A Clearer View

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

What Kind of Doctor Performs Cataract Surgery?

by 352admin 11 April 2016 12:55 PM

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Cataract surgery is a delicate procedure performed by a specially trained ophthalmologist, preferably one with years of experience. Ophthalmologists undergo years of advanced training to master the tools and techniques that produce successful cataract surgery results.

Like all physicians, ophthalmologists must first earn their medical degree (M.D.). They then gain specialized experience through a three-year residency in ophthalmology, the medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of eye diseases and the overall visual system. That residency is followed by a one-year internship.

Gainesville Eye Physicians ophthalmologist Dr. Gregory Snodgrass received his bachelor’s degree from the West Virginia Institute of Technology before going on to earn his medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He completed his residency and internship at Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University, where he served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries since moving to Gainesville in 1987 and becoming a partner in Gainesville Eye Physicians. With nearly 30 years of experience, he is known as one of the area’s premier eye surgeons. As such, he was recently invited to join the International Association of HealthCare Professionals (IAHCP), a community of elite healthcare providers.

Dr. Snodgrass was the area’s first surgeon to use the LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery system. LenSx allows Dr. Snodgrass to precisely map the surfaces of the eye and make more exact incisions than traditional surgical methods. And because it requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens, LenSx cataract surgery reduces side effects and speeds recovery. This completely bladeless and pain-free cataract surgery option is increasingly popular with Gainesville Eye patients.

When selecting the right surgeon for your cataract treatment, it’s important to do your homework. Only trust your eyes to a physician with the best credentials and proven experience. You’ll want to ask several questions, and be sure your doctor and his staff take time to talk through all the implications of cataract surgery.

With locations in Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City and Melrose, Gainesville Eye Physicians serves patients throughout North Central Florida. Contact us today for a comprehensive cataract evaluation or just to ask questions. We’re here to help you achieve a clearer view.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Cataract Surgery

by 352admin 4 April 2016 13:31 PM
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As North Central Florida’s leading cataract specialist, we talk to hundreds of patients about cataracts and treatment options each year. Often, they have very similar questions, and we’re happy to help answer them. If you’re concerned about cataracts, reading this article is a good first step. Then, schedule a consultation with Gainesville Eye Physicians to diagnose your vision needs and determine if cataract surgery is right for you.

Q: What are cataracts?

Cataracts occur when a clouding of the eye lens prevents light from being properly focused onto the retina. When this happens, vision can be highly impaired or rendered virtually non-existent. Most cataracts develop as a result of age, but other factors including injury, genetics, sunlight, medications, alcohol and smoking can also contribute. Read more.

Q: What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Most patients first notice cloudy or blurred vision that initially impacts just a limited portion of their sight. Double vision is another early cataract symptom. More advanced cataracts are often characterized by lens discoloration, causing the patient to see the world through a brown or yellow film. Light sensitivity, glare, halos and double vision are also cataract symptoms. Read more.

Q: How do I know when it’s time to get a cataract screening?

If you’re experiencing any combination of the symptoms described above, or if any one symptom is negatively impacting your quality of life, it’s time to get a cataract screening. As a natural part of aging, cataract screening should also be included as part of regular annual eye exams for older individuals. By age 80, more than half of all Americans have experienced cataracts. Read more.

Q: Are cataracts treatable?

Yes. Cataracts can be treated, and your sight restored, potentially making your vision better than before you had cataract symptoms. The key is accurate diagnosis and timely treatment from an experienced ophthalmologist. Read more.

Q: Is surgery the only effective treatment option for cataracts?

Yes, surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. Cataracts permanently damage the natural lens, making surgically replacing it with an artificial lens the only way to restore a patient’s vision. There are no known medications or supplements that will prevent or cure cataracts. Read more.

Q: What are my cataract surgery options?

Most patients can choose between traditional or laser-assisted cataract surgery. In either case, the physician makes an incision in the eye, breaks up the affected lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. The biggest difference is that with laser-assisted surgery, the procedure is far more precise and requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens, resulting in less trauma to the eye. That translates to faster, pain-free recovery. Read more.

Q: What are the benefits of LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery?

The LenSx system captures high-resolution images to map the eye and provide the surgeon detailed measurements, delivering significantly more accuracy than traditional procedures. With LenSx, a computer-guided laser replaces traditional surgical blades, making cataract surgery completely pain-free. LenSx delivers better vision and faster healing. Read more.

Q: What is recovery like after cataract surgery?

Your vision may be temporarily blurred, but generally improves within a few days. Many patients who choose laser-assisted cataract surgery report improved vision almost immediately. Regardless of surgery type, some patients experience short-term grittiness, redness or irritation, residual halos, faint floaters and/or discharge. You will be prescribed eye drops and a protective shield to help these symptoms pass quickly with proper care. Read more.

Contact Dr. Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians today to schedule a consultation.


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Cataract Surgery – Laser vs Traditional

by 352admin 7 October 2015 11:20 AM

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If you or someone you love suffers from cataracts, you’re probably wondering which surgery option is best, laser-assister cataract surgery or traditional. At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we offer patients both options. Here’s what you should know…

Procedure

With conventional (traditional) cataract surgery, the physician makes an incision by hand, relying on his experience, expertise and steady hand to cut a perfect slit in the cornea. He then inserts a small probe to break up the affected lens using ultrasonic energy. A second probe vacuums out the resulting pieces. An artificial intraocular lens is inserted through the incision and manually moved into position. Stitches are applied to close the incision. Weeks later, during a return visit, those stitches are removed.

With LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery, micro-imaging cameras map the surface of the eye. The surgeon uses this data to pinpoint the best location for the corneal incision. A computer-guided laser makes a cut significantly more accurate than even the most sure-handed surgeon. LenSx then uses less than half as much ultrasonic energy to dissolve the lens. After the broken up pieces of lens are removed, the computer guides an injector through the original incision to precisely place the replacement lens. The incision is self-sealing, so no stitches are required.

Recovery

Traditional cataract surgery patients are generally released to go home within a few hours of the procedure. Side effect variety and severity vary depending on how well the surgery is performed and whether any complications develop during surgery. In most cases, patients experience some discomfort in and around the eye for a few days. During this time, patients may also notice blurred vision, a feeling of grittiness, mild headache and itchy or sticky eye.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery and recovery are pain-free. As mentioned prior, the LenSx system requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens. This results in less trauma to the eye and fewer trauma-related side effects. Patients often report improved vision before even leaving the recovery room.

Cost

Laser-assisted surgery generally costs patients a few hundred dollars more per eye than traditional cataract surgery. After all, the state-of-the-art hardware and software necessary to perform laser surgery cost eye care practices hundreds of thousands of dollars. While the additional cost of laser-assisted surgery is rarely covered by health insurance, most surgeons and patients agree it is well worth it for the benefits of reduced side effects and improved recovery time.

Schedule your consultation with Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract surgery needs and options. We will work with you to find the right treatment for your lifestyle and budget.

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3 Things to Look for in a Cataract Surgeon

by 352admin 4 August 2015 12:48 PM

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Any type of eye surgery can be scary for a prospective patient. After all, these are your eyes we’re talking about, arguably the most sensitive part of the human body. Beyond being physically sensitive, the eyes provide our windows to the world. So, when it’s time for you to consider cataract surgery, you need to know the physician you choose is among the very best.

Taking these three areas into account will help you select the right physician for your cataract surgery needs.

Experience

Cataract surgery is delicate work, requiring expert touch to deliver ideal results. Look for a surgeon who has done multiple cataract surgeries – not dozens, but thousands. Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries. His experience gives him insight into the best ways to reduce trauma and speed healing. It also prepares him for any unforeseen challenges with your specific surgery. Odds are, if it can happen, he has seen it, and he knows how to address it.

Technology

Cataract surgery has come a log way through the years. Traditional surgical methods have largely been replaced by laser-assisted cataract surgery. Gainesville Eye Physicians uses the LenSx laser cataract system to deliver the most accurate surgical care available. The LenSx system allows the physician to map the eye in advance in order to make precise incisions. It also enables the surgeon to use as little ultrasonic energy as absolutely necessary to break up the cloudy lens and remove it. In most cases, the result is less recovery time and rapidly enhanced vision. Many patients report improved vision before even leaving the recovery room.

Compassion

No one likes feeling like they’re on an assembly line, especially when it comes to healthcare. You deserve to know your health, wellbeing and happiness are important to the doctor and his staff. At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, every patient is listened to, and we take time to answer your questions. We’re never in a rush to get you out the door, because we know that proper eye care can be a life changing experience. Dr. Snodgrass and his team are eager to get to know you and learn about your specific vision problems. And then solve them. Your needs come first at our practice.

If you need cataract care, or just think you may have a cataract issue, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today.

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Cataract Symptoms and Treatment with the LenSx Laser

by 352admin 7 March 2015 12:19 PM

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Developing cataracts can be incredibly frustrating. Early on, their impact on vision is limited, but the condition inevitably grows worse over time. Without treatment, cataracts effectively rob patients of their vision.

So, how do you know if you or someone you love is developing cataracts, and what cataract treatment option is best? Let’ start with a list of some common cataract symptoms.

Cloudy or blurred vision –This will likely impact only a small area of vision at first. Your vision may be blurry when looking one direction but not another. Eventually, however, it will take over your entire field of view.

Double vision –Double vision is a dangerous early symptom for cataract patients. It can produce balance issues that can result in falls or hazardous driving.

Lens discoloration –Patients with lens discoloration notice that colors dull, often distorted as if by a brown or yellow film. Purples and blues can be particularly difficult to see.

Light sensitivity, glare and halos –Lights (natural and synthetic) can be far too bright for people with cataracts. They can also produce uncomfortable glare or disorienting halos.

If you or a loved one is coping with any of these symptoms, see your eye care provider for a cataract screening. If you do have cataracts, ask about your treatment options, including laser cataract surgery.  

Treatment with the LenSx Laser System

Cataracts don’t go away on their own, and they can’t be cured with medications. Surgery is the only effective treatment option. So, the question that remains is whether you should choose traditional surgery or laser surgery.

At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we recommend LenSx Laser System for most patients.

LenSx laser cataract surgery has many benefits over traditional surgical methods. It’s pain-free and promotes faster recovery. Some patients report improved vision within minutes or hours, even before they leave the surgery center. LenSx is also completely bladeless and significantly more accurate than manual procedures.

Dr. Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians is one of the first eye surgeons in North Central Florida to offer the LenSx system. To find out if this amazing treatment is right for you contact our offices in Gainesville, Tioga or Melrose today

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Why LenSx® Laser Cataract Surgery is a Better Option for Patients

by 352admin 22 September 2014 11:28 AM

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Living with cataracts can be extremely frustrating, as if everything you see is through a sheet of frosted glass. The only way to clear the fog is through surgery. Cataract surgery has come a long way over the years, including new LenSx® laser technology. But what makes laser-assisted cataract surgery a better option?

THE INCISION

Traditional Cataract Surgery: The surgeon manually cuts a small incision in the cornea – the transparent layer that forms the front of the eye. Making the incision requires extreme concentration and an exceptionally steady hand. In some instances, it’s necessary to cut a larger incision which requires stitches to close. Those stitches are removed weeks later.

LenSx® Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: The LenSx® system carefully maps the eye using micro-imaging cameras to feed data into the computer. The surgeon then identifies the ideal location for the incision and programs the laser to make the perfect cut. LenSx is significantly more accurate than manual cataract surgery.

REMOVING THE BAD LENS

Traditional Cataract Surgery: A small probe is inserted through the incision. The probe emits ultrasonic waves that break up the lens. Substantial ultrasonic energy is applied to essentially liquefy the majority of lens which is then vacuumed out by the probe. A second probe is then inserted to remove the remaining pieces.

LenSx Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: The LenSx® system requires half the ultrasonic energy to break up and soften the affected lens compared to traditional methods. This means less trauma to the eye and less inflammation. That translates to pain-free surgery for the patient.

REPLACING THE LENS

Traditional Cataract Surgery: A new artificial lens, called an intraocular lens (IOL), is inserted in place of the removed lens. The IOL is usually curled up in an injector that again passes through the incision. The IOL is deposited, uncurls and settles into position.

LenSx Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: The sequence of steps is identical to traditional cataract surgery at this stage, but computer mapping ensures the IOL injector makes it smoothly through the incision and deposits the IOL in the precise position for optimal vision.

RECOVERY

Traditional Cataract Surgery: Recovery time and side effects depend largely on how well the surgery was performed, but most patients return home with a few hours of surgery. It's common to experience discomfort in and around the eye for up to a few days. Other side effects may include an itchy or sticky eye, blurred vision, a feeling of grittiness and mild headache.

LenSx Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery: The surgery and recovery are pain free. In most cases, the patient’s vision improves almost immediately after the procedure. Reduced ultrasonic energy used during a LenSx® cataract surgery reduces trauma-related side effects.

Gainesville Eye Physicians is the only practice in the greater Gainesville area to offer the LenSx® laser-assisted surgical system. Contact our offices today to discuss your cataract treatment options.  

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What to Expect After Cataract Treatment

by 352admin 22 September 2014 11:12 AM

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There are two main cataract treatment options: phacoemulsification (also known as phaco) and extracapsular. At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we use phacoemulsification, which is generally safer and far less invasive. But whichever treatment option you choose, there are some common things you can expect after your cataract is removed.

After your surgical procedure with Dr. Snodgrass, your vision will improve within just a few days. Vision may be temporarily blurred as your eye heals and adjusts to the artificial lens, but you can expect regular improvement in the days after treatment. Some patients experience improved vision almost immediately after surgery, especially those who opt for our LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery option.

LenSx surgery is completely bladeless and pain-free. The system captures high-resolution images of the eye and provides detailed measurements, allowing a computer-guided laser to make precise incisions. It’s significantly more accurate than manual procedures. It also requires less ultrasonic energy for less risk and inflammation.

Regardless of the type of surgery, some patients experience grittiness in the treated eye, and this will begin to fade during the first week following your procedure. It’s very important to use any prescribed eye drops and a protective shield during this time – these will help your eyes heal naturally and with minimal inflammation. Other common short-term side effects include:

  • Residual haloes, specks and faint floaters in vision
  • Redness and irritation
  • Discharge from the eye

These symptoms should improve quickly with proper protection and care. Generally, cataract treatment has very few side effects – just clear vision and a happier life.

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Choosing the Best Cataract Treatment Option

by 352admin 5 June 2014 07:56 AM

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If you or a loved one has cataracts, it’s important to know the facts about the treatment options available to you. Choosing the best course of treatment could dramatically improve your vision and lead to a lifetime of good eyesight.

First, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the warning signs of cataracts. While self-diagnosis is uncertain with any type of medical condition, awareness of possible symptoms such as cloudy or blurred visions, lens discoloration, light sensitivity and changes in your vision should prompt you to schedule an evaluation with an eye doctor.

If during that evaluation, the doctor diagnoses you with cataracts, the first thing to consider is the degree of cataract development. If the blurring of your vision is slight enough not to interfere with daily activities, you may only require a change to your eyewear prescription. Still, you will want to schedule regular vision check-ups to monitor their progression.

If your cataracts are interfering with your quality of life, the only way to treat them is through surgery. There are no medications, dietary changes or exercises that can reduce cataracts once their formed.

For cataract surgery, there are two options: phacoemulsification (also known as phaco) or extracapsular surgery.

Extracapsular surgery requires a sizable incision in the cornea in order to extract the core of the lens as one piece. Smaller pieces are then suctioned out through the incision.

Phaco is far more popular among physicians and patients. It requires just a small incision on the side of the cornea through which the doctor inserts a tiny probe. The lens is then broken up and softened using ultrasonic waves and the small pieces are removed using suction. The lens is replaced with an artificial lens called an intraocular lens (IOL) and the incision is closed.

At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we offer LenSx® laser-assisted phaco cataract surgery. The LenSx® system is completely bladeless, pain-free and significantly more accurate than manual cataract surgical procedures. LenSx® requires half the ultrasonic energy to break up and soften the lens so there’s less risk of inflammation. In most cases, the patient’s vision improves almost immediately after surgery.

To schedule your cataract evaluation, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical today.

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LenSx® Technology Improves Cataract Surgery Results and Recovery

by 352admin 13 March 2014 00:45 AM

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Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical now uses the LenSx® Laser System to produce amazing results and quicker recovery times for cataract patients in North Central Florida. We’re the first practice in the area to offer this state-of-the-art technology.

LenSx® delivers completely bladeless and pain-free cataract surgeries with significantly more accuracy than manual procedures. Traditional surgical blades are replaced by a computer-guided laser, producing more precise incisions. The system also captures high-resolution images of the eye and provides detailed measurements and other data Dr. Snodgrass uses to plan and perform the cataract surgery. 

For patients, the LenSx® Laser System means better vision and faster healing. The laser uses half the ultrasonic energy once needed to remove cataracts. That translates to less risk and inflammation. In most cases, the patient’s vision improves almost immediately after surgery.

Cataracts are cloudy areas in the lens of the eye that prevent light from passing, making the patient’s vision similar to looking through frosted glass. There are several warning signs for cataracts that should prompt individuals to get an eye exam including cloudy vision and lens discoloration.

Surgery is the only way a cataract can be removed. The surgeon cuts an incision in the eye, removes the natural cloudy lens and replaces it with a clear artificial lens implant.

Dr. Snodgrass, who has performed more than 20,000 such surgeries, uses this remarkable new tool to make more precise incisions than even the steadiest, most experienced hand could hope to accomplish. With LenSx®, it’s exactly right every time.

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