A Clearer View

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

What is a Femtosecond Laser for Cataract Surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 24 May 2017 02:10 AM

If you’re considering laser-assisted surgery to correct cataracts, you may have heard the term “femtosecond laser” and wondered what exactly that is. Admittedly, physicians sometimes casually use words that aren’t familiar to most people. So, let’s explore this one.

What is a femtosecond laser?

Without getting too complicated, lasers are essentially high-energy, focused light beams used for a variety of applications, including medical procedures. A femtosecond laser produces light pulses so brief they have to be measured in “femtoseconds,” which translates to trillionths of a second. So, the femtosecond identifier is really just a technical designation. 

How is a femtosecond laser used for cataract surgery?

Femtosecond lasers are the key elements in some of the world’s finest laser-assisted cataract surgery systems. In these systems, computer-guided femtosecond lasers are used to make fine incisions with pinpoint accuracy. An ultrasonic energy-emitting probe then emulsifies (break ups and liquefies) the cataract-damaged lens, so it can be removed and replaced with an intraocular lens implant.

The precision offered by these laser-assisted cataract surgical systems cannot be matched. LenSx also requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens, resulting in less trauma to the eye and fewer trauma-related side effects.

Of course, having the right tools is one thing, knowing how to use them successfully is even more important.

Is there an experienced femtosecond laser cataract surgeon in Gainesville?

Yes, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass was the area’s first ophthalmologist to use the LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery system. He has been an eye doctor in Gainesville for 30 years, and conducted more than 20,000 cataract surgeries in that time. He is well known as one of the area’s premier ophthalmologists, combining advanced skills, state-of-the-art technology and decades of experience to deliver outstanding results. 

Even if you have already talked to another cataract surgeon, it may be a good idea to get a second opinion in order to fully understand your options. Dr. Snodgrass and the North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care team will gladly review your cataract symptoms and answer any questions you may have, so you can make an informed decision about your cataract treatment.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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How Often Should You Have Your Eyes Examined?

by Damion Wasylow 24 May 2017 02:01 AM

Most people wait far too long between eye exams. Many figure as long as their vision quality is “ok” and not adversely impacting quality of life, they can put off an eye exam a while longer. The trouble with that theory, however, is that many eye conditions progress without noticeable symptoms until it’s too late.

In addition to vision challenges, eye exams can uncover a variety of undiagnosed health issues throughout the body, some of which can be life-threatening, like brain tumors, diabetes and high cholesterol. That’s just part of the reason the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends regular eye exams.

Comprehensive eye exams should not be confused with vision screenings. Vision screenings are generally just quick visual acuity tests designed to detect fairly obvious vision problems. A comprehensive eye exam is much more inclusive, reviewing everything from peripheral vision and pupillary response to eye muscle strength and eye pressure, among other things.

The Mayo Clinic recommends the following cadence for regular eye exams:

Children 5 years and younger

Your pediatrician will look for common eye problems – lazy eye, crossed eyes, turned-out eyes. Assuming nothing substantive is obvious, a comprehensive eye exam can usually wait until between the ages of three and five.

Older children and teens

An eye exam is advisable prior to starting first grade. If everything is clear, follow up with exams every one to two years. 


Healthy adults with no outward symptoms of eye problems can generally follow this schedule based on your age:

  • In your 20s and 30s – every 5-10 years
  • In your 40s to mid-50s – every 2-4 years
  • In you mid-50s to mid-60s – every 1-3 years
  • After age 65 – every 1-2 years

Of course, comprehensive eye exams should be more frequent if you have known vision problems, a family history of eye disease or a chronic disease that may impact the eyes, like diabetes. For these patients, an annual exam should be the minimum. In some cases, every three to six months is advisable.

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



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Helping a Loved One Open Up to Wearing Eyeglasses

by Damion Wasylow 2 May 2017 09:26 AM

Do you have a loved one who refuses to wear eyeglasses, no matter how desperately she needs them? Maybe she sees wearing glasses as a sign of aging, or thinks she won’t look good in glasses, or perhaps eyeglasses always remind her of that cranky teacher she had in third grade. Whatever the reason, here are a few ways you can help her lay those objections aside and embrace life with eyeglasses.

Remind her of all the things she’s missing.

The world is a really beautiful place, and your loved one is missing out on a lot of it. Poor vision may prevent her from seeing the details in her child’s smile or the subtle textures in a photo. In more extreme examples, she might not pick up on the change of a traffic light or the drop-off of a curb. Poor eyesight can hurt us in many ways. 

Show her photos of glasses-wearing celebs.

Some of the most beautiful, celebrated people in the world wear eyeglasses. Gather some photos of Jennifer Aniston, Anne Hathaway, Zoe Saldana, Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp, Justin Timberlake and other celebrities proudly rocking their cool eyeglasses. If that A-list isn’t too cool for glasses, maybe your loved one won’t be either. 

Compliment other people who wear glasses.

Look for opportunities to compliment eyeglass wearers in front of your friend. Don’t be fake, but if you legitimately like someone’s glasses, speak up. Go so far as to ask where she bought them. It might spark a story about the wonderful experience she had and how flattering all the compliments are. That may be enough to illustrate to your loved one just how great wearing glasses can be.

Convince her to schedule an eye exam.

It’s very possible your loved one will argue that her eyesight just isn’t bad enough to require eyeglasses yet. Make a deal – if she gets an eye exam and it turns out she doesn’t need glasses, you’ll buy lunch the next time you go out. A friendly wager (plus the opportunity to get you off her back) may be enough to instigate an eye appointment. Once she’s there, the staff will provide an unbiased exam, explain her vision needs and lay out her options.

When that time comes, we hope you will choose North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. We offer comprehensive eye exams, and will gladly answer any questions you or your loved may have. Plus, our two Gainesville optical locations feature the area’s finest selection of stylish, designer eyeglass frames.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment.



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Long, Sunny Days Make Sunglasses All the More Important

by Damion Wasylow 2 May 2017 09:12 AM

North Central Florida experiences increasingly longer periods of sunlight as we roll through spring and into summer, peaking at around 14 hours of full daylight in mid-June. Given our area’s amazing selection of outdoor actives, many of us will likely spend a good deal of time in the sun in coming months. Before heading outside, it’s important to take precautions to protect your eyes from the sun’s harmful rays.

The sun produces two forms of ultraviolet (UV) radiation that can be harmful to our eyes: UV-A and UV-B. Long-term effects of too much exposure to these UV rays can include retina damage and increased risk of cataracts. In the short-term, you can even experience photokeratitis, which is essentially a sunburn on the eyes.

To adequately protect your eyes, the American Optometric Association suggests selecting sunglasses that:

  • block out 99 to 100 percent of both UV-A and UV-B radiation;
  • screen out 75 to 90 percent of visible light; and
  • are perfectly matched in color and free of distortion and imperfection. 

If you wear prescription eyeglasses, it’s a smart decision to also get a pair of prescription sunglasses. After all, you don’t want to sacrifice the quality of your vision while you’re enjoying the outdoors.

A talented optician can provide you a set of sunglass lenses that will protect your eyes while helping you see clearly. They can also help you select frames that look great and work with your lifestyle

North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care offers optical services at both our Gainesville locations: NW 8th Avenue and Tioga Town Center. Both optical shops feature hundred of designer frames from brands like Tag Heuer, Kate Spade, Costa del Mar and Etnia Barcelona, among others. Our expert staff is eager to answer any questions and to help you select the perfect pair. 

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.



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Ophthalmologist, Optometrist, Optician – What’s the Difference?

by Damion Wasylow 10 April 2017 12:14 PM

The eyes are extremely delicate and complex organs, which can require very different forms of treatment depending on your specific vision needs. So, it’s only natural that the healthcare professionals who treat eyes come with a variety of training (and titles) in order to deliver the best outcomes.


An ophthalmologist is a medical doctor (M.D.) or osteopathic doctor (D.O.) who specializes in all aspects of eye care. They generally complete four years of college followed by at least eight years of additional medical training. Some ophthalmologists, like our practice’s Dr. Gregory Snodgrass, have subspecialties like cataract surgery, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy. Ophthalmologists have the highest level of training, and are qualified for advanced eye disease treatment and surgical procedures.


A doctor of optometry (O.D.), better known as an optometrist, provides primary vision care. They generally earn a four-year college degree followed by four years of post-graduate training in optometry school. Optometrists perform eye exams, prescribe and dispense corrective eyeglass and contact lenses, detect eye abnormalities and prescribe medications, among other things. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care has three optometrists on staff to serve our patients. 


Opticians are not eye doctors, so they do not diagnose or treat eye diseases, but they do serve a critical role for patients’ vision needs. Opticians design, confirm and fit eyeglass lenses, frames and contact lenses based on the corrective prescriptions produced by ophthalmologists and optometrists. Unlike many standalone optical shops, North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care’s optical locations in Gainesville feature licensed opticians to provide the best vision correction possible. 

Selecting the right eye care professional for your vision needs doesn’t have to be confusing. Your best bet is to call and schedule a consultation. We’ll gladly work with you to diagnose your vision challenges and answer any questions you have along the way.

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today.



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How to Choose the Right Eyeglass Frames

by Damion Wasylow 23 March 2017 07:34 AM


Whether you have worn eyeglasses for years, or you’re shopping for your first pair, finding the right frames can be challenging. A lot of factors play into matching your vision needs, style and life with frames that will provide great quality and value.

Before heading into your local optical shop, take these factors into consideration…

Face Shape

The general shape of your face greatly influences the frames that may be right for you. Rectangular frames are generally preferred for rounder faces, as they help to lengthen the face. Squarer faces often look best with circular or oval frames. People with oval faces can generally wear any frame shape.

Frame Type

Some people prefer thicker, fuller frames. Others like minimal frames. Full rim glasses help to focus attention on the eyes. Semi-rimless frames accentuate the upper portion of your face. Rimless frames produce the least impact on the appearance, while deemphasizing the forehead. Choose the frame type that accents your best features. 


Think about the activities you will likely participate in while wearing your glasses. If you have an active lifestyle, flexible frames may enhance comfort and durability. If you use your glasses to read intermittently throughout the day, consider a pair that separate in the middle and then hang around your neck. Your optician will talk you through several lifestyle-related options.


Today’s eyeglass frames come in a rainbow of colors. Most people agree that warmer complexions look best with frame hues you might see in a fire: reds, coppers, golds, oranges, creams, corals, khakis and beiges. Cooler complexions look great with icy and steely tones: blues, grays, slivers, plums and roses. Of course, it all comes down to personal preference, so have fun discovering the best color for you. 


More than anything else you wear or own, your eyeglasses are the most common things people see on you. With so many styles to choose from, you are sure to find a pair that conveys something about the way you perceive yourself and how you want others to perceive you. From classic to modern and conservative to flashy, the right frames speak volumes about your personality.

The best way to find the right frames for you is to head in to your area’s best optical shop. North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care has two convenient optical locations – Tioga Town Center and our brand new Gainesville location on the corner of NW 8th Avenue and NW 43rd Street. Both shops feature hundreds of styles and colors from which to choose. And our expert staff with gladly answer questions and help you find frames that match your style and budget.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment. Walk-ins are also welcome.



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How Does CareCredit Vision Plan Work in Gainesville?

by Damion Wasylow 1 February 2017 11:13 AM

The fear of healthcare costs prevents too many people from seeking out and receiving medical treatments that would improve their quality of life. Few people know that you don’t need to be rich or even have expensive health insurance in order to afford many important healthcare procedures, including vision care.

CareCredit is an option for many vision patients, helping you pay for out-of-pocket expenses not covered by insurance. It is essentially a healthcare credit card designed specifically to help patients pay for medical and wellness procedures. With CareCredit, instead of paying everything upfront for your medical needs, the costs are spread across monthly payments.

When used at enrolled providers, including North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, CareCredit gives you the advantage of special financing offers that you’re unlikely to get through traditional credit cards. Financing periods are available from six to 60 months, with reduced annual percentage rates (APR) and fixed monthly payments.

CareCredit can be used for a variety of vision care needs, from eye exams and glasses to cataract and dry eye treatment. You can apply CareCredit to purchase a new pair of eyeglasses or be fitted for new contact lenses. Use CareCredit to pay for a new premium intraocular lens implant as part of your cataract surgery, or to offset the cost of LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation.

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we gladly accept CareCredit, and can even guide you to start the application process. It’s quick, easy and could be just what you need in order to get your vision back on track.

If you need eye care or cataract surgery, contact us at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today, and schedule a consultation to discuss your specific treatment options.



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3 Most Common Questions from Cataract Patients

by Damion Wasylow 30 January 2017 09:31 AM

At North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care, we treat hundreds of patients each year. In fact, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass is one of the area’s most experienced cataract surgeons, with more than 20,000 successful surgeries to his credit. We believe an informed patient is an empowered patient, so we’re always happy to answer questions before and after any procedure.

Here are the three most common questions we are asked about cataracts...

#1: How do I know when it’s the right time to have cataract surgery?

More than 90-percent of people over 65-years-old have cataracts. If you’re getting regular eye exams, your cataracts will most likely be diagnosed long before they require surgery. Cataract symptoms get progressively worse over time, however, and cataracts always eventually require surgery to correct. If cataract symptoms limit your ability to read, drive or enjoy other daily activities, it’s time for surgery. Talk to your ophthalmologist.

#2. Does cataract surgery provide a permanent fix?

The short answer is, yes. Once you have cataract surgery, you can never get a cataract on the same eye again. That’s because the damaged natural lens is replaced with an artificial intraocular lens implant. The implant is not susceptible to the type of protein buildup that results in cataracts. No surgical procedure is 100-percent guaranteed, of course. Physical trauma to the eye, for example, could displace an artificial lens, requiring a follow-up procedure, but these instances are quite rare.

#3. What are the differences between traditional and laser cataract surgery?

Today, laser-assisted cataract surgery is the preferred treatment method for most patients. Laser-assisted surgery uses computer mapping to pinpoint the incision location, making it more precise than traditional surgery. Laser-assisted surgery also requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the damaged lens, resulting in less trauma to the eye and faster recovery. The incision is self-sealing, so no stitches are required, and the entire procedure is pain-free.

If you have questions about cataracts and cataract surgery, contact us today to schedule a consultation.



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How serious is cataract surgery?

by Damion Wasylow 9 January 2017 13:21 PM

Any type of surgical procedure is serious, as they all involve some level of risk. Thankfully, cataract surgery has a relatively low occurrence of complications and a high probability of success when performed by an experienced ophthalmologist. Approximately 3 million Americans per year have cataract surgery with 99.5% experiencing minor or no postoperative complications, according to statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Still, you should always carefully consider the risks and rewards of any procedure, and discuss your specific prognosis with your doctor. If you then choose to proceed with cataract surgery, here’s what you can expect.

Cataract Surgery Overview

Cataract surgery replaces the patient’s damaged natural eye lens with an intraocular lens implant. There are two basic categories of cataract surgery: traditional and laser-assisted. The two procedures differ greatly in how they are performed, the patient’s recovery experience and the likelihood of complications.

If your ophthalmologist only offers traditional cataract surgery, seek a second opinion to properly familiarize yourself with both options. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is generally preferred, as it is completely pain-free, stitch-free and produces fewer traumas to the eye, allowing for faster healing.

Cataract Surgery Recovery

Most laser-assisted cataract surgery patients report improved vision while still in the recovery room. Patients wear an eye shield off-and-on for up to a few days, and may initially experience some cloudy or blurred vision, and potentially some redness. These are normal short-term side effects. Some see clearly almost immediately, while others require a week or two.

Your surgeon may ask you to come into the office for a follow-up visit a day or two after surgery to ensure you are healing normally.

As stated before, serious cataract surgery complications are extremely rare. The procedure does not require full sedation, eliminating many potential health risks. Complications can include inflammation, infection, bleeding, swelling, drooping eyelid, retinal detachment, glaucoma and loss of vision, among others. Patients with other existing eye diseases or medical conditions are at increased risk for such complications, but the overall incidence is still less than 0.5%. This makes cataract surgery one of the safest procedures in the country.

The decision to have cataract surgery is one you should always discuss with both your eye physician and family. Ask plenty of questions to make sure you have a solid understanding of the risks and benefits. For a consultation, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today.



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How long does it take to remove a cataract?

by Damion Wasylow 3 January 2017 12:40 PM

Cataract surgery is very common in the United States, with more than 3 million Americans electing to have the procedure each year. With advances in technique and technology, including laser-assisted surgery, cataract surgery is now faster and more effective than ever, both in terms of the procedure itself and patient recovery.

Diagnosis and Scheduling

If you get regular eye exams from a comprehensive vision care practice, your eye doctor will likely identify cataract development long before symptoms require surgery. Cataract progress will be monitored closely over time. In some cases, patients live with slow-developing cataracts for years before they noticeably impact daily life. Eventually, however, all cataracts require surgery to correct.

When the time is right, you can review your surgical options with your eye physician and schedule your surgery. Depending on availability, the time from decision to procedure is generally less than a few weeks.

Cataract Surgery Procedure

You’ll likely be asked to arrive at the eye surgery center early in the morning on the day of your procedure. You will complete some paperwork and be prepped for surgery. Assuming you choose laser-assisted cataract surgery, once inside the operating room, the surgeon will use the computer to precisely map your eye’s surfaces. This takes very little time. A laser will then be used to make a tiny incision. The old, damaged lens is broken up and removed, and a new artificial lens implanted. The whole procedure takes just a few minutes. 

Of course, it’s always far more important to complete the procedure effectively than quickly, so that will be your eye surgeon’s focus.

Recovery Time

Immediately following surgery, you will spend about 30-60 minutes in a recovery room to allow your eye(s) to adjust. Many patients report improved vision before even leaving the recovery room. Still, you will need someone to drive you home. It’s recommended that most patients wear an eye shield on-and-off for a few days. Depending on how quickly your eyes adjust, and in lieu of any complications, you may see clearly within a few hours or it may take a week or two.

If you believe you or someone you love may have cataracts, contact us today to schedule your consultation with North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.



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