A Clearer View

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

5 Questions to Ask Your Cataract Surgeon

by dwasylow 30 March 2015 11:20 AM

Undergoing any surgical procedure must be taken seriously. And the more information you have, the better choices you can make when comparing your surgical options. This is especially true when considering cataract surgery. Do your homework and ask as many questions as necessary until you are 100-percent comfortable proceeding.

Here are five questions to get you started…

Is now the right time for cataract surgery?

Being diagnosed with a cataract doesn’t necessarily mean you need surgery right away. In the early stages, cataracts may not negatively affect your vision. If, however, your vision is blurred, it’s time to act. Eventually, all cataracts require surgery.

What are my cataract surgery options?

Cataract surgery can either be performed via tradition surgical methods or laser assisted surgery. Laser-assisted cataract surgery is the preferred method for most patients, as it allows the surgeon to be more precise, limits patient discomfort and speeds recovery.

How many cataract surgeries have you performed?

Your eyes are precious, so you want to trust them to a surgeon with an excellent reputation and a successful track record. Like most things in life, there’s no replacement for experience. In North Central Florida, Dr. Gregory Snodgrass is among the most experienced, having performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries.

What should I expect during recovery?

Recovery times, side effects and follow-up appointments are heavily impacted by the skill of the surgeon and the type of cataract surgery you choose. Laser-assisted cataract surgery and recovery are pain free. Limited trauma to the eye reduces side effects compared to traditional cataract surgical procedures.

How much will my vision improve?

With the cataract removed and a new prosthetic lens implanted, you can expect substantial vision improvement. With laser-assisted cataract surgery, patients often experience improved vision before even leaving the surgical center. Cataract-related vision problems are permanently corrected, but patients with other vision problems may still need to wear glasses or contacts.

If you suspect you have cataracts, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today for a consultation. We’ll perform an evaluation, review your treatment options and answer any and all questions you have. We’re here to help you see clearly.



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Dry Eyes? Could be Your Glands – Really.

by dwasylow 7 March 2015 12:25 PM


When most people hear the word glands, they think of those mysterious little organs that cause hormones to swirl in teens. But those certainly aren’t the only glands in your body. In fact, if you suffer from dry eyes, it’s glands that could be the root cause of the problem.

We’re talking specifically about your meibomian glands, also called tarsal glands.

Meibomian glands are located within the eyelids, approximately 50 glands in the upper eyelids and 25 in the lower eyelids. Each tiny gland has a vent (small opening) along the edge of the eyelid through which they express meibum, an oily substance that helps maintain eye moisture. When we blink, that meibum is carried from the eyelids across the eye’s surface.

Meibum’s primary function is sealing in the natural moisture produced by tears against the eyeballs. When meibomian glands stop effectively producing and distributing meibum, dry eye symptoms result. It’s called evaporative dry eye disease, and it can be quite painful.

Evaporative dry eye disease symptoms include burning, itching, watering, light sensitivity and recurring blurred vision, among others. The disease is somewhat more common in women that in men, but anyone can be affected.

Treatment for evaporative dry eye disease has come a long way in recent years. Traditional treatments including warm compresses, eye drops and prescription medications provide temporary symptom relief, but don’t cure the cause of the problem – lack of healthy, normal meibum production.

Thankfully, now there is LipiFlow. This revolutionary treatment uses a combination of warmth and compression to unblock meibomian glands, allowing them to effectively do their jobs once again. LipiFlow treatment can be applied at your eye doctor’s office and is shown to provide comfort to 86% of dry eye patients.

Gainesville Eye Physicians is one of first eye health practices in North Central Florida to offer LipiFlow and our patients experience fantastic results.

To learn more about evaporative dry eye disease and LipiFlow, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today.



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Cataract Symptoms and Treatment with the LenSx Laser

by 352admin 7 March 2015 12:19 PM


Developing cataracts can be incredibly frustrating. Early on, their impact on vision is limited, but the condition inevitably grows worse over time. Without treatment, cataracts effectively rob patients of their vision.

So, how do you know if you or someone you love is developing cataracts, and what cataract treatment option is best? Let’ start with a list of some common cataract symptoms.

Cloudy or blurred vision –This will likely impact only a small area of vision at first. Your vision may be blurry when looking one direction but not another. Eventually, however, it will take over your entire field of view.

Double vision –Double vision is a dangerous early symptom for cataract patients. It can produce balance issues that can result in falls or hazardous driving.

Lens discoloration –Patients with lens discoloration notice that colors dull, often distorted as if by a brown or yellow film. Purples and blues can be particularly difficult to see.

Light sensitivity, glare and halos –Lights (natural and synthetic) can be far too bright for people with cataracts. They can also produce uncomfortable glare or disorienting halos.

If you or a loved one is coping with any of these symptoms, see your eye care provider for a cataract screening. If you do have cataracts, ask about your treatment options, including laser cataract surgery.  

Treatment with the LenSx Laser System

Cataracts don’t go away on their own, and they can’t be cured with medications. Surgery is the only effective treatment option. So, the question that remains is whether you should choose traditional surgery or laser surgery.

At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we recommend LenSx Laser System for most patients.

LenSx laser cataract surgery has many benefits over traditional surgical methods. It’s pain-free and promotes faster recovery. Some patients report improved vision within minutes or hours, even before they leave the surgery center. LenSx is also completely bladeless and significantly more accurate than manual procedures.

Dr. Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians is one of the first eye surgeons in North Central Florida to offer the LenSx system. To find out if this amazing treatment is right for you contact our offices in Gainesville, Tioga or Melrose today



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New Treatment for Evaporative Dry Eye Disease

by dwasylow 14 January 2015 13:51 PM

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

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


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?


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.


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.


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.


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


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

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


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

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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