Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Meet Asifa Shafi, O.D., M.S

Dr. Asifa Shafi is an Optometrist who joined Baltimore Washington Eye Center in March 2012 and is excited to be a part of the Baltimore Washington Eye Center family. A native New Yorker, Dr. Shafi completed her undergraduate degree with honors at Stony Brook University. She earned her Doctorate of Optometry at State University of New York (SUNY)- College of Optometry in 2005.  She then completed her residency in Hospital Care Medicine at the Baltimore and Perrypoint Veteran’s Administration Medical Centers in 2006.  She holds a Masters Degree in Vision Science which she obtained from the State University of New York College of Optometry and completed in 2010.  She worked with William H. Swanson Ph.D. and Mitchell Dul O.D., M.S. in extensive research on structural and functional correlations in glaucoma.  She has a published paper in the journal of Optometry and Vision Science in January of 2011.  She is currently pursuing becoming a fellow of the American Academy of Optometry.

Dr. Shafi loves to examine patients of all ages from 0 to 100.  She has significant knowledge in pediatric eye care, contact lenses, diabetic eye care, glaucoma management, eye disease, and general eye health.  She has worked extensively with autistic children and adults with disabilities.  She is of Pakistani decent and speaks Urdu. She enjoys watching Ravens game on Sundays and you might see Dr. Shafi at many of the Farmer’s Markets in the Baltimore area.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Best Eyeglasses in Baltimore-A Unique Approach for You

If you want the best eyeglasses and fitting consider visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center and learning about the Essilor Visioffice®. The Essilor Visioffice® is a complete dispensing measuring system tool that provides eye doctors and other eye care professionals with all possible parameters needed for properly fitting spectacle lenses. Essilor Visioffice® is the newest and most precise instrument for the proper fitting of prescription eyewear. It provides individualized fitting measurements that are unique to each patient that allow for better optical performance of your new glasses and ensures that your new prescription glasses have optics that are perfectly aligned to your individual needs.

This universal measuring system is designed to take patients through a personalized dispensing process in a highly accurate and user friendly way. Essilor’s Visioffice® is a great help with frame selection and assists with explaining lens features and benefits as well as eye conditions. The personalized patient education modules highlight benefits of products and technology, which is valuable in helping patients to receive advice from even their family and friends prior to purchase. With the new email feature streaming video, patients will be able to view themselves at various angles to help them in their frame selection process. This process is very helpful feature for patients with high prescriptions as it relates to their choice of material and the thickness of their lenses. We are excited about the possibility of providing this technology to our patients in the near future. If you have any questions or would like to learn more about the Essilor Visioffice® please contact the optical department at Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937 or visit www.bweyecenter.com or schedule an appointment at www.facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Cataract Surgery & Diabetes in Baltimore

Baltimore Cataract Surgeon Brad Spagnolo, M.D. commented on cataract surgery for patients who have diabetes. “At Baltimore Washington Eye Center cataract surgery can be successfully performed for patients with diabetes.  This is pretty important because diabetes is a known risk factor for developing cataracts,” stressed Dr. Spagnolo. “Diabetic patients are also at risk for developing diabetic retinopathy-a serious threat to vision and a leading cause of new blindness,” he also emphasized. Researchers believe that the abnormal carbohydrate and sugar metabolism that is the hallmark of diabetes causes the sugars and metabolic byproducts to damage the crystalline lens of the eye and form a cataract. “Thus, it is not uncommon for diabetic patients to need cataract surgery often at an earlier age than others who are not diabetic. Fortunately, while diabetes is known to cause difficulty with wound healing, the type of small incision cataract surgery we perform today really poses no additional risk to diabetic patients than non diabetic patients,” Dr. Spagnolo was quick to point out. It is important that diabetics considering cataract surgery have a careful evaluation of the retina-especially the macula-using ocular coherence tomography (OCT) to identify the presence of diabetic macular edema (DME), a known finding in diabetic retinopathy that can cause less then optimal results after cataract surgery. In addition, in certain situations cataract surgeons take an added precaution of placing an injection of VEGF inhibitor such as Avastin™ or Lucentis™ into the vitreous of the eye to prevent new blood vessel growth. Other than these considerations diabetic cataract surgery can offer patients good results. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key to preserving eye health and vision with diabetes. See your eye doctor regularly as he or she requests.

If you or someone you know has questions about Diabetes and Cataract Surgery please feel free to call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Technician Certification-COA, COT, COMT & NCLE

The eye doctors and staff of Baltimore Washington Eye Center are thrilled to extend our congratulations to Meredith on becoming a Certified Ophthalmic Assistant. Meredith joins a long and ever growing list of past and current employees to achieve certification as an Ophthalmic Assistant or Ophthalmic Technician through the Joint Commission on Allied Health Personnel in Ophthalmology (JCAHPO). When we hire new employees we strive to hire those with the highest levels of achievement and certification. For our current employees, we encourage them through training and mentorship to study for and pass the certification exams. Many, like Meredith, have put in the time and effort required to accomplish this goal. Baltimore Washington Eye Center values the depth and breadth of skill and knowledge acquired through the certification process as we believe it enhances the care we provide to our patients.

Certified Ophthalmic Assistant or COA is an initial level of certification. Applicants must pass a home study course and a written examination. Obtaining your COA requires at least 6 months of study and experience and provides basic training in all the skills required to do a comprehensive patient work up. Certified Ophthalmic Technician or COT is a higher level certification that requires at least a year of study and training. COTs perform many of the same functions as a COA but with more in depth knowledge and greater degree of experience. Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist or COMT is the highest certification offered. It requires at least two years of intense study. COMTs perform at a higher level that COTs and have experience with specialized technologies like retinal photography and ultrasound. They also have experience in training and supervising other technicians. Here is a summary of the certifications currently held by members of our staff.

Cece:  COT, NCLE (Contact Lens Certification) & Working toward COMT
Lorie:  NCLE
Amber:  COA & Working toward COT
Jen H: COA & Working toward COT
Jen G: COA & Working toward COT
Aunika: COT & COMT
Margaret: COA & Working toward COT

Collectively these women bring more than 65 years of experience to our practice.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area that staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Guest Blogger: Shari E. Strier, O.D. with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Friday, May 18, 2012

Eyes & Being Pregnant in Baltimore

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. asks, “What does being pregnant have to with your eyes? Sometimes quite a bit!” During pregnancy your body undergoes fluctuations in hormone levels, changes in fluid retention and even an increase in your overall blood volume. These types of changes can result in your eyes changing in various ways. Fortunately eye changes due to pregnancy are usually temporary and resolve after the baby is born or after the cessation of breast feeding. Typically vision changes are minor and don’t require a change in eyeglasses, however there are some eye changes that do require care and attention. 

If you were thinking about having LASIK you should delay your actual LASIK Surgery procedure until at least three months after your delivery or three months after you stop nursing. This is necessary because the thickness of your cornea may fluctuate during pregnancy and will reduce the accuracy of the LASIK correction. Also, hormonal fluctuations are often the cause of dry eye. This can make you uncomfortable by itself and can certainly make wearing your contact lenses more difficult. If you experience dry eyes during pregnancy be sure to consult your eye care provider so that “pregnancy-safe” lubricating eye drops or other alternative treatments for dry eye can be prescribed. Sometimes simply eating foods high in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon, flax seeds and walnuts, may help resolve dry eye and also supports general good health.

On a more serious note, if your vision becomes noticeably blurry, it may signal high blood pressure or pregnancy-related diabetes. If you experience dry eyes, changes in vision or especially very blurred vision during pregnancy it is important to schedule an appointment to see us at Baltimore Washington Eye Center-800-495-3937.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area that staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser eye surgery for vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Eye Exam Refraction in Baltimore: What is It?

When you have a complete eye exam at Baltimore Washington Eye Center it will include refraction. What is refraction? This is a question we hear often from our patients. Often the explanation goes something like this “You know... that test they do when they ask you ‘better 1 or 2?” Not really much of a answer is it.

So, what really is refraction and why is it done during the course of a complete eye exam? Refraction is the series of tests done by the eye doctor and his or her staff that determines the power of the lenses needed to give you the best possible vision. The first step in this process is to get an objective measure of how your eyes focus light naturally. This measurement is done either manually with retinoscopy or by using an auto refractor. This test lets us know if your eye effectively focuses a distant image or if lenses are needed to bring the image into focus. Once we have this estimate of the lens power that helps your eye to focus light we put that information in an instrument called a phoroptor. The phoropter is like the largest pair of eyeglasses you’ve ever seen and contains an enormous number of lenses to help correct a wide range of vision problems. Since your eye doctor’s goal is to determine how to design glasses that will give you clear comfortable vision, your preferences are used to refine this baseline estimate of your prescription. By showing you two different lens powers and asking you to compare “which is better” the doctor can hone in on a prescription that helps the eye to focus as well as providing you with clarity and ease of wear.

However, determining a patient’s glasses prescription is not the only reason refraction may be done. As cataracts--cloudiness in the natural lens of the eye-develop they can affect the way the eye focuses light often changing the patient’s refraction. As cataracts mature they may significantly decrease a person’s best corrected vision. If refraction is done and the doctor determines that even with the most appropriate set of lenses the vision is still decreased he may recommend cataract surgery as the best way of improving vision. Sudden changes in a patient’s refraction may indicate a problem with systemic health such as undiagnosed diabetes. Even small amounts of refractive error which may not create significant blur can be uncovered during refraction and help to determine a prescription that can reduce eye strain at the computer or allow a child to read longer and with greater ease.

Refraction is a tool used by your doctor to give you the best possible vision as well as assess the status of your ocular health and is a vital part of a complete eye exam.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area that staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Catonsville, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton, Olney, Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Guest Blogger: Shari E. Strier, O.D. with the Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Baltimore Eye Doctor on Makeup & Health

“At Baltimore Washington Eye Center we try to impress upon patients the importance of the proper use and care of eye makeup as this helps to keep your eyes both healthy and beautiful,” commented Baltimore Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. There are a number of steps and precautions to think about.
1.  First, throw away eye makeup after three months. Infection-causing bacteria grow easily in creamy or liquid eye makeup. If you develop an eye infection, immediately toss all of your eye makeup.
2.  Second, never share eye makeup, and when sampling makeup in stores use only fresh applicators and samples that have not been contaminated by multiple users. In fact the safest choice is to avoid using store samples at all.
3.  Third, if you tend to be allergic, introduce only one new eye makeup or care product at a time. If there is no reaction, add another new product, and so on. If you notice an allergic reaction, find out what the ingredients are and let your eye doctor know. Avoid products that contain untested or harmful chemicals.
4.   In general, before applying makeup, be sure your face and eyelids are very clean. Always apply makeup outside the lash line, away from the eye, to avoid blocking the oil glands of the upper or lower eyelid. These glands secrete oil that protects the eye’s surface.
5.  If you tend to have dry eyes, avoid metallic/glitter, powder or other makeup that flakes. Flakes can get into the tear film and increase your eyes’ irritation. Glitter eye makeup is a common cause of corneal irritation or infection, especially in contact lens users.
6.  Always remove all eye makeup at night before sleeping, especially mascara that can stick to the lashes. Brush a clean cotton swab along the base of the eyelashes to remove all makeup remnants. If you use eye makeup remover, avoid getting it in your eyes and thoroughly rinse remover off your eyelids.

If at any time you have eye surgery, do not wear makeup around the eye until your eye surgeon tells you it is safe to do so, and then use only fresh, new makeup.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area that staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), laser vision correction such as LASIK, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear  and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Baltimore Eye Doctor on Herpes Simplex Infections

Baltimore eye doctor and corneal specialist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. comments on Herpes Simplex eye infections. “Herpes Simplex eye infections affect many more people each year than one might think. Ocular Herpes or Herpes of the eye is caused by the Herpes Simplex virus and is the most common causes of corneal blindness in the United States today,” said Dr. Spagnolo of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “Up to 50% of people who have a single Herpes Simplex viral infection of the eye will experience a flare up or recurrence. The virus often leads to irreversible scarring of the cornea,” noted Dr. Spagnolo.

Ocular Herpes may start as a painful sore on the eyelid or surface of the eye. If left untreated, it may multiply and begin to destroy epithelial cells and progress deeper into the Cornea. If the Ocular Herpes penetrates the deeper layers of the Cornea and causes a Stromal Keratitis it may cause corneal scarring-so prompt diagnosis and treatment of Ocular Herpes is important.

It is estimated that 400,000 people in the United States have had some type of Ocular Herpes, with more than 50,000 initial and recurring cases being diagnosed each year. Of these, it is believed that 25% are the more severe form of Herpes Stromal Keratitis. The recurrence of Herpes Simplex eye infections is significant in that it appears to recur in about 10% of patients with one year, 23% of patients within two years and 63% of patients within 20 years of their initial infection. Sometimes a recurrence can be prompted by sunlight, stress, fevers or an unrelated eye injury. Quick diagnosis and treatment is the key to avoiding corneal scarring, vision loss and the possible need for a corneal transplant.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area that staffed by a team of Ophthalmologists, Optometrists, Opticians, technical and administrative staff who provide eye examinations for adults and children, care for cataracts including cataract surgery and intraocular lens implants (IOL), LASIK Eye Surgery for vision correction, diagnosis and treatment of cornea disease, care for diseases of the retina including diabetes and age related macular degeneration (AMD) and diagnosis and treatment of glaucoma as well as contact lenses, eyeglasses, eyewear and optical services. Baltimore Washington Eye Center is conveniently located for patients from Arbutus, Carney, Clarksville, Columbia, Dundalk, Edgemere, Essex, Ellicott City, Ferndale, Glen Burnie, Kenwood, Laurel, Linthicum, Lutherville, Millersville, Odenton Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Towson, Parkville, Randallstown, Rivera Beach, Pasadena, Severna Park, South Gate and Woodlawn Maryland.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any signs or symptoms of Corneal infection-especially if they have had any trauma to their eyes-please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center-800-495-3937 and request an immediate appointment.