Dr. James Dello Russo is passionate about providing top quality service to his patients. He believes it is a personalized approach and excellence in performing any eye procedures that makes treatments a success.
Dr. Dello Russo studied medicine at the New England College of Optometry,
and Lehigh University. He is a member of the New Jersey Society of Optometric Physicians and Managing Director of the New Jersey Eye Center.
The following is a transcript of an interview with Dr. Dello Russo on treatment for dry eyes and eye examinations.
Dr. Dello Russo, please share with us why one should choose the New Jersey Eye Center?
What sets the Center apart is the availability of a wide range of services six days per week from 8 am to 8 pm, but most importantly, it is our excellence in eye treatments/procedures and our state of the art facility. You can always be sure to receive the very best service at our facility.
The center accepts clients over the age of six. We recommend that people get their eyes checked routinely, regardless of their medical condition. The average client under the age of 65 should be seen every one to two years. These visits are not only to monitor the health of the eye, but the systemic health as well.
During the eye test the Center’s experienced technicians spend 10-15 minutes gathering information on refractive optometry and general systemic health. They check previous glasses’ or contacts’ prescriptions in an effort to ascertain what the client’s problem is. Eye pressure is monitored, using non-contact tonometry, and the optic nerve, the peripheral retina, the cornea and the macula are examined. Initial measurements are made and entrance tests done to determine the pupil’s extra-ocular muscle movement and also the health of the cornea, the eyelids and the lashes.
During eye dilation the back of the eye, the retina, the macula, the phobia and the peripheral retina will be examined to make sure there are no holes or tears in it. So, digital photos are taken of the back of the eye, and the eye undergoes a refraction test to ascertain the status of vision.
What are the most common eye defects?
Refractive errors such as myopia are the most common, so people have trouble with distance vision. Currently, in this digital age, due to excessive periods spent on computer and cell phone screens, about 30 percent of eight to 21-year-olds increasingly have some myopia. Myopia is much more prevalent now than it used to be. Young people in the above-mentioned age group are at high risk of needing glasses or contact lenses.
Depending on the diagnosis, a range of ancillary tests can be run, such as corneal topography to map the architecture of the cornea. Fundus photos may be taken of the eye’s interior surface and the different layers of the retina, so that ailments such as glaucoma can be detected. We ensure that human error is avoided by carrying out competent checks at our facility, and our own technician makes the glasses.
The New Jersey Eye Center boasts an optometrist, a glaucoma specialist and provision of cataract surgery on the premises. Clients can be provided with glasses within 24 hours. Unlike other facilities, our Center’s main aim is to safeguard the patients’ ocular health throughout their lives. The New Jersey Eye Center does not simply focus on selling eye-ware, although it can offer an excellent range of spectacles.
What eye ailments do you come across most often?
The most common eye complaint we treat is dry eye syndrome and the second most common is cataracts. Dry eye syndrome used to be thought of as affecting ladies over the age of 50. These days it is found more often in children and teenagers owing to extensive screen use. This means that they are blinking 60-70 percent less than before.
One in four patients comes to us with sandy, gritty eyes. They are asked to fill in a questionnaire containing simple questions on their eye and systemic health. The severity of their dry eye complaint is determined by undergoing a tear osmolarity test and a Tearlab scan.
Dry eye syndrome may result from screen over-use, wind, dust and debris, taking contraceptive pills or medication for blood pressure, from rheumatoid arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome or meibomian gland dysfunction. Clients may not be consuming sufficient foods containing essential fatty acids.
Tear osmolarity tests are used to measure the severity of tear evaporation. Treatment usually involves eye drops or artificial tears, followed by a LipoFlow procedure or the application of punctal plugs, if the client does not benefit from the drops.
How is dry eye syndrome usually treated?
In the past, the inflamed eye surface could only be treated with artificial tears. Restasis eye emulsion was the first to be used some 10 years ago, later followed by Xiidra (ZYE-drug) eye drops about two years ago. This treatment only helped about 30 percent of clients.
The meibomian glands in the eyelids may become clogged so the tears do not have an oil or lipid layer to lock them into the eye surface. Punctal plugs which involve a two-minute, non-surgical procedure, may also be applied to seal tear ducts if tears are not being retained on the eye surface and are running down the cheeks.
The FDA-approved LipiFlow procedure can be used to get the meibomian glands working again by heating up the oil glands and unblocking them. The single12-minute-long bilateral procedure in the chair is painless.
This rather warm procedure requires no needs or incisions and is soothing. Vision is not affected, and the dry eye irritation is lessened by the next day. However, the Lipiflow procedure is not suitable for all clients as it cannot help those whose meibomian glands have atrophied. The extent of meibomian dysfunction can be determined by liposcan meibography. The beneficial effect of the treatment is expected to last three to four years.