December 20, 2011 ~ Dr. Lee Yasgur, Ophthalmologist on Diabetes Eye Disease

Dr. Lee Yasgur

Lee Yasgur was born in South Philadelphia, raised in West Oak Lane and East Oak Lane, and graduated from Central High School, class 224.  He  served four tours of duty to Viet Nam with the US Navy amphibious forces, then resumed his education in 1970 at Temple University. Granted his BA Cum Laude, he entered Hahnemann Medical College, spent a year of Internship at Thomas Jefferson Hospital, then entered General Practice in Northeast Philadelphia.  He shortly entered the Ophthalmology Residency at Hahnemann University Hospital.  His Ophthalmic Basic Science curriculum was completed at Stanford University, and his clinical training continued at Hahnemann. With the early goal of helping patients live enhanced lives without the fear of blindness, he set up the first eye diagnostic and laser treatment center in South Jersey, incorporating the services of many ophthalmologists from around the region.  This provided a centralized service for equipment rarely found in outlying communities in1983, such as Argon and Yag lasers, fundus photography with fluorescein angiography, A and B scan ultrasonography.

Personal experiences in combat convinced the veteran to go to college and to enter medical school.  Early exposure to new technology convinced him that ophthalmology had much to offer to every aging member of the community.

Dr. Yasgur lives in South Jersey with his wife Carolyn.  They have raised three children. Ryan is still pursuing advanced education.  Jon lives with wife Jenna and their daughter,  Clementine, in NYC.  Aviva lives with husband John in Kentucky.

Dr. Yasgur was among the first 300 surgeons in the US, in 1988,  to introduce patients to ‘foldable’ intraocular lenses, which allowed offering cataract surgery with no stitching. This technology keeps improving, and allows over two million cataract patients each year in the US to recover clear vision.

Patients with wet macular degeneration used to go blind, and even with the laser treatments of the past, the blindness was held back by only several months.  With the new medication treatments, almost no eyes go blind from this disease, although the treatment requires many visits each year for two years or even longer.  Dr Yasgur has been offering these treatments since 2006.

The blindness caused by diabetic retinopathy is not relegated to the past.  It still happens.  But with the modern laser  and medication treatments, it is now rare to see an eye go blind from diabetic retinopathy or maculopathy.  Dr Yasgur attributes that mostly to the wonderful medical care today’s diabetics receive.  Ever since Hemoglobin A1C has been routinely measured, patients whose A1C is kept below 7.2  [which is still a high number] have much less retinal damage from diabetes .  The older generation eye examination tools and cameras for photography could not capture with high reliability the presence of the early stages of diabetic retinopathy.  Now, in the digital age of photography, high megapixel cameras are in use to photograph the inside of the eye, and photographic filters are utilized within the digital equipment, to enhance the presence of microscopic blood vessel leaks. With this early information from the eye doctor, the patient and the family doctor can be made aware the eye is suffering damage, and the treatment goals may need to be adjusted for more rigid compliance for blood sugar, blood pressure, renal function, etc.

For patients with glaucoma, the treatments of the past including many irritating eyedrops , most with uncomfortable or even dangerous side effects.  If those medications failed, the option for treatment was having a hole cut in the eye with a thin tissue protection layer.  25% had nasty complications. and 50% of those operations failed by 5 years.  Recently, newer lasers have made it possible to minimize the use of the medication , these lasers offer repeatable sessions when needed.  They are not painful, for over 95%.  In the event the new laser treatments fail, the new surgical procedures involve only a pin-hole where the old procedures involved a large hole: thus the eyes do not suffer the same incidence of complications.  Newer medications are also available with less irritation and burning and blurring.

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December 20, 2011 ~ Dr. Lee Yasgur, Ophthalmologist on Diabetes Eye Disease