions that can cause blindness if left untreated. These include:

  • Diabetic Retinopathy affects 28.5 percent of people age 40 and older living with diabetes. It occurs when the small blood vessels in the eye change by swelling, leaking fluid or closing off completely, blocking blood flow from reaching the retina. In its earliest stages, diabetic retinopathy does not have symptoms, but can lead to changes in the eye, such as macular edema, which is the most common cause of vision loss among people with diabetes. Treatment for diabetic retinopathy and many of its related changes include laser surgery, medical injections and vitrectomy surgery in which blood and scar tissue caused by abnormal blood vessels is removed.
  • Cataract occurs when the eye’s lens becomes cloudy, causing vision to become blurry, cloudy or dim. While this happens in many people as they age, those with diabetes are more likely to develop cataracts than their peers without diabetes. Mild cataracts may be treated with eyeglasses, but once the cataract is advanced, it will require cataract surgery, in which the natural cloudy lens is removed and replaced with an artificial lens implant known as an intraocular lens or IOL.
  • Glaucoma is a disease that damages the optic nerve and peripheral vision. The damage to the optic nerve is usually caused by elevated pressure in the eye. People with diabetes are also more likely to develop glaucoma, which rarely has any noticeable symptoms in its early stages. Glaucoma can be treated with medication such as prescription eye drops or with surgery, but will result in blindness if left untreated.

People with type 2 diabetes should get a dilated eye exam at the time of diagnosis and every year following. Those with type 1 diabetes should start receiving annual eye exams five years after their initial diagnosis.
Through its public education website, EyeSmart, the Academy also offers tools and information such as

Go to www.geteyesmart.org to learn more.


Back to School Vision

child-with-glasses

Vision is closely linked to learning. It is estimated that 70-90% of all learning in the classroom is done through the visual system. Children will not often complain of blurred vision because they are unaware of what “normal” vision looks like.  A high percentage of children with Individualized Education Plans (IEP) have an undiagnosed eye problem such as hyperopia (farsightedness), or a decreased ability of their eyes working together, leading to reading difficulties. At their examination, their eye doctor will perform testing to measure their color vision, evaluate how their eyes work together, obtain an accurate glasses prescription and extensively assess their eye health. It is important to be proactive and schedule your child a comprehensive eye examination to ensure that they will be learning to their fullest potential this school year.

 

Author:

Dr. Craig O’Dell

Optometrist

Southern Eye Associates

 


Southern Eye Welcomes Our Newest Doctor – Craig O’Dell, O.D.

Southern Eye Associates is pleased to announce the addition of our newest doctor, Craig A. O’Dell, O.D. 

Dr. O'Dell Photo

Dr. O’Dell earned his biology degree and Doctorate of Optometry at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He has completed a residency in ocular disease at the Chillicothe VAMC and Chalmers P Wylie VAACC. He met his wife, Justine, in optometry school and graduated Magna Cum Laude. Dr. O’Dell has had the opportunity to provide eye care to the Apache Native Americans in Whiteriver, Arizona as well as to our veterans in Huntington, West Virginia. He is a member in good standing of both the American Optometric Association and the South Carolina Optometric Association.

We are excited to welcome Dr. O’Dell and his wife, Justine, to the Upstate and to our practice.

Dr. O’Dell specializes in healthy eye exams for adults and children, evaluation for glasses and contacts, specialty fit contact lenses and low vision. 

Dr. O’Dell is now accepting new patients. Please call 864-269-3333 to set up your appointment with him.