Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Monday, June 27, 2016

Quality of Life after Cataract Surgery

When we think of the impact that cataracts have on people, it is pretty easy to identify that vision decline or loss comes mainly from the blurry cloudy vision that cataracts cause, but also the night vision problems from the glare and haloes associated with cataracts. What is much more important than the vision loss itself is the negative impact on a person’s quality of life. Recent research published in Acta Ophthalmologica studied the effect of patient quality before and after having cataract surgery. The researchers compared patients with no known cataracts of the same age, health and lifestyle to those who had cataracts before and after cataract surgery. When compared with the general population, cataract patients had much lower health-related quality of life (HRQoL) than those without cataracts as measured by five dimensions: seeing, moving, hearing, performing their usual activities, and general discomfort and symptoms. Then at 12 months after cataract surgery there was significant improvement in the quality of life index (HRQoL) across these same dimensions. While this seems obvious, it is a reminder that cataracts and vision loss affect more than just vision and a reason to avoid suffering if you feel that your vision might be impacting your quality of life.

If you or someone you know suspects or has been told they have a cataract and would like to learn more about cataract surgery and lens implants, please call please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ 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, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, June 20, 2016

Eye Problems from Medications

About Medications and Eye Problems
Did you know that a number of medications for various health problems can cause eye problems? If you get any new prescription filled you should be aware of whether it can have any eye or vision side effects by itself or in combination with other prescribed medications, other over the counter (OTC) meds, or even supplements you might purchase. Medications can have a variety of effects on your eyes, ranging from minor, temporary issues such as blurred vision to permanent damage. Here are some things to know about medications and your eyes.

Which Drugs Pose the Most Risk?
Some medications that stand out when it comes to causing eye and vision problems include: Corticosteroids-People take steroids for a range of conditions, from asthma and allergies to arthritis and skin conditions. But whether in cream or pill form, steroids can cause swelling in the back of the eye or retina and can potentially even lead to glaucoma and/or cataracts. Even an over the counter spray for allergies such as Flonase® comes with risks.

  • Antihistamines-They may fight allergies, but they also can raise certain patients’ risk for glaucoma. Even over the counter antihistamines can be trouble for those who are at risk for some types of glaucoma.
  • Mental Health Medications-Medications such as Thorazine and Mellaril, used as antipsychotic treatments, can be toxic to your retina. A number of antidepressants such as Prozac, Paxil, Celexa and Tofranil may put certain individuals at risk for angle closure glaucoma.
  • Anti-Malaria & Anti-Arthritic Medications-Medications such as Chloroquine, under the brand name Plaquenil, which is used to treat malaria but also Lupus and some forms of arthritis can have toxic effects on the retina.
What to Watch For with New Medications
If you get a new prescription or even start a new OTC medication, be aware of anything that causes pain to the eyes, or distorted or blurred vision. If you do experience a problem, talk to the doctor who prescribed the medication. Don’t stop the medication without your doctor’s advice. They’ll want to assess whether the medication is the likely culprit-and sometimes the benefits outweigh the side effects. Always read the warning labels, too- especially if you have a condition such as glaucoma or diabetes. A variety of medications have warnings that patients with glaucoma shouldn’t take them.

There are many other drugs that can have eye side effects and may increase your risk of complications if you need eye surgery. During your eye exam, be sure to ALWAYS tell us if you are taking ANY medications whether prescribed or purchased over the counter (OTC) as well as any supplements or vitamins you are taking. Also, if you or someone you know is taking any medication with known side effects as listed above, or is at risk for glaucoma or has diabetes, it is important to schedule a routine eye exam. Please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ 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, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Treatment of Lazy Eye or Amblyopia


Treatment of Amblyopia
The best results are always achieved if the treatment of amblyopia is started as early as possible. If necessary, children with refractive errors such as nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism can wear glasses or contact lenses when they are as young as one week old. Children with cataracts or other “amblyogenic” conditions need to be treated promptly in order to minimize the development of amblyopia. One of the most important treatments of amblyopia is correcting the refractive error with consistent use of glasses and/or contact lenses. Other mainstays of amblyopia treatment include cataract removal to provide as clear an image as possible for the lazy eye; as well as forcing the child to use the lazy eye by patching or by blurring the better seeing-eye with eye drops. Eye drops are used to “penalize” the good eye and force the use of the weaker or amblyopic eye. We may be able to use eye drops instead of patching when the amblyopia is not very bad or when a child is unable to wear the patch as recommended. For mild to moderate degrees of amblyopia, studies have shown that patching or eye drops may be just about equally effective. Generally, we start to see improvements in vision within weeks of treatment however for optimal results it will be necessary to continue treatment for many months.

In some cases, treatment for amblyopia isn’t successful and, while it is difficult to stop treatment, it is recommended when there hasn’t been any measured benefit after a certain period time. Children who have amblyopia in one eye and good vision only in their other eye can wear safety glasses and sports goggles to protect the normal eye from injury. As long as the good eye stays healthy, these kids can and do function normally in most aspects of their lives.


If you or someone you know has questions or concerns about the treatment of amblyopia or needs a kids eye exam, please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, visiting Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ 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, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Back Surgery and Vision Loss


About Vision Loss from Back Surgery
What does having back surgery have to do with vision loss? According to neurosurgeons who perform spine surgery, one of the risks of spine surgery is post-operative vision loss (POVL). When operating on the spine, a rare but potentially devastating complication of lumbar spine surgery is indeed POVL, of three types that seems to be increasing in frequency. These include one type called ischemic optic neuropathy (ION) which occurs due to restricted blood flow to the optic nerve, another is called central retinal artery occlusion (CRAO) which is due to a blockage in the main artery that supplies the retina with oxygen and nutrients and third is called cortical blindness (CB) most likely due to some blockage in the visual cortex of the brain that is responsible for “seeing.” These complications are quite rare but the risks can occur when there are very long operation times, in patients who have a difficult time being positioned on the operating table and especially in those that are obese. Neurosurgeons take many preoperative and intraoperative precautions to avoid these complications which, except for an unusual event, are successful in avoiding vision loss.

However, if you or someone you know is having or has had back or spine surgery, please be aware that any change in your vision should immediately be reported to your neurosurgeon and you eye doctor so as to prevent vision loss. If you would like more information or have concerns please call Baltimore Washington Eye Center at 800-495-3937, or visit Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Google+ 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, 2391 Brandermill Blvd., Suite 200, Gambrills, Maryland 21061 and Turf Valley Town Center, 11089 Resort Road, Suite 206, Ellicott City, Maryland 21042, serving the greater Baltimore and Washington, D.C. area.