A Clearer View

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

New Treatment for Evaporative Dry Eye Disease

by dwasylow 14 January 2015 13:51 PM

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If you experience symptoms including dryness, grittiness, soreness, irritation, burning and eye fatigue, you may be one of more than 100 million people worldwide who suffer from dry eye syndrome. 65% of these people have a specific condition known as Evaporative Dry Eye Disease, a condition Gainesville Eye Physicians can now treat with an innovative new treatment option called LipiFlow.

Evaporative Dry Eye Disease isn’t just uncomfortable; it can cause serious vision impairment. Symptoms result from an insufficient quantity of oily lipids in tears. These lipids normally create a film over the eyes that prevents tears from evaporating and, thus, keep eyes well lubricated. When these lipids are not present in high enough concentrations, people lose the protective layer, resulting in pain.

The cause of this deficiency stems from blocked glands along the rim of the eyelid known as meibomiam glands. Traditional dry eye treatments – warm compresses, over- the-counter wetting drops and ointments and prescription drugs – treat the symptoms, but fail to address the root cause of Evaporative Dry Eye Disease.

LipiFlow, unlike historical treatments, unblocks meibomiam glands, allowing them to resume normal oil secretion and produce a healthy lipid layer.

An in-office treatment, LipiFlow is proven to provide exceptional results for most patients. In studies, four weeks following the procedure, researchers observed two to three times more meibomian gland output in patients treated using LipiFlow. During that same time, 79% of patients reported improvement in their dry eye symptoms.

Gainesville Eye Physicians is among the first eye care practices in North Central Florida to offer this exciting treatment option. If you have been diagnosed with Evaporative Dry Eye Syndrome, or have dry eye symptoms, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today and ask about LipiFlow.

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Steroids and Cataracts: What You Should Know

by dwasylow 13 January 2015 10:17 AM

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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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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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Properly Caring for Your Eyeglasses

by dwasylow 1 July 2014 01:14 AM

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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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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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Wear Sunglasses to Protect Against Harmful UV Rays

by dwasylow 29 May 2014 06:28 AM

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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

vision-and-eye-facts                                                                          
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?

Aging

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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.

Injury

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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

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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.

Sunlight

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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

cataracts-caused-by-medications

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.

Smoking

cataracts-caused-by-smoking

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.

Transcript

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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