A Clearer View

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

Can Cataract Surgery Fix My Vision?

by Damion Wasylow 3 June 2024 11:32 AM

joyful senior woman waves to family on camera phone
When considering cataract surgery, you may wonder if the procedure will truly enhance the quality of your vision, and in turn, the quality of your life. Can a pain-free outpatient surgery really lift the clouds from your eyes and allow you to once again enjoy your favorite activities? In a word…yes!

How Does Cataract Surgery Work?

Cataracts are caused by a permanent and progressive buildup of proteins on the eye lens, which produces cloudiness and discoloration in one’s vision. The only way to correct this is by surgically replacing the damaged lens.

During the cataract surgical procedure, an ophthalmologist passes a probe through a small incision in the eye. The eye surgeon then uses ultrasonic energy to break up the cataract damaged lens into tiny pieces, which are then suctioned out. An artificial lens implant is put into place and the procedure is complete.

While cataract surgery can be successfully performed using traditional methods, laser-assisted cataract surgery is often preferred, as it offers improved precision, a completely pain-free experience and faster recovery.

Will Cataract Surgery Improve My Vision?

Cataract surgery is known to be one of the world’s safest and most effective surgical procedures. It’s performed more than three million times per year in the U.S. with 98% of patients experiencing improved vision.

Replacing the cataract damaged lens with an artificial lens implant almost immediately produces clearer vision. No more sensation of looking through a foggy or dust-caked window. And some lens implants can even help to correct nearsightedness and farsightedness. You can even get multifocal lens implants. So, with the right lenses, your vision may be substantially better than even before you developed cataracts.

Best of all, once your natural eye lenses are replaced with artificial lens implants, you can never get cataracts again. Artificial lenses aren’t susceptible to cataracts, meaning you’ll be cataract-free the rest of your life.

Could Cataract Surgery Improve My Life?

Absolutely. The benefits of improved vision following cataract surgery cannot be overstated. You’ll be able to return to enjoying a full range of activities, from reading and watching TV to driving and attending live events. Patients often report improved moods and socializing more frequently with family and friends. You may also experience increased independence and be less prone to falls, accidents and injuries.

Cataract surgery can be truly life-changing. If you’re considering cataract surgery, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to talk with one of our talented physicians. Ask questions, weigh your options and decide whether now is the right time for you to enjoy the amazing benefits that cataract surgery can provide.



Comments (0)

Cataract Surgery and the Elderly: A Caregiver's Guide

by Damion Wasylow 3 June 2024 11:09 AM

woman talking with her mom about cataract surgery
Cataracts can significantly impact an aging loved one’s quality of life. Thankfully, cataract surgery offers a safe and effective way to restore their vision and allow them to once again enjoy life to the fullest. Convincing an elderly parent to undergo the procedure, however, may be challenging. The information below can help you lead an informed conversation about the life-improving opportunity of cataract surgery.

What are Cataracts?

Cataracts occur when the eye lens becomes cloudy due to a buildup of excess proteins. This is typically a natural effect of aging. The clouding can result in blurred vision, difficulty seeing at night and sensitivity to light. While cataracts can progress slowly, they can ultimately affect daily activities and independence.

Considerations for Cataract Surgery

  • Impact on Daily Life: As cataracts progress, vision loss can affect a person’s ability to perform everyday tasks, such as reading, driving or enjoying hobbies. Talk to your parent to learn of any limitations or frustrations they may be experiencing.
  • Quality of Life: Proper vision has a substantial impact on quality of life. Restored vision can help an aging person regain independence. It can also allow them to confidently engage with friends and family. Studies show seniors with limited vision are more likely to isolate themselves from others.
  • Long-Term Benefits: Cataract surgery is a low-risk procedure with high success rates. For most seniors, the long-term benefits, such as reduced risk of falls, improved cognitive function and overall well-being far outweigh the limited risk of complications or hesitations around recovery.

Convincing a Parent

  • Listen to Their Concerns: Understand your parent's fears and reservations about surgery. Address any misconceptions or anxieties they may have, providing reassurance and support throughout the process.
  • Educate and Empower: Arm yourself with knowledge about cataracts and the surgical procedure. Present factual information in a clear and concise manner, allowing your parent to make an informed decision.
  • Talk with an Ophthalmologist: Encourage your parent to consult with their ophthalmologist. A comprehensive evaluation and professional recommendations from an experienced cataract surgeon can instill confidence and trust in the decision-making process.
  • Offer Emotional Support: Acknowledge that undergoing surgery can be a daunting prospect, and reassure your parent that you will be there every step of the way. Provide emotional support, encouragement and practical assistance, as needed.
  • Highlight the Positive Outcomes: Focus on the potential benefits of cataract surgery, including improved vision, enhanced safety and greater independence. Share testimonials from other patients who have undergone successful procedures.

Cataract surgery can significantly improve the quality of life for an aging loved one. As a caregiver, it's essential to approach the decision-making process with empathy, understanding and patience. By addressing concerns, providing education and offering support, you can help your loved one make a life-changing choice regarding cataract surgery.

To schedule a cataract evaluation for your loved one, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



Comments (0)

3 Questions to Ask When Selecting a Local Cataract Surgeon

by Damion Wasylow 24 May 2024 11:23 AM

senior cataract patient asking his eye doctor questions
Selecting the right eye doctor for your cataract surgery is a big decision. Asking the right questions in advance will help ensure the eye surgeon you pick will make you feel comfortable and confident throughout the process and that you’ll receive top-notch care from a skilled professional.

With that in mind, here are three key questions to ask when consulting a cataract surgeon…

1. Do you specialize in cataract surgery?

It’s one thing to have experience performing cataract surgeries. It’s quite another to specialize in cataract surgery. The latter indicates a surgeon has made cataract treatment the focus of their career, investing countless hours in clinical training and continuing education, keeping up with the latest innovations and technology and performing thousands of cataract surgeries in a career.

That’s the caliber of surgeon you’ll get at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. After all, “cataract specialists” isn’t just part of our name, it’s the heart of what we do. Drs. Gregory Snodgrass and Todd Endicott are cataract experts, with the training and experience to consistently produce outstanding outcomes for their patients.

2. What is the cataract surgery process like at your practice?

For the most part, the actual functions of a cataract surgery are the same no matter where you go. You’ll receive local anesthetic. A small incision is made in the eye. The cataract damaged lens is broken into tiny pieces and suctioned out through the incision. An artificial lens implant is inserted into place and the procedure is done. You’ll rest for just a bit and go home the same day.

What can be different from one practice to the next, however, are the availability of laser-assisted cataract surgery and the care and quality of the surgical center staff.

Laser-assisted cataract surgery comes with substantial benefits, including improved precision, reduced risk of complications, less eye trauma and faster, pain-free recovery. Not every cataract surgeon offers laser-assisted surgery, but North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care does, and has for more than a decade.

And the staff at our Laser and Outpatient Surgery Center in Gainesville are second to none. For the nurses and office staff alike, patient care is always their top priority. And the medical team is trained to provide expert support to the surgeon and is continually educated in the latest technological advances.

3. Can I see some cataract patient reviews or testimonials?

Patients can sometimes be hesitant to ask a doctor for testimonials, but what better way is there to feel confident that you’re in the right hands? An experienced local eye surgeon, like the ophthalmologists at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, will gladly share patient success stories with you and let you hear firsthand accounts from some of the many, many patients they’ve helped to see clearly again.

When it’s time for cataract surgery, don’t trust your eyes – or those of a loved one – to anyone other than the best. Ask questions, consider your options and then choose the best local eye surgeon for your cataract needs.

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule your cataract consultation.



Comments (0)

When to Go to an Eye Doctor for Pink Eye

by Damion Wasylow 3 May 2024 10:55 AM

man waking up woth eye discomfort
Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, can be an irritating, uncomfortable and even physically unappealing condition. And while most cases will pass without medical intervention, there are times when pink eye may require medical treatment.

What is Pink Eye?

Pink eye is the commonly used name for conjunctivitis, a condition in which the conjunctiva – the thin, transparent membrane that lines the eyelid and eyeball – becomes inflamed. Swollen and irritated blood vessels within the conjunctiva then cause the whites of the eyes to take on the condition’s signature pink color.

Pink eye can be triggered by a variety of causes, including cold and flu viruses, bacterial infections and allergic reactions.

Pink Eye Symptoms and Transmission Prevention

Pink eye symptoms can vary depending on the cause of the irritation, but typically include redness (pinkness) in the white of the eye or eyelids, discharge from the eyes and an itching or burning sensation. Some pink eye sufferers may also experience sensitivity to light, grittiness and/or blurred vision. Also fairly common is crusting of the eyelids, especially upon waking in the morning.

When experiencing pink eye symptoms, it’s important to refrain from touching or rubbing your eyes. You should also wash your hands frequently and avoid sharing towels, makeup or any other objects that may come in contact with your eyes. These steps can reduce the likelihood of spreading the condition to others.

When to See an Eye Doctor for Pink Eye

Most pink eye cases can be treated at home using a combination of damp, warm compresses, over-the-counter artificial tear eye drops and ibuprofen. While those steps should provide fairly immediate symptom relief in most cases, it will still take time for the underlying infection or virus to clear on its own.

If any of the following are true for you, however, it’s advisable to be evaluated by an eye doctor:

  • Severe or Persistent Symptoms: Symptoms are severe, worsen over time or do not improve with home treatment, particularly if accompanied by significant pain, vision changes or light sensitivity.
  • Contact Lens Wearers: Pink eye can lead to serious complications for those who wear contact lenses. Discontinue wearing your lenses immediately and consult an eye doctor.
  • Suspected Bacterial Infection: Thick yellow or green discharge and eyelid crusting could mean a bacterial infection. Antibiotic eye drops may be necessary.

If you or someone you love experiences any of the serious pink eye symptoms described above, or if you just want the peace of mind of having your eyes checked to ensure a clean bill of optical health, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment.



Comments (0)

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)

Blog Links