Volume 05 | March 2017

Where to retire?

As I approach retirement (I’m almost 67 and figure I’ll work only another 13 years and retire at 80), a recent article by Elon Musk in Space.com raised a new possibility of where to retire.  The billionaire founder of SpaceX announced his plans to colonize Mars with his company’s Interplanetary Transport System (ITS).  He proposed a spaceship that will be capable of transporting 100 people to Mars per flight. It turns out that Earth and Mars align favorably for space travel approximately once every two years. 

But Dr. Peter McDonnell reminded me in another article that being exposed to the risks of weightlessness for prolonged periods may cause changes in cerebrospinal fluid pressure (the pressure of the fluid in the spine and brain) which can have permanent effects.  According to Dr. McDonnell, astronauts John Phillips who spent six months in space,  and Scott Kelly, who was in space for a full year, both ended up with some permanent vision changes.   

I haven’t booked a flight to my retirement destination yet, but a 3 hour plane ride to Florida is looking more attractive than the 200 day trek required to get to Mars, in addition to the potential risk of losing some of my vision.

Your email address has been saved  in our secure database. Our intention is to offer monthly newsletters on topics that we hope will be helpful and of interest to you. Please don't hesitate to call us if you ever have any questions or comments.

And you can do us a small favor!  Please like us on Facebook  and maybe subscribe to our YouTube channel where you can watch Dr. Momnie insert a contact lens on a six month old baby or Dr. Guzek-Latka discuss diabetes and how it affects the eyes, all at Chicopee Eyecare, P.C.   Thank you again for choosing our office. Our goal is to safeguard your eyes and help you achieve a lifetime of clear and comfortable vision.
                                          David C. Momnie, O.D.
                                        Camille Guzek-Latka, O.D.
                                        Julianne M. Rapalus, O.D.                                                   
 An inter-professional team approach 

Our patient population as a whole has a multitude of health issues, the most common being diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease. Because there is a link between many systemic diseases and diseases of the eye, we communicate on almost a daily basis through phone calls and written reports with health care providers outside of our office. Here is a list of some of the specialists we corresponded with: Internists--endocrinologists--neurologists--rheumatologists--podiatrists--pharmacists--cardiologists--physician assistants/nurse practitioners.

And a new study at the Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston found a link between glaucoma and gum disease with recent tooth loss.  According to Dr. Louis Pasquale, a possible link  is the release of  chemical factors that travel to the eye and trigger an inflammatory response.  So most likely dentists will be added to the above list of professionals we communicate with.

Why cutting onions makes you cry like a baby?

Don’t we all end up bawling our eyes out while cutting onions.  Why is that, and is there a way to prevent it? According to a recent article in Self Magazine, onions get their pungent flavor from two chemicals, sulfur and an enzyme called synthase.  When the two react, they produce a gas which stimulates the tear gland and starts the waterworks.  Not everybody reacts the same and there's not much you can do to. change it. However, to reduce the amount of tearing, try chilling the onion before you cut it or run a fan before you start chopping to keep the fumes away from your eyes.

Case study of the month

The patient presented to our office a few months ago complaining of an eczema-like rash  of her eyelids, called eyelid dermatitis. The skin of the eyelids is the thinnest in the body, so the  eyelids are more sensitive and susceptible to various skin conditions. Dermatitis of the eyelids  may be due to a true allergic reaction (I recall a patient whose eyes reacted similarly after eating
strawberries) or from contact dermatitis, due to direct contact with an irritating substance like a  particular soap, cosmetic or sunscreen. And certain physical triggers that can cause contact  dermatitis include humidity or temperature extremes or excessive rubbing of the eyelids. Most  winters, we will have at least one patient present with a similar rash who, it often turns out, has  a very dry house. Adding an inexpensive humidifier usually corrects the problem. Occasionally,  one of our opticians will have a patient react to the nickel in an eyeglass frame. Switching to a  metal frame without nickel or to a zyl (plastic) frame always corrects the problem. The  takeaway: don’t ever hesitate to call us if you develop a rash around your eyes.

Hiding in plain sight

Millions of adults with high blood pressure remain undiagnosed.  

High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension,  is typically characterized as systolic BP (the first and high number) above 140 and the diastolic BP above 90.  The American Heart Association estimates that about 90 million Americans have high blood pressure. And although 1 in 3 adult Americans have high BP, half know it and don’t control it properly and another 13 million don’t even know they have it. Given that some people visit their optometrist more than their primary care physician, don’t be surprised if we ask you about your BP and pull out a blood pressure cuff (sphygmomanometer) if you haven’t had it taken in some time.

A recent study: nothing is worse than going blind
A recent study at John Hopkins University School of Medicine found that most Americans  regard loss of eyesight as the worst ailment that could happen to them, worse than losing a  limb, hearing or speech. According to the study, low vision is the third most common chronic  cause of impaired functioning in people over 70 behind arthritis and heart disease. Over 23  million American adults reported in 2015 that they are blind or have impaired vision, even with  corrective glasses. Unfortunately, this number is projected to double by 2050 based on the  aging of the population.

In our opinion, the most valuable message to take from this study is the importance of having  an eye exam at least every two years if you’re over sixty.
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Chicopee Eyecare
wishes you the luck of the Irish,   Happy
Saint Patrick's Day
on  March 17

Office Hours
We are available when you need us 
Our office and optical department are open during the following hours:

Monday                  9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Tuesday                 9:00 am - 5:30pm

Wednesday            9:00 am - 5:30pm

Thursday                9:00 am - 6:30pm

Friday                     9:00 am - 5:30 pm

Saturday                9:00 am - 12:30 pm   

                 Sunday Closed

         One of our doctors is always available for emergencies on nights, weekends and holidays.   Call (413) 592-7777 and our answering service will put you in touch  with an on-call optometrist.

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Chicopee Eyecare · 113 Center Street · Chicopee, MA 01013 · (413) 592-7777 info@chicopeeeyecare.com
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