A Clearer View

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

Dispelling 5 Common Cataract Myths

by dwasylow 13 July 2015 13:42 PM

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Myth 1: Only older people develop cataracts

While it’s true that cataracts are most common in people over age 65, younger patients may also suffer from cataracts. In younger people, cataracts can be caused by environmental conditions such as extreme heat and exposure to UV rays, or by genetic and health issues including diabetes, heredity, myopia and certain medications. Babies are occasionally born with congenital cataracts.

Myth 2: Cataracts can grow back

Cataracts cannot grow back after they’re removed. After all, cataracts aren’t a growth, but a dying off of the cells of the lens. Once replaced with an artificial lens, there’s nothing to grow back. Months or years after surgery, however, some patients experience something called a “secondary cataract. The membrane behind the new intraocular lens implants may become cloudy. Your eye physician can simply and quickly correct this.

Myth 3: Aspirin prevents cataracts

Aspirin has a lot of important uses, but many Americans have grown to expect a little too much from this little wonder drug, including preventing cataracts. Studies have shown no correlation between taking aspirin and reduced risk of cataracts. In large doses, aspirin can actually have negative health effects, so be sure to consult your doctor before starting any aspirin regimen.

Myth 4: Close-up tasks make cataracts worse

Some patients incorrectly attribute cataract development to eyestrain from performing tasks that require up close vision. Cataracts are caused by a very specific list of factors, however, and focusing on items close up simply doesn’t make that list. Tasks like reading or sewing have no impact at all on developing or worsening cataracts. Performing these tasks may actually help a patient diagnose cataracts early, as they begin to require additional light.

Myth 5: Recovering from cataract surgery takes months

Modern cataract surgery options require less recovery time; this is especially true of laser-assisted cataract surgery. By reducing the amount of ultrasonic energy, there is less trauma to the eye. Patients often report improved vision while still in the recovery room. With the LenSx laser cataract surgical system, both the surgery itself and recovery are pain free.

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass of Gainesville Eye Physicians has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries, and was the first in our area to use the LenSx laser cataract system. Contact us today for a consultation to find out how Dr. Snodgrass and our staff can help improve your vision.

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What to Do When Mom has Cataracts

by dwasylow 13 June 2015 08:29 AM

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Helping a loved one deal with a medical condition is always tough. Guiding an aging parent through cataracts comes with a unique set of challenges. Denial is a common reaction to cataracts. So, how do you help your mom with her diagnose and treat this common ailment?

First, watch for cataract warning signs. Mom may not be quick to admit her eyesight is failing, but she may repeatedly complain that text is blurry and difficult to read. You may also notice she has particular trouble seeing at night, or that she’s especially sensitive to bright light. Odds are, she’ll attribute this to an outdated set of eyeglasses, but it’s definitely worth seeing an ophthalmologist to determine if cataracts are the real culprit.

That last part can definitely be easier said than done.

Getting mom to the eye doctor may require a little creativity. Odds are, she’s accustomed to just getting new glasses every few years from the same optical shop. Opticians play a valuable role in eye care – especially licensed opticians – but diagnosing and treating cataracts is best left to a specialist. Tell mom you’re concerned about her vision and it would just make you feel better if she saw an ophthalmologist. Offer to go with her. A little bonding time, right?

Once at the eye doctor, he or she will perform a series of simple, non-invasive tests to quickly determine whether cataracts are present and, if so, the severity of the condition. Early on, surgery may not be necessary, but when cataracts negatively impact quality of life, the surgery is the only effective treatment option.

Your ophthalmologist should explain all your surgical options. The right physician will take plenty of time talking through the pros and cons of the available options, including traditional and laser-assister surgery options.

For most patients today, laser-assisted cataract surgery is preferable. Technology like the LenSx laser-assisted cataract surgery system helps the surgeon be more precise, reducing trauma to the eye and improving recovery time. Laser-cataract surgery is painless, and patients often report improved vision before even leaving the recovery room. It’s outpatient surgery, meaning patients return home the same day.

If you suspect a loved one is dealing with cataracts, schedule an appointment with Dr. Gregory Snodgrass at Gainesville Eye Physicians. Dr. Snodgrass has performed more than 20,000 cataract surgeries, and he’s a compassionate caregiver who will treat your family like his own.

Call Gainesville Eye Physicians in Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City or Melrose today.

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Why Do My Eyes Burn Every Day?

by dwasylow 13 June 2015 08:17 AM

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Few things impact quality of life quite like irritated, itchy, burning eyes. Thousands of Americans deal with painful eyes every day, and the causes vary. The most common, however, is dry eye syndrome.

Dry eye syndrome can result from a number of congenital (genetic) and environmental conditions. Symptoms commonly include a mix of excessive tearing, stinging or burning, scratchiness, mucus or “matter” in the eyes, redness, the feeling of a foreign body and/or general grittiness. You may also notice a decrease in vision quality.  

One of the most common causes of dry eye syndrome is evaporative dry eye disease. Evaporative dry eye disease occurs when the meibomian glands along the edge of the eyelid no longer produce adequate oils to help coat the surface of the eyes.

In healthy eyes, meibomian glands in the lower eyelids secrete a tiny amount of crucial oils that are then spread across the surface of the eye each time you blink. These oils mix with your natural tears to lubricate the eye. Without sufficient amounts of these oils, dry eye is inevitable.

In most cases of meibomian gland dysfunction, the glands are still producing the necessary oils, but the ducts that secrete the oils are blocked. Thankfully, modern treatment options make this condition simple to manage for dry eye sufferers.

Among the most popular and effective treatments for evaporative dry eye disease is LipiFlow. Available through select eye care practices, LipiFlow is a non-surgical treatment that uses a combination of warmth and compression to unblock meibomian glands. Once unblocked, the critical oils flow freely once again, often eliminating dry eye symptoms. Studies show that 86% of patients with evaporative dry eye disease experience relief after treatment with LipiFlow.

If you or someone you love suffers from dry eye syndrome, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians in Gainesville, Tioga Town Center, Lake City or Melrose. We’re here to help you with the best eye care options available, including LipiFlow for evaporative dry eye disease.

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Are Cataract Eye Drops for Real?

by dwasylow 5 May 2015 12:19 PM

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Living with cataracts can be extremely frustrating, driving some people to try unproven solutions to cure or limit their cataract formation. One such treatment is N-acetylcarnosine eye drops, often called carnosine eye drops, or simply cataract eye drops. These drops are promoted as an over-the-counter cure for cataracts. But do they work?

In a word, “no.”

Carnosine eye drop manufacturers claim their drops “dissolve” cataracts, but cataracts are not a substance, so there’s nothing to dissolve. Marketers of these eye drops also claim they can prevent cataract development, but cataracts are a natural part of eye aging, so that’s another false statement.

Sites selling cataract eye drops often showcase studies hyping their effectiveness, but beware of their fuzzy science. Most of these supposed “studies” were conducted and reported by the scientist who patented the treatment – meaning the guy with the most to gain by people buying his alleged cure.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any form of carnosine treatment for cataracts, and the Royal College of Ophthalmologists in England finds no evidence to support the cataract treatment claims made by carnosine eye drop manufacturers.

We found this customer review on a site selling so called cataract eye drops…

“After 5 months of use, with hundreds of dollars spent on these drops, there was no hint that the cataracts were better, and my mother's ophthalmologist ran tests indicating they had actually gotten worse.”

There is only one effective treatment option for cataracts. Cataract-afflicted lenses must be surgically removed and replaced with artificial lenses. Thankfully, with the development of laser assisted cataract surgery options, patient outcomes are better than ever. With the LenSx laser surgery system we use at Gainesville Eye Physicians, patients often report improved vision before even leaving the surgical center.

To learn more about your cataract diagnosis and treatment options, schedule a consultation with Gainesville Eye Physicians today.

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What to Do About Dry Eyes and Contacts

by dwasylow 5 May 2015 12:09 PM

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Some of the most common complaints among contact lens wearers are symptoms of dry eyes. The itchiness, scratchy feeling, redness and general discomfort of dry eyes can make life truly miserable. So, what can you do about it?

The truth is wearing contact lenses doesn’t cause dry eyes, but it can bring out symptoms in people prone to dry eye syndrome, a condition that affects more than 90 million Americans. That’s up to 30% of the U.S. population.

Dry eyes result from an insufficient coating of natural liquid across the front of the eye. This liquid is a mixture of tears and oils that help flush out debris and let the eyelid slide across the eye.

Wearing contact lenses can reduce the amount of liquid on the eye by absorbing it into the lens. This sometimes results in CLIDE: contact lens induced dry eye syndrome. Use of lubricating eye drops may offer some relief, but rarely produces long-term comfort. Certain contact lens cleaning products can also help keep your contacts moist. Your eye doctor can help guide you to the best products for your specific needs.

Many contact lens wearers eventually find their dry eye problems are actually rooted in their eyelids. Along the ridge of the eyelid are tiny vents for oil-producing glands called meibomiam glands. The lipids produced by these glands are designed to spread across the surface of the eye each time we blink. When they become clogged, evaporative dry eye disease can result.

Thankfully, there are treatment options for evaporative dry eye disease. Among the most effective solutions is LipiFlow, an in-office treatment that unblocks the meibomiam glands vents, allowing the naturally occurring oils to flow freely and lubricate the eyes once again.

If you’re having trouble with dry eye symptoms while wearing contact lenses, schedule an appointment with Gainesville Eye Physicians today. We’ll talk with you and evaluate your symptoms to create a treatment plan perfect for you.

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What Causes Dry Eyes?

by dwasylow 30 March 2015 11:27 AM

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Dry eye syndrome is among the most common vision problems in the United States. A recent survey found nearly 48-percent of Americans regularly suffer from dry eye symptoms.

Dry eyes result from a lack of proper lubrication across the surface of the eyes. Healthy eyes have a moisture layer made up of a combination of mucus, saline (salt water) and lipids. Insufficient amounts of these components, or the wrong mixture of them, causes irritation, sandy or gritty feeling, burning sensation, redness, blurred vision and other dry eye symptoms.

Several factors can contribute to dry eyes.

Age

Dry eyes can affect people at any age, but the condition is much more common in people age 50 and older. By age 65, most people regularly experience dry eye symptoms.

Gender

Due to hormonal changes, women are more likely than men to develop dry eyes. Events including pregnancy and menopause may trigger dry eye symptoms. While dry eyes are more common in women, studies suggest more than 1.6 million American men also have the condition.

Medications

Antihistamines, blood pressure medications, decongestants and antidepressants can contribute to a reduction in tear production. Of course, these medications serve important purposes, so you should not discontinue use, even if you experience dry eye symptoms, without consulting your physician.

Medical Conditions

People with diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, thyroid disorders, vitamin A deficiency and some other conditions are prone to develop dry eyes. Dry eye symptoms are also fairly common in patients following LASIK surgery.

Environment

Living in or visiting dry environments can lead to dry eyes. Factors such as smoke and wind also play a role. Dry eyes may also affect people who stare a computer screens for long periods, as they may blink less frequently.

If you experience dry eye symptoms, contact Gainesville Eye Physicians today for a consultation. We’ll examine your eyes to diagnose the cause of your discomfort. Depending on the nature of your condition, we can provide several treatment options, including LipiFlow if your dry eyes are caused by insufficient lipids.

You can experience dry eye relief. We can show you how.

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5 Questions to Ask Your Cataract Surgeon

by dwasylow 30 March 2015 11:20 AM

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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

colorful-eye

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

define-cataracts

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

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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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