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Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Inhalers: No Need to Worry!


Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Allergy Steroid Inhalers
For certain patients, taking oral steroid medications for asthma or severe arthritis can actually elevate their intraocular pressure (IOP) and cause them to develop glaucoma. It has become very common to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies-such as a runny nose, itching and sneezing, with Flonase® (Fluticasone) which is administered with an inhaler. In fact Flonase® inhalers are now available “over the counter” without a prescription at your local pharmacy so that you can buy them and begin treating yourself.  Is it safe to use Flonase® inhalers if you are at risk of high eye pressure and are you at even greater risk if you have ocular hypertension or already have glaucoma? According to the results of a clinical study, called the ICOUGH Study presented in the Journal of Glaucoma, there was no clinically significant increase in the average eye pressure in patients with well-controlled open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension after 6 weeks of twice-daily inhaled Flonase®. Thus, it is generally regarded as safe to use OTC inhalers of Flonase® without causing an increased risk of glaucoma.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma or needs to schedule an eye exam including glaucoma testing, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States with nearly half being unaware they have the disease. During January’s Glaucoma Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight. 

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides eye doctors an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people: 
·        over age 40;
·        who have a family history of glaucoma;
·        of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
·        who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
·        who are farsighted or nearsighted;
·        who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
·        whose corneas are thin in the center;
·        or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to managing this disease and preventing vision loss and blindness. If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam and glaucoma testing please call and schedule an appointment at call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Glaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle

As glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, we are often asked by glaucoma patients what diet, health and lifestyle factors can be helpful or harmful to their eye health. There is a need to separate fact from fiction on recommendations and yet we can all take away some useful and practical information about the effect of diet, health and lifestyle on glaucoma.

Exercise and Glaucoma
One of the typical findings in glaucoma is that patients have an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Results from a number of studies indicate that aerobic exercise is associated with IOP lowering and according to the findings the change is greater among sedentary individuals than those who were already active and is independent of exercise duration or intensity. So, even a little aerobic exercise has a positive impact on lowering IOP! For anyone who feels they cannot incorporate exercise into their lifestyle-any kind of movement, even walking, may be beneficial. But, the key is consistency, as you have to maintain your regimen because there is evidence that the effect of exercise on IOP does not continue when deconditioning occurs.

Diet and Glaucoma
There are many studies that suggest eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables-especially green leafy vegetables-is beneficial. This advice comes from studies showing that consumption of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or with a higher dietary nitrate intake (for which green leafy vegetables are an excellent source), seems to protect against glaucoma. In general there is no harm in increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables–EXCEPT for patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin® or warfarin, you need to be aware that green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and you should discuss any increase their green vegetable intake with your primary care doctor so that medication dosages can be adjusted if necessary.

Acupuncture and Glaucoma

Today, many patients express an interest in alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, for treating their glaucoma.  In general, according to the results of a well designed clinical study on acupuncture treatment for glaucoma in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, acupuncture is unlikely to be beneficial. 

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Diabetic Retinopathy & Neuropathy


We have known for quite some time that with both Type 1 & Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus are at high risk for developing diabetic retinopathy, which is the most common cause of irreversible blindness in adults. Vision loss occurs because of microvascular damage to the retina. People with diabetes are typically not aware that they are also at risk for developing retinal diabetic neuropathy, which is the loss of nerve cells in the retina. For many years, scientists believed patients developed retinopathy and, as a result of the damage to the blood vessels, later developed neuropathy. Doctors were focusing on early detection and treatment of retinopathy to prevent blindness, which they thought would then prevent the damage caused by neuropathy.

In a new study researchers discovered that the sequence of events occurring in the retina is just the opposite. Unfortunately we now know that the nerve damage actually does come first, before the vessel damage. Even people with diabetes who never get retinopathy can still develop this damage, and after many years, damage may be severe, similar to glaucoma. As part of the diabetic eye exam we provide for patients, we often perform a test called Optical Coherence Topography (OCT) that actually allows us to carefully examine the retinal nerve fiber health.

The best way to prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment with regular eye exams. If you or someone you know is diabetic and needs a diabetic eye exam, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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. 

Monday, November 6, 2017

What Do You See During Cataract Surgery?

We always like to take the time to carefully explain all of the things patients having cataract surgery and lens implants might experience during their visit to the surgery center and even during their cataract surgery procedure. In this way we are hopefully helping them relax and have an easy and comfortable experience as we correct their vision. For just about all of our patients having cataract surgery, they are awake and quite aware of what is going on in the operating room. Every once in a while a patient will be curious about what they will actually see during the cataract procedure since they are awake. As this can really vary greatly from patient to patient we were please to find the results of a study that can give patients some guidance of what they might experience.

Results
Patients having cataract surgery were asked to describe the quality of the visual experience as, pleasant, neutral or unpleasant. The group of 200 patients interviewed in the study included an almost even mix of men and woman around the age of 70 years old and as is to be expected, were a bit anxious before the surgery and were given an oral tablet to help them relax. They all reported seeing some gradation of colors including in descending order blue, red, pink, yellow, green, purple, turquoise, and orange with the most common color combination being red-blue light which was most likely from the operating microscope. Most-61% of the light and color experiences during surgery were reported to be pleasant, 38% were neutral and 1% found them transiently unpleasant. Overall the experience of light and colors seen during cataract surgery is mildly pleasant and in fact should reassure patients that the visual experience is actually somewhat calming and relaxing during surgery.

If you or some you know is concerned about having a cataract or needing cataract surgery and lens implants and worried about what they will see, please call please Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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. 

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Dry Eye during Breast Cancer Treatment


Did you know that certain types of breast cancer treatment medications can cause dry eye symptoms? The class of medications called “aromatase inhibitors” (AIs) has been studied and found to cause dry eyes. Fortunately, we also know that this is a newly emerging, and easily treated side effect of AIs. But we need to know that you are taking one of the AIs in order to offer help for your dry eyes. Some of the medications in this class include Arimidex, Aromasin and Femara-although there are many others. Researchers used a validated questionnaire to assess the presence of Dry Eye Syndrome (DES). They found that DES is significantly more prevalent in women on AIs compared with controls. They recommend routine screening of patients on AIs with the Ocular Surface disease Index (OSDI) questionnaire with the aim of improving patient quality of life and possibly adherence.

If you or someone you know is being treated for breast cancer with aromatase inhibitors (AIs) and suffers from dry eyes, grittiness or is generally experiencing eye problems of fatigue or dryness, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Shopping for Health Insurance & Deductibles



Obamacare was supposed to help patients become better healthcare consumers by allowing them to shop for high deductible health plans at lower cost. High deductible health plans are sold as a way for consumers to take greater control over managing their medical costs, but new research shows people on those plans are no better at price shopping for health care professionals or services than people on traditional insurance. The study surveyed more than 1,000 “high deductible" health insurance enrollees of which 71% believe out of pocket costs were important to consider when choosing a doctor. They compared this to 852 enrollees traditional of “low deductible” plans and they had the exact same perspective. The researchers also found that during their last use of medical care, the “high deductible” plan enrollees were no more likely than traditional plan enrollees to consider going to another professional for care or to compare out of pocket costs across health care professionals. They concluded that “having more skin in the game” makes no difference on how consumers shop for health care and insurance.

If you need help understanding your health insurance as it relates to any aspect of eye care service we provide please do not hesitate to ask us by calling Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit 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.