Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Eye Drop Treatment & Macular Degeneration

Baltimore Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. shared some thoughts and information about some possible eye drop treatments for macular degeneration. “We have been so fortunate to be able to treat “wet” macular degeneration with vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGF) injections such as Lucentis®. With regular eye exams and early detection and diagnosis this has made a huge impact on so many people and their quality of life,” commented Dr. Spagnolo. “However, 85% or so of the cases of macular degeneration that we diagnose are “dry” macular degeneration and thus it would be significant if we could find some form of treatment for this type as well. Although we don’t fully understand the exact cause of “dry” AMD, we know that it tends to progress more slowly than the “wet” type and is characterized by the appearance of small white or yellowish deposits, called drusen, form on the retina, beneath the macula, causing it to deteriorate or degenerate over time. The most likely cause is a diminished blood flow in the blood vessels of choroid-a tissue beneath the retina that supplies it with oxygen and nutrients,” Dr. Spagnolo explained.

The FDA has facilitated a “fast track” approach and testing of an experimental eye drop that has an active ingredient that has been approved and used in an oral formulation to treat hypertension. It is thought that these new eye drops may act to increase choroidal blood flow and circulation and thus slow or stop the progression of AMD from the early stage (dry AMD) to the later stage (wet AMD) by increasing the blood flow in the eye's choroidal vessels. Thus far the early clinical studies show that the drug is safe for use in human subjects and is now being tested to determine if it can be an effective treatment for dry AMD by increasing choroidal blood flow.

“We are continually reviewing the research, the publications and the FDA clinical trials to find better ways to take care of our patients-it’s just part of being a good physician and our patients depend on us. More to come regarding “dry” macular eye drop treatment as soon as we have the data and information,” said Dr. Spagnolo.

If you or someone you know suffers from dry macular degeneration or is concerned about dry macular degeneration,  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 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, February 12, 2013

Physics May Help Macular Degeneration (AMD)

Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Arturo Betancourt, M.D. commented on how the application of optical physics might be helpful to patients with macular degeneration in regaining some functioning vision to overcome the visual distortion caused by AMD. “While the key to maintaining eye health and vision as we age-especially regarding macular degeneration-is having regular eye exams, there are still a growing number of patients who experience a disturbing distortion and twisting of their vision resulting from macular degeneration,” explained Dr. Betancourt.

Nobel Laureate Walter Kohn described a potential application of what is a dynamic “translator” for the particular distortion a patient experiences either in handheld computers or an optical corrective lens. “We routinely use the Amsler Grid, a graph-paper-like pattern to diagnose AMD-Dr. Kohn suggested that the Amsler grid could also be used to develop an optical correction,” said Dr. Betancourt.

When people with healthy eyes look at the Amsler Grid, they see its straight horizontal and vertical lines, with a dot at center.  Patients with AMD, however, often perceive a distortion about two or three centimeters in diameter in the center.

Amsler Grid

Dr. Kohn has initiated the development of software that lets an AMD patient, using a mouse, pull the virtual lines until he or she perceives the grid as “perfect,” yielding reversal of the specific distortion a person experiences. Dr. Kohn then uses these results to create a correction for that patient. In one experimental device, a handheld computer scans the printed page, using software to perform dynamic compensation, distorting the text to make it readable for patients. In addition, Dr. Kohn uses of a slab of optical material to fabricate the visual correction so that AMD patients could hold the optical slab of refractive material over text, pictures or reading material, just like the magnifying glass people use for seeing small type—only the surface of Kohn’s slab resembles ocean currents or waves that reverse the distortion.

“These are very exciting ideas and offer promise to help us deal with the visual distortion caused by macular degeneration,” offered Dr. Betancourt

If you or someone you know suffers from macular degeneration or is concerned about age related macular degeneration (AMD) 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.

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, February 11, 2013

No Cataracts Make Seeing Florida at 70 Great

Florida is beautiful, unless you have cataracts.  My wakeup call came one evening while driving home and seeing that the approaching cars.  The approaching cars didn’t have headlights; instead they had beautiful bursts of star lights for the front of the cars.  Called my local optometrist who explained the phenomena to me …….. I was getting old and my sight was changing.  The good news was that it could be corrected.

I called my daughter in Maryland and told her of my situation.  She suggested investigating cataract surgery.  Great idea!   Shortly thereafter, I flew up to Maryland and had my cataract evaluation with Dr. Spagnolo at the Baltimore Washington Eye Center.  After a very thorough exam and many measurements, Dr. Spagnolo thoroughly explained what could be done and what I could expect the outcome to be.  Excellent!  I scheduled the surgery.

When I arrived for my surgery I spent a short time getting “ready” then they wheeled me into the “cozy” operating room.  Would tell you about it, but I don’t remember anything else until I woke up back where I had started my visit just a few short moments before.  The staff went back over how I should care for my eye after surgery and written instructions were provided to me, which was most helpful. Such an easy procedure. No problems.

A week later, I returned to the Baltimore Washington Eye Center to have the other eye corrected.   The very next day I had my 1 day post op appointment for my 2nd eye and my 1 week post op appointment for my first eye and then I flew home to Florida.  The whole process was covered by my insurance.  At the vibrant age of 70, I greatly appreciate a left eye that sees near and a right eye that sees distance.  Glasses free and loving life in Florida!

Guest Blogger: Linda Thomas

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, February 4, 2013

Baltimore Macular Degeneration Awareness


Baltimore Washington Eye Center Ophthalmologist Brad Spagnolo, M.D. commented on National Macular Degeneration Awareness month. “It’s no surprise that the number of people affected by macular degeneration is continuing to climb, especially due to the aging baby boomer population,” said Dr. Spagnolo. It is estimated that more than 2 million people age 50 and older have late AMD (Age Related Macular Degeneration) which represents a 25 percent increase between 200 and 2012.  “In the past, we were pretty much only able to give patients with Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) bad news about their vision and prognosis. Today, for most patients, with early detection, diagnosis and treatment, at a minimum we can prevent further vision loss from the disease and in many cases we can actually help recover lost vision,” said Dr. Spagnolo.

February marks the 2013 National Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) Awareness Month. Here is what patients should know about AMD. AMD causes central vision to blur, but leaves peripheral vision intact. It is progressive and painless. There are two types of AMD, a “Dry” form and a “Wet” form. It is estimated that 85-90% of people with AMD have the Dry form which results in a gradual vision loss. Fortunately, only 10 percent of people with AMD have the Wet form which progresses much quicker and can cause catastrophic vision loss. Wet AMD is characterized by the growth of abnormal retinal blood vessels that leak blood or fluid. Leaking or bleeding vessels leads to swelling and bleeding in the Macula, causing visual distortions or decreased vision. Over time, this can lead to scarring in the Macula and create damage that may result in the loss of central vision. Patients can often reduce their risk of developing AMD by not smoking as well as working to eat a heart-healthy diet rich in fish, fruit and green leafy vegetables, avoiding foods with Trans fats, exercising and controlling blood pressure and weight.

“What patients need to be aware of is that once you are over 50, it becomes increasingly important to have a thorough, comprehensive dilated eye exam every one to two years-and even more often if you have any family history of AMD or at the recommendation of your eye doctor. The key to preventing vision loss from AMD is clearly early detection, quick diagnosis and then immediate access to treatment with vascular endothelial growth inhibitor (VEGF) injections such as Lucentis®”, summarized Dr. Spagnolo.
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If you or someone you know is at risk for macular degeneration or concerned about age related macular degeneration (AMD) 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.

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.