Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, November 23, 2014

LASIK Story from BWEC

From counting fingers vision to driving without glasses!
From no peripheral vision to seeing far and wide.
From I’ve thought about this for so long to “I should have done it sooner”
From encumbered with contacts, solutions, backup glasses, and prescription sunglasses to nothing but simplicity. Freedom from glasses and contacts is what we provide our patients with LASIK every week. 

Cyclist, scuba divers, students, professors,  single parents, police officers, engineers, dentists, nurses, teachers, cancer survivors, military service members, skateboarders, golfers, tennis players, runners, swimmers, photographers,  and the list goes on.

John writes:

What a life changing experience!  I have been extremely near- sighted since I was 5 years old and have been wearing corrective lenses, first glasses then contacts, for over 40 years.  And now, after a short and pain-free procedure, I have 20/20 vision without the use of contacts or glasses!  For over 10 years I wanted to have my vision corrected.  I was always afraid to go to a laser vision center because I didn’t want to go to a doctor I didn’t know, have a serious procedure performed and be shown the door after a few follow-up visits.  

However, three years ago I became a regular patient of Baltimore Washington Eye Center and Dr. Spagnolo has been my eye doctor ever since.  I finally chose to have LASIK because I trusted Dr. Spagnolo and the entire Baltimore Washington Eye Center team.  I can’t even adequately describe how wonderful Dr. Spagnolo and the entire staff were throughout the process, from evaluation through procedure follow-up, but particularly on the day of the procedure. I was a little nervous, but they quickly put me at ease with their friendly, personal (everyone knew me by first name), yet professional demeanor.  I couldn’t be more pleased and highly recommend choosing Dr. Spagnolo and the Baltimore Washington Eye Center not only for LASIK but as a complete eye care practice.  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Hypertensive Retinopathy Predicts Stroke Risk

During your regular eye exam we thoroughly and carefully exam the tiny blood vessels in your Retina. This exam is never more important than in seniors and others who have high blood pressure, other vascular disease and diabetes. For patients with hypertension, or high blood pressure, one of the very important things we can tell from your eye health is you potential risk of stroke. Historically, assessment of the signs of hypertensive retinopathy-the retinal vascular condition that results from high blood pressure-has been recommended for determining end organ damage such as kidney and heart problems.

According to researchers reporting in the journal Hypertension there is a clear predictive value in evaluating whether hypertensive retinopathy predicts the long-term risk of stroke in those with hypertension.  In this study, participants with hypertension aged 50 to 73 years had gradable retinal photographs, no history of diabetes mellitus, stroke, or coronary heart disease at baseline and data on incident stroke, were included from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) Study. Retinal photographs were assessed for hypertensive retinopathy signs and classified as none, mild, and moderate/severe. Any history of stroke, cerebral infarction or hemorrhagic stroke were identified and confirmed. The results showed that after adjusting for age, sex, blood pressure and other risk factors, persons with moderate hypertensive retinopathy were more likely to have stroke. Even in patients with hypertension on medication with good control of blood pressure, hypertensive retinopathy was related to an increased risk of stroke!

From this study we know that hypertensive retinopathy predicts the long term risk of stroke, independent of blood pressure, even in treated patients with good hypertension control. Thus, if you have high blood pressure, it is often important for us to obtain photographs at your eye examination in order to document and assess hypertensive retinopathy signs that may be useful for assessment of your stroke risk.

If you or someone you know has questions about hypertensive retinopathy and stroke risk, they should schedule an eye exam by calling Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center or facebook.com/baltimorewashingtoneyecenter.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Diabetic Retinopathy & Cardiovascular Events

"There appears to be a close association between the presence and severity of diabeticretinopathy and future cardiovascular (CV) events such as heart attack or stroke,” explained Brad Spagnolo, M.D. of Baltimore Washington Eye Center. The relationship between diabetic retinopathy, its 4-year progression, and CV outcomes including CV death or nonfatal heart attack or stroke was analyzed in participants in the Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial who also participated in the ACCORD Eye Study. The diabetic retinopathy was classified as either none, mild, moderate, or severe and whether it was worsening was also graded. The hazard of CV death or nonfatal myocardial infarction or stroke increased by 38% for every category of change in retinopathy severity and steps of progression further raised the hazard. Thus the researchers believe that both the severity of retinopathy and its progression are determinants of predisposition to CV events. The retina may provide an anatomical index of the effect of metabolic and hemodynamic factors on future CV outcomes.

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 calling Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 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 River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area. 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness

Prevent Blindness America has designated November as National Diabetic Eye Disease Awareness Month and Baltimore Washington Eye Center is committed to making Baltimore residents aware of the risks of diabetes and diabetic eye problems. “Diabetes is the leading cause of new cases of blindness in adults 20-74 years of age, affecting more than 25 million people in the United States. While 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 Arturo Betancourt, M.D., Medical Director. “There are almost 8 million people ages 40 and older who have diabetic retinopathy. This is a dramatic spike in diabetic retinopathy cases and appears to be a consequence of the seemingly endless diabetes epidemic we are experiencing in this country,” 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.

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, lipid profile, and blood pressure, eating 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 calling Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 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 River Hill Professional Center, 6100 Day Long Lane, Suite 207, Clarksville, Maryland 21029, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.