A Clearer View

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

We are Now North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care

by Damion Wasylow 20 July 2016 07:39 AM

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After months of careful planning and preparation, we are proud to announce that our practice name is now North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. It’s an exciting time for all of us here, as the name change highlights our unique expertise and better represents the geographic area we serve.

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass partnered in Gainesville Eye Physicians after completing his ophthalmology residency at Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University, and then moving to Gainesville in 1987. Through the course of nearly 30 years, he built the practice into the area’s leader in vision care. 

As the practice grew, services expanded from general vision care to include comprehensive eye surgery, our on-site optical shops, our Dry Eye Center of Excellence and our specialty in traditional and laser-assisted cataract surgery. With locations in downtown Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City and Melrose, the practice now serves patients throughout the region.

Another exciting development is the ongoing construction of our brand new eye care center at the corner of Northwest 8th Avenue and 43rd Street in Gainesville. We broke ground on the new location in mid-April and plan to open the doors in spring 2017. Patients will benefit from the finest in vision technology, comfort and care.

Dr. Kyle Balch is going to continue on with the Gainesville Eye Physicians name, which we recognize may cause some confusion. But our patients can rest assured that the locations and staff you’ve come to rely on will continue – with Dr. Snodgrass at the helm – under the new North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care name.

We know you will come to embrace our new practice name and look, just as we have. When friends and family ask you where to turn for the area’s best choice in eye care, tell them, “North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.”

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How Does Laser Cataract Surgery Work?

by Damion Wasylow 30 June 2016 17:59 PM

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Laser-assisted cataract surgery is a delicate procedure that should only be performed by a specially trained and highly experienced ophthalmologist using state-of-the-art equipment. Understanding the steps involved can make you more comfortable leading up to the procedure and allow you to explain the recovery process to loved ones.

Step 1: Consultation

You will have a comprehensive eye exam including specialized cataract diagnosis. Your ophthalmologist will evaluate the progression of your cataract symptoms and recommend surgery if necessary at this stage. All cataracts eventually require surgery to correct.

Step 2: Surgery Preparation

When you arrive at the eye surgery center, you will be greeted by friendly staff, and asked to complete some basic paperwork. You are then brought to the surgical prep area where you will change into a surgical gown and then rest briefly in a hospital bed. The doctor will come in to greet you and answer any remaining questions. Surgery center staff will then apply sensors to monitor your well being during the surgery.

Step 3: Moving into the Surgical Suite

You will be taken to the surgical suite in your hospital bed. The surgeon, nurses and assistants will be waiting, dressed in scrubs, surgical gowns, caps and masks. Nurses will then administer local anesthesia. Laser cataract surgery only requires local anesthesia, so you will be awake throughout the brief procedure. Most laser cataract surgeries take just 10-15 minutes. 

Step 4: Mapping the Eye

The surgeon will move the laser-assisted cataract system’s camera into place above your eyes. It feeds detailed images and video of your eye lens to a specialized computer to precisely map the surfaces and allow the surgeon to identify the ideal location for the incision.

Step 5: Cataract Lens Removal

The surgeon will use the laser to make a tiny incision in the eye surface. He will then insert a small probe that uses ultrasonic energy (sound waves) to break up the cataract-damaged lens into small pieces. That probe is then removed and a second probe moved into position to suction out the lens pieces. This process is completely pain-free. 

Step 6: Artificial Lens Placement

Your new intraocular lens implant will be pre-loaded into another small probe. The artificial lens is rolled up inside the tip of the probe, making it slender enough to insert through the original incision. The surgeon then unrolls the lens and carefully positions it for optimal vision. This too, is pain-free. The incision used for laser cataract surgery is so small that it does not require stitches to close. A protective shield will be placed over the eye to block out excess light and allow your eye time to adjust.

Step 7: On-site Recovery

Following your surgery, you will be taken into the recovery room at the eye surgery center. There, nurses will make you comfortable while your eyes quickly adjust to the new lens. Your family can visit with you during this time. Many patients report improved vision while still in the recovery room. Once you feel ready, typically after just 30-60 minutes, you’re released to go home. You will need someone to drive you. You will be provided a pair of sunglasses to wear on the ride home.

Step 8: At-home Recovery

You may choose to rest for a few hours when you arrive home. Your surgeon will likely suggest you keep the shield on continually for several hours. You can later take it off, but it should be put back in place during sleep for the next several days. You may experience cloudy or blurred vision at first, and potentially some redness. These are normal short-term side effects. Each patient heals differently. Some see clearly almost immediately. Others require a week or two. 

Step 9: Follow-up Visit

Most surgeons will ask you to come into the office for a follow-up visit the day after surgery. The doctor will examine your eye to ensure there are no complications and that you’re healing normally.

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries, and was the first local surgeon to use the LenSx laser cataract surgical system. If you or a loved one is suffering from cataracts, contact North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care today to schedule a consultation.

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Is Cataract Surgery a Permanent Fix?

by Damion Wasylow 1 June 2016 20:47 PM

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If you’ve been diagnosed with cataracts, you probably been told that surgery is the only treatment option to permanently improve your vision, and that’s true. Cataracts cannot heal by themselves, or with any sort of medication. Surgery is required to permanently correct your vision loss.

Why is surgery the only effective treatment for cataracts?

A cataract is a clouding of the eye’s natural lens caused by a build up of proteins on the lens. As new cells form, existing cells are compacted together, and clouding results. The damage is permanent and progressive, meaning they continually get worse over time. The only way to correct the problem is to surgically replace the damaged natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens.

When is the right time for cataract surgery?

Early cataract symptoms often include cloudy or blurred vision impacting a limited portion of the patient’s sight. In the initial stages, cataracts may not have a substantial impact on your vision. Over time, however, symptoms inevitably get worse, usually producing double vision, light sensitivity, halos, glare and a sense of seeing the world through a brown or yellow film. When these symptoms begin negatively impacting your quality of life, it’s time for cataract surgery.

What are my cataract surgery options?

Depending on the physician you choose, and the specifics of your cataract diagnosis, most cataract patients can select either traditional surgery or laser-assisted cataract surgery. Both procedures involve making an incision in the eye, and then applying ultrasonic energy to break up the damaged natural lens. The resulting pieces are then removed, and a new artificial lens put into place. With laser-assisted surgery, the procedure is substantially more precise and produces less trauma, resulting in a pain-free experience and faster recovery.

No surgical procedure is 100% guaranteed to deliver lifelong results. Physical trauma to the eye, for example, could displace an artificial lens, requiring a follow-up procedure, but these instances are quite rare.

The leading factor in determining the likelihood of success for any eye surgery procedure is the quality and experience of the surgeon you choose. Dr. Gregory Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 successful cataract surgeries. He was also the first local eye surgeon to use the state-of-the-art LenSx laser cataract system.

Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract surgery needs.


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How Can You Prevent Cataracts?

by Damion Wasylow 1 June 2016 20:39 PM

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For most people, cataracts are a natural part of aging. By age 80, more than half of all Americans have experienced cataracts. By the year 2020, it is estimated more than 30 million people in this country will have cataracts. Still, there are steps you can take to limit your likelihood of developing cataracts early.

Sunlight

We’ve all heard about the negative health consequences of exposure to excessive sunlight pertaining to skin cancer, but the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can also damage your eyes. Studies show that UV exposure can increase your chances for developing cataracts. The best prevention is wearing UV-blocking sunglasses to reduce the amount of UV rays that reach the eye lens.

Medications

Doctor-prescribed medications play a critical role in improving health and maintaining quality of life, but certain medications have also been linked to promoting cataract development. Corticosteroids, miotics and triparanol, for example, can all induce or increase your risk for cataracts. Talk to your doctor about the short- and long-term impact of these medications.

Smoking

Smoking may be the worst thing you can do for your overall health, and it also increases your odds for developing cataracts. Smokers are twice likely to develop nuclear sclerotic cataracts and three times as likely to develop subscapular cataracts. While it’s easier said than done, quit smoking immediately if you want to reduce your chances of developing cataracts.

Even with the best preventative measures, cataracts may one day be a fact of life for you or someone you love. When and if that happens, cataract surgery is the only effective treatment option.

Cataract surgery replaces the damaged natural lens with a premium lens implant. This new artificial lens is not susceptible to future cataract development, so your cataracts cannot return. Any form of eye surgery is delicate work, so be sure to select an experienced surgeon like Dr. Gregory Snodgrass for your cataract procedure.

Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to discuss your cataract treatment options.


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What Kind of Doctor Performs Cataract Surgery?

by 352admin 11 April 2016 12:55 PM

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Cataract surgery is a delicate procedure performed by a specially trained ophthalmologist, preferably one with years of experience. Ophthalmologists undergo years of advanced training to master the tools and techniques that produce successful cataract surgery results.

Like all physicians, ophthalmologists must first earn their medical degree (M.D.). They then gain specialized experience through a three-year residency in ophthalmology, the medical specialty dealing with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of eye diseases and the overall visual system. That residency is followed by a one-year internship.

Gainesville Eye Physicians ophthalmologist Dr. Gregory Snodgrass received his bachelor’s degree from the West Virginia Institute of Technology before going on to earn his medical degree from the West Virginia University School of Medicine. He completed his residency and internship at Riverside Methodist Hospital and The Ohio State University, where he served as Chief Resident.

Dr. Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries since moving to Gainesville in 1987 and becoming a partner in Gainesville Eye Physicians. With nearly 30 years of experience, he is known as one of the area’s premier eye surgeons. As such, he was recently invited to join the International Association of HealthCare Professionals (IAHCP), a community of elite healthcare providers.

Dr. Snodgrass was the area’s first surgeon to use the LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery system. LenSx allows Dr. Snodgrass to precisely map the surfaces of the eye and make more exact incisions than traditional surgical methods. And because it requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens, LenSx cataract surgery reduces side effects and speeds recovery. This completely bladeless and pain-free cataract surgery option is increasingly popular with Gainesville Eye patients.

When selecting the right surgeon for your cataract treatment, it’s important to do your homework. Only trust your eyes to a physician with the best credentials and proven experience. You’ll want to ask several questions, and be sure your doctor and his staff take time to talk through all the implications of cataract surgery.

With locations in Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City and Melrose, Gainesville Eye Physicians serves patients throughout North Central Florida. Contact us today for a comprehensive cataract evaluation or just to ask questions. We’re here to help you achieve a clearer view.


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Frequently Asked Questions About Cataract Surgery

by 352admin 4 April 2016 13:31 PM
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As North Central Florida’s leading cataract specialist, we talk to hundreds of patients about cataracts and treatment options each year. Often, they have very similar questions, and we’re happy to help answer them. If you’re concerned about cataracts, reading this article is a good first step. Then, schedule a consultation with Gainesville Eye Physicians to diagnose your vision needs and determine if cataract surgery is right for you.

Q: What are cataracts?

Cataracts occur when a clouding of the eye lens prevents light from being properly focused onto the retina. When this happens, vision can be highly impaired or rendered virtually non-existent. Most cataracts develop as a result of age, but other factors including injury, genetics, sunlight, medications, alcohol and smoking can also contribute. Read more.

Q: What are the symptoms of cataracts?

Most patients first notice cloudy or blurred vision that initially impacts just a limited portion of their sight. Double vision is another early cataract symptom. More advanced cataracts are often characterized by lens discoloration, causing the patient to see the world through a brown or yellow film. Light sensitivity, glare, halos and double vision are also cataract symptoms. Read more.

Q: How do I know when it’s time to get a cataract screening?

If you’re experiencing any combination of the symptoms described above, or if any one symptom is negatively impacting your quality of life, it’s time to get a cataract screening. As a natural part of aging, cataract screening should also be included as part of regular annual eye exams for older individuals. By age 80, more than half of all Americans have experienced cataracts. Read more.

Q: Are cataracts treatable?

Yes. Cataracts can be treated, and your sight restored, potentially making your vision better than before you had cataract symptoms. The key is accurate diagnosis and timely treatment from an experienced ophthalmologist. Read more.

Q: Is surgery the only effective treatment option for cataracts?

Yes, surgery is the only effective treatment for cataracts. Cataracts permanently damage the natural lens, making surgically replacing it with an artificial lens the only way to restore a patient’s vision. There are no known medications or supplements that will prevent or cure cataracts. Read more.

Q: What are my cataract surgery options?

Most patients can choose between traditional or laser-assisted cataract surgery. In either case, the physician makes an incision in the eye, breaks up the affected lens and replaces it with an artificial lens. The biggest difference is that with laser-assisted surgery, the procedure is far more precise and requires less ultrasonic energy to break up the affected lens, resulting in less trauma to the eye. That translates to faster, pain-free recovery. Read more.

Q: What are the benefits of LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery?

The LenSx system captures high-resolution images to map the eye and provide the surgeon detailed measurements, delivering significantly more accuracy than traditional procedures. With LenSx, a computer-guided laser replaces traditional surgical blades, making cataract surgery completely pain-free. LenSx delivers better vision and faster healing. Read more.

Q: What is recovery like after cataract surgery?

Your vision may be temporarily blurred, but generally improves within a few days. Many patients who choose laser-assisted cataract surgery report improved vision almost immediately. Regardless of surgery type, some patients experience short-term grittiness, redness or irritation, residual halos, faint floaters and/or discharge. You will be prescribed eye drops and a protective shield to help these symptoms pass quickly with proper care. Read more.

Contact Dr. Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians today to schedule a consultation.


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Is it Dry Eye Syndrome or Just Sore Eyes?

by dwasylow 7 March 2016 13:21 PM

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If you’re reading this through red, painful, scratchy eyes, you likely wonder if you need medical treatment or if the symptoms can be addressed with over-the-counter remedies. The first clue is the duration and frequency of symptoms.

Anyone can suffer from eye soreness now and then. Sometimes, it’s as simple as an irritant making its way between the eye and the eyelid. Other times, it might be excessive eyestrain from staring at a computer monitor, or the result of environmental factors like dust or smoke. In instances such as these, over-the-counter treatments may provide short-term relief.

When symptoms are severe, or persist or return regularly, however, it’s important to schedule a consultation with your eye doctor. You may have dry eye syndrome, requiring medical care to accurately diagnose and treat.

Dry eye syndrome can be brought on by a number of factors including age, hormonal changes, medications and more. Dry eye symptoms often include stinging or burning, scratchiness, grittiness and excessive tearing, among others.

One of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome is meibomian gland dysfunction. When working properly, meibomian glands that line the rim of the eyelid produce oil that mixes with naturally occurring tear liquid to coat and protect the eye. These glands can become blocked, however, disrupting the composition of tear film and leading to dry eye irritation.

At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we offer LipiFlow Thermal Pulsation to treat meibomian gland dysfunction. Lipiflow is an FDA-approved therapy that takes just 12 minutes to administer in the office. It uses mild heat and gentle pressure to liquefy clogged oils and removes them from the glands, often providing dry eye relief for up to two years.

If you or a loved one suffers with dry eyes, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today for a diagnostic appointment. We’ll evaluate your dry symptoms and recommend a course of treatment to bring you long-lasting relief.


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Is Surgery the Only Option for Cataracts?

by dwasylow 2 March 2016 11:59 AM

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If you or a loved was recently diagnosed with cataracts, you’re curious about your cataract treatment options. Few people look forward to surgery of any kind, so it’s natural to wonder if surgery is your best – or only – option when it comes to cataracts.

The short answer is, yes, and here is why…

Cataracts are caused by a build up of proteins on the eye lens. It can happen to one eye or both, and most frequently results from aging. New cells then form on the outside of the lens, compacting the existing cells, producing clouding and blurring of the lens. This damage is permanent.

Since the lens is permanently compromised, the only option to correct a patient’s vision is replacing the damaged natural lens with an artificial intraocular lens. And that means surgery.

In cataract surgery, a tiny incision is made in the eye, and a small probe is inserted. That probe delivers ultrasonic energy (sound waves) to break the impaired lens into tiny pieces. A second probe is then inserted to vacuum out the resulting pieces. An artificial lens is moved into position and the incision is closed.

Today, many patients opt for laser-assisted cataract surgery. Using a specialized laser guided by detailed computer mapping allows for a more precise incision. Technology like the LenSx laser-assisted cataract system also requires less ultrasonic energy to dissolve the affected lens. This results in less trauma to the eye and quicker recovery.

Artificial lenses are not susceptible to cataracts, meaning that following surgery, cataracts cannot return. Successful cataract surgery is a permanent solution to cataracts. With approximately 3 million cataract surgeries performed in the U.S. each year, the success rate nationwide is more than 98%.

You don’t have to suffer with cataracts. Contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to schedule a consultation and determine if now is the right time to surgically treat your cataracts. We’ll gladly answer any questions you have, discuss your specific needs and outline your cataract treatment options.

At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we’re here to help you see clearly again.


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Cataract Surgery: A Patient’s Experience

by dwasylow 17 December 2015 12:12 PM

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The prospect of surgery can raise many concerns. At Gainesville Eye Physicians, we believe the best way to put those fears to rest is hearing from someone who has experienced it firsthand. With that in mind, we offer Phil D.’s story…

Over the course of a few months, Phil started noticing the lights in his home and office seemed dim. He constantly felt like the lenses in his glasses needed cleaning. Before long, he was bumping into the corners of tables, cutting his fingers in the kitchen and even suffered a series of falls. Night driving was also a challenge.

Gainesville Eye Physicians diagnosed Phil with cataracts and reviewed his treatment options. He elected for surgery with Dr. Snodgrass as his physician, saying he’s, “a surgeon with many years of experience with an excellent reputation who does a large number of these surgeries.”

He was meticulously measured for the right intraocular lens replacement.

“The pre-op preparation was simply incredible,” says Phil. “Two obviously well-trained and experienced med techs spent at least two hours independently measuring the specifications for my artificial lenses including talking with me together the better part of a half-hour about the types of artificial lenses to assist me in making my choice of lens.”

Phil underwent cataract surgery with IV anesthesia. He was awake throughout, and describes the surgical procedure itself as, “anticlimactic.” We love hearing that, because it means everything went smoothly and the patient was comfortable from start to finish.

“I was aware enough during the surgeries to realize that Dr. Snodgrass himself prepped my eyes for surgery. The staff in the surgical suite even knew from the pre-op interview that I needed to have my left shoulder supported because of an injury back when I was in high school.”

Phil was home that afternoon, and returned to work the next day. He even read the newspaper that morning.

He later had a second surgery to replace the cataract-affected lens in his other eye, returning his total vision to pre-cataract quality.

Following surgery, Phil never has to worry about developing cataracts again. He’s cataract-free and loving his improved view of the world.

“It is hard to describe the joy that I felt when I walked out of my home the morning after the second surgery and saw the world again as it really is. A real payoff came several mornings later when the weather had cleared and I went outside before daylight to pick up the newspaper. I had forgotten that you can see craters on the face of the moon,” says Phil.

If you or a loved one suffers with cataracts, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians to schedule a consultation.


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Dr. Snodgrass Invited to Join International Association of HealthCare Professionals

by dwasylow 30 November 2015 13:04 PM

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The International Association of HealthCare Professionals (IAHCP) recently announced the addition of Gainesville Eye Physicians’ own Dr. Gregory Snodgrass to its prestigious membership. As a result, Dr. Snodgrass will soon be published in The Leading Physicians of the World, a journal that “selects and documents biographies of medicine’s brightest minds.”

The IAHCP is a community of elite healthcare providers that promotes professional interaction, ideas exchange, education and empowerment. Its membership is comprised of professionals from more than 30 different medical specialties and associations. Through their collection of exclusive publications and websites, IAHCP provides healthcare providers a platform to share insights and connect with fellow professionals around the world.

Dr. Snodgrass has practiced medicine for 27 years, providing comprehensive state-of-the-art ophthalmology diagnosis and treatments. In addition to eye exams and general vision care, Dr. Snodgrass specializes cataract surgery and dry eye treatment.

Dr. Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries, bringing renewed vision to thousands of patients across North Central Florida. As the area’s first physician to use the LenSx laser-assisted cataract system, he delivers an unsurpassed level of care. Laser-assisted surgery is more precise, pain-free and requires less recovery time than traditional cataract surgery. Patients often experience improved vision before even leaving the recovery room.

Dr. Snodgrass and Gainesville Eye Physicians recently launched their Dry Eye Center of Excellence, a specialty segment dedicated to providing the highest-quality care for patients with dry eye syndrome. LipiFlow is among the practice’s most popular dry eye treatment options. An in-office treatment, LipiFlow unblocks meibomian glands along the eyelid to restore normal eye lubrication. In studies, 79% of patients reported improvements in dry eye symptoms following LipiFlow treatment.

If you or a loved one needs the best eye care available, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Snodgrass, or any of our expert team of ophthalmologists, optometrists and opticians. We’re here to bring you a clearer view.

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