A Clearer View

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

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.

Glaucoma

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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Dr. Todd J. Endicott, Ophthalmologist, Joins North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care

by Damion Wasylow 25 April 2023 05:23 AM

Dr Todd J Endicott Ophthalmologist outdoors with his dog
North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care is thrilled to announce the addition of
Todd J. Endicott, D.O. to our team of expert physicians. Dr. Endicott is a board certified ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon who practices comprehensive ophthalmology with specialized interest in glaucoma management.

Dr. Endicott served in the U.S. Navy for 28 years, most recently as medical director for the Naval Hospital Jacksonville Ophthalmology Clinic and the Warfighter Refractive Eye Surgery Program, providing full spectrum comprehensive ophthalmology and cataract surgery to military service members, veterans and their families.

Dr. Endicott says he was attracted to join North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care due to our practice’s long-standing reputation of providing the best cataract surgery experience and results.

“I wanted to be a part of a practice with such an outstanding reputation and to play a role in continuing that reputation. Plus, I greatly appreciate all the staff members at our clinic and surgery center. Their professionalism, competency and genuine joy and pride in a job well done are beyond compare.”

Before pursuing ophthalmology, Dr. Endicott served as a Naval Flight Officer, flying the Grumman EA-6B Prowler jet onboard the USS Kitty Hawk supercarrier and deployed throughout the western Pacific Ocean, Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. He then became a Naval Flight Surgeon and served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan, before pursuing his medical degree.

When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Endicott enjoys working on his farm, being outdoors with his dogs, fly fishing, competitive target shooting, cooking and barbeque, although, “admittedly, probably a little too much with the cooking and barbeque,” he says with a smile.

On a day off, you’ll likely find the good doctor, “with my toes in the sand, on a boat somewhere, or doing anything that fits well with wearing a cowboy hat, jeans, boots and work gloves.”

We are thrilled to have Dr. Endicott on our team and look forward to the exceptional care he will provide to you, our patients.

To schedule your appointment, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at (352) 373-4300.

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Tioga Town Center Location Now Open for Your Family’s Eyecare Needs

by Damion Wasylow 23 April 2023 02:03 AM

north florida cataract specialists and vision care tioga location exterior
After a brief hiatus, North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care’s location in Tioga Town Center is once again open to serve your family’s eyecare needs.

From comprehensive eye exams and evaluation of vision challenges to fitting you for the latest prescription eyeglasses or contact lenses, our Tioga Town Center location makes it easy and convenient for you to meet with an eye doctor or licensed optician.

Optometrist, Dr. Ashley Seymour, is now accepting patients at our Tioga Town Center location. Dr. Seymour is a Gator alumnus who completed her residency at the Malcom Randall VA Medical Center. She’s an expert in ocular diseases and refractive challenges, and one of the nicest physicians you’ll ever meet.

Schedule an appointment at our Tioga location today by calling us at 352-333-1186. Or just walk in! Our office in Tioga Town Center (12921 SW 1st Road, Suite 107) is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:00am to 4:30pm. Friday office hours are also available by appointment.

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Macular Degeneration Risk Factors

by sdean 12 February 2023 08:02 AM

 elderly lady on couch with glasses

Macular Degeneration, commonly referred to as Age Related Macular Degeneration or ARMD, is the leading cause of vision loss and blindness in Americans aged 50 and older.  While the exact cause of ARMD is not yet known, there is plenty that we do know about this disease.  

Risk Factors:

  • Age – It seems like age is a common risk factor for just about every ailment, and macular degeneration is no different.  As we age, our risk for developing ARMD is significantly increased.  White adults in their 60s have a 1% chance of having ARMD, while those 80 and older have a 14% chance! 
  • Family History – It’s a good idea to check with your family to see if anyone has been diagnosed with ARMD as it has been shown to greatly increase your risk of developing it yourself.  If you do have family members with macular degeneration, pay close attention to other risk factors and be sure to get regular eye examinations.
  • Race – As mentioned when discussing age as a risk factor, caucasians are far more likely to suffer from macular degeneration than any other race.  While uncommon, it’s not impossible for other races to have this disease. 
  • High Blood Pressure/Cardiovascular Disease – It is widely believed that the same factors that contribute to hypertension and heart disease are some of the same factors that contribute to macular degeneration.  If you have either (or both) of these conditions, your likelihood of developing ARMD increases.
  • Obesity – While the reason isn’t exactly clear, it has been shown that being overweight may be associated with developing ARMD. 
  • Smoking – Smoking, in general, is detrimental to your health, particularly in increasing your risk of vascular disease.  Since a big part of the disease process of macular degeneration deals with blood vessel abnormalities, it’s no wonder why smoking is a major risk factor for ARMD.

Prevention:

  • Diet & Exercise– We’ve always been told to be sure our diets include a lot of fruits and green, leafy vegetables and for good reason.  These healthy foods are high in vitamins and minerals, including zinc and Vitamins A, C, and E.  These antioxidants can help protect your cells from oxidative damage which contributes to the aging process.  High fat diets have also been linked to a possible ARMD risk factor.  Eating healthier combined with exercise can help with weight loss as well as improving your cardiovascular health, both of which can decrease your risk of developing macular degeneration.
  • Sun Exposure – If you spend a lot of time outdoors, be sure to invest in a good pair of UV protective sunglasses.  Without ultraviolet protection, the development of ARMD can be sped up exponentially.
  • Smoking – It increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart disease as well as macular degeneration.  It can contribute to skin changes, including skin folds, lines, wrinkles, and color changes (skin having a yellow or gray tone).  Not to mention, you can start to develop coughing spells, shortness of breath, frequent headaches, an increase in mucus, and reduced physical fitness. 

    Bottom line: Smoking is bad.  Just don’t do it.

If you think you are at risk for macular degeneration, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to make an eye appointment. 

How Do Cataracts Impact Vision?

by Damion Wasylow 17 October 2022 12:51 PM

senior man with cataracts struggles to read computer screen
More than half of Americans over age 80 have or have had cataracts, but even those in their 40s or younger can be affected by this condition. While changes in vision are common as you age, it’s important to understand how cataracts affect your sight. Knowing the signs and symptoms will help you determine whether you or a loved one should see an ophthalmologist.

Early Signs

Often, one of the first signs of cataracts is frequent changes to your eyeglass or contact lens prescription. The prescription that served you well in the past suddenly doesn’t provide the same clarity. At this stage, you may be able to simply work with your optometrist to update the prescription, but as symptoms progress, surgery will be necessary.

Cloudy or Blurry Vision

Cataracts start out small and may initially only have a minor impact on your vision. Things may seem only slightly blurry at first, but that blurriness will progress. Your vision may also become cloudy and dim.

Double Vision

As your lens becomes cloudier, light diffraction can make it seem like you’re seeing double. Cataracts are known to cause double vision, but it’s important to note that many other medical conditions can also have this effect, including brain tumors, stroke, multiple sclerosis and corneal swelling, among others. Don’t risk self-diagnosis. Talk to your doctor about any recurring issues with double vision.

Light Sensitivity and Halos

Light sensitivity is a common side effect of cataracts. Glares from bright lights can be painful, especially for those with posterior subcapsular cataracts. These cataracts start to develop at the back of the lens, blocking light and making it more difficult to read. 

Along with light sensitivity, many people begin to see halos around lights. These rings, which sometimes manifest in a variety of colors, can make it dangerous to drive at night. 

Lens Discoloration

Over time, cataracts darken, producing a brown or yellow tint on the lens. This discoloration may impact your night vision, making it more difficult to drive safely at night. In more advanced stages, it may also be visible to loved ones and others who look at your eyes.

Determining When to Have Cataract Surgery

It’s wise to see an ophthalmologist if you experience any of the symptoms outlined above. Your ophthalmologist will assess the progression of your cataracts to help you determine when surgery is necessary. 

Surgery may not be required at the time of your diagnosis, so long as your cataracts do not substantially impact your vision, and therefore, quality of life. A stronger eyeglass or contact lens prescription may be sufficient to get you back to your normal routine.

Cataracts inevitably get worse over time, however, and left untreated, will eventually rob you of your sight completely.

Generally, cataract surgery is recommended when a person’s cataracts cause significant vision loss or severely affect quality of life. Fortunately, cataract surgery is one of the most common and safest surgeries in the world, so there’s no reason to delay the procedure once it’s needed. 

If you or someone you love is experiencing cataract symptoms, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today at 352-373-4300 to schedule an examination.

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