Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, December 16, 2013

Baltimore Ophthalmologist on Eyes, Colonoscopy & Colon Cancer

Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center asked “What could having a colonoscopy for colon cancer risk possibly have to do with your eyes?” As it turns out-plenty! The retinal pigmented epithelium (RPE) is a layer of the retina which can sometimes be thicker than normal at birth-or “hypertrophic”. “During regular eye exams when we find these areas of retinal pigmented epithelial hypertrophy typically they do not cause any vision problems or symptoms and are pretty unremarkable,” commented Dr. Spagnolo.

Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy (CHRPE) is usually found before patients reach 30 years of age and although they may enlarge with time they usually do not lead to malignancies like colon cancer. However, there is an association between people with Gardner's Syndrome-Familial Colonic Polyposes-or polyps of the colon, and CHRPE. If your eye doctor has told you that you have Congenital Retinal Pigment Epithelial Hypertrophy-perhaps called “Bear Tracks” or “Pigment Spots” or “Retina Freckles”, it is important to carefully explore and review your family history reasonable with a Gastroenterologist who will likely schedule you for a colonoscopy. CHRPE has a “statistically significant” correlation with hereditary colon polyps known as Familial Adenomatous Polyposis, or FAP. It may be that the freckles are caused by the same genetic mutation that produces the polyps. A study published in 2010 in the American Journal of Gastroenterology concluded that patients with such freckles should be referred for colonoscopies.

Thus-when we are over 50 years of age, the reasons to have yearly eye exams includes not only detecting cataracts, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration (AMD) and other eye diseases, but regular eye examinations may very well be a reminder to be screened via colonoscopy to help detect early risks and potential indicators of colon cancer. You are encouraged to schedule an eye examination at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can recommend an appropriate eye exam plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Macular Degeneration Progression Risk Predictors

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist & Medical Director Arturo Betancourt, M.D. shared current research on predictive factors of age related macular degeneration (AMD) risk of progression. “Recent research reported in the journal Ophthalmology evaluated the factors of age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status, genetic variations, pre-existing retinal disease and drusen size to establish an algorithm for predicting the risk of patients in progressing to the move visually disabling advanced age related macular degeneration,” stated Dr. Betancourt. “What we now know for sure is that the increased risk of progression is correlated with age, lower educational level, being a current or former smoker and having a higher body mass index (BMI) than those who did not progress. This is helpful in how we counsel, evaluate and follow patients at risk for macular degeneration.”

If you are over 50 years old or even earlier if you have a family history of AMD or any of the risk factors mentioned, you should please schedule an appointment by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Multifocal Lens Implants for a Marvelous Morning

I had cataract surgery this past May, performed by Dr. Spagnolo.  I was a bit apprehensive about the surgery, but Dr. Spagnolo and the entire staff made me feel at ease.  I elected to get the multi-focal lenses so that I would not have to wear glasses.  The surgery was painless and was over quickly.  I had worn glasses or contact lenses for over 57 years prior to my surgery.  The first morning after surgery, I rolled over in the morning and was able to read the time on the clock without the aid of glasses for the first time in a lot of years.  What a wonderful feeling!  Thank you, Dr. Spagnolo.  I would highly recommend Dr. Spagnolo and BWEye Center (and have) to anyone.

Guest Blogger: Rose Leatherwood

If you or someone you know has cataracts or is considering cataract surgery and lens implants please feel free to learn more by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Night Driving Problems & Cataracts

Baltimore Cataract Surgeon & Corneal Specialist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. offered some thoughts about night driving and cataracts. “Patients constantly tell me that one of the most troubling things about their vision with cataracts is how disturbing they can be while driving at night,” said Dr. Spagnolo of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “Driving at night is already difficult enough as reduced lighting can cause you to misjudge distances and boundaries like the edge of the road as well as simply causing an overall dimming of your vision,” Dr. Spagnolo further explained. “So, if you are becoming fearful of night driving with a cataract and you have been told that you have the beginning of a cataract it might well be time to consider whether cataract surgery might be a good option to help you regain your night driving comfort level,” Dr. Spagnolo recommended.

If you or someone you know feels they have night driving problems that might be related to cataracts or has a question about cataracts, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to schedule an eye exam by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Macular Degeneration Treatment Results

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist & Medical Director Arturo Betancourt, M.D. commented on age related macular degeneration (AMD) treatment results and predictive factors for best success and outcome with Lucentis® injections. “Looking at the data from the long term clinical trials has shown that there can be considerable variability in patient responses to the Lucentis® injections we use to treat age related macular degeneration,” said Dr. Betancourt. “The good news is that this information has been quite useful in establishing a number of diagnostic and treatment parameters that we use to optimize treatment and monitoring regimens to help patients get the best possible results,” Dr. Betancourt explained.

Here are some important factors and considerations that we know today:
·         The initial visual acuity is not a good indicator for patients treated with monthly injections of Lucentis®. But, a poorer initial visual acuity seems to predict greater overall improvement.
·         Smaller areas of blood vessel growth seem to respond better to treatment.
·         If treatment begins BEFORE any hemorrhage has occurred there is usually a more favorable result.
·         The visual acuity found between the 3 and 5 month visit seems to predict about where the 12 month visit acuity will end up.
·         If there is a recurrence of subretinal fluid there is usually a negative effect on the long term visual recovery and functioning.

While there can be no guarantees, by using this information we can work to hopefully avoid the catastrophic vision loss from Wet Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD).  YOUR role is to be consistent in scheduling routine eye exams if you are over 50 years old or even earlier if you have a family history of AMD-and should you notice symptoms including distortion of your vision, waviness or curving of lines or straight surfaces or a sudden change or spots of any kind, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937 for an immediate appointment. The key to maintaining eye health and vision is early detection, diagnosis and treatment.

If you or someone you know has a family history of macular degeneration or is concerned about macular degeneration it is important to schedule regular eye exams by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Diabetic Eye Exams with Baltimore Doctors

“Regular eye exams are the best way to help prevent vision loss from diabetic retinopathy,” said Baltimore Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “The eye examinations for diabetic retinopathy need to be thorough and when necessary include advanced testing such as retinal photography, fluorescein angiography and ocular coherence tomography in order to really document how the retina and it’s blood vessels are functioning,” Dr. Spagnolo further explained. “Depending on the severity and the risk of progression of each patient’s diabetic retinopathy we will advise them of the frequency and intervals for their exams. But, patients with diabetes need to know that it is terribly important to keep their appointments.”

Vision loss from diabetes and especially catastrophic vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented with early detection, diagnosis and treatment. If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Diabetic Eye Disease & Problems

Arturo Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director & Ophthalmologist at Baltimore Washington Eye Center reviewed information about diabetic eye disease and diabetic eye problems as Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month. “What we know from the most recent Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. report is that diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age. According to the Centers for Disease Control, diabetes affects 25.8 million people in the United States. Although there is no cure for diabetic eye disease, annual eye exams for diabetes patients are essential to help slow the progression of the disease,” said Dr. Betancourt.
The Prevent Blindness America Vision Problems in the U.S. identified that there are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. This represents an 89 percent increase between the years 2000-2012. “While it is not surprising that the incidence of some eye diseases and problems is increasing with the aging of the baby boomer population, it is terribly disturbing to see the dramatic spike in diabetic retinopathy cases, a consequence of the diabetes epidemic that this country is experiencing with no end in sight,” Dr. Betancourt explained.
The vision loss from diabetic retinopathy can be prevented if it's caught early and treated in time. More than one third of those diagnosed with diabetes do not adhere to vision care guidelines recommending a dilated eye exam every year. As part of Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month we are urging people with diabetes to have a dilated eye exam every year. The longer a person has diabetes, the greater his or her risk for developing diabetic retinopathy. However, diabetic retinopathy does not only affect people who have had diabetes for many years, it can also appear within the first year or two after the onset of the disease.

“Blood sugar levels can weaken blood vessels causing them to break down which causes swelling, hemorrhages and lipid deposits that can ultimately lead to vision loss. More ominous is the effect of the blood vessel breakdown and oxygen deprivation in promoting fragile new blood vessel growth that can easily break resulting in vitreous hemorrhage, retinal detachment and catastrophic vision loss,” further explained Dr. Betancourt.

In addition to having regular eye examinations and testing at the direction of your eye doctor, patients can help to reduce the risk of developing diabetic eye disease  by not smoking, controlling their cholesterol and lipid profile and blood pressure, as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables and exercising. 

If you or someone you know has diabetes or even elevated blood sugar levels they should work to prevent diabetic eye disease and problems with regular eye exams by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Baltimore Contact Len Specialist on Self Esteem for Teens

“Teens and tweens are often quite challenged during adolescence by the “Trifecta of Awkwardness-braces, acnes and glasses!” commented Baltimore Washington Eye Center Contact Lens Specialist Dr. Shari Strier. Contact lenses can play an important role in helping adolescents-especially teenagers-with some difficult times for their self esteem and self image. “I know all too well from my own kids, the peer pressure and insecurity created by concerns about appearance at these ages,” Dr. Strier stated. 

Not being able to play sports or worrying about how they look can leave many teens feeling anxious, stressed out and unhappy. “We love fitting children in this age group with contact lenses because we routinely see that teens who wear contact lenses benefit beyond simply correcting their vision. They typically improve in how they feel about their physical appearance, their acceptance among friends and of course their ability to play sports,” further explained Dr. Strier. 

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about contact lenses or schedule an appointment for a contact lens fitting please contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Contact Lenses, Halloween & Your Eyes


Baltimore Optometrist & Contact Lens Specialist, Dr. Asifa Shafi provided some words of caution about contact lenses, Halloween and your eyes. “Halloween, decorative contact lenses and your eyes may not be a great combination,” stated Dr. Shafi of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “About this time each year we see the result of the Halloween participants who wish to turn their eyes from blue to some far out appearance or ghoulish look by using over-the-counter, decorative contact lenses. While this can be a good source of Halloween fun, it can also lead to serious vision-threatening problems,” explained Dr. Shafi.

According to the Food and Drug Administration, all contact lenses are regulated medical devices that require a prescription and proper fitting by an eye-care professional. Even someone with perfect vision would still require an eye exam and a prescription in order to wear any kind of contacts, including cosmetic lenses. Some websites advertise decorative contacts as if they were fashion accessories or toys with fanciful, playful packaging in order to attract teens and young adults, especially girls. The problem is not that people use decorative, noncorrective lenses-sometimes called Plano-or zero-powered lenses, but that they buy the devices without a prescription through unlicensed vendors on the Internet or at flea markets and specialty shops.

The buyer of these over-the-counter contact lenses faces a huge risk including scratched corneas, pink eye and more serious types of blinding infection as a result of a corneal ulcer

In 2005, a federal law was passed that classified all contact lenses as medical devices and restricted their distribution to licensed eye-care professionals. Illegal sale of contacts can result in civil penalties of up to $11,000 per violation.

The safe and effective use of contact lenses-whether decorative or not-requires proper fitting and education about their care to prevent the potential for serious eye  problems from becoming a reality. If you or a friend would like to learn more about contact lenses of any type including decorative contacts please schedule an eye examination at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Hidden Costs of LASIK at Discount Centers

Baltimore LASIK Surgeon & Corneal Specialist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. cautioned patients to beware of low LASIK prices with hidden costs you don’t know about at many discount LASIK centers. “LASIK costs are affordable for almost anyone who wishes to minimize their dependence on or even eliminate the need for eyeglasses and contact lenses to see at distance. BUT-there are many patients who shop for the best price for LASIK and end up getting an unpleasant surprise,” noted Dr. Spagnolo of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “Reputable and trusted LASIK surgeons tend to quote fees for LASIK that are comprehensive fees-that is they include everything you need to have LASIK and its associated evaluations and follow up care-regardless of your prescription”, continued Dr. Spagnolo.

Discount LASIK centers that offer the lure of the best price for LASIK often quote a price for LASIK that is right on the edge of being deceptive in that it uses the lowest price to draw you in for an evaluation and get you excited about the possibility of having LASIK but then presenting you with hidden costs and fees. These hidden costs and fees can include an additional fee for your prescription that was not within the advertised range, it can include an extra hidden cost of LASIK for astigmatism, it can include an additional hidden cost for follow up care, it may include an extra hidden cost for custom wavefront LASIK or an add on hidden cost for enhancements-and on and on. Hidden costs and fees for LASIK are somewhat typical of the sales and marketing practices of certain discount centers. LASIK is surgery. “You should choose a LASIK surgeon based on their reputation as recommended by friends and relatives and NOT based on the best price. Choosing a LASIK surgeon based on the best price alone could set you up for a number of hidden costs you can’t even understand and end up costing you more in the long run,” summarized Dr. Spagnolo.

If you or someone you know has a question about LASIK or would like to schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Macular Degeneration & Risk of Stroke

Baltimore eye doctor Arturo Betancourt, M.D. posed an important question-“What does your risk of having a stroke have to do with age related macular degeneration?” Possibly quite a bit as it turns out. Older adults with late-stage, Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) may have a significantly higher risk for hemorrhagic stroke than do individuals without the eye disease, as reported from the Rotterdam Study at the International Stroke Conference. There may be a common underlying process contributing to both Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) and bleeding strokes, but more research will be needed to determine if that’s the case. Researchers found that the risk for any stroke was 56% higher in participants with late-stage AMD than in individuals without AMD after they controlled for the effects of age, sex, diabetes, blood pressure, use of antihypertensive medication, smoking, cholesterol levels, carotid artery plaques, body mass index, alcohol intake, and C-reactive protein levels. 

“The single most significant finding in the study was that participants with late-stage AMD-either the wet or dry forms-had six fold higher risk for intracerebral hemorrhage or stroke than did participants without AMD,” noted Dr. Betancourt of Baltimore Washington Eye Center.”This is a critical piece of information and one we need to be responsive to and keep patients and their physicians abreast of.” 

If you or someone you know suffers from or is concerned about age related macular degeneration (AMD), especially if they are concerned about their risk of stroke or have a family history of stroke please feel free to schedule an eye exam at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cataract Risk & Smoking

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist & Cataract Surgeon Arturo Betancourt, M.D. commented on the relationship between smoking and risk of cataracts. “Most patients I speak to today are well aware of the vascular risks of smoking. Current research shows that smokers are also at increased risk of glaucoma and age related macular degeneration among smokers. What may be news to those who smoke is that they are also at increased risk of cataracts,” stated Dr Betancourt.

Patients who are current smokers or who have any history of smoking are at increased risk of getting a cataract according to researchers reporting in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science. The researchers found that the overall current literature suggests that smoking was associated with increased risk of age related cataract, especially nuclear cataract and to some extent posterior sub capsular cataract. They further recommended that additional efforts should be made to confirm these findings and clarify the underlying biological mechanisms. A healthy lifestyle and diet are meaningful ways of maintaining eye health and vision-whether lowering your risk of cataracts, keeping the tiny blood vessels in the eye functioning properly or minimizing the associated risks of glaucoma-it’s important to avoid smoking as a lifestyle choice.

If you or someone you know feels they are at risk for cataract development, has a question about cataracts, laser cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to schedule an eye exam by contacting Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify any problems and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Monday, September 23, 2013

The Magic of Monovision for Cataracts

Four years ago, Dr. Spagnolo removed a cataract in my left eye and replaced the clouded lens with a near-vision artificial lens, which was effective for my close-up work as a radiologist and also for reading. May right eye at the time was ok, but required glasses for distance vision, driving, movies, TV, etc. I had worn glasses for over 50 years.

One day recently, I was driving and for the heck of it, covered my left eye to check some slight fuzziness of my vision. I was astonished to find that my right eye was almost blind. I couldn’t read the big signs on the road. All my vision seemed to depend on my corrected left eye. Soon after, I came to the BWEye office to have this checked. I was again shocked when tests showed that, using my right eye only, I could not even recognize the top-line big “E” on the vision chart.
But, the best part is what I now assume the doctor was planning for me four years ago, although he didn’t mention it to me then. For this second cataract, the one in my right eye, he put in an artificial lens for distance vision. Left eye – near vision. Right eye – distance vision. I don’t wear glasses anymore – after 50 years of wearing them. This doesn’t work for everyone. But it’s great if it does.
Thank you, Dr. Spagnolo and all your wonderful staff.

Guest Blogger: Stewart Axelbaum
If you or someone you know has cataracts or is considering laser cataract surgery and lens implants please feel free to learn more by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Open Angle Glaucoma Symptoms

But Dr. Betancourt, how can I have glaucoma-I see well and I have no symptoms?” is a question that many patients have asked with great surprise at their glaucoma diagnosis,” commented Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Arturo Betancourt, M.D.

Glaucoma is a sight stealing eye disease in which the most common form-Primary Open Angle Glaucoma-has no symptoms that affected patients can readily be aware of. This is especially important as among African-American and Hispanic populations glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness. Further-primary open angle glaucoma-is hereditary. The Nottingham Glaucoma Study published in the British Journal of Ophthalmology evaluated the risk that siblings of glaucoma patients would themselves develop glaucoma within their lifetime. The study demonstrated that there was a strong likelihood that family members of glaucoma patients were at greater risk and that siblings were 5 times more likely to develop glaucoma by age 70. “This is why we strongly recommend that siblings of glaucoma patients and glaucoma suspects be screened for glaucoma, each and every year," said Dr. Betancourt.

There is a real need for regular eye examinations and glaucoma screening by an eye doctor in order to help you preserve your eye health and vision. If you or someone you know has a question about glaucoma, glaucoma symptoms, glaucoma risk or to schedule a glaucoma eye exam please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Eye Infections & Acne Medication

“What do eye infections and acne medications have to do with each other?” asked Baltimore Ophthalmologist & Corneal Specialist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. “Recently, a study on eye infections and acne medication was presented in Archives of Dermatology where researchers collected data on nearly 15,000 teens and young adults taking isotretinoin to treat acne and compared their rates of eye infections to group that had acne but not taking the drugs and to a third group that didn't take the drugs and didn't have acne,” stated Dr. Spagnolo. Isotretinoin is also sold under the brand names Roaccutane, Amnesteem, Claravis, Myorisan and Sotret.

Within a year of starting the medication, nearly 14 percent of those in the acne medication group developed an eye infection or dry eyes, compared with almost 10 percent in the group that had acne but did not take the medications and about 7 percent in the group that didn't have acne. Compared to the acne-free group, those taking isotretinoin were at 70 percent increased risk of an eye infection over the course of a year. The mean age of participants was about 16.5 years old.

"The most common problem was conjunctivitis, an inflammation or infection of the membrane lining the eye and eyelids. Other problems included hordeolum or stye which is an inflamed oil gland on the edge of the eyelid, chalazion which is a tender, swollen lump in the eyelid due to a blocked oil gland, blepharitis-an inflammation of the eyelash follicles and dry eyes,” further explained Dr. Spagnolo.

Isotretinoin treats acne by reducing oil production from the sebaceous glands, among other effects. But isotretinoin also disrupts function of the meibomian glands, or oil glands inside the eyelids. The meibomian glands help keep the eyes lubricated. Less lubrication may mean the eyes are irritated, itching and burning, prompting people to rub them and introduce bacteria. “The good news is that most side effects of the drugs can be prevented using artificial tears to keep the eyes lubricated,” said Dr. Spagnolo.

If you or someone you know has a question about acne medication, eye infections or eye problems such as dry eyes, stye, chalazion or blepharitis please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Wedding Eyes with LASIK

Still to this day, I can remember my very first eye exam at the ripe ol’ age of 16. I thought I had good eyes but apparently not from what my exam revealed. So my first pair of glasses was purchased and then……… not worn much, if at all. Fast forward about 8 years to my 2nd ever eye exam and yes, another prescription for glasses. I had not worn glasses in so long, that when I finally purchased my first pair in almost 8 years I was a little rusty at taking care of them and wearing them all the time. Frustration set in as my FiancĂ© and I were sitting at the table discussing our wedding plans I was thinking to myself, do I really have to wear my glasses at our wedding? Then thinking to myself, well yes if I even want to see my future husband at the other end of the isle I will certainly wear them. But then I continued to think they just did not look right with my wedding gown. As I arrived at work the next morning at Baltimore Washington Eye Center I had the thought of trying contact lenses so I wouldn’t have to wear my glasses during the wedding. My experience with contact lenses was horrible, well at least for me it was. Dr Shafi must have tried everything on me for me to be able to continue to wear them. After the millionth time of trying to find the right one I finally just gave up. I remember talking with Dr Spagnolo and Sharon about LASIK and I must say I was a little nervous about it. As time came closer and closer to my wedding date I finally gave in and became excited about having a LASIK consult. When Dr Spagnolo told me I was a candidate and he would do the procedure, I became so excited! Finally it was February 1st and it was LASIK day! As nervous as I could be, everything went great! I woke up after my long nap and I could see!!! 4 months later, June 1st had finally arrived and I was on my way down the aisle toward my future husband and I could see him as clear as could be! Glasses free and contact lens free!!! All the hassle gone!!! My wedding day turned out as perfect as could be thanks to my new eyes!!
Guest Blogger: Lena Schier 

If you or someone you know would like to learn more about LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation they are encouraged to call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center 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 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Laser Cataract Surgery at Baltimore Washington Eye Center

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is pleased to announce that cataract surgeons from the greater Baltimore and D.C. area will now be performing laser cataract surgery in their eye surgery suites. The potential advantage of using the femtosecond laser to assist in cataract surgery and lens implants is that it allows the consolidation and conversion of the many skill intensive steps of cataract removal into a more predictable procedure. “ Cataract surgery is a technically complex type of eye surgery requiring tremendous surgical skill for a number of steps that we have performed manually until now,” noted Baltimore Cataract Surgeon Arturo Betancourt, M.D. “By incorporating the Alcon® LenSx® Femtosecond Laser into our cataract surgery procedure we will provide the added benefits of bladeless laser cataract surgery to deliver a safe, more precise and even more gentle eye surgery through enhanced laser created, surgeon controlled precision resulting in even further improved clinical results for patients in need of cataract surgery and lens implants,” explained Dr. Betancourt. Corneal Specialist & Cataract Surgeon Brad Spagnolo, M.D. commented, “Cataract surgery procedures and technology have improved so much that patients no longer have to wait for cataracts to “ripen” before choosing to have them removed, replaced with permanent clear lens implants and returning to an active everyday lifestyle. For most patients laser cataract surgery can be performed in the comfort of our convenient, close to home ambulatory surgery center with “eye drop anesthesia” and through a very tiny incision that doesn’t even require stitches. The laser cataract surgery procedure along with advanced technology lens implants allows most patients to achieve their personal vision correction goals and resume active lifestyles in just a couple of days after surgery.”

Baltimore Washington Eye Surgery Center has installed the Alcon® LensSx® Femtosecond Laser in a specially designed suite to assist cataract surgeons in providing laser cataract surgery and lens implants for patients from throughout the greater Baltimore and D.C. area at 200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061.
Baltimore Washington Eye Surgery Center is a convenient, comfortable, close to home surgery center fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and licensed by the State of Maryland and Medicare. Please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937 and ask us any questions you might have about cataracts, laser cataract surgery and lens implants or visit us at www.bweyecenter.com or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter or follow our eye care blog.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Eye Pain & Osteoporosis Medication

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Arturo Betancourt, M.D.
alerted patients about the possible relationship between eye pain and certain osteoporosis medications. “We see many patients today taking osteoporosis medications such as Fosamax®, Boniva® and Actonel®”, commented Dr. Betancourt. “Patients on these medications need to be aware of the potential for eye inflammation and associated eye pain.”

According to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, users of oral bisphosphonates such as Fosamax®, Boniva® and Actonel® were 45% more likely to develop uveitis and 51% more likely to develop scleritis compared with patients who had never used these medications. If you take medicine for osteoporosis, you will also need to get enough calcium and vitamin D, eat a healthy diet, and exercise regularly. A large part of treating or reducing the effects of osteoporosis is getting enough calcium and vitamin D. 

“If your physician does start you on any type of osteoporosis medication you should not ignore the symptoms of eye pain no matter how mild they might seem. Even at your regular eye exam, make sure to tell your eye doctor if you have started bisphosphonates medication such as Fosamax®, Boniva® and Actonel®. We need to know as sometimes the associated side effects of these osteoporosis medications can be subtle-but they are important,” noted Dr. Betancourt. If you or someone you know has questions about eye pain, osteoporosis medication or eye inflammation please feel free to Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan. 

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is a leading eye care practice with office locations at
200 Hospital Drive, Suite 600, Glen Burnie, Maryland 21061 and RiverHill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland.

Baltimore Washington Eye serves 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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, August 20, 2013

Baltimore Doctor on Contact Lens Tips for Healthy Vision

Baltimore eye doctor and contact lens specialist Dr. Shari Strier shared some tips for wearing contact lenses and maintaining healthy vision. “We remind patients that contact lenses are a medical device and even those worn purely for cosmetic purposes, should be prescribed and properly fit by a licensed eye care professional," explained Dr. Strier. "Too many patients forget this and end up buying and wearing contact lenses without proper medical guidance and a valid prescription. Then, often without even realizing it, they put themselves at risk for serious, even blinding eye infections." 

Following the instructions given to you by your eye doctor-carefully and completely can go a long way to help avoid contact lens problems and complications. "Our experience clearly shows that by not following instructions on proper wear and care, contact lens wearers are more likely to have discomfort and may actually put themselves at greater risk for infection or other serious complications, such as microbial keratitis," said Dr. Strier. “We often find that improper storage, handling and disinfection of contact lenses really predispose patients to unnecessary risk.”

Some good contact lens care, handling and disinfection tips to follow include:
  • Always wash your hands with soap before inserting or removing your contact lenses.
  • Always empty the storage case of disinfection solution after removing your lenses, and fully refill with fresh solution before storing them.
  • NEVER clean your case with tap water. 
  • REGULARLY-even daily- clean your case.
  • REGULARLY-at least monthly- replace your case.
If you or someone you know has questions about contact lens care, handling and disinfection please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Thanks You!

“On behalf of myself and Baltimore Washington Eye Center, I wish to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Baltimore community for their efforts, support and loyalty to me personally as an eye surgeon-but also to Baltimore Washington Eye Center-in allowing us to provide their eye care and eye surgery over the past 25 years,” shared Arturo E. Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director. “Our goal was to perform cataract surgery and lens implants for 25 needy individuals whose vision was impaired by cataracts. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of the Baltimore community-we did it!-and I am thankful to have had your help in doing this to recognize my 25thanniversary at the Baltimore Washington Eye Center,” stated Dr. Betancourt.

“Baltimore Washington Eye Surgery Center is continuing its commitment to bring world class cataract surgery to Baltimore and D.C. patients by installing the Alcon® LensSx® Femtosecond Laser in a specially designed suite to assist cataract surgeons in providing laser cataract surgery and lens implants for patients from throughout greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C.,” explained Phillip Harrington, Administrator. “The Baltimore Washington Eye Surgery Center is a comfortable, close to home ambulatory surgery center fully accredited by the Accreditation Association for Ambulatory Health Care (AAAHC) and licensed by the State of Maryland and Medicare that will now offer patients the benefits of laser cataract surgery right in our community.”

When you visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center please ask us any questions you might have about cataracts, laser cataract surgery and lens implants or visit us at www.bweyecenter.com or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter or follow our eye care blog.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including laser 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.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baltimore Cataract Awareness Month

Baltimore Cataract Surgeon Arturo Betancourt, M.D. raised our awareness of cataracts, cataract surgery and lens implant information that is important for everyone, especially seniors, to know more about. “Today, it seems as if virtually everyone knows someone who has a cataract or has had cataract surgery and lens implants,” noted Dr. Betancourt, Medical Director of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “This is probably because more than 20 million Americans age 40 and older have cataracts and more than half of all Americans over 65 have some degree of cataract development. In fact cataracts are a leading cause of vision loss among seniors. Fortunately, with cataract surgery and lens implants we can readily help people achieve very good vision.”

Many patients do not actually know that a cataract is a clouding of the crystalline lens of the eye preventing light rays from passing through it easily. This results in a clouding and blurring of vision. Patients should understand that cataracts are not a growth or a film over the eye. For many patients cataracts start out slowly and have little effect on vision at first. But, as the cataract becomes denser, so does the impact on vision. The most common symptoms that bother patients with cataracts can include blurring of vision, sensitivity to light and glare, double vision in one eye, poor night vision, fading or yellowing of colors and frequent changes in glasses or contact lens prescriptions.

“What many people do not realize is that the poor vision in seniors is often associated with premature or accelerated mental decline. Further, the challenges reduced vision creates in terms of mobility and safety can also put patients at increased risk for orthopedic injury-especially hip fracture. So, helping seniors restore vision with cataract surgery has an important place in securing senior health, well being, mobility, safety and mental state,” said Dr. Betancourt.

“When cataracts begin to interfere with daily activities or with patient comfort, mobility and safety, they can be treated surgically. Cataract surgery is one of the safest and most frequently performed surgeries in the United States. Today, we have a full range of lens implants available that allow us to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness, astigmatism and even near vision problems after cataract surgery, as well as distance vision, without requiring bifocals or reading glasses for the vast majority of patients,”, explained Dr. Betancourt.

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract, cataract surgery or lens implants please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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, July 30, 2013

Why Women Need Bifocals Sooner

Baltimore Washington Eye Center eye doctor Dr. Asifa Shafi, shared research on why women need bifocals for correcting near vision and presbyopia sooner than men. “Researchers in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science (IOVS) found that women tend to need bifocals sooner to correct their near vision and the onset of presbyopia-the age related near vision focusing problem,” stated Dr. Shafi. “The studies show that presbyopia, the inability to see at a close distance that occurs with age, is more common in women. While men and women need bifocals as they age, the need is more common among women and tends to hit them at younger ages than men. It is believed that while men and women appeared to actually have the same focusing ability when looking at nearby objects, because women are generally shorter than the men, with proportionally shorter arm lengths, they needed to hold objects closer to their faces when reading and thus required the near vision presbyopia correction of bifocals, reading glasses or even bifocal contact lenses sooner.”

If you or someone you know suffers from near vision focusing problems such as presbyopia they are encouraged to schedule an eye examination at Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Monday, July 22, 2013

LASIK vs. Contact Lenses for Swimming

Baltimore LASIK Surgeon & Corneal Specialist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. commented on the risks and benefits of LASIK vs. contact lenses for swimming. “Contact lenses and swimming are not a good combination,” stated Dr. Spagnolo of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “Our clinical experience and the recommendation of the FDA is that contact lenses not be exposed to any form of water in order to avoid eye health risk. For this reason, anyone who swims or participates in water sports or activities should give consideration to LASIK as the preferred method of vision correction today,” explained Dr. Spagnolo. “With a careful examination and thorough consultation, we have a good idea of what patients can expect from LASIK in our office.”

It is generally known that wearing contact lenses for swimming and water sports and activities poses a risk of Acanthamoeba Keratitis, a potentially catastrophic eye infection of the cornea. Acanthamoeba Keratitis is caused by an organism present in all forms of impure water such as swimming pools, tap water, saunas, wells and even showers. 

“Contact Lenses are really quite safe to wear if your follow proper care guidelines and instructions. However, when swimming, showering, or bathing, you do need to keep your lenses out. More and more patients – even successful contact lens wearers- are finding this to be a hassle and are now interested in discussing LASIK as an option,” said Dr. Spagnolo.

If you or someone you know has questions about swimming with contact lenses or participating in water sports with contact lenses or would like to learn more about LASIK or even schedule a Free LASIK Consultation please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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, July 16, 2013

Cataract Surgery Recovery Expectations

Baltimore Cataract Surgeon Brad Spagnolo, M.D. shared information about patient expectations of cataract surgery recovery. “At Baltimore Washington Eye Center we routinely perform cataract removal and lens implants using a very tiny incision, with no needles and usually only eye drops for anesthesia,” explained Dr. Spagnolo. “For the great majority of our patients the postoperative course is very comfortable and unremarkable. Typically, most patients don't require pain medications and at most have a slight foreign body feeling from the incision which usually clears in a few hours. The vision the next day can range from being excellent or at times a bit cloudy, depending on the amount of residual swelling in the cornea. Patients with mild cataracts generally have very little swelling. Very dense cataracts require more energy to remove, and this can produce more swelling in the cornea. This swelling usually clears quickly and most patients see quite well in a few days,” Dr. Spagnolo further explained. “Depending on the type of lens implant you have had there may be a little adaptation. For example, if you have had a near vision presbyopia correcting multifocal lens implant there may be re-learning of how to see far and near. Most patients adapt pretty quickly.”

If you or someone you know has questions about cataract, cataract surgery, lens implants or the recovery from any type of eye surgery please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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, July 9, 2013

Not a Candidate for LASIK

Not being a candidate for LASIK could have been a disappointment. But-It has now been 53 days since I had PRK, and the one sentence I find myself repeating is, "I CAN SEE!" My life has forever been touched by Dr. Spagnolo and his staff. From the first consultation to the follow-up appointments your overwhelming kindness has been unwavering. I also appreciate the time you took to help me better understand my options.

The work you all do is so important, as I believe God is performing miracles through all of you. As the old song goes, " I once was blind but now I see." .....Thank you Jesus, thank you Sharon, and thank you Dr. Spagnolo.

P.S. It's like everything is in HD now! (The little things I notice, such as a blade of grass or just the individual petals on a flower! Having PRK was one of the best decisions I have ever made!!)

With Unending Gratitude,

Guest Blogger: Crissie Summerlin







If you or someone you know would like to learn more about LASIK or schedule a Free LASIK Consultation they are encouraged to call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Baltimore Fireworks Eye Safety for July 4th

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. advised us on fireworks eye safety for the July 4th holiday. “To enjoy the fireworks this July 4th, it’s best to leave their use and display to professionals. Eye safety is pretty critical with fireworks displays as we know that eye injuries are the second most frequent injury we see from emergency rooms each July 4th weekend,” said Dr. Spagnolo.

Around the Fourth of July, fireworks and celebrations often go together. There are precautions everyone can take to prevent eye injuries. The best defense against kids suffering severe eye injuries and burns is to not let kids play with any fireworks. Do not purchase, use or store fireworks of any type. Protect yourself, your family and your friends by avoiding fireworks. Attend only authorized public fireworks displays conducted by licensed operators, but be aware that even professional displays can be dangerous. However, if an eye accident does occur, there are a few things you should know:
  • Do not rub the eye. 
  • Do not attempt to rinse out the eye. This can be even more damaging than rubbing.
  • Do not apply pressure to the eye itself-but protecting the eye from further contact with any item, including the person’s hand.
  • Do not stop for medicine! Over-the-counter pain relievers will not do much to relieve pain. Aspirin (should never be given to children) and ibuprofen can thin the blood, increasing bleeding. Take the person to the emergency room at once.
  • Do not apply ointments or drops. They may not be sterile and may make the area around the eye slippery and harder for the doctor to examine. 
Once you are seen in the emergency room please feel free to have them call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at800-495-3937 as we always have an eye doctor “on call” to provide consultation and continued care for you.
 
If you or someone you know has questions about fireworks eye safety and eye injuries please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Lucentis® to Treat Diabetes Vision Loss

For patients with diabetes who are at risk for diabetic macular edema, a significant cause of vision loss and an associated complication of diabetic retinopathy, Lucentis® eye injections work to treat diabetic macular edema, or swelling of the macula-this leading cause of vision loss associated with diabetes. Lucentis® has been used for some time to treat “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Lucentis® is the first drug FDA approved to treat diabetic macular edema. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have diabetic eye disease and before Lucentis® had to have laser treatment to address this complication of diabetic retinopathy.

“The use of Lucentis® to treat diabetic macular edema gives us a great tool and a significant advantage is managing vision loss from diabetes,” commented Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “As we well know, the key to preservation of eye health and vision for diabetics is early detection, diagnosis and treatment.”

If you or someone you know has questions or needs an eye exam for diabetic eye disease or the problems from diabetic retinopathy and diabetic retinopathy please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Free Cataract Surgery in Baltimore for Needy

Baltimore Washington Eye Center is pleased to acknowledge Arturo E. Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director for his 25th anniversary of providing eye care and surgery in our community. Dr. Betancourt is recognized as one of the leading cataract surgeons in the area and has restored vision to thousands of cataract patients since 1988. “During the last 25 years I have witnessed tremendous advances in cataract surgery and lens implants and have been thrilled to be a part of changing patients’ lives by restoring their vision with modern cataract surgery at Baltimore Washington Eye Center,” commented Arturo Betancourt, M.D.

“To celebrate his 25 years of service to the community Dr. Betancourt has asked that Baltimore Washington Eye Center sponsor free cataract surgical services to 25 needy individuals whose vision is impaired by cataracts. To that end, we are requesting your assistance in identifying candidates to receive this offer by Dr. Betancourt. For those candidates that qualify Dr. Betancourt will perform the surgery in our on-site, nationally accredited ambulatory surgery center at absolutely no cost to the patient. In addition, all pre-operative and post-operative prescription medications will be provided at no cost to the patient,” explained Phillip Harrington, Administrator.

“What I know today is that when I perform cataract surgery and lens implants I can make a really meaningful difference in lives. Sometimes we think poor vision from cataracts just affects eyesight-but what we know is that poor vision from cataracts increases patients’ risk of falling and hip fracture as well as accelerates their cognitive decline. I am thankful to be able to help people enjoy their daily lives without these challenges,” shared Dr. Betancourt.

If you or someone needy that you know wishes to find out more about free cataract surgery and lens implants at Baltimore Washington Eye Center please call Juanita Persaud at 800-495-3937 and ask us any questions you might have about cataracts, cataract surgery and lens implants or visit us at www.bweyecenter.com, on Facebook at Facebook.com/BaltimoreWashingtonEyeCenter.

Multifocal Lens Implant Candidate Reaps Multiple Benefits

I had my cataracts removed and multifocal lens implants put in and it was the easiest procedure I have ever had. The staff was friendly and kind, explained everything as they were getting me ready for my surgery. The surgery didn't take any time at all I went home and at 4:00 I took my eye patch off and could see out of that eye like I hadn't seen in years. Three weeks later I had my right eye done, same professional atmosphere and nice people. I see so good its 20/20 in both eyes close up and far away. I would recommend the multifocal lens to anyone who can have them. It’s amazing to be able to see everything clear and bright. I would like to thank Dr. Spagnolo and everyone at Baltimore Washington Eye Center for their kindness and professional care. Thanks again.

Guest Blogger Wendy Phelps

If you or someone you know has cataracts or is considering cataract surgery and lens implants please feel free to learn more by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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, June 11, 2013

Lucentis® to Treat Diabetes Vision Loss

For patients with diabetes who are at risk for diabetic macular edema, a significant cause of vision loss and an associated complication of diabeticretinopathy, Lucentis® eye injections work to treat diabetic macular edema, or swelling of the macula-this leading cause of vision loss associated with diabetes. Lucentis® has been used for some time to treat “wet” age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Lucentis® is the first drug FDA approved to treat diabetic macular edema. More than 500,000 people in the U.S. have diabetic eye disease and before Lucentis® had to have laser treatment to address this complication of diabetic retinopathy.

“The use of Lucentis® to treat diabetic macular edema gives us a great tool and a significant advantage is managing vision loss from diabetes,” commented Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. “As we well know, the key to preservation of eye health and vision for diabetics is early detection, diagnosis and treatment.”

If you or someone you know has questions or needs an eye exam for diabetic eye disease or the problems from diabetic retinopathy and diabetic retinopathy please feel free to contact
Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can recommend an appropriate treatment plan.

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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Multifocal Lens Implant Candidate Reaps Multiple Benefits

I had my cataracts removed and multifocal lens implants put in and it was the easiest procedure I have ever had. The staff was friendly and kind, explained everything as they were getting me ready for my surgery. The surgery didn't take any time at all I went home and at 4:00 I took my eye patch off and could see out of that eye like I hadn't seen in years. Three weeks later I had my right eye done, same professional atmosphere and nice people. I see so good its 20/20 in both eyes close up and far away. I would recommend the multifocal lens to anyone who can have them. It’s amazing to be able to see everything clear and bright. I would like to thank Dr. Spagnolo and everyone at Baltimore Washington Eye Center for their kindness and professional care.

Thanks again.
Guest Blogger Wendy Phelps
If you or someone you know has cataracts or is considering cataract surgery and lens implants please feel free to learn more by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Eye Test for Stroke Risk Info from Baltimore Ophthalmologist

Baltimore Ophthalmologist Arturo Betancourt, M.D. shared encouraging information about a new eye test that may help identify patients who are at high risk for stroke. “I am really quite pleased to have reviewed a study about a new eye test for stroke risk from the University of Zurich published in Ophthalmology, the journal of the American Academy of Ophthalmology,“ commented Dr. Betancourt. “This study showed that a test called Ocular Pulse Amplitude (OPA) can reliably detect carotid artery stenosis (CAS) or carotid artery narrowing, a condition that clogs or blocks the arteries that feed the front part of the brain which is a known risk factor for stroke. I am hopeful that we will soon be able to perform this test as part of a routine eye exam.”

Each year, approximately 795,000 Americans suffer a new or recurrent stroke, and more than 137,000 of these people die as a result. People with severe CAS are much more likely to suffer stroke.”We would like to catch and treat CAS before that can happen, but because CAS has no symptoms and an efficient test is not currently available the disease often goes undetected,” explained Dr. Betancourt.

"The results of the study show that ocular pulse amplitude (OPA) is a reliable, safe screening test for carotid artery stenosis," said Dr. Betancourt. “This is important as early detection of clinically significant CAS, defined as 60 percent to 99 percent blockage of the carotid arteries will go a long way to stroke prevention. At the moment there are some high-tech tests, such as magnetic resonance angiography and color duplex ultrasound, but they are expensive and not widely available-and certainly not part of a routine eye exam in our offices,” said Dr. Betancourt. “It could be safe, efficient and convenient to perform the OPA test during a regular eye exam.” If you or someone you know has questions about eye exams, eye health and stroke prevention please feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or 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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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 28, 2013

Baltimore Eye Doctor on Glaucoma & Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana is promoted as a treatment for many diseases, including glaucoma. Baltimore Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. discussed medical marijuana and glaucoma. “Glaucoma is an eye disease in which the optic nerve becomes damaged over time, reducing peripheral vision. If not properly diagnosed and treated it can lead to blindness. One cause of the optic nerve damage in glaucoma is higher-than-normal pressure within the eye, called intraocular pressure or IOP,” explained Dr. Spagnolo. “Currently glaucoma treatment for the most part is to lower IOP levels with eye drops, laser treatment, oral medications and sometimes surgery depending on the type of glaucoma and how severe it is.”

The idea that marijuana can be helpful in treating glaucoma dates to the 1970s. Studies conducted then showed that smoking marijuana lowered the IOP of people with glaucoma. As a result of this research, additional studies were conducted examining whether marijuana or its active ingredient, a compound known as THC, could be used to keep IOP lowered. This research was supported by the National Eye Institute, a division of the National Institutes of Health. The research found that when marijuana is smoked or when a form of its active ingredient is taken as a pill or by injection, it does lower IOP. However, it only lowers IOP for a short period of time-about three or four hours. This short period of time is a major drawback for the use of marijuana as a glaucoma treatment. Because glaucoma needs to be treated 24 hours a day, you would need to smoke marijuana six to eight times a day around the clock to receive the benefit of a consistently lowered IOP. Because of marijuana's mood-altering effect, smoking so much of it daily would leave you too impaired to drive, operate equipment or function at the peak of your mental ability.

The effect that marijuana has on your ability to function is not the only side effect from the drug, however. Marijuana cigarettes contain hundreds of compounds that damage the lungs. Research has shown that regular and frequent use of marijuana, particularly in high doses, can cause problems with short-term memory and concentration.

As scientists learn more about glaucoma, they have also come to understand that IOP is not the only factor that damages the optic nerve. Recent studies characterize glaucoma as a neurologic disease similar to Parkinson's or Alzheimer's. And, there is increasing evidence that reduced flow of blood to the optic nerve may also cause damage in patients with glaucoma. Unfortunately, marijuana not only lowers IOP, but it lowers blood pressure throughout the body. As a result, it has the potential to lower the blood flow to the optic nerve, effectively canceling out the benefit of a lowered IOP. So, while marijuana can temporarily lower your IOP, it's not recommended for treating glaucoma. Prescription medications, laser and surgical treatments have been tested and proven as effective treatments for the glaucoma.

If you or someone you know has questions about eye exams, glaucoma and medical marijuana feel free to contact Baltimore Washington Eye Center by calling 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter, so that we can help identify the possible causes and recommend an appropriate treatment plan.


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, diagnosis and treatment of cataracts including 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.