A Clearer View

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

The Top 5 Signs You May Need Cataract Surgery

by Damion Wasylow 13 November 2023 11:22 AM

senior man squinting to read phone
Approximately 20 million people have cataract surgery every year, making it one of the world’s most frequently performed surgical procedures. Still, some people who could benefit from cataract surgery fail to recognize common cataract signs, leading them to needlessly struggle with ongoing vision loss.

If you or someone you love experiences any of the symptoms below, particularly in combination, a comprehensive eye exam, followed by a consultation with an experienced ophthalmologist, could help you determine if cataract surgery could be right for you.

1. Blurry Vision

One of the most common symptoms of cataracts is blurry vision. Cataracts cloud the lens of the eye, which can make objects appear hazy or blurry. Initially, this blurriness may not affect your daily life, but eventually, it may become difficult to do up-close tasks, such as reading, typing on your phone, sewing and the like.

2. Light Sensitivity

As cataracts continue to cloud the eye’s natural lens, vision becomes less clear and your eyes become more sensitive to bright lights. Light sensitivity can make it difficult to do everyday tasks, including driving at night.

3. Light Halos or Glares

Seeing halos or glares around lights is a classic cataract sign. Halos and glares occur because the eyes cannot focus light into the retina. While other eye conditions, including dry eye syndrome and corneal dystrophy, can also produce this effect, it’s important to see your eye doctor as soon as possible to determine whether cataracts or another condition may be the cause.

4. Poor Night Vision

“Night blindness” is reduced or impaired vision in low-light conditions, and it’s another common sign of needing cataract surgery. More than just an inconvenience, limited night vision can present serious risks when driving, as you may not be able to see the road or oncoming traffic clearly. Even for those who don’t drive, night blindness can be dangerous, leading to increased risks for falls or accidents around the home.

5. Double Vision

Cataracts can also cause double vision, typically in just one eye. This can make a number of daily tasks difficult or even disorienting. For people with double vision, it’s important to avoid activities like cooking, driving and lifting objects until you see your doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms above, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment. If it turns out that cataracts are the cause, our knowledgeable eye physicians will work with you to assess their impact on your daily life and determine whether now is the right time for cataract surgery or if you may be able to wait. We’re here to help you see clearly again.



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Home Eye Safety for Children: 5 Essential Tips

by Damion Wasylow 8 October 2023 06:20 AM

children laughing on couch with parents
Approximately 840,000 children suffer eye injuries each year
. Many of these injuries could be prevented through a safety-first mindset and making a few simple changes to your home and routine. Follow these five tips to help protect your child’s eye health.

1. Make Sure Your Home is Well-Lit

One of the best things you can do to protect your child’s eye health is to make sure that your home is well-lit, indoors and out.

Adequate lighting is especially important around stairs, where you may want to install motion-detecting lights to ensure nighttime coverage. And don’t overlook other areas of your home, too. Ample lighting throughout the home can help kids avoid accidental contact with sharp corners on furniture and countertops or tripping over clutter.

Outdoor lighting is also important. Make sure that walkways and play areas are brightly lit. A slip and fall due to unseen hazards on a sidewalk or outdoor steps can easily lead to a child injuring their eyes.

2. Install Corner Protectors on Furniture

Children love to run in the house, and they’re rarely as careful as they should be. It’s all too easy (and common) for a toddler to stumble into the corner of a table, TV stand, dresser or other furniture and injure their eyes.

Inexpensive corner protectors or bumpers made of silicone or foam pad the sharp edges of your furniture to help prevent injuries. They’re an easy and affordable preventative measure, and they won’t damage your furniture. 

3. Keep Chemicals Out of Reach 

Many of the chemicals we keep in and around our homes, including ammonia, bleach, oven cleaner, anti-freeze and bathroom cleaners, to name a few, can cause chemical burns or even blindness if they come into contact with the eyes.

Make sure these items are securely stored outside of your child’s reach. And after using these products, be sure to wash your hands thoroughly to prevent any accidental transfer of these substances onto your children.

4. Practice Safety-First When Playing Sports

More than 30,000 sports-related eye injuries are treated in emergency rooms each year. Most of these injuries could be prevented by wearing protective eyewear and taking a safety-first approach.

If your child plays sports, talk to a local eye doctor about how to protect their eyes and which eye protection solution will work best for their sport.

Protective sports eyewear is typically made with impact-resistant polycarbonate, and available with either prescription or non-prescription lenses. 

5. Don’t Forget UV Light Protection

Another critical aspect of children's vision safety is UV protection. Many children spend a lot of time playing outdoors, whether in the backyard, at the park or on the school playground. Their eyes are just as vulnerable to UV damage as adults’, but because they often spend more time outdoors than adults, eye protection is even more critical.

Proper sunglasses can help protect your child’s eyes from harmful UV rays. When selecting sunglasses, be sure to select a pair that protects against both UV-A and UV-B rays. This is not true for all sunglasses, which could leave your child’s eyes at risk.

Your child’s eyes are designed to last a lifetime. Following the tips above will limit the risk of potential injury so they can retain these precious windows to the world. 

If it’s been a while since your child’s last comprehensive eye exam or if your child has known vision needs, we hope you’ll consider scheduling an appointment with the talented eye physicians at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.

Contact us today at 352-373-4300.



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Selecting a Top Cataract Surgeon: 3 Questions to Ask

by Damion Wasylow 8 October 2023 06:07 AM

senior woman asking questions of her eye surgeon
More than 24 million Americans aged 40 or older have cataracts, as do approximately half of all people aged 75 or older. If that includes you, you’ll need surgery to replace your cataract-damaged eye lens with an artificial lens implant, and for that, you’ll want to select one of the area’s top cataract surgeons. 

To make an informed choice, start by asking your ophthalmologist these three questions:

1. What Can You Tell Me About Your Training and Certifications?

Becoming an ophthalmologist requires years of rigorous medical training. A qualified eye surgeon will gladly share with you where they attended medical school as well as where they completed their internship and residency. Once practicing, ophthalmologists undergo extensive continuing education throughout their careers to keep up to date with the latest advances in the field. You will also want to ensure your eye surgeon is certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology (ABO). As the industry’s leading accrediting body, the ABO holds its members to the highest professional standards. 

2. How Many Successful Cataract Surgeries Have You Performed?

Having an experienced surgeon is crucial for any procedure, and especially for cataract surgery. Your eyes are extremely delicate and thus deserve to be cared for by the skilled hands and wise choices of a surgeon who has delivered successful outcomes for hundreds or even thousands of patients. Ask the ophthalmologist about his surgical outcome history. While cataract surgery is one of the safest and most effective surgical procedures in the world, it never hurts to hear directly from the surgeon that he has a proven track record of success.

3. Do You Offer Laser-Assisted Cataract Surgery?

Laser-assisted cataract surgery is more precise than a traditional cataract surgery procedure, but not every eye surgeon has the technology or training to offer it. A laser-assisted surgery system like LenSx uses half the ultrasonic energy required for traditional surgery, which translates to less risk and inflammation. Guided by the hands of an experienced cataract surgeon, patients who opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery can look forward to faster, pain-free recovery, with many reporting improved vision before even leaving the recovery room. 

In Gainesville, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass and Dr. Todd J. Endicott of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care have collectively performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries, and Dr. Snodgrass was the first local surgeon to use the LenSx laser cataract surgical system.

If you or a loved one is suffering with cataracts, contact the top cataract surgeons of North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule a consultation.



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6 Tips for Maintaining Clear, Healthy Vision as You Age

by Damion Wasylow 20 September 2023 20:17 PM

senior woman in glasses smiling in her living room
As we age, our vision may be impacted by the lifestyle choices we make and the habits we’ve developed. Following this practical advice can help preserve your eyesight well into retirement and beyond.

1. Revamp Your Diet

It’s okay to indulge in a little junk food from time to time, but regularly eating healthier foods, including leafy greens, fish (especially salmon), nuts and carrots, among others, is essential for retaining good vision.

Also, omega-3s are known to help with tear production and can help you combat dry eyes. There's even evidence that omega-3-rich diets can help reduce your risk of eye disease later in life.

2. Put on Your Sunglasses

One of the easiest ways to protect your eyesight is to wear sunglasses when you’re outside. UV rays contribute to your risk of cataracts and macular degeneration. Be sure to choose sunglasses that offer UVA and UVB protection.

3. Quit or Don’t Start Smoking

Eye health suffers when you smoke. Research shows that smoking can double your risk for age-related macular degeneration and increase your risk for cataracts by two-to-three times.

Compared to a person who doesn’t smoke, your risk of serious eye degeneration and disease sharply rises. If you are a smoker, discuss cessation techniques with your doctor to find ways to curb this habit.

4. Exercise

This one may surprise you, but eye health is heavily influenced by heart health. Exercising regularly helps maintain healthy blood pressure, which in turn, prevents undue pressure within circulatory structures of the eyes. Getting your blood pumping a few times a week is great for your eye health.

5. Get Regular Eye Exams

Unless you notice a difference in your vision, it’s easy to overlook eye exams as a critical part of your ongoing health maintenance routine. Regular comprehensive eye exams, however, can help to identify key eye-related issues early, allowing you and your optometrist or ophthalmologist to take corrective actions as soon as possible.

It's always best to track eye issues or key concerns and rectify them before they harm your eyesight further.

6. Reduce Screen Time and Rest Your Eyes

We live in a digital world where people of all ages are glued to their screens. To reduce the associated strain on your eyes, every 20 minutes, be intentional about diverting your eyes from the screen for 20 seconds and focus on an object that is at least 20 feet away. Just remember the 20/20/20 rule.

Senior eye care and healthy vision choices can help you preserve your eyesight as you age. If you follow the recommendations above, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining your vision for years to come.

To schedule your comprehensive eye exam, or to discuss vision treatment options, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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Cataract Surgery for Active Lifestyles: What Athletes and Adventurers Need to Know

by Damion Wasylow 20 September 2023 19:58 PM

senior man adjusting bicycle during nature ride

Cataract surgery is more than just about clear vision; it’s about restoring your quality of life. An estimated 24.4 million Americans, 40 and older, have cataracts. Nearly 1-in-10 adults have cataracts, and the rate increases dramatically for people over age 75.

Whether you’re 40 or 75, if you have cataracts, surgery can enhance your quality of life, especially if you’re active.

How Cataract Surgery Improves an Active Lifestyle

Cataracts typically cause blurred vision. It may not be bad at first, but it continually worsens. You may be able to get through by simply wearing eyeglasses in the beginning. Of course, even then, if you regularly enjoy swimming, jogging, biking or playing sports, you may find wearing glasses to be inconvenient during those activities.

For an active person, correcting cloudy vision is life-changing, as it helps:

  1. Improve your game if you play sports
  2. Reduce the risk of trips and falls
  3. Make life more pleasurable as you age

Additionally, if you play sports, you’ll likely improve your game the moment that you can see clearer. Imagine the impact of being able to track the ball more clearly, whether your game is baseball, softball, pickleball, you name it, the ability to see your environment and the ball better will take your game to the next level.

Benefits of Cataract Surgery for Anyone with an Active Lifestyle

For people with active lifestyles, cataract surgery is truly liberating, allowing them to fully explore their hobbies just as they did before cloudy vision limited their freedom and enjoyment. Patients who opt for cataract surgery benefit from:

  • Vision that matches their lifestyle once again. Age will creep up on all of us, but we can take measures to maintain our eyesight and quality of life.
  • Seeing longer distances without glasses or contacts. You may be able to see the trail you’re walking on better, react faster to obstacles in your way during a run and revisit activities you stopped pursuing.
  • Reducing your risk of a trip or fall. When your vision is clear, you can see potential safety hazards clearly.

If you didn’t need glasses prior to developing cataracts, following cataract surgery, you may be able to discontinue wearing eyeglasses entirely, and in all aspects of your life. Everything from driving to putting on makeup to reading a book may once again be done glasses-free. Patients are often shocked that they’re able to stop wearing their glasses and return to clearly seeing at a range of distances following cataract surgery.

To learn more about cataract treatment options, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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Cataract Surgery Longevity: How Long Do the Results Last?

by Damion Wasylow 8 August 2023 06:22 AM

smiling senior couple with grandchild
Cataract surgery is performed on 3.7 million people in the United States each year. As the leading procedure in all medical specialties, many patients ask, “How long do the results last?”

Can Cataracts Come Back?

Once cataract surgery has been performed, you never have to worry about cataracts in that eye ever again.

During surgery, the ophthalmologist replaces the cataract-affected eye lens with an artificial lens implant. That implant can never become cloudy, and your natural lens will never regrow. This makes it impossible for a cataract to return once it has been surgically removed.

Many cataract surgery patients report improved vision almost immediately, even while still in the recovery room. This is particularly true for patients who opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery. 

Occasionally, some patients can develop a condition many refer to as secondary cataracts, resulting from scar tissue on the back of the implanted lens. This, however, can be corrected via a follow-up procedure that takes just a few minutes and requires minimal downtime during recovery.

Preventing Future Eye Damage

Cataracts are, of course, not the only eye-related condition that can affect vision. Other eye diseases can be present or develop as you age, which may or may not be able to be corrected, even if you’ve had cataract surgery.

Preventing eye damage is therefore critical to maintaining your vision. Following these recommendations can help:

  • UV Light Exposure: The sun’s rays can damage the conjunctiva over time. Wearing proper sunglasses will help keep your eyes healthy and prevent any potential UV light damage.
  • Diabetes: If you have diabetes, a healthy diet and following your doctor’s recommendations is crucial to long-term eye health. Diabetes can cause conditions including diabetic macular edema and diabetic retinopathy, if untreated.
  • Visit the Eye Doctor Regularly: Finally, routine comprehensive eye exams can help identify eye issues early on and allow your eye doctor to correct them before they progress.

Cataract surgery is a safe and effective way to treat cataracts, and the results last a lifetime. If cataracts are impacting your vision and quality of life, surgery can help you get back to your normal routine.

To schedule your cataract diagnosis appointment or to discuss cataract treatment options, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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Can You Cure Cataracts Naturally?

by Damion Wasylow 25 June 2023 23:49 PM

senior woman applying ineffective eyedrops for cataracts
Cataracts are typically a natural byproduct of aging. But does that mean they can be cured naturally, or will simply clear up without surgery? Unfortunately, not.

Let’s debunk some common myths about natural cataract treatments...

Myth #1: Cataract Eyedrops Work

One of the most popular myths about cataracts is that they can be treated or cured using cataract eye drops, such as N-acetylcarnosine eye drops.

These drops are marketed as an over-the-counter treatment, and manufacturers claim that they can dissolve cataracts. 

Often, these products also claim to be backed by studies proving their effectiveness. These studies, however,  are typically conducted by the same people who manufacture and sell the eyedrops, and don’t hold up to medical scrutiny.

The truth is that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any form of eyedrops as a treatment for cataracts. 

Myth #2: Lifestyle Choices and Natural Remedies Can Cure Cataracts

Another popular myth about cataracts is that they can be “cured” using natural remedies or by making certain lifestyle choices, like:

  • Eating seeds and nuts that contain vitamin E
  • Consuming a healthy diet
  • Wearing sunglasses
  • Taking fennel or saffron
  • Staying hydrated

Eating a healthy diet and limiting UV exposure are indeed smart lifestyle choices, and can help delay cataract development. They won’t, however, help reverse or treat cataracts once they’ve developed.

Myth #3: Apple Cider Vinegar Can Treat Cataracts

Another widely spread myth about cataracts is that they can be treated with apple cider vinegar.

While apple cider vinegar contains beneficial antioxidants, it has not been proven to be an effective treatment for cataracts. Adding apple cider vinegar to your diet won’t hurt your cataracts, but it won’t reverse them either.

Reality: Surgery is the Only Effective Way to Treat Cataracts

Making healthy lifestyle choices can certainly help in the prevention of cataracts and support your overall health, but it won’t reverse the condition. Eye drops and apple cider vinegar likewise won’t reverse cataracts.

Currently, surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. Thankfully, the procedure is safe and doesn’t require a lengthy recovery period.

If you or someone you love is considering cataract surgery, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300. Our experienced ophthalmologists and dedicated staff are here to answer your questions and provide you the highest quality of care.



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The Link Between UV Exposure and Eye Conditions: Understanding the Risks

by Damion Wasylow 25 June 2023 06:47 AM

senior man shielding his eyes from the sun
If you live in Florida, you’re likely well-aware of the impact the sun can have on your skin. Few people, however, realize the effects it can have on your eyes. Over time, exposure to ultraviolet (UV) light from the sun’s rays can lead to numerous eye conditions.

Why UV Exposure is Bad for the Eyes

UV light penetrates the eyes, delivering radiation that damages eye tissue, the cornea and even the lens. Even on cloudy days, UV light can damage your eyes. These are the same rays that lead to sunburns, skin aging and wrinkles. While your eyes can handle limited exposure, prolonged or repeated UV exposure poses a substantial risk of developing eye conditions.

Eye Conditions Linked to UV Exposure

UV exposure has been shown to contribute to the development of eye conditions including:

  • Cataracts: One of the main links between ultraviolet light and eye conditions is cataracts. Exposure to sunlight can promote cataract formation, which is only correctable through cataract surgery, through which the damaged lens is replaced with a lens implant.
  • Macular Degeneration: Exposure to the sun’s harmful rays often produces problems as you age. One of the risks is oxidative stress that builds up over time. The result can be macular degeneration. In severe cases, macular degeneration can lead to blindness.
  • Pterygium: Your eye’s surface absorbs 99% of UV light, making it an area of major concern. This can produce pterygium, which causes irritation and redness and can sometimes lead to decreased or distorted vision.
  • Retina Damage: The retina is very sensitive and can become damaged from looking at the sun. Permanent vision loss is possible in this case.

Proper UV protection is critical for helping to prevent these eye conditions and keeping your eyes healthier for longer. UV-blocking sunglasses can help shield delicate eye tissue from harmful UV rays. Hats can also block some of the sun’s rays and are great when combined with sunglasses.

Buying the Right Sunglasses

When selecting sunglasses, look for a pair with UV400 rating, indicating they’re capable of filtering out up to 99% of UVA and UVB rays. The UV coating on these sunglasses reflects and absorbs harmful UV rays, preventing them from reaching your sensitive eye tissue.

Be cautious with dime store sunglasses, as their UV-blocking ability is often limited, leaving your eyes exposed to potential damage.

For sunglasses that offer proper UV protection while also looking great, visit the eyewear boutiques at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. Our trained and talented opticians can help you select a pair that’s just right for your activities, style and preferences. They can even help with prescription sunglass needs.

Contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an appointment, or just walk into one of our two convenient eye boutiques, at the corner of NW 8th Avenue and NW 43rd Street in Gainesville or in Tioga Town Center. 



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Tips for a Smooth Recovery After Cataract Surgery: Dos and Don'ts

by Damion Wasylow 25 May 2023 03:51 AM

senior woman wearing sunglasses outdoors following cataract surgery
Cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgical procedures in the world. When performed by an experienced cataract surgeon, complications from the procedure are quite rare. To make your recovery as smooth as possible, however, it’s important to keep these dos and don’ts in mind.

DO Take it Easy

Although cataract surgery is routine and minimally invasive, it’s still important to rest after the procedure. Take it easy for the first few days following surgery. It’s typically advisable to avoid:

  • Exercising
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Swimming
  • Driving
  • Excessive bending over

Talk to your surgeon about when you can resume these activities. For now, give your body some much-needed time to recover.

DO Use Your Eye Drops as Recommended

After the procedure, you will be given special eye drops that will help with recovery and prevent infection. Make sure to use these drops as recommended by your doctor. You may need to use your eye drops a few times per day for two-to-six weeks after the procedure.

DO Protect Your Eyes When Outdoors

After cataract surgery, your eyes will be more sensitive to the sun’s rays, so it's important to protect your eyes while outdoors. Proper sunglasses can help protect against damaging UV rays.

No matter the weather, it’s a good idea to wear sunglasses outdoors during the recovery period. Wide-brimmed sunglasses are advisable if you’re going to be out at midday, when the sun is brightest.

DO Wear Your Eye Shield as Recommended

Following your cataract surgery, a plastic eye shield will be placed over the affected eye. The shield will help protect your eye from injury while you heal.

Be sure to wear the shield as recommended by your surgeon. You may be asked to wear this protective covering while you sleep, typically for a period of one week.

DON’T Rub or Put Pressure on Your Eye

During the healing process, your eye will be more sensitive than normal. It’s important to avoid rubbing or putting pressure on the eye. Rubbing can lead to an infection and pressure can cause discomfort and make it more difficult for the incision to heal.

Apart from applying your eye drops, it’s best to leave your eye alone to heal.

DON’T Allow Soap or Shampoo into Your Eye

When bathing, showering or cleaning your face, take care not to get soap or shampoo in your eye. Cleansers often have harsh ingredients that can irritate the eye or even cause the wound to open, increasing the risk of infection.

DON’T Wear Eye Makeup for at Least Four Weeks

Following surgery, you may be anxious to get back to your usual routine. For some, this may mean returning to their makeup routine. However, it’s important to avoid wearing any eye makeup for at least four weeks or until you get the “okay” from your doctor.

After cataract surgery, your eyes will be especially sensitive and need time to heal. Following your doctor’s recommendations and the dos and don’ts above will help ensure a smooth recovery.

For more information about cataracts and surgery, or to schedule your cataract consultation, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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Managing Preexisting Eye Conditions Alongside Cataract Surgery

by Damion Wasylow 25 May 2023 03:42 AM

ophthalmologist examines senior man's eye conditions

It's not uncommon for patients who need cataract surgery to also have macular degeneration, glaucoma, corneal disease or other conditions. Consideration of proper management across a wide spectrum of pre-existing eye conditions is therefore a must prior to surgery.

Macular Degeneration

Nearly half of people age 85 and older experience age-related macular degeneration. The condition can cause blood or fluid to leak from the retina, which must be addressed prior to cataract surgery.


For cataract patients with glaucoma, the eye surgeon may recommend pairing cataract surgery with microinvasive glaucoma surgery (MIGS). For those with mild-to-moderate glaucoma, this procedure can help reduce dependence on glaucoma eye drops.

Corneal Disease

Corneal disease is typically a focal point of a pre-surgical cataract examination, as its presence can create surgical complications. The exam helps the

ophthalmologist identify, understand and plan for any corneal issues that could otherwise pose a problem.

Fuchs' Dystrophy

Fuchs' Dystrophy is one of the most serious conditions that could potentially impact cataract surgery. In fact, the condition can be concerning enough to postpone moving forward with cataract surgery. Leveraging state-of-the-art cataract surgical technology, however, may allow the eye doctor to limit complication risks and confidently proceed.

Dry Eye

Dry eyes can result in inaccurate pre-surgical measurements. Artificial tears can often be applied to improve tear volume and allow for better ocular surface measurements. The resulting one-to-two-week delay is worthwhile to optimize surgical outcomes.

Discuss any pre-existing conditions with your eye doctor prior to cataract surgery. Small procedural changes can reduce the risk of making an existing eye condition worse or producing surgical complications.

To schedule your cataract consultation, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300.



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