A Clearer View

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

How Do I Know if I Need Cataract Surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 25 August 2016 11:35 AM

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By age 65, more than 90 percent of people develop a cataract in at least one eye. By age 85, more than half of all Americans have impaired vision due to cataracts. And cataracts always require surgery to correct, so it’s imperative that you have a cataract screening if you suspect you may be experiencing cataract symptoms.

So, how do you know when it’s time for a cataract screening? The simple answer is, if your vision diminishes as you get older, get a cataract screening. Seeking medical attention early can help you see clearly for the rest of your life.

The more complete answer is to watch for these cataract symptoms… 

Cloudy or blurred vision

Only a limited area of your visual field may initially be affected by the development of a cataract. Objects may be blurry when you look one direction, but not another. Cataracts are progressive, so eventually this cloudiness will overtake your vision completely.

Double vision

Double vision is often a dangerous effect of cataracts. Your mind can’t effectively process incoming visual cues, and that can result in balance issues, falls and hazardous driving.

Lens discoloration

Cataracts often cause lens discoloration that may or may not be apparent to others. If you’re experiencing dulled colors, as if looking through a brown or yellow film, it’s time to get a cataract screening.

Light sensitivity, glare and halos

Even typical amounts of light can be overwhelming to people suffering with cataracts. You may also experience disorienting glare or halos. If you consistently experience these symptoms, don’t hesitate, get a cataract screening as soon as possible.

Cataracts are treatable, and early intervention can help you avoid years of impaired vision. Your first step should be scheduling a consultation with an experienced cataract surgeon like Dr. Gregory Snodgrass.

Dr. Snodgrass and the staff at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care will talk through your cataract surgery options and answer any questions you may have. Schedule your cataract consultation today.

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Laser Eye Surgery for Cataracts

by Damion Wasylow 25 August 2016 11:19 AM

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Laser surgery provides relief and improved vision for a variety of eye health issues. At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we specialize in laser cataract surgery to permanently treat cataract symptoms.

How Does Laser Cataract Surgery Work?

First, we evaluate the impact of your cataracts on daily quality of life. Correcting cataracts always requires surgery eventually, but you may not need surgery right away. We’ll meet with you to assess your cataract symptoms and determine if now is the right time for surgery.

If it is, indeed, time for surgery, we’ll schedule your procedure with one of the area’s most experienced cataract surgeons, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass, at our state-of-the-art eye surgery center.

There, Dr. Snodgrass will use the industry-leading LenSx laser cataract surgery system to map your eye and precisely replace your cataract-damaged lens with a new artificial intraocular lens implant.

What Should I Expect from Recovery?

Following your surgery, you’ll spend a short time in the recovery room, usually just 30-60 minutes. Patients often report improved vision during that time. Once you’re ready, a friend or family member will take you home.

At home, you’ll wear an eye shield off-and-on for up to a few days. You may experience some redness and blurred or cloudy vision during this time. You’ll then come into our office for a follow up visit. We’ll ensure the implant is positioned correctly and that you’re on the path to improved vision. 

Dr. Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries, so you’re in good hands when you choose North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.

Schedule your consultation today, to determine if now is the right time for laser cataract surgery. We’ll talk through your cataract surgery options and answer any questions you have along the way. Our number one goal is providing you a clearer view.

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We are Now North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care

by Damion Wasylow 20 July 2016 07:39 AM

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After months of careful planning and preparation, we are proud to announce that our practice name is now North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. It’s an exciting time for all of us here, as the name change highlights our unique expertise and better represents the geographic area we serve.

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass partnered in Gainesville Eye Physicians after completing his ophthalmology residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University, and then moving to Gainesville in 1987. Through the course of nearly 30 years, he built the practice into the area’s leader in vision care. 

As the practice grew, services expanded from general vision care to include comprehensive eye surgery, our on-site optical shops, our Dry Eye Center of Excellence and our specialty in traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery. With locations in downtown Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City and Melrose, the practice now serves patients throughout the region.

Another exciting development is the ongoing construction of our brand new eye care center at the corner of Northwest 8th Avenue and 43rd Street in Gainesville. We broke ground on the new location in mid-April and plan to open the doors in spring 2017. Patients will benefit from the finest in vision technology, comfort and care.

Dr. Kyle Balch is going to continue on with the Gainesville Eye Physicians name, which we recognize may cause some confusion. But our patients can rest assured that the locations and staff you’ve come to rely on will continue – with Dr. Snodgrass at the helm – under the new North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care name.

We know you will come to embrace our new practice name and look, just as we have. When friends and family ask you where to turn for the area’s best choice in eye care, tell them, “North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.”

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How Does Laser Cataract Surgery Work?

by Damion Wasylow 30 June 2016 17:59 PM

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Laser-assisted cataract surgery is a delicate procedure that should only be performed by a specially trained and highly experienced ophthalmologist using state-of-the-art equipment. Understanding the steps involved can make you more comfortable leading up to the procedure and allow you to explain the recovery process to loved ones.

Step 1: Consultation

You will have a comprehensive eye exam including specialized cataract diagnosis. Your ophthalmologist will evaluate the progression of your cataract symptoms and recommend surgery if necessary at this stage. All cataracts eventually require surgery to correct.

Step 2: Surgery Preparation

When you arrive at the eye surgery center, you will be greeted by friendly staff, and asked to complete some basic paperwork. You are then brought to the surgical prep area where you will change into a surgical gown and then rest briefly in a hospital bed. The doctor will come in to greet you and answer any remaining questions. Surgery center staff will then apply sensors to monitor your well being during the surgery.

Step 3: Moving into the Surgical Suite

You will be taken to the surgical suite in your hospital bed. The surgeon, nurses and assistants will be waiting, dressed in scrubs, surgical gowns, caps and masks. Nurses will then administer local anesthesia. Laser cataract surgery only requires local anesthesia, so you will be awake throughout the brief procedure. Most laser cataract surgeries take just 10-15 minutes. 

Step 4: Mapping the Eye

The surgeon will move the laser-assisted cataract system’s camera into place above your eyes. It feeds detailed images and video of your eye lens to a specialized computer to precisely map the surfaces and allow the surgeon to identify the ideal location for the incision.

Step 5: Cataract Lens Removal

The surgeon will use the laser to make a tiny incision in the eye surface. He will then insert a small probe that uses ultrasonic energy (sound waves) to break up the cataract-damaged lens into small pieces. That probe is then removed and a second probe moved into position to suction out the lens pieces. This process is completely pain-free. 

Step 6: Artificial Lens Placement

Your new intraocular lens implant will be pre-loaded into another small probe. The artificial lens is rolled up inside the tip of the probe, making it slender enough to insert through the original incision. The surgeon then unrolls the lens and carefully positions it for optimal vision. This too, is pain-free. The incision used for laser cataract surgery is so small that it does not require stitches to close. A protective shield will be placed over the eye to block out excess light and allow your eye time to adjust.

Step 7: On-site Recovery

Following your surgery, you will be taken into the recovery room at the eye surgery center. There, nurses will make you comfortable while your eyes quickly adjust to the new lens. Your family can visit with you during this time. Many patients report improved vision while still in the recovery room. Once you feel ready, typically after just 30-60 minutes, you’re released to go home. You will need someone to drive you. You will be provided a pair of sunglasses to wear on the ride home.

Step 8: At-home Recovery

You may choose to rest for a few hours when you arrive home. Your surgeon will likely suggest you keep the shield on continually for several hours. You can later take it off, but it should be put back in place during sleep for the next several days. You may experience cloudy or blurred vision at first, and potentially some redness. These are normal short-term side effects. Each patient heals differently. Some see clearly almost immediately. Others require a week or two. 

Step 9: Follow-up Visit

Most surgeons will ask you to come into the office for a follow-up visit the day after surgery. The doctor will examine your eye to ensure there are no complications and that you’re healing normally.

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries, and was the first local surgeon to use the LenSx laser cataract surgical system. If you or a loved one is suffering from cataracts, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today to schedule a consultation.

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Is Cataract Surgery a Permanent Fix?

by Damion Wasylow 1 June 2016 20:47 PM

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If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you probably been told that surgery is the only treatment option to permanently improve your vision, and that’s true. Cataracts cannot heal by themselves, or with any sort of medication. Surgery is required to permanently correct your vision loss.

Why is surgery the only effective treatment for cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens caused by a build up of proteins on the lens. As new cells form, existing cells are compacted together, and clouding results. The damage is permanent and progressive, meaning they continually get worse over time. The only way to correct the problem is to surgically replace the damaged natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens.

When is the right time for cataract surgery?

Early cataract symptoms often include cloudy or blurred vision impacting a limited portion of the patient’s sight. In the initial stages, cataracts may not have a substantial impact on your vision. Over time, however, symptoms inevitably get worse, usually producing double vision, light sensitivity, halos, glare and a sense of seeing the world through a brown or yellow film. When these symptoms begin negatively impacting your quality of life, it’s time for cataract surgery.

What are my cataract surgery options?

Depending on the physician you choose, and the specifics of your cataract diagnosis, most cataract patients can select either traditional surgery or laser-assisted cataract surgery. Both procedures involve making an incision in the eye, and then applying ultrasonic energy to break up the damaged natural lens. The resulting pieces are then removed, and a new artificial lens put into place. With laser-assisted surgery, the procedure is substantially more precise and produces less trauma, resulting in a pain-free experience and faster recovery.

No surgical procedure is 100% guaranteed to deliver lifelong results. Physical trauma to the eye, for example, could displace an artificial lens, requiring a follow-up procedure, but these instances are quite rare.

The leading factor in determining the likelihood of success for any eye surgery procedure is the quality and experience of the surgeon you choose. Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries. He was also the first local eye surgeon to use the state-of-the-art LenSx laser cataract system.

Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract surgery needs.


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How Can You Prevent Cataracts?

by Damion Wasylow 1 June 2016 20:39 PM

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For most people, cataracts are a natural part of aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans have experienced cataracts. By the year 2020, it is estimated more than 30 million people in this country will have cataracts. Still, there are steps you can take to limit your likelihood of developing cataracts early.

Sunlight

We’ve all heard about the negative health consequences of exposure to excessive sunlight pertaining to skin cancer, but the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can also damage your eyes. Studies show that UV exposure can increase your chances for developing cataracts. The best prevention is wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to reduce the amount of UV rays that reach the eye lens.

Medications

Doctor-prescribed medications play a critical role in improving health and maintaining quality of life, but certain medications have also been linked to promoting cataract development. Corticosteroids, miotics and triparanol, for example, can all induce or increase your risk for cataracts. Talk to your doctor about the short- and long-term impact of these medications.

Smoking

Smoking may be the worst thing you can do for your overall health, and it also increases your odds for developing cataracts. Smokers are twice likely to develop nuclear sclerotic cataracts and three times as likely to develop subscapular cataracts. While it’s easier said than done, quit smoking immediately if you want to reduce your chances of developing cataracts.

Even with the best preventative measures, cataracts may one day be a fact of life for you or someone you love. When and if that happens, cataract surgery is the only effective treatment option.

Cataract surgery replaces the damaged natural lens with a premium lens implant. This new artificial lens is not susceptible to future cataract development, so your cataracts cannot return. Any form of eye surgery is delicate work, so be sure to select an experienced surgeon like Dr. Gregory Snodgrass for your cataract procedure.

Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract treatment options.


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