A Clearer View

Latest treatment options and news about cataracts, dry eye syndrome and other eye care topics.

5 Best Holiday Gifts for People Who Wear Glasses

by Damion Wasylow 5 December 2017 12:06 PM

eyeglasses wearing santa opens a present
It’s the holiday season, and for most people, that means going online or running to the mall to frantically shop for gifts. Selecting the right presents for family and friends is a whole lot easier with a little inspiration, and we’re here to help. If someone on your gift list wears eyeglasses, they’re sure to love one of these five holiday presents.

5. Car Clip

Many eyeglasses wearers have alternate glasses for driving. That means each time they get in the car, they have to take one pair off and put the other pair on. Without a sturdy eyeglasses holder for the car, it’s likely the off-pair will land on the dash or the passenger seat where they are certain to be destroyed. Eyeglass holders for the car are generally pretty inexpensive, including models that conveniently clip on to the sun visor.

4. Stylish Case

A quality pair of eyeglasses deserves the protection and good looks of a stylish case. There are literally thousands of material, texture, color and pattern combinations to choose from. A hard case is often a smart choice, as it delivers a higher level of protection. Think about your friend or loved one’s style preferences to find the right design for him or her. 

3. E-reader

Is your friend also a reader? Then it’s highly likely he or she would love a new e-reader. One of the most popular on the market is Amazon’s Kindle Paperwhite. It’s great for people who wear eyeglasses because, unlike a traditional book, the reader can adjust the size of the text. It also limits glare better than other mobile screens, so it’s perfect for reading outdoors. 

2. Cleaning Kit

Eyeglasses require daily cleaning, so this is something literally every eyeglasses wearer needs. Too often, people just wipe off their glasses on their shirt or a nearby paper towel. These techniques can scratch the lenses, leaving permanent damage. A good eyeglasses cleaning kit should include lens cleaning solution and at least one microfiber lens cloth. Proper lens care can greatly extend the life of your friend’s eyeglasses. 

1. A North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care Gift Card

Sometimes, the best gifts are those we let friends pick out themselves. With a gift card for our practice, the eyeglass wearer in your life will be able to select exactly what their eyes need most. Just stop by one of our optical shops to purchase your gift card. We have two convenient Gainesville optical locations: on the corner of NW 8th Avenue and 43rd Street, and in Tioga Town Center.

We hope to see you soon.

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How to Tell if Your Child Needs Glasses

by Damion Wasylow 3 December 2017 03:52 AM

eyeglasses-wearing-child-smiling-outside
Children aren’t likely to tell you if they’re experiencing vision problems. If they’ve dealt with these issues their whole lives, they may not even realize their vision is abnormal. That makes it imperative for you to watch out for the warning signs of potential vision challenges, and include regular eye exams as part of your child’s medical routine. 

Here are five warning signs that should lead you to take your child to a local eye care practice for a comprehensive eye exam…

Covering One Eye or Tilting the Head

Covering one eye is likely your child’s way of trying to eliminate the blurred vision of one eye from impacting the other eye. It could also be an attempt to adjust for misalignment of the eyes. Likewise, tilting the head may be done to change the angle of vision in order to compensate for eye alignment issues such as amblyopia, also known as lazy eye, which impacts 2-3% of children.

Squinting

Squinting is a subconscious attempt to improve visual focus. Your child may not even be aware they’re doing it. It’s often a sign of a refractive error such as myopia (nearsightedness), hyperopia (farsightedness) and astigmatism, all of which result in blurred vision. Squinting may allow your child to temporarily improve focus, but it does more harm than good.

Sitting Too Close to the TV

Sitting too close to the TV or holding books or handheld devices close to the face could be an indication your child has difficulty seeing clearly when things are farther away. This could be the result of myopia (nearsightedness). Roughly 30% of Americans are affected by myopia. 

Trouble Concentrating

Some parents misdiagnose vision problems as ADHD, as the symptoms can sometimes be similar. Children with vision challenges often have difficulty concentrating because they can’t see the necessary content in order to follow along. For children with vision problems, switching from textbook to chalkboard in the classroom can cause both frustration and physical discomfort. 

Recurring Headaches or Eye Pain

Headaches and eye pain can be triggered by any number of factors, including in some cases, vision problems. Frequent after-school headaches or headaches after reading could be an indication of asthenopia, commonly known as eye strain. This could be the result of an eye muscle imbalance or it could point to the need for glasses to correct nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

Early diagnosis of vision problems is critical for improving your child’s overall quality of life, in the classroom and beyond. Even without symptoms, the Mayo Clinic recommends a comprehensive eye exam between the ages of three and five. If everything is clear, follow up with exams every one to two years throughout adolescence. 

To schedule your child’s comprehensive eye exam, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.

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How to Gently Tell a Loved One It’s Time for an Eye Exam

by Damion Wasylow 28 November 2017 13:36 PM

man talking with wife over coffee
Some people can be pretty sensitive about the possibility of vision loss. They may see it as a sign of aging, a clear indication they’re not as young as they used to be. In some cases, this can lead to denial, and lack of treatment. Failure to address vision loss, however, robs your loved one of precious moments, and can lead to frustrations for everyone around.

If you notice signs of vision loss in a loved one, try these tips to gently encourage him to schedule an eye exam. 

Schedule an exam for yourself

Even if you don’t have any discernable signs of vision loss, regular eye exams should be part of your healthcare regimen. Scheduling your own eye exam will provide a good opportunity to bring up the topic of eye care with your loved one. Consider inviting him along for your exam. Seeing firsthand what’s involved with the exam and how friendly and professional the environment is may help to overcome some roadblocks. 

Try a little flattery

If ego is part of what’s preventing your loved one from admitting his likely vision problems, try using that to your advantage. Casually comment about how handsome you think certain glasses-wearing celebrities are on TV and in movies. When you’re out together, compliment friends and acquaintances on their eyeglasses, and suggest how dapper your loved one might look in a similar pair. Don’t be disingenuous, just point out that many people truly look great in a fashionable pair of eyeglasses.

Resort to honesty

A frank, yet compassionate, expression of your concern may ultimately have the biggest impact. Start by telling him how thankful you are to have him in your life. Then, specify the warning signs that lead you to believe a comprehensive eye exam could be worthwhile. If your loved one doesn’t relent at this point, let it go…for a while. Revisit the topic in a few weeks, with the same compassion. Eventually, he will either concede and schedule an exam, or sadly, he’ll continue missing out on some of the best things in life. At the end of the day, it’s his vision and his choice. 

When the time does come to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, we hope you will consider North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. Our talented eye care team will take great care of your loved one and provide a treatment plan that helps bring the world back into focus.

Contact us today at 352-373-4300.

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Dr. Snodgrass Listed as One of Gainesville’s Top Three Eye Doctors

by Damion Wasylow 30 October 2017 09:03 AM

podium for first second third place winners
ThreeBestRated.com included our own Dr. Gregory Snodgrass in their recently released list of Gainesville’s three best eye doctors. This praise comes as no surprise to his patients or to those who have worked with him. Dr. Snodgrass has been a fixture in the Gainesville medical community for 30 years, improving the vision of thousands of patients, and earning the respect of his peers.

ThreeBestRated evaluates multiple categories of local goods and services providers, including healthcare. The site’s staff handpicks the top three providers in each category using their “50-Point Inspection,” which includes checks on each provider’s reputation, history, complaints, ratings, satisfaction, trust, cost and general excellence, among other criteria.

dr gregory snodgrassRegarding Dr. Snodgrass, ThreeBestRated quoted one reviewer as saying he, “did a great job removing my cataracts, inserting lenses and providing diligent after-care. As a scientist myself, I respect his knowledge and technical expertise. As a patient, I appreciate his friendliness and concern for my vision and well-being.”

Dr. Snodgrass earned his medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine, and completed his internship and Ophthalmology Residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University. As reflected by his inclusion in the list of Gainesville’s Best Eye Doctors, Dr. Snodgrass is known as one of the area's premier ophthalmologists, combining advanced skills with state-of-the-art technology to deliver outstanding results.

Dr. Snodgrass specializes in traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery, and is adept at all phases of comprehensive eye care, including vision assessment, treatment of dry eye syndrome, diabetic retinopathy, blepharitis, glaucoma, age related macular degeneration and more. 

His credentials and accomplishments led to an invitation to join the prestigious International Association of HealthCare Professionals (IAHCP) and to his biography being published in The Leading Physicians of the World, a journal that “selects and documents biographies of medicine’s brightest minds.”

If you’re experiencing vision challenges, Dr. Snodgrass may be able to help. Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule your initial consultation.

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Are Eye Drops Enough for Dry Eyes?

by Damion Wasylow 2 October 2017 09:52 AM

woman-waking-up-with-sore-eyes
If you suffer from dry eyes, you know how physically painful and emotionally irritating the condition can be. The stinging, scratchiness, excess tearing and other symptoms of dry eye syndrome are enough to make you not want to get out of bed in the morning.

You need relief, but how can you get it? Simple over-the-counter eye drops may suffice for some people, but others require more comprehensive treatment for dry eye syndrome.

Causes of Dry Eye Syndrome

Many people head straight for the vision care aisle of their local drug store when their eyes start hurting. They presume a little moisture in the form of artificial tears eye drops will relieve the burning, grittiness and redness they self-diagnose as dry eye. While these eye drops can indeed provide temporary relief for some patients, they don’t correct any of the root causes of dry eye syndrome.

Your eyes have a thin moisture layer on the surface. To remain healthy, that moisture has to be in sufficient quantity and composed of the right mix of mucus, saline (salt water) and oils. Factors including age, gender, medications, environment and medical conditions can disrupt the normal, healthy flow and ratio of these elements. When they’re out of balance, you experience dry eyes.

Diagnosing and Treating Dry Eyes

Selecting the best treatment method for your specific dry eye cause and symptoms requires special diagnosis by a trained eye care professional. A comprehensive dry eye examination may include testing the composition of your eyes’ moisture layer, checking how well your eyes seal when closed, screening for certain protein markers in your tears and evaluating the meibomian glands that run along your eyelids, among other tests.

Once properly diagnosed, your eye care provider will recommend a course of treatment. Over-the-counter or prescription eye drops may very well be part of your dry eye treatment plan. Your treatment plan may also include things like LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation, Cliradex Complete or Prokera Slim. These specialty in-office procedures are designed to help treat the causes of your dry eye discomfort.

The Dry Eye Center for Excellence at North Florida Cataract Specialist and Vision Care is a leader in diagnosis and treatment of dry eye syndrome. Our specially trained staff help relieve patients’ dry eye pain every day. Contact us today at 352-373-4300 to schedule your dry eye consultation.

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3 Tips to Improve Your Overall Eye Health

by Damion Wasylow 2 October 2017 09:43 AM

child-eating-carrots-for-eye-health
Few things in life are more precious than your eyesight. For most people, it’s hard to imagine never again seeing the smile on a child’s face or the hues of a glowing sunrise. So, what can you do to protect your eye health? Following these three tips will give you the best chance to maintain great vision throughout your life. 

1. Eat Well

Mom was right when she told you that eating carrots was good for your eyes. Carrots are rich in a red-orange pigment called beta-carotene, which the human body converts into vitamin A. Maintaining a healthy vitamin A level helps prevent cataracts, macular degeneration and blindness, among other eye conditions. 

Of course, carrots aren’t the only foods that promote eye health. Leafy greens like kale and spinach provide antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. Oily fish like tuna and salmon deliver a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Nuts and beans contribute vitamins E and A. Citrus and berries provide critical vitamin C. Collectively, these foods give your body many of the key nutrients for eye health.

2. Quit Smoking

The eyes are included on the long list of body parts adversely affected by smoking. Smoking increases your risk for cataracts, glaucoma and age-related macular degeneration. It also increases your chances of developing diabetic retinopathy and uveitis, a condition affecting the middle layer of the eye. Smoking can also worsen dry eye symptoms for smokers, and for anyone exposed to secondhand smoke.

3. Visit Your Eye Doctor

Regular eye exams are a critical part of maintaining eye health. Many eye diseases don’t show symptoms until they’re fairly advanced. Identifying and diagnosing these conditions early can allow you and your doctor to enact a treatment plan to help you maintain your vision quality.

In addition to vision challenges, an eye exam can uncover other undiagnosed health issues. Brain tumors, diabetes and high cholesterol may all be identified through the course of a comprehensive eye exam.

Your eyes are too important to take for granted. By taking just a few simple steps, you can improve your chances of maintaining quality vision for the rest of your life.

If it’s time you had a comprehensive eye exam, contact us today at 352-373-4300. At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we offer convenient hours at our locations in Gainesville, Tioga Town Center and Lake City. We hope to see you soon.

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Contact Lenses and Teens: A Good Fit?

by Damion Wasylow 5 September 2017 09:19 AM

teenager-wearing-contact-lenses
Being a teenager is never easy. Even the most self-confident teen sometimes feels out of place, or worries he won’t be accepted for one reason or another. These types of concerns often cause teenagers to feel uncomfortable wearing eyeglasses, and lead them to want to try contact lenses as an alternative. But are contact lenses and teens a good fit? 

Truth is, contacts are a perfectly viable means of vision correction for many teens. In fact, thousands of teens across the United States wear contact lenses every day. Contact lenses are designed to address a variety of vision needs, from nearsightedness and farsightedness to astigmatism and more.

Wearing contacts can also help a teenager feel more attractive, and even make him more outgoing. Contact lenses also have practical benefits for teens involved in sports or extracurricular events, as they won’t fog up, slide down your child’s nose or break from a collision. When necessary, contacts also allow your child to easily wear protective goggles or non-prescription sunglasses.

A few years ago, researchers from multiple colleges of optometry published the results of their Contact Lenses in Pediatrics (CLIP) study, examining the impact of wearing contact lenses on 85 teenagers. 73% of teens reported receiving positive feedback from peers as a result of their switch to wearing contacts. 65% reported wearing contacts improved their performance in activities. Researchers also found no serious adverse effects on participants from wearing contact lenses.

There’s no specific age at which contacts become suitable for young people, but many eye care professionals suggest waiting until somewhere between ages 11-14. The biggest factor is your child’s individual responsibility level. Is he or she ready to handle the maintenance routine required to wear contacts? Thankfully, the CLIP study reported 89% of teens found it easy to clean and take care of their lenses.

If you and your child are ready to take the next step towards switching to contacts, schedule a consultation with North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. Our optometrists and opticians will craft the ideal prescription to help your teen see – and look – his very best.

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Is There Pain After Cataract Surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 5 September 2017 09:13 AM

grandparents-reading-to-grandchildren
Pain. As human beings, we understandably avoid it whenever possible. Sometimes, however, the fear of pain is so powerful that even the possibility causes us to neglect important aspects of our health. Fear of painful recovery is one reason many people put off surgeries, including cataract surgery. But here’s a little secret…recovery from cataract surgery is often 100% pain-free.

Cataract surgery has come a long way in recent years, particularly with the advent of laser-assisted cataract surgical methods. With laser-assisted cataract surgery, recovery is generally pain-free, with few, if any side effects.

Here’s how it works…

You’ll start with a consultation with your ophthalmologist to evaluate the progression of your cataract symptoms. Together, you’ll decide if the time is right for surgery, and if traditional or laser-assisted surgery is right for you.

Assuming you opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery, you will arrive at the eye surgery center on your scheduled day and receive a local anesthetic. Inside the surgical suite, the doctor will use the laser-assisted surgery system to scan and map the details of your eye(s). The doctor then uses a laser to make a tiny, precise incision in the eye lens. The old cataract-affected lens is broken up and removed, and a new artificial lens implant is put back in its place. The entire procedure is completely pain-free and generally requires just 10-15 minutes.

Immediately after the procedure, nurses will make you comfortable in a recovery room. Then, typically after just 30-60 minutes, you are released for someone to drive you home. Many patients report improved vision before even leaving the surgery center.

Patients are generally recommended to wear an eye shield off-and-on for up to a few days. Common short-term side effects include some cloudy or blurred vision, and potentially some redness. The risk of more serious side effects is less than 0.5%, making cataract surgery one of the safest procedures in the country.

The really great news is cataract surgery is a permanent fix for cataracts. Your cataracts cannot come back.

So, if concerns about pain have prevented you from correcting your cataracts, fear no more. Contact Dr. Gregory Snodgrass at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today to schedule your consultation.

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Comparing Gainesville Eye Doctors

by Damion Wasylow 24 July 2017 13:08 PM
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One of the great things about our community is the access we enjoy to world-class healthcare. That extends beyond our hospitals to the local physicians who keep you healthy every day. Included in this is our area’s excellent selection of eye care practices. But with so many talented physicians to choose from, how can you select the best one for you?

Here are four criteria to consider when comparing Gainesville eye doctors…

1. Experience

Experience matters in most areas of life, and especially in healthcare. Experienced physicians have simply seen more, providing additional insights to diagnose and treat your vision needs. Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has been a practicing eye physician in our community for 30 years, and performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries. He’s well known as one of the area’s finest ophthalmologists, and was even invited to join the prestigious International Association of Healthcare Professionals.

2. Services

A comprehensive eye care practice can treat the whole family, providing everything from regular eye exams and complete optical services to treatment of eye diseases and even eye surgery. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care provides patients access to the full scope of eye care services. While not every patient needs every service, many find it reassuring to know their eye doctor can continually care for their changing vision needs.

3. Facilities

Is your eye doctor’s office stuffy and uncomfortable, or modern and inviting? Most people prefer the latter. A great eye practice office should make you feel right at home, and also be equipped with state-of-the-art technology to provide you the best diagnosis and treatment. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care has three beautiful locations in Gainesville and Lake City, including our newest office on NW 8th Avenue and NW 43rd Street.

4. Staff

Just as important as the eye doctor him- or herself are the people who work with you from the moment you walk in the practice door. From the receptionist to your optometrist, it’s important to find a place where the staff goes out of their way to put your needs first. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care’s staff are happy to answer questions and explain your eye care options. You won’t find a more dedicated team anywhere.

If you’re looking for a new eye physician, or just want a second opinion on an existing diagnosis, we would love to meet you. Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.

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Tests Performed During a Comprehensive Eye Exam: A Closer Look

by Damion Wasylow 3 July 2017 09:44 AM

patient-during-complete-eye-exam
Depending on your overall health and any pre-existing conditions, eye care professionals generally recommend you have a comprehensive eye exam every few years, with increasing frequency as you age. A comprehensive eye exam is much more thorough than a simple vision screening, evaluating eye function and complete eye health, as well as the quality of your vision. This requires your eye doctor to perform a series of tests, including, but not limited to:

Visual Acuity

Visual acuity is a measure of how clearly you see things. You will be asked to read letters from a chart while standing a set distance away. Most people are familiar with this test. Picture the white chart of letters with a big “E” at the top and lines of smaller letters moving down the chart. The smaller the letters you can read, the better your visual acuity. 

Refraction Test

Refraction tests are used to evaluate nearsightedness, farsightedness and astigmatism, among other things. This test should also be pretty familiar to most people. You will be asked to look into a specialized instrument called a phoropter. Inside, you’ll see an image. The doctor will make an adjustment and ask if the adjustment made the image more or less clear for you. You’ll likely be asked, “Number one, or number two? Number one, or number two?”

Pupillary Reactions

Pupillary reactions are the reflexive way your pupils (the black center of your eye) behave to changes in incoming light. Your pupils should dilate (become smaller) as the doctor shines a light into your eyes and expand when the light is taken away. 

Extraocular Movements

Extraocular movements reflect the function of the muscles that control the motion of your eyes. This is another non-invasive test, in which the doctor will ask you to focus on a pen or other small object as he or she moves it in front of your eyes.

Confrontation Visual Fields

Confrontation visual fields is a measure of the breadth of your field of vision, i.e. the extent of the area your eyes allow you to see. While sitting in front of you, your eye doctor will extend his or her arm out to the side with one finger raised. You will cover one eye. The doctor will then slowly bring his or her hand back to the center, asking you to say when you can see the finger. 

Cover Test

A cover test helps the doctor evaluate how well your eyes work together. You will be asked to cover one eye and focus on a nearby or far away object. The doctor will then watch as you uncover the eye to see how quickly the second eye joins in focusing on the object.

If it’s been a while since you had a comprehensive eye exam, it’s probably time to schedule an appointment. We hope you choose North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. With offices in Gainesville and Lake City, our physicians and staff provide outstanding service for all your eye care needs.

Call us today at 352-373-4300.

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