A Clearer View

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

Steroids and Cataracts: What You Should Know

by dwasylow 13 January 2015 10:17 AM

Millions of Americans take corticosteroid medications daily to address a variety of health problems, from arthritis to asthma. While these prescription drugs often deliver considerable health benefits, users should be aware of the link between steroids and the risk for cataracts.

Studies show that long-term use or high-doses of steroids can promote cataract formation. People taking a combination of oral and inhaled steroids are at the highest risk.

In a study reported by the American Academy of Ophthalmology, seven out of 10 patients who “at the start of the study had ever used inhaled steroids, had used oral steroids for at least one month and had no cataracts,” were found to have cataracts in follow-up exams.

The specific types of cataracts known to be promoted by steroids are called subcapsular cataracts. These cataracts develop near the back of the eye lens, forming opaque patches that inhibit the passage of light to the retina. Subcapsular cataracts often produce glare or halos at night, interfere with reading and limit vision in bright conditions.

Patients taking corticosteroids should schedule regular screenings with their eye doctor to diagnose any cataract development. If diagnosed early, your eye physician can make recommendations to help slow cataract development. In the beginning, when vision is only slightly blurred by the cataract, it may be possible to adjust your eyeglasses prescription to compensate. Eventually, however, surgery will be the only effective treatment option.

Cataract surgery is generally an outpatient procedure that can be performed using local anesthetic. A tiny incision is made and the cloudy lens removed. An artificial lens implant known as an intraocular lens (IOL) implant is put in its place.

New laser-assisted cataract surgery options make the procedure pain-free and reduce the time required for recovery. Patients often report improved vision on their way home following the surgery.

If you are taking oral or inhaled steroids, contact our office today to schedule an eye examination and cataract screening.



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Properly Caring for Your Eyeglasses

by dwasylow 1 July 2014 01:14 AM

If you ever want to see an optician cringe, use your t-shirt to “clean” your eyeglasses in front of her. It’s the eye care industry equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. After regaining her composure, which could take five to seven minutes, she’ll surely explain there are better ways to clear debris from your lenses.

For the sake of your glasses – and your optician – use these tips to properly care for your lenses and frames…

Clean Responsibly

So, why shouldn’t you clean your glasses with your shirt, tie, scarf or any other clothing? Clothes fibers trap particles that can easily scratch lenses and scratches result in blurred vision. Using rags, paper towels or facial tissues can also create scratches.

The best way to clean your glasses is using your fingers to rub down the lenses with simple soap and warm water. Then pat them dry with a clean, microfiber cloth. Your optician likely provided you an eyeglass cleaning cloth when you got your glasses. If you don’t have one, stop by our optical shop in Gainesville to buy one.

Alternatively, you can buy pre-moistened lens cleaning tissues online. Or if want to be fancy, you can buy an ultrasonic cleaner. The nice thing about the ultrasonic cleaner is it can also be used to clean jewelry, DVDs any other delicate items.

The Case for Cases

Arguably the most important thing you can do for the long-term well-being of your eyeglasses is keep them in a case anytime you’re not wearing them. Yes, anytime. As soon as they leave your face, they should be placed directly into their case. Hey, that rhymes. Maybe that will help some people remember.

How often have you taken off your glasses in the car and tossed them down on the passenger seat? Or placed them on the nightstand, only to find the next morning that the cat has swatted them to the floor? Another common no-no is setting your glasses lens-side down.

A sturdy case keeps your glasses safe and sound, shielding them not only from damage, but also from exposure to dirt and dust. For why that’s important, please re-read our “clean responsibly” tip.

Wear ‘em Right

The most common damage to eyeglass frames results from the way people take them off their faces. You know, the old one-hand, 45-degree tug. The wearer uses his dominant hand to grab the frames near the hinge and pulls them off.  Before long, this stretches the frames and negatively impacts their fit.

You should always use both hands to remove your glasses. With one hand on each side, grasp the temples and slide your glasses forward. Voila! It might sound silly, but taking your glasses off the right way can add years to your frames.

Once they’re off, don’t undo all the good you just did by propping them atop your head. Yes, it looks cool, but it’s a quick way to stretch out your frames. Not only that, but they’re also unstable up there. Next thing you know, they fall to the ground and get stepped on. And that’s not cool at all.

If you’re in the market for a new pair of designer prescription eyeglasses or sunglasses, stop by one of our Gainesville optical centers – in Tioga Town Center and on East University Avenue. Just promise us you won’t clean them with your t-shirt.



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Wear Sunglasses to Protect Against Harmful UV Rays

by dwasylow 29 May 2014 06:28 AM

With Memorial Day as the unofficial kickoff to summer, people in Gainesville and around the country will soon be spending more time outdoors. While summertime activities allow for good times with friends and family, the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays require some healthy caution – for your skin and your eyes.

Most people today recognize the value of wearing sunscreen to protect your skin, but few fully understand the importance of wearing the right pair of sunglasses to protect your eyes.

There are two types of UV radiation from the sun that pose a threat to our eyes: UV-A and UV-B. When it comes to eye health, the difference is in how deeply these rays penetrate. UV-B is fully absorbed by the cornea, whereas UV-A passes all the way through to the lens. Both types can do damage and thus should be filtered out with UV-A and UV-B-blocking sunglasses.

In our recent 15 Surprising Facts about Your Eyes post, the #1 thing we revealed was that your eyes can actually be sunburned.  It’s called photokeratitis and it can be very painful. The good news is, photokeratitis is generally short-term and heals without medical treatment. Still, the redness, stinging, light sensitivity, tearing and gritty feeling are certainly no fun.

Longer term effects of UV radiation can be much more serious. Exposure to sunlight increases your risk of cataracts and retina damage. Growths on the eye or the skin around the eyes, including cancer, are also dangerous effects of UV radiation.

To shield your eyes from these dangers, it’s wise to wear a brimmed hat at all times when outdoors as well as a quality pair of sunglasses.

The American Optometric Association says sunglasses should ideally:

  • block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light;
  • be perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection; and
  • have gray or brown for true color recognition and contrast

Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical carries a full line of fashionable and functional sunglasses for men, women and children. Stop in and talk with one of our licensed opticians today to find a pair that’s right for you.



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15 Surprising Facts about Your Eyes

by dwasylow 16 May 2014 01:10 AM

Eyes are truly remarkable. They enable us to see the world, convey emotion and connect with others. Some people never fully appreciating these little miracles. At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we love eyes and enjoy passing along that passion to others. So, to give you a little more “insight” – from fun facts to little known threats to special abilities – here are some things you probably didn’t know about your eyes.

  1. Your eyes can get sunburned.
  2. You can get freckles in your eyes.
  3. You blink approximately 15,000 times a day.
  4. 20/20 vision isn’t perfect. It simply means you can see at 20 feet what the average person can see at 20 feet.
  5. Newborns don’t produce tears. Tears don’t actually start flowing until babies are 4-13 weeks old.
  6. Staring at the sun too long can indeed cause blindness. It’s not just a scare tactic used by moms.
  7. Eyesight can get better with age.
  8. The lens in your eye is quicker than the world’s fastest camera lens.
  9. Each eye contains 107 million light sensitive cells.
  10. Eyes heal remarkably fast. With proper care, the average corneal scratch can heal in just a few days.
  11. Of all the muscles in your body, those around the eyes are the most active.
  12. Ophthalmologists can tell a lot about the state of your overall body health during an eye exam.
  13. Arteries and veins in the back of the eye can be a predictor of heart disease in women, and occasionally in men.
  14. Eye tics/twitches can be attributed to hypoglycemia, or abnormally low blood sugar levels.
  15. Blurry vision, improper pupil dilation, optic nerve color and other eye conditions can be indicators of potential brain tumors.

If you have any questions about your eyesight, or if you would like to schedule a comprehensive eye exam, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today at 1-800-435-3937.




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Top Causes and Treatments for Cataracts

by dwasylow 14 May 2014 01:17 AM

Cataracts are one of the more common vision problems, and occur when a clouding of the eye lenses prevent light from being properly focused onto the retina. When this happens, vision can be highly impaired or rendered virtually non-existent. Blurry or hazy vision, difficulty seeing at night and sensitivity to light are just a few common cataract symptoms.

So, what causes cataracts in the first place?



Most cataracts develop as a result of age. As we get older, proteins in the eye lenses degrade, creating thicker and less transparent lenses. By age 80, more than 50% of people have some degree of cataract. By 95, cataracts affect nearly 100% of people.



There’s a good reason closing your eyes is a reflex when you’re at immediate risk of injury. Eyes are delicate. Blunt trauma injuries can cause lens tissues to thicken and whiten. In severe injuries, tissues around the lens can be damaged, allowing fluids from other parts of the eye obstruct vision.



Genetics impact nearly every area of health, including our risk for cataracts. It’s even possible for children to develop cataracts as a result of genes passed down from their parents. Genes that produce early-life cataracts often result in other health conditions as well.



Ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun can damage your eyes in multiple ways, including cataracts. Studies show that wearing UV-blocking sunglasses when you’re young helps reduce the risks of developing cataracts as you age.

Medications and Alcohol


Research indicates that medications including corticosteroids, miotics and triparanol can induce or increase the risk of cataract development. Heavy alcohol intake may also play a role in the formation of cataracts, but studies have yet to determine to what extent.



As if you needed another reason to kick the habit, smoking cigarettes has been shown to make people twice as likely to develop one type of cataracts (nuclear sclerotic) and three times as likely to develop another form (subscapular).




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Gainesville Eye Physicians Appearing on “Health Connections”

by dwasylow 15 April 2014 01:10 AM

A few months ago, we were approached by the team at Gainesville Television Network (GTN) with a concept they called “Health Connections.” They were producing a TV show highlighting the best healthcare professionals in the Gainesville area, and we gladly agreed to take part.

What we like about the concept is it gives members of our community the opportunity to learn more about healthcare options available to them, from audiology to dentistry to weight management and, of course, eye care. At Gainesville Eye Physicians and Optical, we believe an informed patient is a happy patient, so we take every opportunity to educate people about eye health and vision care.

In Gainesville, you can watch “Health Connections” Sundays at 9:00am on WNBW NBC9 and at 11:30am on WGFL CBS4. In this clip from the show, Dr. Snodgrass explains Gainesville Eye Physicians’ unique approach to patient care and delivering results.


Host: The eyes are considered to be the windows to a person’s soul. So, to project healthy eyes to the world, you’ll want to work with an eye care practice with modern facilities, cutting-edge technology and a highly-skilled and friendly staff. In the greater Gainesville area, that practice is Gainesville Eye Physicians.

Dr. Snodgrass: Gainesville Eye Physicians is very comprehensive, from general eye exams to cataract surgery to everything in between, treatment of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetes, from pediatrics to people who are 102-years old.

Our society is in a preventative mode. As the healthcare industry changes, we’re all talking about prevention. What can I do to prevent problems? One of the things we can do is to get an eye exam. Even if you think you’re doing okay, you may have a problem that’s undiagnosed that we could treat ahead of time and prevent problems down the road.

Host: With over 20,000 cataract surgeries performed, and an additional 1000 eye surgeries under his belt, Dr. Snodgrass is one of the area’s premier eye surgeons.

Dr. Snodgrass: When a patient comes to us with cataracts, many times they also where glasses and we’re able to offer that patient not only removal of the cataract, but spectacle freedom, not having to wear glasses after the surgery.

There are various implants that we have. When we take the cloudy cataract out, we implant a new artificial lens into their eye that will be in their eye for the rest of their life. Depending on what type of eye that patient has, whether they’re near-sighted, far-sighted, astigmatism, the need to wear glasses for reading, we can solve those problems at the same time we do the cataract surgery.

Once the patient is ready for surgery, we take them to our laser outpatient surgery center, where we have staff that are totally focused and dedicated to providing cataract care to these patients. Typically, the experience is two to two-and-a-half-hour experience. The surgery itself takes 10-15 minutes. The patients many times see better on the way home.

We are now basically going to be doing what we call laser-assisted cataract surgery. We are acquiring the LenSx femtosecond laser. This will allow us to take cataract surgery to a new level. Everybody’s eyes are a little different. Just like our fingerprints are different, everyone’s eyes are different, and we’re able to get a real-time image of the patient’s eye and to customize a bladeless surgical procedure to that patient.

Patient: As I got older, my vision started getting blurry and just not as clear and not as crisp, and so when I met with Dr. Snodgrass and he told me I had cataracts, and after having the surgery, everything was so bright and clear and, honestly, for the first time since I was a small child, I could see everything clear and crisp and it’s amazing. I feel like I have brand new eyes, like I was a new baby being born. It was great.

Host: One of the best reasons to come to Gainesville Eye Physicians are their convenient on-site optical centers with hundreds of name brand glasses to choose from, like this beautiful pair right here from Judith Leiber. What do you think?

Dr. Snodgrass: We take great pride in being able to offer patients a prescription for glasses that they can have filled right in our optical shops connected with our practice so they don’t have to go elsewhere. We now have two optical centers affiliated with our practice, where we can send patients and know that when they go there, they’re going to get great customer service, they’re going to get a great product and they can leave with a pair of glasses they can be proud of and see really well out of.

Brands that we have are Dita, Fred, Tag Heuer. We have Maui Jim sunglasses. We have Costa Del Mar sunglasses. So, we have all price points available for our patients.

Licensed opticians are part of our practice and part of our opticals, and it’s very difficult to become licensed. That’s why they are not in every installation out there. So, our opticians are very well trained. Sometimes patients go to outside opticals and they don’t understand that they may not be working with somebody who’s not licensed, and there’s expertise involved in fitting a pair of glasses on patients.

Host: For total eye care for you and your family, be sure to visit Dr. Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians. Contact them today at GainesvilleEyeDocs.com.



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8 Foods that Promote Eye Health

by dwasylow 5 March 2014 06:06 AM

Mom was right, eating carrots is good for your eyesight, but they’re certainly not the only food that promotes good eye health. The eyes are complex organs that require a mix of the right nutrients to perform their best and last a lifetime. Regularly eating foods from the list below will put you on the right path to vision-sustaining nutrition.



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Carrots owe their orange coloring to a type of vitamin A called Beta-carotene. This antioxidant helps the retina and other parts of the eye work properly. Beta-carotene may also reduce your risks for cataracts and macular degeneration

Leafy Greens


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Spinach, kale and collard greens are great sources for the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin. These substances increase pigment density in the macular tissue of the retina and absorb up to 90% percent of blue light, shielding the tissue from damage.

Fatty Fish


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Don’t worry, eating “fatty fish” won’t necessarily add pounds. It will, however, provide a healthy dose of omega-3 fatty acids. Fish including tuna, salmon, mackerel, anchovies and trout are rich in docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which help prevent dry eye syndrome.

Citrus Fruits and Berries


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Found in high concentrations in citrus fruits and most berries, vitamin C produces multiple benefits for eye health. Besides reducing risks for age-related macular degeneration and cataracts, vitamin C also helps keep ocular blood vessels healthy. Our bodies don’t naturally produce vitamin C, so dietary intake is essential.

Almonds and Peanuts


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Almonds and peanuts are filled with vitamin E, believed to fight off damage from free-radicals. Research also shows this nutrient plays a key role in slowing macular degeneration. Just a couple handfuls provide enough vitamin E for your whole day.

Kidney Beans


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Kidney beans are an excellent source of zinc, a mineral that helps transport the vitamin A from other foods (like carrots and leafy greens) from the kidneys to the retinas. Zinc also plays a role in improving night vision.



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Apricots are eye health dynamos. They contain just about every nutrient a healthy eye needs, from Beta-carotene and vitamin C to lutein and zeaxanthin. Apricots also provide significant levels of calcium, potassium and iron.



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If you’ve never tried ostrich, here’s a great excuse to give it a shot. Ostrich is rich in zinc, which promotes healthy functioning for several enzymes that benefit the eyes. For those with less exotic tastes, you can get similar levels of zinc from turkey.



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Eye Allergies – Don’t Rub Your Eyes!

by dwasylow 21 January 2014 03:01 AM

Nobody likes allergies. Depending on your sensitivity, they can cause discomfort and watering, limit vision and generally disrupt your day. If you wear contact lenses, allergies can be especially troublesome. Eye allergies are some of the most frustrating allergies to have.

Human eye closeup with reflections
Photo Credit: Dabe Murphy via Compfight cc 

Eye allergies are usually accompanied by other allergies such as eczema and hay fever. Environmental conditions can also cause allergic reactions or irritation. If you find yourself with red, puffy eyes, it’s likely you’re experiencing an allergic reaction of the eye. Here are other symptoms:

  • Itchy Eyes
  • Blurred Vision
  • Burning sensation
  • Eyelid swelling
  • Tearing
  • Light sensitivity

When experiencing any of these symptoms, the first thing to remember is DON’T RUB YOUR EYES. You might have the urge to do so for temporary relief, but you’re just making the situation worse. Allergic reactions in the eyes occur when mast cells in the eye release histamines in response to allergy triggers. These histamines cause the itchy redness and puffiness most associated with eye allergies. When you rub your eyes, you further irritate the mast cells, causing them to release more histamines; resulting in more discomfort.

The best way to relieve eye allergy discomfort is to apply a cold compress or wet washcloth over your eyes, which will help stop the discomfort temporarily. In addition, if you have an antihistamine, like Benadryl, you should take one. Your eye doctor can recommend an over the counter allergy drop, or for more severe symptoms, he may need to prescribe a mild anti-inflammatory drop.

Finally, avoid allergen-rich environments, keep your hands clean and avoid touching your eyes. Even the tiniest allergen can cause discomfort if you’re not careful.



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How to Find the Right Contact Lenses

by dwasylow 16 January 2014 05:47 AM

There are basically two non-surgical options for correcting your vision. Either, wear glasses or try contacts. Even with thousands of choices in designer eyeglass frames, some people still prefer the look and benefits of wearing contacts.

Benefits of Contacts

  • Less likely to be obstructed by accumulated debris or smudges since they rest directly on your eyes and are cleared each time you blink
  • Greater field of view
  • Less likely to interfere with performance during sports and games
  • Resist fogging up due to extreme temperature changes

What do you need to do in order to wear contacts?

First, you need to schedule an appointment with your eye doctor for a routine eye exam and contact lens fitting. If you haven’t had your routine eye exam yet, we recommend you do so soon. It’s one of the first things most people should have on their lists for the New Year.

Since contacts lie directly on the eye, your eye doctor must measure your eye in order to prescribe the correct contact lenses. This is a quick and painless procedure.

Following these exams, the doctor will sit down with you and go over the basics of wearing and cleaning your contact lenses. This is important. If you neglect proper cleaning or otherwise fail to take care of your contacts, you could end up with complications.

There are different methods for putting in your contacts; it all depends on your muscle reactions and how well you can keep your eye open when inserting contact lenses. This fun video below gives a general guide on how to put in and take out your contacts:


It’s important to use a good contact solution to clean your contacts. Your eye doctor can recommend a solution that matches the type of contacts you wear.

The doctor will give you a pair of trial contact lenses to test out over the course of a week so you can get a feel for them. After that week, you’ll come back and he’ll check your eyes for any irritation or damage. If he finds no complications and you’re comfortable wearing contacts; he will ask you if you want one-day, weekly, monthly or continuous wear contacts.

The most comfortable contacts are often the one-day disposables, since you have a fresh pair each day, but they also tend to be more expensive. Ask your eye doctor what he recommends and you’re sure to enjoy a clearer outlook on the world.



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20/20 Vision is a Requirement for Some Careers

by dwasylow 13 January 2014 06:33 AM

If your eyesight isn’t up to snuff, it’s likely you have some form of corrective lenses. However, for some careers, contact lenses or glasses may not be practical or even acceptable. Photographers, for example, find glasses to be intrusive as they are unable to hold the camera right up to their eye. But, these high danger and high-risk jobs actually require 20/20 vision in order to get the position.


Fire fighters need great vision
Photo Credit: Brett Arthur Donar via Compfight cc

Firefighters need to be able to spot victims in burning buildings instantly, as well as spot dangers from fire damage when arriving at the scene of a fire, making fantastic eyesight a must. In addition, you must be able to quickly scan fire codes on buildings or structures in order to understand what method should be used to resolve the situation.

The exposure to smoke and other debris can make contact lenses dangerous, and rule them out as options.

Police Officers

Police need great eye sight
Photo Credit: Viewminder via Compfight cc

Having bad eye sight as a police officer is going to do more harm than good in the long run. If the officer is unable to identify a criminal within a crowd or properly judge a situation quickly due to vision that isn’t up to par, he may be putting himself and others at risk. Ideally, officers should have 20/20 vision in order to help them in the event of danger, to aid in criminal investigations or to be a witness in court.

Life Guards

Sunglasses a valuable tool for lifeguards
Photo Credit: CAHairyBear via Compfight cc

Often seen at the local pool or at the beach, lifeguards can be found seated on high tower chairs or in high tower posts overlooking the area. As they are inherently far away from any situation, it is imperative they have 20/20 vision so they can spot people who are in danger and can react as quickly as possible.

First Responders / Paramedics

Paramedics rely on outstanding vision
Photo Credit: Israel Defense Forces via Compfight cc

First responders only have moments to assess a situation. If they don’t notice everything within a few seconds of arriving on the scene, the life of the person they came to rescue could be at risk. Needless to say, 20/20 eyesight is a must for paramedics to quickly respond, identify injuries or read medical alert bracelets.

If you find yourself with subpar vision and traveling down one of these career paths, you may need to consider laser eye surgery. And while 20/20 eyesight is a must for these careers, it remains important to have healthy vision for everyone else. Our eyes are windows to our world; if you can’t see clearly, you’ll miss out on the little things. If you haven’t already, it’s best to schedule your yearly eye exam as soon as possible.



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