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High-Tech and Futuristic Technology at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care

by Trish Utter

Do you suffer from Glaucoma or Cataracts? It’s a daunting thought to think of surgery and who to trust to do it…after all, it’s your eye sight.

I was invited to visit North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care for a tour and to sit in on a few operations performed by Dr. Gregory Snodgrass and his team.

On doing a little research into Dr. Snodgrass’s background, I found that Dr. Snodgrass is a Board Certified, Ophthalmologist, and listed in the publication, ‘The Leading Physicians of the World,’ as one of the top Ophthalmologists!!!! He has been in practice for over 30 years. Dr. Snodgrass is, the Most Experienced Cataract Surgeon in the North Central Florida area and has performed over 25,000 cataract surgeries! ……..and we’re lucky enough to have him in our Gator community!

Like most people, not in the medical profession, I am a bit squeamish when it comes to hospitals, blood and operations, and especially when it comes to anything to do with the ….eyes! When I think of eye surgery I think of blood, and blades making eye incisions, a grisly thought especially for me as I have been known to pass out at the sight of blood, …but there I was ..in the operating room taking photos of cataract surgeries…yes me!

Instead of passing out I was shocked that not only was there no blood or blades but that the entire procedures were performed with NASA, or James Bond looking, multi-million dollar equipment.

I quietly observed the operation. After the patient was all set up the lighting in the room was lowered making it feel very tranquil. Dr. Snodgrass looked at an interactive screen while hovering over a patient with a device that acted like a miniature vacuum, and a glow from the laser could be seen. I watched on a large screen as black particles in the eye were seemingly sucked right out. Dr. Snodgrass made it all look easy and the whole thing took just a few minutes. As I watched the medical team carefully maneuver around the patient, it reminded me of a ballet. So well rehearsed with no detail left out. Dr. Snodgrass’s team certainly have it well orchestrated, and this team work gives the patients confidence and trust.

A very important part of Dr. Snodgrass’s team is his beautiful daughter, Christa Snodgrass Morris, O.D., who graduated from Nova Southeastern University College of Optometry and trained at the V.A. clinic in Gainesville, where she received invaluable exposure to ocular pathology. Dr. Morris is skilled at fitting contact lenses as well as diagnosing and treating ocular disease. She has been working with her father for the past five years. Dr. Snodgrass said, “I am so proud of my daughter and her accomplishments at the practice, and as a mother. It’s a real treat when Christa brings the two grandchildren into visit the office. Evelyn is two and Margaret Ann will be one this September. Our patients love to see the children.”

Dr. Matthew Gray has joined the practice as a Cornea Specialist. Dr. Snodgrass said, “I’m delighted to welcome Dr. Matthew Gray, who will be specializing in Cornea Surgery as well as Cataract surgery.”

“Dr. Hazouri is a part-time Ophthalmologist but will be retiring, so now was the perfect time to bring Dr. Gray into our team. I have been so impressed with Dr. Gray’s breadth of knowledge, especially in the field of Corneal Surgery and Refractive Surgery, so adding him on was an easy decision,” said Dr. Snodgrass. Dr. Gray’s work in Corneal surgery requires extremely precise measurements that will be performed by a very expensive piece of equipment called, a Pentacam® topographer.

Dr. Gray is originally from Bradenton, but moved to Gainesville 15 years ago. He completed his medical degree and residency training at the University of Florida. His fellowship in Cornea and External Disease and 5 years of experience working in an academic center at UF has provided him with extensive training and experience managing routine and complex eye diseases. While working at UF he helped establish a local Ophthalmology outreach clinic for the uninsured of Alachua County, and frequently volunteers internationally to perform vision restoring surgery to those in need. He is an active member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Cornea Society, and American Society of Cornea and Refractive Surgery. “He also shares my love of the Gators!” Said Dr. Snodgrass.

Dr. Snodgrass just built North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care. This is where he meets his patients and evaluates their needs. The building is brand new and smells like a new car. This multi-million dollar office is very impressive with over 12,500 square feet packed with testing equipment that is state-of-the-art and cutting edge. There is also a large Optical Shop that has a vast selection of glasses, including designers such as, Dita, Etnia Barcelona, Vuarnet, Gucci, Oliver Goldsmith, and Face A Face. Wait, did I just say….GUCCI! Wow, YES you can buy Gucci in Gainesville! And if there is a style they don’t have they can order them for you. If you have frames that you love you can bring them in to have lenses fitted by one of their Certified Opticians. Hmm, I need to shop here!

I was so impressed with Dr. Snodgrass that I wanted to know more, so I sat down and asked him a few questions:

How did you get interested in your profession?

I was a second year medical student and heard a lecture by Dr. George Weinstein, the Chairman of Ophthalmology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine. I was impressed and thought that Ophthalmology would be a cool profession. During my fourth year I was able to rotate at three different Ophthalmology programs – West Virginia University, Ohio State University and University of Louisville. During that time I got significant exposure to the field of Ophthalmology and I decided to pursue it. I did my residency at Ohio State University in Ophthalmology.

What makes North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care unique?

I love technology so the practice is very high-tech and provides the highest standard of care with an aim to surpass anything in the area. We are able to achieve this in terms of pre-operative testing, pre-operative evaluation, surgical technology, LenSx Femtosecond laser-assisted cataract surgery and the ORA (Optiwave Refractive Analysis) to confirm intraocular lens powers. Of course all our technology would be nothing without our excellent, trained staff with respect to many of our staff being certified in their specific positions, for example; Certified Ophthalmic Assistants, Certified Ophthalmic Technicians, Certified Ophthalmic Medical Technologist and Certified Opticians.

What services do you offer?

We offer a full range of services from General Exams for glasses and fitting of contact lenses, to Cataract Evaluation for possible cataract surgery, as well as testing for various eye diseases, to include Glaucoma, Macular Degeneration and detailed testing and treatment for Dye Eye Disease. The practice also specializes in Microinvasive Glaucoma Surgery as a surgical alternative to glaucoma eye drops. A laser to treat floaters is available to our clients as well. And don’t forget that we also have two retail optical shops for a wide range of frames for you to choose from.

What don’t people know about cataract surgery?

Generally people don’t understand that a cataract is a cloudy lens inside the eye as opposed to a growth on the surface of the eye. We take the cloudy lens out of the eye and replace it with an intraocular lens. That intraocular lens has the ability to correct the need for glasses and correct underlying refractive errors, including myopia, hyperopia and astigmatism. These lenses can also be multifocal lenses which can often allow a patient to be spectacle-free.

If a patient is nervous about a procedure, how can you help?

The number one way we can help decrease a patients fear is to help educate them about what the underlying disease process is, or what the underlying malfunction of their visual function might be, and what our treatment method is for their underlying problem. For instance, when a patient is going to have cataract surgery we want the patient to understand what they have, how we are going to remove the cataract and replace it with an intraocular lens. We let them know we will be starting an IV and we will be giving them medication to decrease their anxiety and make their surgery as comfortable as we possibly can, and many times patients don’t remember any of the specifics of their surgical procedure.

What is the most common ailment you see, and what is the treatment?

There are really two common ailments I see:

Cataracts with the treatment being cataract surgery where we can offer patients not only the ability to have the cloudy lens removed, but also correct the underlying refractive error, what we call refractive cataract surgery, by correcting their nearsightedness, farsightedness or astigmatism.

Glaucoma is the second most common ailment we see. Treatment options, include drop therapy to lower the intracular pressure. We also offer certain types of surgical options for glaucoma called MIGS, Micro-Invasive Glaucoma Surgery, which can be done separate from, or in conjunction with cataract surgery.

How are you involved in the Gainesville community?

I am a big supporter of Gator football and I have been a Bull Gator supporter for many years. I go to all the home games, and some away games, and continue to support the team in a Bull Gator capacity…..Go Gators!

Nice to know that you can be seen in the Gainesville and Tioga locations, as well as the satellite office in Lake City for cataract surgical consultations. You know you are in good hands with Dr. Gregory Snodgrass and his team at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.

Here’s What Patients Are Saying:

Dr. Gregory Snodgrass performed eye surgery on both of my eyes in December, 2018. He is very professional and accessible before and after surgery. The eye surgery was very successful and my vision is 20/20 again.

Chief Joel DeCoursey, Jr.

Three years ago God brought this wonderful man into our lives as our Ophthalmologist and surgeon. All my life I wore thick, heavy glasses or the strongest contacts they could find just to see. I hated that I never really saw like other people, but I had no idea what I was really missing. Dr. Broome works with Dr. Snodgrass and when I was referred to their practice for extreme dry eye symptoms, Dr.Broome told me I not only had dry eye, had significant cataracts. She advised that I needed to see Dr. Snodgrass. That diagnosis changed my life! After extensive testing, Dr. Snodgrass removed the cataracts and implanted lens in my eyes. After the first eye was done, I was thrilled to see colors I had never seen, detail that to that time had escaped me, and all in all to find I had a new eye. I could not wait to get the other eye done and when it was, the world became a far better place. My husband, Buddy had his eyes done several months later and to our amazement, not only could he see so much better, his glaucoma went into remission. He hasn’t had to use drops or any other treatment for the glaucoma since his cataract surgery and his pressure has remained static. Friendship does not adequately describe the relationship we have with Dr. Snodgrass. He truly changed our world by saving our vision.

Sandra Haas

When I moved to Gainesville, locating an excellent ophthalmologist was very important. My grandmother had suffered from macular degeneration and I wanted the best eye care available. When I met Dr. Snod-grass he was very professional, thorough, friendly and caring. I knew my care was in the right hands. I continue to get my annual comprehensive eye exams and my contact lens fittings at North Florida Cataract Specialists and Vision Care.

I am always excited to meet with the skilled and friendly staff that always make me feel welcomed and valued. With a great team of eye care professionals, premium eyewear, incredible locations in our region, cutting-edge technology and quality customer service. I know that I have great visual clarity and the finest eye care possible.

Eric Godet Sr.
President & CEO, of the Gainesville
Chamber of Commerce