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Posted: March 17, 2010 12:01 a.m.

Supporter Spotlight - Pulliam Eye Group

By Gabriel Khouli/

Don't blink: Dr. Jose Bigles gives an eye examination to a patient. Pulliam Eye Group performs eye exams for glasses and contacts, as well as offering cataract surgery and glaucoma treatment.

Customers who choose Pulliam Eye Group can clearly see what sets the group apart from other area eye doctors.

The Pulliam Group has several full-time doctors and part-time specialists led by Dr. Jose Bigles and Dr. Michael Pulliam.

Bigles said one of the biggest advantages of the Pulliam Group, is that it has its own outpatient surgery center, the only Medicare-approved ambulatory surgery center in Newton and Rockdale counties. The center allows patients to receive care quickly and conveniently and avoid any trips to Atlanta.

One of the most popular surgeries is laser vision corrective surgery, including the popular LASIK technique. Bigles said everything except for retinal surgeries can be done on-site. However, the Pulliam Group has retinal problems covered as well, because of their close relationship with Emory University Hospital system in Atlanta.

Dr. Timothy Olsen and Dr. Brian Schwent, retinal specialists with Emory, come to the Pulliam Group’s Covington office once a month each. One of them is at the office every other Tuesday. Emory Hospital was ranked the 9th best hospital in the ophthalmology field by U.S. News and World Report.

Bigles said the Pulliam Group is strong in refractive surgery, surgeries designed to lessen dependence on glasses or contacts, and in the management of corneal diseases.

Also, Dr. Jaymini Nayee, the practice’s optometrist, is experienced in dealing with intense eye-glass and contact work.

The Pulliam Group is named after Dr. Pulliam who founded the business and continues to be a prominent face around the office.

In addition, Bigles is a newer addition, having joined the practice in August 2009. He earned his medical degree from the University of Puerto Rico in his native country, and completed several internships and training programs at prestigious U.S. schools, including the Cabrini Medical Center at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University. He also completed a fellowship in cataract and refractive surgery with a skilled LASIK surgeon.

Bigles said it’s important for people to come in for regular eye exams to catch any eye diseases or degeneration in their early stages.

Macular degeneration affects the central vision, as opposed to peripheral vision, among most elderly people. It’s 10 times more common in whites and the major risk factors are smoking, exposure to ultraviolent light and poor nutrition. Bigles said supplements can be important like specialized ICAPS. Bigles said yearly eye exams are important to catch this disease early, particularly for those over 50 years of age.

Glaucoma affects peripheral vision, and is four to six times more likely to happen in blacks. The major risk factors for glaucoma are family history and high pressure in the eye. Certain eye drops can lower eye pressure.

Cataracts are a hardening of the lens which causes people to lose vision. They happen to nearly everyone as they age, Bigles said. Symptoms of cataracts include increased glare, decreased clarity and the feeling that you need more light to read at night.

The Pulliam Group uses a specialized, no needle, no stitch surgery to replace lenses with Tecnis multifocal lenses, a special device that improves near and far distance vision problems. Often patients who receive Tecnis multifocal lenses no longer need to wear glasses.

For more information on these conditions and more, visit pulliameyegroup.com and look at their FAQ. In addition to its Covington office, the Pulliam Group has offices located in Madison and Jackson.

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