Bladeless LASIK & Laser Cataract Surgery at Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, July 25, 2016

Kid’s Sunglasses Help Avoid Solar Retinopathy

Sunglasses for Children Not Simply About Fashion
Making sure children wear UV protective sunglasses is important to help kids protect their eye health and vision as sun damage to the retina, called “solar retinopathy”, does affect BOTH children and adults according to researchers reporting in the Journal of the American Association for Pediatric Ophthalmology and Strabismus.

About Solar Retinopathy
Solar retinopathy is a condition where the retina becomes damaged as a result of bright light from the sun. The retina is made up of layers of light sensing cells that make vision possible. When they're over stimulated by sunlight, they release a flood of communication chemicals that can damage the retina. This damage is often painless, so people don't realize what they're doing to their vision. Solar retinopathy has been reported to occur from staring at the sun, regardless of its phase. Sometimes people high on drugs have stared at the sun for long periods of time causing serious damage and adherents of sun worshipping religious sects are also victims. BUT, children too can stare at the sun and painlessly lose their vision from solar retinopathy!

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about sunglasses for kids 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, July 17, 2016

Cataract Surgery Patient Satisfaction

Cataract surgery is beneficial in not only restoring poor vision, but in improving quality of life as well. As cataract surgeons we are also very pleased to report that cataract surgery has an extremely high level of overall patient satisfaction; not only in our practice, but also in national surveys collected by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) Institute for Quality Improvement. By 2030, 38 million Americans will suffer from cataracts, a number that will increase to 50 million by 2050, according to the National Eye Institute of the National Institutes of Health. According to the study, from the AAAHC Institute for Quality Improvement, 99.7% of patients would recommend the procedure to friends or relatives suffering from cataracts. 96% of patients reported that their vision was better post-surgery, and 98 percent said they were comfortable during the procedure and right after their surgery. What’s more, 96% returned to normal activities of daily living within one week of their cataract surgery procedure. “This is very typical of what we see at Baltimore Washington Eye Center and the data clearly show that patients find value in cataract surgery and are generally very pleased with the outcomes of the procedure,” said Arturo Betancourt, M.D.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, 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 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, July 10, 2016

Concussion Eye Test for Student Athletes


Eye Test for Concussion in Student Athletes
An eye test for concussions might be helpful for student athletes playing contact sports who are known to be at risk for head trauma. Up to 3.9 million sports related mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, occur annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but researchers say that number is likely higher since the CDC only tracks emergency room visits. Experiencing a concussion in a game increases an athlete’s risk for sustaining a second concussion in the same season threefold. Other complications include the dangerous second impact syndrome, or other short and long term side effects.


Research on Concussion and Eye Tests
Research from the NYU Langone Concussion Center shows that a simple eye test, which can be administered in less than two minutes, can effectively diagnose a concussion and help determine whether a student athlete as young as 5 years old should return to a game. A study published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology, was conducted on 89 NCAA athletes and a younger group of 243 athletes under age 17, and shows how the eye test, known as the King-Devick test, could help minimize the problems that make the diagnosis of concussion difficult in student athletes involved in youth sports. The researchers report that the test can easily be administered on the sidelines by parents and non-health care professionals when athletic trainers and doctors are not available to monitor sidelines at youth sports games.

About the King-Devick Test
As part of the King-Devick test, athletes read numbers off of three pieces of paper while being timed with a stopwatch. A worsened performance from a baseline reading suggests a concussion has occurred. Since concussions may cause devastating short and long term cognitive effects, tools like vision testing that can objectively diagnose a concussion are critical. Some sideline tests only measure cognition and balance, but visual testing is rarely performed, despite longstanding evidence that vision is commonly affected by concussion, according to a review article published in the Journal of Neuro-Ophthalmology. Previous research suggests about 50 percent of the brain’s pathways are tied to vision.

If you or someone you know plays youth sports and is concerned about the risk and evaluation of concussion, 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 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.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

About LASIK with Dr. Spagnolo

“Dr. Spagnolo, in my opinion, is one the best doctors I have ever experienced. You will find Dr. Spagnolo to be very cautious and informative, from the consultation to the actual surgery. I appreciate how he wants to be sure about doing the best for the patient. I am so thankful for such a pleasant experience. His staff is phenomenal. Thank you!

-John B.“

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.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Quality of Life after Cataract Surgery

When we think of the impact that cataracts have on people, it is pretty easy to identify that vision decline or loss comes mainly from the blurry cloudy vision that cataracts cause, but also the night vision problems from the glare and haloes associated with cataracts. What is much more important than the vision loss itself is the negative impact on a person’s quality of life. Recent research published in Acta Ophthalmologica studied the effect of patient quality before and after having cataract surgery. The researchers compared patients with no known cataracts of the same age, health and lifestyle to those who had cataracts before and after cataract surgery. When compared with the general population, cataract patients had much lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than those without cataracts as measured by five dimensions: seeing, moving, hearing, performing their usual activities, and general discomfort and symptoms. Then at 12 months after cataract surgery there was significant improvement in the quality of life index (HRQoL) across these same dimensions. While this seems obvious, it is a reminder that cataracts and vision loss affect more than just vision and a reason to avoid suffering if you feel that your vision might be impacting your quality of life.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, please call 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 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, June 20, 2016

Eye Problems from Medications

About Medications and Eye Problems
Did you know that a number of medications for various health problems can cause eye problems? If you get any new prescription filled you should be aware of whether it can have any eye or vision side effects by itself or in combination with other prescribed medications, other over the counter (OTC) meds, or even supplements you might purchase. Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. Here are some things to know about medications and your eyes.

Which Drugs Pose the Most Risk?
Some medications that stand out when it comes to causing eye and vision problems include: Corticosteroids-People take steroids for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, steroids can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and can potentially even lead to glaucoma and/or cataracts. Even an over the counter spray for allergies such as Flonase® comes with risks.

  • Antihistamines-They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients’ risk for glaucoma. Even over the counter antihistamines can be trouble for those who are at risk for some types of glaucoma.
  • Mental Health Medications-Medications such as Thorazine and Mellaril, used as antipsychotic treatments, can be toxic to your retina. A number of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Tofranil may put certain individuals at risk for angle closure glaucoma.
  • Anti-Malaria & Anti-Arthritic Medications-Medications such as Chloroquine, under the brand name Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria but also Lupus and some forms of arthritis can have toxic effects on the retina.
What to Watch For with New Medications
If you get a new prescription or even start a new OTC medication, be aware of anything that causes pain to the eyes, or distorted or blurred vision. If you do experience a problem, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. Don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice. They’ll want to assess whether the medication is the likely culprit-and sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels, too- especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes. A variety of medications have warnings that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them.

There are many other drugs that can have eye side effects and may increase your risk of complications if you need eye surgery. During your eye exam, be sure to ALWAYS tell us if you are taking ANY medications whether prescribed or purchased over the counter (OTC) as well as any supplements or vitamins you are taking. Also, if you or someone you know is taking any medication with known side effects as listed above, or is at risk for glaucoma or has diabetes, it is important to schedule a routine 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 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, June 13, 2016

Treatment of Lazy Eye or Amblyopia


Treatment of Amblyopia
The best results are always achieved if the treatment of amblyopia is started as early as possible. If necessary, children with refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can wear glasses or contact lenses when they are as young as one week old. Children with cataracts or other “amblyogenic” conditions need to be treated promptly in order to minimize the development of amblyopia. One of the most important treatments of amblyopia is correcting the refractive error with consistent use of glasses and/or contact lenses. Other mainstays of amblyopia treatment include cataract removal to provide as clear an image as possible for the lazy eye; as well as forcing the child to use the lazy eye by patching or by blurring the better seeing-eye with eye drops. Eye drops are used to “penalize” the good eye and force the use of the weaker or amblyopic eye. We may be able to use eye drops instead of patching when the amblyopia is not very bad or when a child is unable to wear the patch as recommended. For mild to moderate degrees of amblyopia, studies have shown that patching or eye drops may be just about equally effective. Generally, we start to see improvements in vision within weeks of treatment however for optimal results it will be necessary to continue treatment for many months.

In some cases, treatment for amblyopia isn’t successful and, while it is difficult to stop treatment, it is recommended when there hasn’t been any measured benefit after a certain period time. Children who have amblyopia in one eye and good vision only in their other eye can wear safety glasses and sports goggles to protect the normal eye from injury. As long as the good eye stays healthy, these kids can and do function normally in most aspects of their lives.


If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about the treatment of amblyopia 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 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.