On a mission in Mexico to restore vision in needy
Posted: December, 2011
During a recent medical mission to Mexico, UTMB glaucoma fellow Dr. Silvia Lara-Moses brought leading-edge treatments from UTMB to help impoverished eye patients in her homeland.
Lara-Moses, an ophthalmologist specializing in glaucoma research and treatment, has volunteered for 12 years to join Mexican ophthalmologists for the annual medical mission in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, Mexico.
Photo: Glaucoma specialists Dr. Juan Ignacio Babayan Mena and Dr. Silvia Lara-Moses examine a young patient during a medical mission in Tlapa de Comonfort, Guerrero, Mexico.
During the six-day mission in November, she and 10 other doctors, several technicians and a dozen nurses, treated almost 500 patients. They performed approximately 200 cataract surgeries, as well as other eye surgeries.
The annual mission is sponsored by Medicina Assistencia Social (MAS), a non-profit organization based in Mexico.
Lara-Moses said, "Many of these patients walked for days to see an eye doctor. We restored vision in many patients who have no access to such medical care."
"One young man saw his children for the first time after his cataract surgery. It was very moving."
As a glaucoma postdoctoral research fellow at UTMB Health Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences in Galveston, Texas, Lara-Moses also brought her knowledge of glaucoma imaging technology, early diagnosis and disease progression and treatment to help patients with glaucoma.
Lara-Moses earned her medical degree from the Faculty of Medicine, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico. She completed her post doctorate work at the Hospital General de Mexico in Mexico City and then held a glaucoma fellowship at the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute in Miami, Fla. She has been chief of the glaucoma department at Hospital General de Mexico since 1999 and is a professor of medicine at the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico.
She has extensive experience in clinical research, including the link between glaucoma and genetics, controlling eye pressure in glaucoma patients with diabetes and the effectiveness of certain glaucoma drugs.
UTMB Health Eye Center salutes medical technicians Nov. 6-12
Posted: November, 2011
UTMB Health Eye Center is joining health care centers around the nation in recognizing its ophthalmic medical technicians Nov. 6-12.
Center Chairman Dr. Bernard Godley said, "Our ophthalmic medical technicians are important members our eye care team and dedicated to delivering outstanding eye care and great customer service."
Clinic Manager Sammye Hesser added, "The role of ophthalmic medical technicians is constantly evolving; technicians are now involved in almost every aspect of helping run an ophthalmic practice."
Photo: Ophthalmic medical technicians are involved in almost every aspect of eye care at UTMB Health Eye Center.
Assisting eye doctors is a career with growing opportunities in the Galveston/Houston area. UTMB Health Eye Center, in collaboration with College of the Mainland, is offering an ophthalmic assistant training program. for the first time this fall. For information about registering for the spring 2012 session, contact Stephanie Carter, 409-747-5813, at the UTMB Health Eye Center.
Dr. Manuj Kapur, a UTMB ophthalmologist and a cornea specialist, said, "This course is preparing students for successful careers as ophthalmic assistants. Through classroom and clinical training, students will gain hands-on experience in taking medical histories, performing eye assessments, gaining proficiency in using high-tech eye equipment, fitting eye glasses and contacts, and assisting doctors in performing eye procedures," Kapur said.
Ophthalmic Medical Technicians' Week is a combined effort of the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO®) and the Association of Technical Personnel in Ophthalmology, Inc. (ATPO®).
Entrust your eyesight to the highly qualified, patient-focused eye care team at the UTMB Health Eye Center with convenient locations in Friendswood, League City/Victory Lakes and Galveston.
Schedule an appointment today:
Friendswood - (281) 996-7564
League City/Victory Lakes - (832) 505-2400
Galveston - (409) 747-5800
More at www.UTMBeyecenter.com
Get students ready for school with vision exams
Posted: August, 2011
Back-to-school checklists include school supplies, uniforms and new sneakers. Eye doctors at the UTMB Health Optical Center encourage parents to add an eye exam to their child's back-to-school list. Young eyes can change quickly so an annual exam by an optometrist ensures that your children SEE their best to DO their best in school.
Annual eye exams can detect eye problems, such as nearsightedness and farsightedness, so that they can be corrected.
One of the most common vision problems is nearsightedness, making objects blurred at a distance. Reading the blackboard or catching a ball can be difficult for children who are nearsighted. Because the eye continues to grow throughout childhood and up to the age of 20, most nearsightedness begins while people are still in school.
UTMB Optometrist Dr. Praveena Gupta explained that nearsightedness is caused by too much curvature in the cornea or when the eyeball becomes elongated. When this happens, light entering the eye does not focus as it should. The result is blurred images at a distance.
Farsightedness, blurred close vision, may be hereditary and present at birth. Unlike nearsightedness, children may outgrow farsightedness as their eye changes shape. Children with farsightedness may be able to read the blackboard but have difficulty reading a schoolbook.
These vision problems usually can be easily corrected with prescription glasses. Knowing that back-to-school supplies can add up, the Optical Center is offering a $99 eyeglasses special for students of all ages through September. Call the Optical Center at (409) 747-5823 for details.
Dr. Gupta stressed that regular eye exams also can detect eye diseases that, if not identified and treated in time, can have a devastating impact on a child's well-being.
"It is easy to overlook sight problems as most children do not even complain of visual difficulties," Dr. Gupta said.
To schedule a routine eye exam with Dr. Gupta at the UTMB Health Optical Center, call (409) 747-5800.
UTMB ophthalmology chair awarded grant for groundbreaking research
Posted: May, 2011
GALVESTON, Texas - Eye doctors may soon administer drugs into patients' eyes using pulsing light instead of needles. Groundbreaking research at UTMB's Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences has yielded promising results in laboratory tests, according to Dr. Bernard Godley, lead researcher and department chair.
A recently awarded $50,000 grant from the OneSight Research Foundation will continue to advance this unique research that could dramatically improve eye care, said Godley, also a retinal specialist. OneSight, a Luxottica Foundation, is a family of charitable vision care programs dedicated to improving vision through outreach, research and education.
Millions of eye patients in the U.S. could benefit from this non-invasive method. As opposed to injecting medicines for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy, infections, age-related macular degeneration and other problems, Godley said this method would be safer and more comfortable for eye patients, some of whom must receive monthly injections.
Godley described the procedure: "Drug molecules in a gelatin disk similar to a soft contact are activated using pulsing light. The molecules begin to flutter like a butterfly and move through the eye wall into the eye."
"It would be a breakthrough in the treatment of eye diseases," Godley said, adding that the grant funds the crucial next step to determine what pulse, wavelength and duration are optimal for various drug molecules. The research project is titled "Photokinetic Ocular Drug Delivery."
"This represents an important waypoint in the journey toward human trials and, ultimately, everyday use to treat patients."
The UTMB Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences includes multi-specialty eye centers in Galveston and Friendswood, as well as the UTMB Age-related Macular Degeneration Center and the Ophthalmology Clinical Research Center, both located in Galveston. More information is available at www.UTMBeyecenter.com.
Gifts make vision-saving surgeries possible for uninsured
Posted: May, 2011
For more than a decade, eye specialists at the University of Texas Medical Branch have volunteered their time to help hundreds of patients at the only free eye specialty clinic for the uninsured in Galveston County, the St. Vincent's House Eye Clinic.
Now, with two generous corporate gifts, eye doctors at UTMB Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences will be able to perform vision-saving surgeries on patients unable to afford such care.
Alcon Foundation has awarded a $57,030 grant to provide cataract and glaucoma surgeries through the department's community outreach program.
"With Alcon's support, we will be able to expand our program to provide 30 additional eye surgeries in 2011," said Dr. Gibran Khurshid, clinic medical director and UTMB ophthalmologist.
Quantel Medical, which develops and markets ophthalmology ultrasound and laser systems, has donated a device to evaluate cataract patients for lens replacement surgery.
Using ultrasound, the A/Scan accurately measures the length of the patient's eye to determine the power of the artificial lens to be used during cataract surgery.
These donations provide invaluable faculty-supervised training opportunities for UTMB's ophthalmology residents who help staff the St. Vincent's House Eye Clinic, according to Dr. Misha Syed, resident program director for UTMB Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences.
Dr. Bernard Godley, department chairman, added, "These corporate donations enable us to provide vision-saving care to patients who otherwise would not be able to afford it, while making it possible for UTMB residents to get vital faculty-supervised training. We are grateful for these generous gifts."
Protect your eyes during summer activities
Posted: May, 2011
Summer months are filled with fun outdoor activities. Whether you are at play or working around the house, it's important to protect your eyes. Dr. Janice Contreras, an eye care specialist with the UTMB Health Eye Center, recommends some easy steps to protect your eyes from sun damage and injury.
Just as exposure to bright sunlight can damage your skin, it also may increase your risk of developing cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and growths on the eye, including cancer.
When outside during the day, the first line of defense is to wear a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block harmful UV rays. Excessive exposure to UV light reflected off sand, snow, water or pavement can damage the front surface of your eye. Like your skin, your eyes never recover from UV exposure. Read more at www.geteyesmart.org
Eye protection also is important when it comes to household projects. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology almost half of all eye injuries occur at home.
For most repair projects and activities around the home, standard ANSI-approved protective eyewear, available at most hardware stores, will be sufficient. Wear protection any time there is a risk of chemicals or flying debris coming in contact with your eyes. If an injury occurs see an ophthalmologist right away.