Bladeless LASIK & Laser Cataract Surgery at Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Monitoring Multiple Sclerosis with Eye Testing

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disease that can cause patients to experience decreased vision due to optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve, as well as diplopia or double vision. We believe that MS occurs because there is an abnormal response of the body’s immune system whereby it is directed against the central nervous system (CNS), which is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. Within the CNS, the immune system attacks myelin-the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers as well as the nerve fibers themselves. When any part of the myelin sheath or nerve fiber is damaged or destroyed, nerve impulses traveling to and from the brain and spinal cord are distorted or interrupted, producing a wide variety of symptoms.

About Optical Coherence (OCT) Eye Testing for MS

In our office, we routinely use very precise imaging technology called Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) as part of evaluation, diagnosis and monitoring glaucoma and retina diseases because it allows us to examine the actual nerve fibers of the retina and the optic nerve. Recent research has taught us that OCT can be used to monitor the degree of atrophy of specific retinal layers-called the “inner plexiform layer” and “ganglion cell layer”-and used as an as an indicator of neuronal tissue damage in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). For patients with Multiple Sclerosis this is quite valuable as it gives us a non invasive in office test, that in concert with their neurologists, helps us help patients asses the stability of their disease as well as their response to new medications or treatments. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with MS or has questions about the eye problems that can be associated with Multiple Sclerosis, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Help for Children’s’ Tear Duct Problems

About Children’s’ Tear Duct Problems
Normally, tears drain through tiny opening in corners of the upper and lower eyelids call “puncta,” then enter the nose through the nasolacrimal duct. Sometimes the nasolacrimal duct or tear duct can become blocked or obstructed making it impossible for the tears to drain normally. This can cause the eyes to run water or even produce a discharge. Often, the tears well up on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the eyelashes, eyelids, and down the cheek. This usually occurs within the first days or weeks of life. Sometimes, the eyelids can become red and swollen, even stuck together with yellowish-green discharge since the normal eyelid bacteria are not properly "flushed" down the obstructed system. Probably the most common cause of a tear duct obstruction in kids is a failure of the membrane at the end of the tear duct opening to open fully at the time of birth. Generally we see this happening in some 5-10% of newborn infants where one or both eyes is affected with a tear duct obstruction-BUT some 90% clear without any treatment with the first 12 months after birth.

Treatment of Kids’ Tear Duct Obstruction
As most of the time the obstruction will clear on its own, we don’t always have to treat it. But, if it persists and causes the welling up of tears or the sticking or redness of the eyelids we can suggest a gentle massage as a first step and prescribe antibiotic eye drops if necessary. Sometimes we will need to do a tear duct probing to clear the blockage and in a some more difficult situations we might need to perform a tear duct dilation with a tiny balloon or even insert some microscopic tubes. We perform these types of treatments as a matter of routine and, as a parent I will make sure to thoroughly explain them and answer all of your questions if they become necessary.

If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about children’s tear duct problems or needs a kids eye exam, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Laser Cataract Patient Experience

A Baltimore Washington Eye Center cataract patient shared their experience with laser cataract surgery, “I had laser cataract surgery with a Toric Lens Implant. I was apprehensive at first, so much so that I almost canceled the surgery. But thanks to the entire staff of BW Eye, everything turned out fantastic. To all of the personnel from the front desk, to the ladies who checked my eyes before surgery, to the billing departments, to Dr. Hammer who did the surgery and explained everything to me and answered all my questions. However, I do not want to forget the nurses and other staff in the surgery room, FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC!!! They had me so relaxed that they had me laughing and the surgery was over before I knew it. Thank you!”- Thomas B.

If you or someone you know experiences cloudy, blurry vision and difficulty with night driving and faded colors you might wish to learn more about cataracts, laser cataract surgery and lens implants by scheduling a cataract eye exam at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Dry Eye Disease and Hair Loss


About Dry Eye and Hair Loss
What do dry eye and hair loss have to do with each other? As it turns out, recent research suggests there may very well be a link through your immune system. Alopecia means hair loss. When a person has a condition called Alopecia Areata the hair falls out in round patches on the scalp or elsewhere on the body. Alopecia is not contagious and it is not due to anxiety as some people think. Alopecia is actually due to your immune system attacking the hair follicles resulting in hair loss. This disease occurs in otherwise healthy people. We now know that people with alopecia often suffer from dry eye disease. Researchers examined a series of patients who were previously diagnosed with Alopecia Areata and compared them to a control group who did not have the hair loss problem. They had each patient complete an Ocular Surface Disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire and evaluated their tear film using a Schirmer’s Test for tear quantity, a tear break-up time test, and corneal staining stage tests. Dry eye disease (DED) was diagnosed in 84% of Alopecia Areata patients and in 15% of the controls, and there was a significant difference between the groups. They believe that a certain type of cell mediated autoimmunity has a key role in BOTH Alopecia Areata and dry eye disease and that the inflammatory mechanisms causing Alopecia Areata may trigger dry eye disease or vice versa. Based on this research, it is recommended that all patients with Alopecia Areata be examined for dry eye disease.

If you or someone you know suffers from Alopecia Areata hair loss and wishes to be evaluated for dry eye disease, please contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Headaches & Children’s’ Eye Problems



About Headaches and Children’s’ Eye Problems


It is pretty common for parents to bring their children in for an eye exam because they are complaining of headaches. Headaches are a frequent complaint of kids but fortunately they are usually not serious. Some of the more common causes of headaches in kids include migraine, the stress and tension of school, certain foods with nitrates or MSG preservatives, physical trauma, sinus infections and, of course, eye problems. Parents can be concerned about the serious, but truly rare occurrence of brain tumors causing headaches but this is usually accompanied by other complaints of dizziness, weakness of the arms and legs, and a loss of coordination.

Evaluating Kids with Headaches


As part of evaluating any child with headaches, I always want to be sure that there has been a complete and thorough examination by their pediatrician who may need to order additional tests or even a referral to a neurologist. Then I will need to perform a complete eye exam including evaluation of the pupils, a refraction to determine any refractive error or need for glasses, eye alignment and binocularity testing, and sometimes a formal visual field examination. Routinely, I will put drops in the child’s eyes to dilate the pupils, so that the optic nerves can be properly examined and the refractive error can be most accurately measured.

Eye Problems That Can Cause Headaches

If your child has uncorrected hyperopia or farsightedness, it requires extra effort to focus clearly while reading. This can sometimes lead to fatigue and headache. If significant hyperopia exists, glasses can reduce the effort required to see clearly at near and improve the headache. Mild hyperopia is normal in children, however, and generally does not cause headaches or other symptoms.

When we read or perform other near activities, our eyes pull in toward each other, this is called convergence. The decreased ability to pull the eyes toward each other when viewing near objects (convergence), particularly while reading, may cause headaches. This is called convergence insufficiency, and symptoms include the doubling of images or words, blurred vision, fatigue, and headaches which worsen with prolonged reading. At home eye exercises, sometimes with the help of computer software, can help treat convergence insufficiency. Glasses are sometimes prescribed, but costly in-office eye exercises are rarely necessary.

Acute infections, allergic, and inflammatory diseases of the eyes can also cause headaches. These problems are often accompanied by redness of the eye and/ or the eyelid as well as light sensitivity or photophobia. Acute glaucoma can cause headaches, but rarely affects children. Pseudo-tumor cerebri is a condition caused by increased intracranial pressure, or too much fluid around the brain, and this causes headache and swelling of the optic nerves, but does not typically cause redness of the eyes. During the complete eye exam we perform we will be able to rule out these problems as a cause of headaches in your child. If we do not find any ocular causes of your child’s headache we may refer them back to his/her pediatrician and/or to a neurologist to look for other possible causes of the headaches.

If you have questions about the causes of kids’ headaches or children’s eye problems, or need assistance, please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Diabetic Eye Exams: Don’t Delay!


About Diabetic Eye Disease
Diabetic eye problems include an increased risk of cataracts, glaucoma, neurological eye muscle problems and the potential for serious vision loss from diabetic retinopathy, which is a retinal vascular disease. Vision loss from diabetic eye disease is manageable and often preventable, but requires early diagnosis for treatment to be most effective. This means ALL patients with diabetes must be diligent in having eye exams at intervals recommended by their eye doctors and/or their primary care physicians, internists, and endocrinologists.

About Diabetes
According to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics 21.7 million U.S. adults age 18 and over (9.2%) have been diagnosed with diabetes and this percentage increases with age. One in five adults aged 65 and over (20.5%, or 8.7 million) has diagnosed diabetes, compared with 11.0% (11.3 million) aged 40–64 and 1.9% (1.7 million) aged 18–39.

About Delay in Seeking Diabetic Eye Exams
There seems to be a trend in that the more recently you are in having your diabetes diagnosed, the longer you delay in seeking and annual diabetic eye exam. This is troubling in preventing vision loss and avoiding diabetic eye problems. Among all adults, the percentage who visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months increased with years since diabetes diagnosis. About half, 50% of those diagnosed with diabetes within the prior 5 years had visited an eye doctor in the past 12 months, compared with 57.3% of those diagnosed 5-10 years ago and 61.2% of those diagnosed 10 or more years ago. Among adults with diagnosed diabetes, the percentage who had visited an eye doctor during the past 12 months increased with age: 38.2% for those aged 18–39, 53.8% for those aged 40–64, and 66.5% for those aged 65 and over. Thus, among adults with diabetes, both age and years since diagnosis may play a role in visiting an eye doctor in the past 12 months.

If you or someone you know has diabetes, please take the time to schedule and eye exam in order to prevent the risk of vision loss from diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems, most of which are preventable with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. Please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter to schedule an appointment.


Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations in Glen Burnie at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061; in Gambrills at 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and in Ellicott City at Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042. Baltimore Washington Eye Center serves the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, October 31, 2016

The LASIK Experience

Brad Spagnolo, M.D., F.A.C.S.
LASIK Surgeon

LASIK patient Shannon K comment on her LASIK experience at Baltimore Washington Eye center……


“The staff at BW Eye Center was very responsive to my questions. The thought of having someone work on my eye made me quite nervous, but Dr. Spagnolo and Erin were very kind and made me feel comfortable about the procedure. During the procedure, all the staff explained everything they were doing and made every effort to make me feel comfortable. Once the procedure was complete, I was sent home with very clear instructions on how to care for my eyes. Later in the evening Dr. Spagnolo followed up with a phone call. All in all, my experience was excellent and I will refer Dr. Spagnolo and BW Eye Center to others.”


If you or someone you know would like to learn more about LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.