At Medly Pharmacy, our job is to make the prescription process painless. The physicians we work with, of course, are an essential part of that process. In this installment of our ongoing series highlighting various practices and practitioners who’ve partnered with Medly, we’re introducing you to Dr. Joseph Calderone.
Dr. Calderone grew up with medicine. His father was a doctor, which allowed Calderone to see that medicine offered a way to help people, a way to get satisfaction from a vocation. “I watched my father do it,” Calderone told Medly, “and I saw the satisfaction he had and the things he accomplished.”
Now, Dr. Calderone works as an ophthalmologist. He founded Better Vision New Jersey (formerly Cranford Ophthalmology) in 1987 and provides high quality LASIK, PRK, and LASEK vision correction surgeries, cataract surgeries, and glaucoma treatments, as well as a full optical shop. Dr. Calderone says he chose to pursue ophthalmology because of the likelihood that you will be able to help your patients. “You fix patient’s problems,” says Dr. Calderone, “Even if all you do is give them a pair of glasses, they see better.”
Of the most common afflictions Dr. Calderone sees in his office, glaucoma, dry eye syndrome, and cataracts are the top contenders. When it comes to taking care of your eyes, Dr. Calderson says the most important thing to remember is don’t wait. “If you have anything happening suddenly that's different about your eyes, don't wait to get it looked at. Get it looked at now,” says Dr. Calderone. Waiting can make the problem worse and cause further damage, he says.
For Dr. Calderone, a typical day usually involves some morning exercise followed by going over charts, seeing patients, and handling issues - including those that arise outside of the exam room. “Sometimes I get lunch,” he says, “sometimes I don't.” And then it’s back to his patients until the end of the day.
In his work with patients, Dr. Calderone is seeing more patients experiencing dry eyes. “Dry eyes are a bigger deal than they were when I was in training,” he told Medly. “It used to be something you just threw artificial tears at. But we know more about it now, and we can do a lot of things about it now, too. So dry eyes have become a much, much larger part of eye care than it used to be.” Dr. Calderone believes there is a better understanding of dry eyes due, in part, to a procedure called Lipiflow. Dr. Calderone was the first person in New Jersey to have this procedure, which warms and massages the meibomian glands.
These are the oil-secreting glands that secrete the oil component of the tear film. “You have about 23 to 28 of them in each lower lid” Dr. Calderone explains, “and about 30 to 35 in each upper lid. The oil component is supposed to help resist evaporation. These glands peak in their efficiency at the ripe old age of 20.”
“But Medly gives you a shot at having access to these medications,” hes says, “because they try to find the most affordable way that a given drug can be delivered to the patients. It's real helpful to have the knowledge of how people can maximize their pharmacy dollar. I think it's a big help for the patient.” - Dr. Calderone
Afterwards, the oil secretion starts to become increasingly meager, grainier, pastier, and the glands actually start to disappear. When this happens, the renewed tear film dries up a lot quicker than it was designed to when blinking. “LipiFlow,” Dr. Calderone says, “restores the quality of the secretions to an oilier secretion, more like it was when we were in our 20s. In the last nine or ten years that I've been doing this, I’ve learned an awful lot more about the tear film and how these glands work, and what you can and can't do.”
He also is seeing certain trends in the field of cataract surgery. “When I was a kid,” he says, “and my grandfather had cataract surgery, what they would do would be basically reach in and pull the cataract out. And then you'd put on a pair of monstrously thick glasses and barely get by. What we did with cataract surgery in the 1960s was probably closer in appearance to what we did in Ancient Rome than what we do nowadays.”
Cataract surgery, he explains, has become a much more delicate process in the last twenty to thirty years. “Now we have instrumentation that allows us to open the cataract up, loosen it up, chop it up. Take it out through a really, really tiny incision, smaller than an eighth of an inch. And then replace the cataract with an intraocular lens that works better than the cataract did before it was a cataract. And there are lens options which allow you to get by without glasses too.”
When it comes to medication treatment, Dr. Calderone enjoys the accessibility and simplicity of working with Medly. “I can use Medly so easily to put my patient on medicines today,” he says. New medications, Dr. Calderone says, can be prohibitively expensive and therefore inaccessible to many patients.