Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Eyeglass News-Crizal and Scotchgard™ Protector

Ultimate Clarity-Crizal lenses with Scotchgard™ Protector not only reduce nighttime glare from headlights, taillights and street lights for safer driving, but they are also unsurpassed at fighting reflections from computers and overhead lights that cause eyestrain and fatigue. 

When light deflects off your lenses you lose about 8% to 9% of light. The Crizal anti-reflective coating allows light to reach the eyes and that reduces glare thus allowing you to see much clearer.  These lenses look better, have less glare and create fewer reflections.  With the addition of the Scotchgard™ Protector to this lens, you will spend less time cleaning your lenses, because the Crizal lenses with Scotchgard Protector reduces smudges and fingerprints.  Additionally the anti-static technology keeps dust and dirt from sticking to the lenses.  Finally Crizal lenses with Scotchgard™ Protector offers the most scratch resistance for your new lenses.
Guest Blogger: Larry A. Heilman, F.N.A.O. with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dry Eye Syndrome Help

Dry eye syndrome, which results from insufficient production of natural tears, is one of the most common ocular disorders treated by ophthalmologists. It affects millions of Americans each year, especially post-menopausal women. Tears play a vital role in the proper functioning of the eye. Comprised of mucus, water, and oil layers, tears deliver moisture and important nutrients to the cornea in order to maintain its health. When the tear duct does not produce enough lubricating tears, dry eye syndrome may develop. Dry eye syndrome may also develop as a result of excessively watery eyes that produce tears without the correct balance of mucus, water, and oil.

Symptoms of dry eye syndrome include:
·         Burning or stinging
·         Itching
·         Redness
·         Sensation of a foreign body being lodged in the eye,
                     similar to the feeling of having sand in the eye
·         Blurred vision that may improve with blinking
·         Excessively watery eyes
·         Increased irritation after reading, working on a computer,
                     or watching television

Several factors may contribute to the development of chronic dry eye syndrome:
  • Environment: Sunny, dry, and windy weather may produce dry eye symptoms by increasing the evaporation of tears. High altitudes, air conditioners, and heaters may also increase evaporation.
  • Excessive tear drainage: In addition to producing dry eye symptoms, excessive tear drainage may cause nose, throat, and sinus complications.
  • Contact lenses: Wearing contact lenses increases dryness of the eyes. Contact lens wearers may experience irritation, protein deposit on the lens, pain, sensitivity to contact lens solutions, and infection.
  • Aging: Natural tear production diminishes with age.
  • Medications: Certain medications can reduce natural tear production. Such medications include decongestants, oral contraceptives, diuretics, antihistamines, and tranquilizers.
  • Health Problems: Certain health conditions, including arthritis, diabetes, autoimmune disease, asthma, and thyroid abnormalities, can cause dry eye syndrome. Women going through menopause also have an increased risk of experiencing dry eye symptoms.
While there is currently no cure for dry eye syndrome, there are many treatment options that alleviate irritating symptoms and increase tear production. These treatments include:
  • Adding tears: Artificial tears and gels
  • Conserving tears: Placing temporary plugs in the tear drain in order to slow tear drainage
  • Omega-3 supplements
  • Humidifiers; draft avoidance; avoid smoke
  • Wearing special eye wear such as goggles or wrap-around glasses
  • Prescription eye drops
People who suffer from chronic dry eye should seek treatment from a qualified medical professional. If left untreated, this condition may damage the cornea, increase the threat of an infection, and eventually lead to the inability to produce natural tears. In the most acute cases, this condition can impair vision. Fortunately, dry eye syndrome can be successfully treated. At our comprehensive ophthalmology practice, conveniently located near Baltimore and Washington D.C., we offer several different treatment options for dry eye syndrome. Our staff would be pleased to answer any questions you might have about available treatment options for dry eye.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Eyestrain and Vision Solutions for Work

Work is hard enough without additional strain on your eyes.  Yet your office is the very place where you’re most likely to suffer from eyestrain. It’s tough on your eyes to constantly shift focus between your desk, your computer screen, and your office surroundings.  Your eyes need help to see clearly and comfortably all day and every day.  Computer lenses for the office give you the best vision for your daily tasks and the most comfort for seeing at your workplace.  There are computer lenses that will help you see clearly up to 10 feet or more, so your eyes will stay comfortable through a long day at the office.  There are computer lenses that will give you clear vision up to 7 feet.  You will be able to see your computer, keyboard, monitor, and intermediate surroundings with ease.  All computer lenses give you an extra wide range of vision for the most comfort for your workplace. 

Guest Blogger:
Larry A. Heilman, F.N.A.O. with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Glasses after Cataract Surgery?

Many of our patients thinking about Cataract Surgery at Baltimore Washington Eye Center ask us “Will I need to wear eyeglasses after Cataract Surgery?” Here is what you should know. First, there are two primary goals of Cataract Surgery. The first goal is to remove the cloudy crystalline lens. The crystalline lens is actually an optical component of the eye that provides focusing power. The second goal of Cataract Surgery is to replace the optical and focusing power that was provided by crystalline lens. This is accomplished by implanting an intraocular lens (IOL) to provide the correct amount of focusing power to allow you to see clearly.

If you wore glasses because you were nearsighted, farsighted or had astigmatism before you developed a Cataract, it is possible for Dr. Betancourt or Spagnolo to implant a special IOL that can correct astigmatism so that you may not need to wear eyeglasses to see at distance after your surgery. Today, it is even possible for us to select IOLs that can correct both distance and near vision so that you can decrease, or even eliminate, your dependence on bifocals and reading glasses after Cataract Surgery.

If you think you have a Cataract or have been told you have a Cataract and would like to be less dependent on please feel free to phone Baltimore Washington Eye Center Toll Free at 800-495-3937 to schedule an appointment to learn more about Cataracts, Cataract Surgery and Lens Implants.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Eye Allergies and Itching

Up to 50 million Americans suffer from allergies, with allergic reactions involving the eyes being a common complaint. An allergic reaction that affects the conjunctiva, which is the clear layer of skin overlying the eyes, is commonly referred to as allergic conjunctivitis.

Allergic, or “hay fever”, conjunctivitis is most commonly seen in areas with high seasonal allergies. The most common types are seasonal allergic conjunctivitis (SAC) and perennial allergic conjunctivitis (PAC). SAC and PAC are triggered when a person is exposed to an allergen, most often one that is airborne. In other words, if you are allergic to a particular substance and then come into contact with it, you experience an allergic reaction, i.e. itching, sneezing.

Symptoms develop rapidly after exposure to the allergen and include itching, tearing, burning, red eyes, mucus discharge, and eyelid swelling. The conjunctiva is the same type of skin that lines the inside of the nose. Therefore, the same allergens can cause the same allergic reaction in both the eyes and the nose.  The most common allergens are: pollen (grass, trees, weeds), dust, molds, and pet dander.

The symptoms of SAC and PAC are similar. The major difference is when the symptoms occur:
  • SAC symptoms occur in the spring and summer (grass/trees), or fall (weeds). The attacks are usually short-lived and absent during other times of the year.
  • PAC symptoms can occur year-round and are typically caused by dust and/or pet dander.      Allergens like pollens may also worsen your symptoms during certain times of the year.
The most effective “treatment” of allergies is avoidance of the allergen(s). If you can identify and avoid the particular agent(s) that you are allergic to, your symptoms will improve significantly. You can further improve your condition if you do some or all of the following: reduce the allergen load by minimizing clutter where allergens can collect; limit pillows, bedding, draperies, and dust ruffles;  minimize carpeting that can harbor dust mites; clean regularly and thoroughly to remove dust and mold. Additionally, the use of barriers and filters like pillow covers and furnace/air conditioner allergen filters can reduce symptoms. Lastly, you should keep windows and doors closed during your allergy season(s) and avoid pet dander as well.

Of course avoidance of the allergen(s) is not always easy or possible. If symptoms do develop, you can try any of the following therapies either alone or in combination. Apply cold compresses, use artificial tears/lubricating eye drops to flush out allergens that get into your eyes, and use over-the-counter medications, such as allergy eye drops and oral antihistamines, as directed for mild allergies. Beyond these self-help measures, many prescription eye drops are also available to help reduce allergies. Also, to help identify those substances that you are most allergic to, skin testing by an allergist may be helpful.

For mild cases of PAC and SAC, annual follow-up visits with an ophthalmologist may be appropriate. For more severe cases or for intermittent worsening of normally mild disease, more frequent visits with an ophthalmologist may be needed.

Guest Blogger:  Brad V. Spagnolo, M.D. with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Can UV Light Cause Wrinkles?

Normal aging causes the loss of facial volume, especially loss of soft tissue components like collagen and hyaluronic acid. When this occurs, the skin starts to sag and this creates a tired and aged look that shows more wrinkles. Sun/UV light exposure causes DNA damage to skin cells and this can also lead to the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, in addition to potentially cancerous skin lesions. 

Wrinkles may be grouped into two types: dynamic wrinkles and static wrinkles.
Dynamic wrinkles are formed when muscles contract and are best treated with neurotoxins like BOTOX® Cosmetic and Dysport® that minimize the muscle movement and thereby decrease the wrinkles. Static wrinkles, on the other hand, are lines or depressions that exist even when there is no muscle action or pull on the skin. These are deep facial grooves that are present even when the face is relaxed and they include the nasolabial folds (the lines around the mouth/nose or “parentheses”) and marionette lines (the lines just below the lip corners). Static wrinkles are best treated with injectables that plump up and fill out the problem lines, known medically as dermal fillers. Injectables include products such as Restylane®, JuvédermXC®, and Radiesse®. 

Guest Blogger:
D. Chimene Richa, M.D.
Oculofacial Surgeon with Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Are you a Good LASIK Candidate?

Being free of the hassle of eyeglasses or contact lenses for seeing at distance motivates millions of people-just like you-to consider LASIK. Thoughts of being able wake up and see the alarm clock clearly- and just get up and go, have great appeal for anyone dependent on glasses or contacts. The freedom to take on each day's activities, unencumbered, has changed the lives of many.


“LASIK is not for everyone and so we want to be sure we carefully review who is potentially a good LASIK candidate,” said Baltimore Washington Eye Center Cornea Specialist and LASIK Surgeon Brad Spagnolo, M.D. Here are some things to think about to help you determine if you are a good candidate for LASIK.
Ø    The great majority of patients who are nearsighted, farsighted or have astigmatism are potential candidates for LASIK.
Ø    Good LASIK candidates are at least 18 years of age or older and have stable vision. This means that their eyeglass or contact lens prescription has not changed much in the last year or so. Many people do not have "stable" vision until 21 years of age, however, so each person is a bit different.
Ø    Good LASIK candidates have healthy eyes that are free from retinal problems, corneal scars, and any other eye diseases. They have normal corneal shapes and thickness as well as healthy tears.
Ø    The best LASIK candidates are those with a lifestyle, activities or occupation in which they are dissatisfied with their contact lenses or glasses.
The best way for you or someone you know to find out if they are a good candidate for LASIK is to have an evaluation, examination, and consultation with Dr. Spagnolo. Please feel free to phone Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 410-761-8258 to schedule an appointment.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Nice Mix of LASIK Patients Today

Another enjoyable morning of performing laser vision correction for a group of nice people. Like our cataract surgery days,  the mix of men and women was equal today. However, unlike most of our cataract patients, our laser vision patients today spanned a number of decades from the late 20's to the early 60's. Couple of folks had higher amounts of astigmatism to treat. Several had significant farsightedness or hyperopia that we were able to correct with the excimer laser. Unlike many days, I don't think anyone was particularly nervous about having the procedure today. They were all great patients and everyone did a great job. The staff was fantastic as per usual.  I am especially looking forward to seeing the nice gentleman who is 62 and has been wearing glasses constantly for both near and far sight for many years.  Will check on how each of them are doing later this afternoon and will see them all in the morning.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Polarized Eyeglass Lenses for Glare

Polarized light is from 7 to 10 times brighter than ambient light and represents as much as 65 percent of light seen.  Virtually any surface can be a source of glare, including water, sand, wet or dry pavement, buildings, windshields, ice and snow. Polarized lenses are designed to substantially reduce reflective glare by selectively absorbing the light waves traveling in all directions except the vertical plane. Polarized lenses are available in most lens designs and in a variety of fashion and functional colors. Polarized sun lenses will protect your eyes and give you the best vision in the sun, while driving or doing any outdoor activity.

Guest Blogger: Chris Spake, Baltimore Washington Eye Center Optical Department

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ultraviolet (UV) Eye Protection Awareness Month

Baltimore Washington Eye Center wishes to announce that Prevent Blindness America has designated May as National Ultraviolet Eye Awareness Month. “Most people know the harmful effects that ultraviolet (UV) rays can have on the skin. But many are not aware of the damage that they can cause to the eyes,” said Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “Possibly the most frightening aspect of UV damage is that it is cumulative, meaning the negative effects may not present themselves until years later.”


Today almost everyone is aware of the potential damage that sunlight and ultraviolet (UV) radiation can cause to their skin, most do not know or appreciate that ultraviolet light (UV) can also cause significant damage to eye health and vision.
“Most of us wouldn’t dream of staying outside in the sun without putting on sunscreen lotion,” said Arturo Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “But we also need to remember to wear both UV-blocking lenses and a brimmed hat to protect our eyes as well.”
Patients are fortunate to have wide range of UV protecting eyeglass lenses available to choose from. Eye protection from UV needs to be complete but doesn’t have to be overly expensive. High quality sunglasses should block out 99-100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation. It is also important to have UV protection in everyday eyewear, which is readily available with a number of UV blocking eyeglass lens materials, specialized coatings and photochromic lenses.

“We know that extended exposure to UV has been linked to many eye problems, conditions and in some cases thought to quicken the onset of eye diseases such as Cataract, Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD), certain cancers on the delicate skin around the eye, Pterygia-a growth of white tissue on the surface of the eye-and even Photokeratitis, a type of sunburn of the cornea,” said Dr. Spagnolo.
When you visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center please ask us any questions you might have about UV protection, eye disease and the best way to protect your eyes with the proper eyewear and lens choices. Please feel free to call Baltimore Washington Eye Center Toll Free at 800.495.3937 to help answer questions or schedule an appointment.