Baltimore Washington Eye Center, Maryland

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Seniors: Eye Exams Key to AMD Detection


Seniors: Eye Exams Key to AMD Diagnosis & Treatment
Seniors can take an important step in preventing vision loss from Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) by scheduling regular eye exams and sharing their risk factors with their eye doctor. Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is the leading cause of blindness among older Americans, but thanks to recent treatment advances we have dramatically changed the course of this disease for seniors. BUT, early detection is a critical first step to preserving vision!  

About Age Related Macular Degeneration (AMD)
In the United States, approximately 11 million Americans are affected by some type of AMD. AMD has two types, a wet type and the more common dry type. While dry AMD leads to a gradual loss of vision, wet AMD leads to faster, even catastrophic vision loss and is the most advanced form of the disease. Wet AMD is responsible for 90 percent of all AMD-related blindness. As recently as 10-12 years ago, the “wet” form of AMD was considered largely untreatable and many patients went blind. Then came the introduction of injectable anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) drugs which block formation of abnormal blood vessels under the retina that cause permanent vision loss. The usage of anti-VEGF drugs has nearly halved the incidence of AMD-related blindness in some countries.

There are several anti-VEGF drugs available that are used to treat AMD. Two of these, Lucentis® and Eylea®, were designed specifically for the treatment of AMD whereas a third drug, Avastin®), was originally developed to treat various types of cancer, but is commonly used “off-label” in patients with AMD. The recommended frequency of these injections varies from every few weeks to every few months, and duration of treatment varies case by case.
About AMD Risk Factors
Common risk factors for AMD include increasing age, family history, smoking, and blood vessel disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes. A diet high in omega-3 fatty acids (common in cold water fish) may lower risk. Seniors need to know that in its earliest stages, AMD may not have any symptoms. As it progresses, slight changes in vision may occur such as blurry or distorted vision, blank spots in vision and colors appearing less vivid or bright.

If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam, especially if you are over 50 with a family history of AMD or have other AMD risk factors, schedule an eye exam at 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.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Shirley’s Cataract Story

I would definitely recommend others to get cataract surgery and an Advanced Technology Toric Lens, the implant that corrects for astigmatism. I had this surgery and am amazed how well I can see everything so clearly. My doctor was Dr. Betancourt and (he) is a very caring doctor. Also, everyone is so courteous at the Eye Center.

-Shirley S.

If you or someone you know is experiencing cataract symptoms such as cloudy or foggy vision, glare, or difficulty with night driving and would like to learn more about cataract surgery & lens implants 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.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Inhalers: No Need to Worry!


Glaucoma, Eye Pressure & Allergy Steroid Inhalers
For certain patients, taking oral steroid medications for asthma or severe arthritis can actually elevate their intraocular pressure (IOP) and cause them to develop glaucoma. It has become very common to treat the symptoms of seasonal allergies-such as a runny nose, itching and sneezing, with Flonase® (Fluticasone) which is administered with an inhaler. In fact Flonase® inhalers are now available “over the counter” without a prescription at your local pharmacy so that you can buy them and begin treating yourself.  Is it safe to use Flonase® inhalers if you are at risk of high eye pressure and are you at even greater risk if you have ocular hypertension or already have glaucoma? According to the results of a clinical study, called the ICOUGH Study presented in the Journal of Glaucoma, there was no clinically significant increase in the average eye pressure in patients with well-controlled open-angle glaucoma and ocular hypertension after 6 weeks of twice-daily inhaled Flonase®. Thus, it is generally regarded as safe to use OTC inhalers of Flonase® without causing an increased risk of glaucoma.

If you or someone you know is concerned about their risk of glaucoma or needs to schedule an eye exam including glaucoma testing, 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.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Early Detection Critical to Treating Glaucoma

Glaucoma is a major cause of vision loss worldwide. It affects more than 3 million people in the United States with nearly half being unaware they have the disease. During January’s Glaucoma Awareness Month, the American Academy of Ophthalmology is reminding the public that early detection and treatment can help protect your sight. 

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, which transmits visual information from the retina to the brain. Typically, the disease initially has no signs or symptoms. If left untreated, glaucoma can cause irreversible blindness. 

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends that everyone have a comprehensive eye exam at age 40. This exam provides eye doctors an opportunity to carefully examine the eye including the optic nerve for signs of damage and other possible problems that may affect vision. Individuals at greater risk for developing glaucoma include people: 
·        over age 40;
·        who have a family history of glaucoma;
·        of African, Asian or Hispanic heritage;
·        who have high eye pressure detected during an eye exam;
·        who are farsighted or nearsighted;
·        who have experienced eye trauma or eye injury;
·        whose corneas are thin in the center;
·        or who have health problems such as diabetes, migraines, high blood pressure or poor blood

Early detection, diagnosis and treatment are critical to managing this disease and preventing vision loss and blindness. If you or someone you know has not had a recent eye exam and glaucoma testing please call and schedule an appointment at 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.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Glaucoma: Diet, Health & Lifestyle

As glaucoma is a chronic eye disease, we are often asked by glaucoma patients what diet, health and lifestyle factors can be helpful or harmful to their eye health. There is a need to separate fact from fiction on recommendations and yet we can all take away some useful and practical information about the effect of diet, health and lifestyle on glaucoma.

Exercise and Glaucoma
One of the typical findings in glaucoma is that patients have an elevated intraocular pressure (IOP). Results from a number of studies indicate that aerobic exercise is associated with IOP lowering and according to the findings the change is greater among sedentary individuals than those who were already active and is independent of exercise duration or intensity. So, even a little aerobic exercise has a positive impact on lowering IOP! For anyone who feels they cannot incorporate exercise into their lifestyle-any kind of movement, even walking, may be beneficial. But, the key is consistency, as you have to maintain your regimen because there is evidence that the effect of exercise on IOP does not continue when deconditioning occurs.

Diet and Glaucoma
There are many studies that suggest eating a healthy diet that includes a variety of fruits and vegetables-especially green leafy vegetables-is beneficial. This advice comes from studies showing that consumption of a diet rich in green leafy vegetables, or with a higher dietary nitrate intake (for which green leafy vegetables are an excellent source), seems to protect against glaucoma. In general there is no harm in increasing your intake of green leafy vegetables–EXCEPT for patients taking the blood thinner Coumadin® or warfarin, you need to be aware that green leafy vegetables are high in vitamin K and you should discuss any increase their green vegetable intake with your primary care doctor so that medication dosages can be adjusted if necessary.

Acupuncture and Glaucoma

Today, many patients express an interest in alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, for treating their glaucoma.  In general, according to the results of a well designed clinical study on acupuncture treatment for glaucoma in the American Journal of Ophthalmology, acupuncture is unlikely to be beneficial.