A Clearer View

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

How Early Detection of Cataracts Can Preserve Your Vision

by Damion Wasylow 23 January 2024 20:09 PM

woman consulting with cataract physician
Cataracts, a leading cause of vision loss in the United States and around the world, result from naturally-occurring protein accumulations in the eye lens. While
cataract surgery is eventually required to correct the condition, early detection can help preserve your vision for longer.

The Importance of Early Detection

Progression Monitoring: Early detection allows your eye doctor to monitor cataract progression closely and work with you to determine the optimal time for surgery.

Preventive Measures: Identifying cataracts in their initial stages may allow you to make lifestyle changes that can slow their progression, such as wearing UV-protective sunglasses or improving nutritional habits.

Better Surgical Outcomes: When cataracts are detected early, the surgery required to remove them is often simpler and more straightforward. This can result in better outcomes and a quicker recovery.

Planning Ahead: Early detection gives you time to understand your condition, discuss various treatment options with your eye doctor, and plan for any future procedures.

Early Signs of Cataracts

Early signs and symptoms of cataracts include:

  • Gradual blurring or clouding of vision

  • Increased difficulty with night vision

  • Sensitivity to light and glare

  • Needing brighter light for reading and other activities

  • Seeing "halos" around lights

  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass or contact lens prescription

Regular Eye Exams are Critical

The most effective way to detect cataracts early is through a routine comprehensive eye exam. Even if you don’t have any obvious symptoms or known vision problems, by the time you’re in your 40’s, you should have a comprehensive eye exam every 2-4 years. That frequency should increase to every 1-2 years by the time you reach age 65.

For those with a family history of eye disease or a chronic disease that may impact the eyes, like diabetes, eye exams should be more frequent. In some cases, every 3-6 months is advisable.

And, of course, it’s always wise to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor if you experience any symptoms that limit your vision or negatively affect your quality of life.

If you or someone you love is experiencing cataract symptoms, or if it’s just been a while since your last comprehensive eye exam, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment.



Comments (0)

Early Warning Signs of Glaucoma You Can't Afford to Ignore

by Damion Wasylow 13 January 2024 20:05 PM

senior man having complete eye exam
If not detected and managed early,
glaucoma can lead to irreversible vision loss. Glaucoma’s initial symptoms often go unnoticed, leading some to call it the, "silent thief of sight.” To retain your vision, it's critical to be aware of the early warning signs, so you can stay ahead of glaucoma development.

1. Gradual Loss of Peripheral Vision

Subtle yet progressive loss of peripheral (side) vision, typically occurring in both eyes, is one of the earliest glaucoma symptoms. This change happens so slowly that you might not notice it right away. Regular comprehensive eye exams are essential, as they can detect these types of changes before you're even aware of them.

2. Severe Eye Pain

One type of glaucoma, called acute angle-closure glaucoma, can produce substantial, rapid onset symptoms including severe eye pain, often accompanied by nausea and vomiting. This is a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment to prevent permanent vision loss.

3. Blurred Vision

Blurred or distorted vision, particularly in low light, can be another early warning sign of glaucoma. If your vision isn't as sharp as it once was, or if you see halos around lights, don’t take these symptoms for granted or assume they’re just part of aging. It could be glaucoma.

4. Red Eyes

While red eyes can be attributed to various causes, including allergies and fatigue, they can also be a symptom of glaucoma, especially when accompanied by other symptoms like eye pain or blurred vision.

5. Eye Pressure

A feeling of pressure or discomfort in the eyes can be a sign of increased intraocular pressure, which is a key factor in glaucoma. While this sensation isn't always noticeable, regular eye exams can measure your eye pressure and detect any abnormalities.

Sadly, glaucoma often goes unnoticed until significant vision loss occurs. The best defense is regular comprehensive eye examinations, which can detect glaucoma and other potentially dangerous eye conditions in their early stages, so you can get the treatment you need to retain your vision.

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



Comments (0)

How Age and Lifestyle Impact Cataract Development

by Damion Wasylow 14 December 2023 19:55 PM

senior man squeezing bridge of nose under glasses
More than 24 million Americans
age 40 and older develop cataracts each year, with the likelihood of developing cataracts rising dramatically after age 60. And while it’s true that cataracts often develop naturally as we age, certain lifestyle choices can place you at increased risk.


It’s well-known that smoking is bad for your lungs, but did you know it also impacts your eye health? Free radicals (unstable atoms) in cigarettes can damage your DNA, contributing to eye issues, including age-related macular degeneration, vision loss and, unfortunately, cataracts.

The World Health Organization even states that some e-cigarettes may also cause this same type of damage and increase your risk of eye cancer.

Alcohol Consumption

Studies show that heavy drinking can increase age-related cataracts. In fact, alcoholism is known to contribute to cataract development at a younger age.

While an occasional glass of wine is likely just fine, people who have more than two drinks daily are at increased risk of developing cataracts. If you drink heavily, you can add increased risk of cataracts to the long list of motivations to curb your drinking.

Sun Exposure

UV rays from the Sun can cause eye damage on a number of levels. In addition to increasing your risks for cataracts, you may experience a form of eye sunburn called photokeratitis, which will make your eyes red, painful, watery and overly sensitive to light.

One of the best things you can do to safeguard your eyes is to wear UV protective sunglasses when driving or participating in any outdoor activity for an extended period. A proper pair should be well-fitting and provide 99%+ UVA/UVB reduction.

Dietary Choices

Diet plays a major role in both your overall health and eye health. If your diet isn’t filled with good-for-you foods, you’re at a greater risk of cataracts.

Consuming proper amounts of vitamins C and E can slow cataract development. Blackberries, blueberries, avocados and mangos are just a few tasty sources of these vitamins and may also boost your immune system.

High blood sugar is another major contributor to eye-related issues, as the sugar can cause your eye’s lens to swell. This impairs vision and, if allowed to persist, increases the risk of cataracts.

If you believe you may have cataracts, or if it’s just been a while since you had a comprehensive eye exam, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

Avoiding Holiday Hazards: A Parent's Guide to Eye-Safe Gifts

by Damion Wasylow 4 December 2023 19:39 PM

smiling kids with christmas presents

The holidays are a joyful time for families, and gift-giving is part of the fun. However, when you’re checking off your gift list this year, it’s important to keep eye safety in mind.

Each year, more than 225,000 toy-related eye injuries occur in the U.S. Being mindful of the gifts you purchase can help you avoid hazards and enjoy an accident-free holiday with the kids.

Common Toy-Related Eye Injuries

Toy-related eye injuries can be mild, serious or even sight-threatening. Some of the most common injuries include:

  • Punctures
  • Bruising
  • Corneal abrasions (eye scratches)
  • Retinal detachment
  • Burns
  • Acute hyphema (blood pooling in the eye)
  • Traumatic cataracts

It’s important to seek medical attention immediately if your child suffers an eye injury. If left untreated, your child’s eyesight and eye health could be in greater jeopardy.

Toys to Avoid

When it comes to eye safety, some toys are more dangerous than others. The majority of eye injuries are caused by:

  • Toy guns or other projectiles: Today’s toy guns can shoot projectiles up to 100 feet away, often at rapid speeds. Impact with the eyes can cause serious injuries.
  • Aerosol sprays or streamers: The chemicals in these sprays can cause conjunctivitis, eye infections and burns.
  • Toys with sharp or pointed ends: Even brief contact with the sharp or pointed end of a toy can cause serious eye injuries, including eyeball lacerations.
  • Laser pointers: If pointed toward the eyes, the light intensity of laser pointers can cause temporary or even permanent vision loss.

If your child does receive one of these types of toys as a gift, you can still take steps to protect their eyes.

3 Tips for Toy Eye Safety

1. Make sure children wear eye protection when playing with toys that shoot projectiles or have pointed ends. Protective eyewear with polycarbonate lenses can help safeguard their eyes during playtime.

2. Check to make sure any laser pointers comply with applicable FDA regulations that limit the strength and wavelength of consumer laser devices. These are less likely to cause eye damage with short-term exposure.

3. Always supervise kids whenever they play with toys that have a high risk of eye injuries.

One last important tip: Make sure that all of your child’s toys are age-appropriate. Keep toys for older children away from younger children.

What are Some Safe Holiday Gift Ideas?

Fortunately, there are many great gift ideas for kids that have a much lower risk of causing eye injuries.

While tablets and screens fall into this category, it’s important to limit screen time and encourage breaks to prevent eye strain. 

Here are some other eye-safe gift ideas:

  • Educational games: Age-appropriate board games are fun, interesting and promote cognitive growth. 
  • Art supplies: Coloring books and paint sets are safe choices for kids of all ages. Older children may be interested in crafting kits, like jewelry-making.
  • Card games: These games make great gifts for older children and can even be an effective way to reduce screen time.

What if My Child Does Suffer an Eye Injury?

Even if you take all of the appropriate safety precautions, accidents can still happen. If your child does experience an eye injury from a toy, or from any other cause, seek medical attention immediately.

For acute injuries, such as those that produce blood in the eye, loss of vision, blurred vision, double vision, difficulty opening or closing one or both eyes or other critical eye traumas or vision challenges, an emergency room visit is advisable. If you are able to see a local ophthalmologist, either immediately or as a follow-up to an emergency room visit, they will likely be able to provide a more in-depth diagnosis and treatment plan.

For your family’s vision needs, during the holidays and all year long, trust the physicians and staff of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. To schedule an appointment, contact us today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

One or Both: Simultaneous vs. Sequential Cataract Surgery

by Damion Wasylow 22 November 2023 19:27 PM

senior woman covering one eye for vision test
While it’s possible to have a cataract develop in just one eye, leaving vision in the other eye completely uncompromised, most often,
cataracts develop in both eyes at around the same time. Progression of impairment, however, may differ between the two eyes.

So, if like many people, you’re experiencing cataracts in both eyes, you may wonder if it’s better to correct one or both at the same time.

Can You Get Cataract Surgery on Both Eyes at the Same Time?

Technically, yes, you canget cataract surgery done simultaneously on both eyes. While some eye surgeons follow this approach in the interest of efficiency, many experienced cataract surgeons advocate for taking the sequential route. Typically, the benefits of treating just one eye to begin with, allowing it to heal and then returning for a second surgery to correct the cataract in the other eye outweigh the desire to get everything done at once.

Benefits of Sequential Cataract Surgery

Performing cataract surgery on one eye at a time allows your surgeon to check for complications and gives you time to heal comfortably while still having use of the other eye.

Cataract surgery is one of the safest, most effective and most commonly performed surgical procedures in the U.S. and around the world. It is, however, still a surgery, and as such, there is always some level of risk for complications. Thus, it’s often best to err on the side of caution and take a more conservative approach if both cataracts must be treated.

Because cataracts develop gradually over time, it’s unlikely that both have progressed at the same rate. You may still be able to see relatively clearly out of one eye, so there may not necessarily be a need to have both eyes treated simultaneously.

Risks Associated with Simultaneous Cataract Surgery

Recovery from simultaneous cataract surgery can present more challenges. While cataract surgery patients often experience improved vision within 24-72 hours post-surgery, blurred or double vision are fairly common during that time. Your eyes may also be tender and ache somewhat during this period. During the first two days, light may also seem brighter than normal. Some patients report that their eyes are “misty” or that they feel gritty.

While these recovery symptoms are normal, they will make it too difficult to drive a vehicle or do much more than rest.

Since both eyes are experiencing the same symptoms, recovery will be more challenging. 

Because total recovery time (based on when your vision will be the clearest) can be up to four weeks, it’s often best to allow one eye the time to heal and then get surgery on the other eye.

If you or a loved one would like to learn more about your cataract surgery options, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

Diabetes and Eye Health: Understanding the Connection

by Damion Wasylow 20 November 2023 19:12 PM

young man with diabetes testing blood sugar
High blood sugar from diabetes damages blood vessels throughout the body, including the eyes, putting you at higher risk for retinopathy, 
glaucoma and cataracts. If you're part of the 11.3% of the population with diabetes, it’s important to understand how you can limit the impact these conditions can have on your overall eye health.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes can cause tiny blood vessels in your retina to bleed or leak fluid, leading to swelling of the retinal tissue. As the condition progresses, patients experience floaters, blurred vision, blank or dark areas in their vision fields, poor night vision and diminished colors.

Eventually, scar tissue resulting from these damaged blood vessels causes the retina to detach from the tissue around it, which can produce blindness, so it’s critical to diagnose and begin treating retinopathy long before this point.

While diabetic retinopathy can not be cured, proper treatment by an experienced ophthalmologist can delay the advancement of the disease. 


Diabetes increases your risk of developing glaucoma, a condition in which insufficient drainage of fluid leads to increased pressure within the eye, which in turn damages blood vessels and nerves.

With the most common form of glaucoma, known as open-angle glaucoma, patients slowly lose vision over time, often starting with their peripheral vision. When diagnosed early, open-angle glaucoma can be treated with medication to improve drainage and reduce eye pressure.


Cataracts are more prevalent overall, and at earlier ages, for people with diabetes compared to the rest of the population. Cataracts are caused by a buildup of proteins on the eye lens, which make the lens cloudy, leading to blurred vision, among other symptoms.

Cataracts inevitably worsen over time, so earlier development also means people with diabetes can expect more serious symptoms earlier in life.

Eventually, cataracts lead to blindness. The only effective treatment option is cataract surgery, during which the damaged natural lens is replaced with an artificial lens implant.

Diabetic Eye Health Advice

If you have diabetes, above and beyond working to manage your blood sugar, you should also schedule an annual eye exam. A comprehensive eye exam will allow your eye doctor to diagnose any potential conditions as early as possible. Early intervention and treatment is key to ensuring you retain your vision.

If you or someone you love has diabetes, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300. Our physicians are experts at diagnosing and treating diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts and related vision challenges, and they’re here to help you retain, and potentially even improve, your vision.



Comments (0)

The Top 5 Signs You May Need Cataract Surgery

by Damion Wasylow 13 November 2023 11:22 AM

senior man squinting to read phone
Approximately 20 million people have cataract surgery every year, making it one of the world’s most frequently performed surgical procedures. Still, some people who could benefit from cataract surgery fail to recognize common cataract signs, leading them to needlessly struggle with ongoing vision loss.

If you or someone you love experiences any of the symptoms below, particularly in combination, a comprehensive eye exam, followed by a consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist, could help you determine if cataract surgery could be right for you.

1. Blurry Vision

One of the most common symptoms of cataracts is blurry vision. Cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, which can make objects appear hazy or blurry. Initially, this blurriness may not affect your daily life, but eventually, it may become difficult to do up-close tasks, such as reading, typing on your phone, sewing and the like.

2. Light Sensitivity

As cataracts continue to cloud the eye’s natural lens, vision becomes less clear and your eyes become more sensitive to bright lights. Light sensitivity can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, including driving at night.

3. Light Halos or Glares

Seeing halos or glares around lights is a classic cataract sign. Halos and glares occur because the eyes cannot focus light into the retina. While other eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome and corneal dystrophy, can also produce this effect, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible to determine whether cataracts or another condition may be the cause.

4. Poor Night Vision

“Night blindness” is reduced or impaired vision in low-light conditions, and it’s another common sign of needing cataract surgery. More than just an inconvenience, limited night vision can present serious risks when driving, as you may not be able to see the road or oncoming traffic clearly. Even for those who don’t drive, night blindness can be dangerous, leading to increased risks for falls or accidents around the home.

5. Double Vision

Cataracts can also cause double vision, typically in just one eye. This can make a number of daily tasks difficult or even disorienting. For people with double vision, it’s important to avoid activities like cooking, driving and lifting objects until you see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment. If it turns out that cataracts are the cause, our knowledgeable eye physicians will work with you to assess their impact on your daily life and determine whether now is the right time for cataract surgery or if you may be able to wait. We’re here to help you see clearly again.



Comments (0)

Home Eye Safety for Children: 5 Essential Tips

by Damion Wasylow 8 October 2023 06:20 AM

children laughing on couch with parents
Approximately 840,000 children suffer eye injuries each year
. Many of these injuries could be prevented through a safety-first mindset and making a few simple changes to your home and routine. Follow these five tips to help protect your child’s eye health.

1. Make Sure Your Home is Well-Lit

One of the best things you can do to protect your child’s eye health is to make sure that your home is well-lit, indoors and out.

Adequate lighting is especially important around stairs, where you may want to install motion-detecting lights to ensure nighttime coverage. And don’t overlook other areas of your home, too. Ample lighting throughout the home can help kids avoid accidental contact with sharp corners on furniture and countertops or tripping over clutter.

Outdoor lighting is also important. Make sure that walkways and play areas are brightly lit. A slip and fall due to unseen hazards on a sidewalk or outdoor steps can easily lead to a child injuring their eyes.

2. Install Corner Protectors on Furniture

Children love to run in the house, and they’re rarely as careful as they should be. It’s all too easy (and common) for a toddler to stumble into the corner of a table, TV stand, dresser or other furniture and injure their eyes.

Inexpensive corner protectors or bumpers made of silicone or foam pad the sharp edges of your furniture to help prevent injuries. They’re an easy and affordable preventative measure, and they won’t damage your furniture. 

3. Keep Chemicals Out of Reach 

Many of the chemicals we keep in and around our homes, including ammonia, bleach, oven cleaner, anti-freeze and bathroom cleaners, to name a few, can cause chemical burns or even blindness if they come into contact with the eyes.

Make sure these items are securely stored outside of your child’s reach. And after using these products, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent any accidental transfer of these substances onto your children.

4. Practice Safety-First When Playing Sports

More than 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in emergency rooms each year. Most of these injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear and taking a safety-first approach.

If your child plays sports, talk to a local eye doctor about how to protect their eyes and which eye protection solution will work best for their sport.

Protective sports eyewear is typically made with impact-resistant polycarbonate, and available with either prescription or non-prescription lenses. 

5. Don’t Forget UV Light Protection

Another critical aspect of children's vision safety is UV protection. Many children spend a lot of time playing outdoors, whether in the backyard, at the park or on the school playground. Their eyes are just as vulnerable to UV damage as adults’, but because they often spend more time outdoors than adults, eye protection is even more critical.

Proper sunglasses can help protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays. When selecting sunglasses, be sure to select a pair that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays. This is not true for all sunglasses, which could leave your child’s eyes at risk.

Your child’s eyes are designed to last a lifetime. Following the tips above will limit the risk of potential injury so they can retain these precious windows to the world. 

If it’s been a while since your child’s last comprehensive eye exam or if your child has known vision needs, we hope you’ll consider scheduling an appointment with the talented eye physicians at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.

Contact us today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

Selecting a Top Cataract Surgeon: 3 Questions to Ask

by Damion Wasylow 8 October 2023 06:07 AM

senior woman asking questions of her eye surgeon
More than 24 million Americans aged 40 or older have cataracts, as do approximately half of all people aged 75 or older. If that includes you, you’ll need surgery to replace your cataract-damaged eye lens with an artificial lens implant, and for that, you’ll want to select one of the area’s top cataract surgeons. 

To make an informed choice, start by asking your ophthalmologist these three questions:

1. What Can You Tell Me About Your Training and Certifications?

Becoming an ophthalmologist requires years of rigorous medical training. A qualified eye surgeon will gladly share with you where they attended medical school as well as where they completed their internship and residency. Once practicing, ophthalmologists undergo extensive continuing education throughout their careers to keep up to date with the latest advances in the field. You will also want to ensure your eye surgeon is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). As the industry’s leading accrediting body, the ABO holds its members to the highest professional standards. 

2. How Many Successful Cataract Surgeries Have You Performed?

Having an experienced surgeon is crucial for any procedure, and especially for cataract surgery. Your eyes are extremely delicate and thus deserve to be cared for by the skilled hands and wise choices of a surgeon who has delivered successful outcomes for hundreds or even thousands of patients. Ask the ophthalmologist about his surgical outcome history. While cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world, it never hurts to hear directly from the surgeon that he has a proven track record of success.

3. Do You Offer Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?

Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more precise than a traditional cataract surgery procedure, but not every eye surgeon has the technology or training to offer it. A laser-assisted surgery system like LenSx uses half the ultrasonic energy required for traditional surgery, which translates to less risk and inflammation. Guided by the hands of an experienced cataract surgeon, patients who opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery can look forward to faster, pain-free recovery, with many reporting improved vision before even leaving the recovery room. 

In Gainesville, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass and Dr. Todd J. Endicott of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care have collectively performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries, and Dr. Snodgrass was the first local surgeon to use the LenSx laser cataract surgical system.

If you or a loved one is suffering with cataracts, contact the top cataract surgeons of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule a consultation.



Comments (0)

6 Tips for Maintaining Clear, Healthy Vision as You Age

by Damion Wasylow 20 September 2023 20:17 PM

senior woman in glasses smiling in her living room
As we age, our vision may be impacted by the lifestyle choices we make and the habits we’ve developed. Following this practical advice can help preserve your eyesight well into retirement and beyond.

1. Revamp Your Diet

It’s okay to indulge in a little junk food from time to time, but regularly eating healthier foods, including leafy greens, fish (especially salmon), nuts and carrots, among others, is essential for retaining good vision.

Also, omega-3s are known to help with tear production and can help you combat dry eyes. There's even evidence that omega-3-rich diets can help reduce your risk of eye disease later in life.

2. Put on Your Sunglasses

One of the easiest ways to protect your eyesight is to wear sunglasses when you’re outside. UV rays contribute to your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Be sure to choose sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection.

3. Quit or Don’t Start Smoking

Eye health suffers when you smoke. Research shows that smoking can double your risk for age-related macular degeneration and increase your risk for cataracts by two-to-three times.

Compared to a person who doesn’t smoke, your risk of serious eye degeneration and disease sharply rises. If you are a smoker, discuss cessation techniques with your doctor to find ways to curb this habit.

4. Exercise

This one may surprise you, but eye health is heavily influenced by heart health. Exercising regularly helps maintain healthy blood pressure, which in turn, prevents undue pressure within circulatory structures of the eyes. Getting your blood pumping a few times a week is great for your eye health.

5. Get Regular Eye Exams

Unless you notice a difference in your vision, it’s easy to overlook eye exams as a critical part of your ongoing health maintenance routine. Regular comprehensive eye exams, however, can help to identify key eye-related issues early, allowing you and your optometrist or ophthalmologist to take corrective actions as soon as possible.

It's always best to track eye issues or key concerns and rectify them before they harm your eyesight further.

6. Reduce Screen Time and Rest Your Eyes

We live in a digital world where people of all ages are glued to their screens. To reduce the associated strain on your eyes, every 20 minutes, be intentional about diverting your eyes from the screen for 20 seconds and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away. Just remember the 20/20/20 rule.

Senior eye care and healthy vision choices can help you preserve your eyesight as you age. If you follow the recommendations above, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining your vision for years to come.

To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, or to discuss vision treatment options, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

Blog Links