Lynchburg, VA 24502
About Piedmont Eye Center
Piedmont Eye Center is Lynchburg’s largest multi-specialty ophthalmology practice and has been a trusted name in eye care for over 43 years. Our eight specialists use the latest and most advanced technology to diagnose and treat various eye diseases. In addition to comprehensive eye care, our specialties include: Laser Cataract, Retina, LASIK, Pediatric, Neuro, Glaucoma, and Cornea.
At Piedmont Eye Center, you will find yourself at home in the hands of caring doctors who all have the same goal; to give your eyes the best care possible. We understand how unique your eyes are and offer personalized care. Whether treating or diagnosing, our surgeons are here to take care you. Come see why Piedmont Eye Center has been the first choice for many in eye care. Caring for you and your eyes is our vision!
Setting up an appointment is easy!
Simply call or email our office by using one of the following numbers and one of our receptionists would be happy to assist you.
Toll-free: (877) 684-2020
Locally in Lynchburg: (434) 947-3984
There are many things you can do to take care of your eyes. While visiting the eye doctor is an important and necessary step, there are many things you can do on a daily basis to take better care of your eyes . Below are five little changes you can make today to add to your eye care regimen:
1) Eat Right
Both eye health and overall health rely on what you eat. Diets high in the following may help to prevent age-related vision issues such as macular degeneration:
- Lutein- Lutein is an important nutrients found in green leafy vegetables. It is also found in other foods, such as eggs.
- Omega-3 fatty acids- Fats are a necessary part of the human diet. They maintain the integrity of the nervous system, fuel cells, and boost the immune system. Most fish are high in these healthy fats.
- Vitamins C- Vitamin C is an antioxidant found in fruits and vegetables. Scientific evidence suggests vitamin C lowers the risk of developing cataracts.
- Vitamin E- Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant found in nuts, fortified cereals and sweet potatoes. Research indicates it protects cells in the eyes from unstable molecules called free radicals, which break down healthy tissue.
- Zinc- Zinc plays a vital role in bringing vitamin A from the liver to the retina. This helps to produce melanin, a protective pigment in the eyes.
2) Wear Proper Protection
Whenever you are outside during they day, wear UV blocking sunglasses to prevent damage from the sun. If you are working with power tools or hazardous materials, always wear safety glasses to prevent debris and chemicals from entering the eyes. For sports such as ice hockey, lacrosse, and racquetball, proper eye protection is encouraged.
3) Quit Smoking
Smoking has many adverse health effects, but it can also cause damage to your eyes. Smokers are more likely to develop cataracts, experience damage to the optic nerve, and experience macular degeneration.
4) Look Away From the Computer
Many jobs require using a computer for several hours a day. This constant strain on your eyes can cause digital eye strain, dry eyes, headaches, and neck or back pain. Taking a break from staring at the screen every few hours will prevent eye fatigue and leave you feeling better at the end of your work day.
5) Get Regular Eye Exams
Everyone, even adults with seemingly perfect eyesight, should get a regular eye exam. Getting your eyes checked on a frequent basis can help to prevent or catch eye diseases that can leave you with permanent vision damage. For example, glaucoma can present with no symptoms or warning signs, and can only be detected during an eye exam or after vision loss has occurred.
A comprehensive eye exam may include some or all of the following:
- Talking about your personal and family medical history
- Vision tests to see if you’re nearsighted, farsighted, have an astigmatism (a curved cornea that blurs vision), or presbyopia (age-related vision changes)
- Tests to see how well your eyes work together
- Eye pressure and optic nerve tests to check for glaucoma
- External and microscopic examination of your eyes before and after dilation
How often you should get an eye exam depends on your age and genetics. Recommendations are:
- Every 1-2 years for individuals 65 and over
- Every 2-4 years for individuals between the ages of 40-64
- Every 3- 5 years for individuals between the ages of 20-39
People with special risks, such as diabetes, a previous eye trauma, surgery or a family history of glaucoma, may need an eye exam more frequently. Check with your doctor about how often you should return for a visit.
If you are overdue for a routine exam, we can help! Book an appointment today.
Contact lenses are something that most people wear every day, and never give any thought to where they came from or how we got to the type of contacts that are in use today. What started as an idea from Leonardo da Vinci has now evolved into the concept of disposable contacts today. Here is an overview of the history of contact lenses.
1508 Leonardo da Vinci illustrates the concept of contact lenses
Da Vinci produced the first known sketches of a concept that suggested that human eyesight could be altered by placing the cornea directly in water. However, this concept did not advance any further for another 350 years.
1823 British astronomer Sir John Herschel conceptualizes practical lens design
Herschel proposed the idea of making a mold of a person’s eyes to enable production of corrective lenses.
1887 First contact lens manufactured from glass, and fitted to cover the entire eye
There is some controversy over who created the first pair of lenses. Some sources believe it to be German glassblower F.A. Muller, but others point to Swiss physician Adolf E. Fick and Paris optician Edouard Kalt.
These early glass contacts were thick, heavy, and covered the entire eye, including the sclera (the white of the eye), hence they were referred to as “scleral lenses”. Since they covered the whole eye, oxygen to the eye was cut off, and they could only be worn for a few hours. These lenses did not gain widespread acceptance.
1936 Contact lenses first made from plastic
New York optometrist William Feinbloom introduced the first scleral lenses to be made from a combination of glass and plastic. These lenses were significantly lighter than their predecessor.
1948 Plastic contact lenses designed to cover only the eye’s cornea
California optician Kevin Tuohy created the first lenses that resemble the ones that exist today. These all plastic “corneal” lenses covered only the cornea of the eye. These lenses were made of a non-porous plastic material called polymethyl methacrylate (PPMA). While these lenses still did not allow for gas permeation, they moved with each blink so oxygen carrying tears were able to get under the lens to keep the cornea healthy. Properly fitted PPMA lenses could be worn for 16 hours or longer.
1959 First hydrophilic lenses
Czech chemists Otto Wichterle and Drahoslav Lim invented the first hydrogel soft contact lens material, perhaps the biggest advancement in contact history.
1971 Introduction of soft contact lenses
Wichterle and Lim’s discovery led to the launch of the first FDA-approved soft contact lenses in the United States — Bausch + Lomb’s “SofLens” brand contacts.
1978 Introduction of GP contact lenses
The silicone used to make these lenses is gas permeable,so oxygen can pass directly through GP lenses to keep the cornea healthy without having to rely solely on oxygen-containing tears to be pumped under the lens with each blink.
1981 FDA approval of new soft contact lenses for extended (overnight) wear
Several extended wear lenses are FDA-approved for up to seven days of continuous wear, and at least two brands of silicone hydrogel EW lenses — Air Optix Night & Day (Alcon) and PureVision (Bausch + Lomb) — are approved for up to 30 days of continuous wear.
1987 Introduction of disposable soft contact lenses
Daily disposable contact lenses are single-use lenses that are removed and discarded at the end of each day, and a fresh pair of lenses is applied to the eyes the next morning. Daily contact lenses are gaining popularity among practitioners and consumers for their health and convenience benefits.
2002 Silicone-hydrogel contact lenses first marketed
Silicone hydrogel contact lenses are advanced soft lenses that allow more oxygen to pass through the lens to the cornea than regular soft (“hydrogel”) contacts. In fact, silicone hydrogel lenses enable up to five times more oxygen to reach the cornea than regular hydrogel lenses.
2002 Overnight orthokeratology approved by FDA
Orthokeratology (ortho-k) is the fitting of specially designed gas permeable contact lenses that you wear overnight. While you are asleep, the lenses gently reshape the front surface of your eye (cornea) so you can see clearly the following day after you remove the lenses when you wake up.
2010 Custom-manufactured silicone-hydrogel lenses become available
A number of contact lens manufacturers now offer special design soft contacts for hard-to-fit eyes. These designs feature smaller and larger diameters and a wider range of curvatures and powers than conventional soft lenses for a more customized fit.
Contact technology has come a long way in terms of comfort and safety. The next time you put your contacts in, think of how far contact technology has come to create them.
July 1, 2017
All of our doctors have a story, and we want to share them with you. First in our “Meet the Doctors” series is Dr. Robert Vogel. Dr. Vogel is our retina specialist. He completed his residency at the University of Virginia and received specialty training in the area of retinal and vitreous surgery at the University of Texas in Houston. Dr. Vogel’s expertise includes treating patients with diabetes, macular degeneration, “floaters,” retinal detachments, and other retinal problems using some of the area’s most advanced technology available. When Dr. Vogel isn’t in our office, he’s working in his law office. Yes, Dr. Vogel is also an attorney. In addition to being accomplished in both ophthalmology and law, he also values time with his family and athletic pursuits. Learn more about what makes Dr. Vogel unique below.
What’s one thing you wish every patient knew?
Dr. Vogel: I try to make it obvious, but I care about more than just their eyes. I care about them as a person.
How do you spend your down time?
Dr. Vogel: I put my family and grandkids at the top of my list. I consider them the most important thing in my life. Also, I have a lot of athletic endeavors. Right now, I’m a rower and I do single man skull. I’m a cross country and downhill skier, and a bike rider. I’m remodeling an old cabin. I always have a million things going on. People who know me know that I always stay busy.
What made you want to become an ophthalmologist?
Dr. Vogel: I think that starts with why I wanted to be a physician in the first place. I always kid around and say I was born with a golden stethoscope in my ears. My mom and dad really wanted me to be a physician from early in life. Ultimately, I became a physician because I feel it suits my personality.
I consider myself to be very empathetic, and I really try to relate to who the patient is. For example, my first question when I walk in the room is always “How are you?” I want to know how the person is, my first question is never related directly to their eyes. Their eyes are just a small part of what is going on with them.
Ophthalmologists get to make a big difference in people’s lives, generally in a very positive way. Patients are usually very satisfied with their visits to the eye doctor, and I like that. Cataract surgery and retinal surgery can change someone’s life, quickly and sometimes permanently.
Why did you choose to be a retina specialist?
Dr. Vogel: I don’t know but, I thank God for it. Like I said before, I would not want to be a doctor if I couldn’t be an opthamologist specifically, a retina specialist. I just love retina.
To me, it’s the most creative of the opthamologic specialties. I also like how you see the results of your work quickly. When you repair retinal detachments or take blood out of the eye of a diabetic, you see a lot of changes quickly.
Other surgeons see their patients maybe once a year, I see my retinal patients more often and get to form a relationship with them. To me, the relationship is the most important part of being a doctor. If I didn’t get to know the patients, medicine wouldn’t be as satisfying for me.
What brought you to Piedmont Eye Center?
Dr. Vogel: I did my residency at UVA, and went to Texas to do my retina fellowship for two years. But I love Central Virginia and I knew I wanted to come back. When I was looking, I found several options to come back to the area, including Piedmont Eye Center. One of the best parts of my work life has been that Dr. Lotano and I were able to join together and to grow Piedmont Eye Center into the premiere multi-specialty practice in Central Virginia. This was kind of our dream, to have 8 doctors and a nice building.
What made you want to be a lawyer in addition to being an ophthamologist?
Dr. Vogel: My personality lends itself to being inquisitive and wanting to know a lot about a lot of different things. Also, my wife is an attorney. I did some expert witness work and that really got me interested in the profession. With the advent of the Affordable Care Act, I had some strong feelings about the fact that medicine was going to change in the United States. I really wanted to be up on those changes and be able to help Piedmont Eye Center with the transition. Currently, I have a burgeoning health law practice,write a blog on health law compliance, and teach health law at Liberty University’s medical and law schools. Additionally, I’m trying to keep my hand in health law.
What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?
Dr. Vogel: My work is generally successful. People are, for the most part, satisfied with the outcomes. This is kind of rare in medicine. I set expectations appropriately and people are excited to see their eyesight change.
Cataracts are a visual impairment in which the lens of the eye becomes cloudy , resulting in blurry vision. Surgeries performed to correct cataract changes involve implanting artificial lenses to replace the impaired natural lens. This surgery can be done in two ways – traditional cataract surgery and laser cataract surgery. The patient’s needs will determine the surgery that is best for their unique eye.
Here are three differences between laser and cataract surgery:
1) Laser cataract surgeries do not require the use of a blade.
Traditional cataract surgeries involve using a vibrating needle to break up the cloudy lens (cataracts) and a small blade to manually make incisions in the cornea through which cataracts are removed and replacement lenses are inserted. These procedures are generally safe and effective, and have been used routinely for decades.
Like traditional surgeries, laser cataract surgeries break up and remove cataracts, and implant replacement lenses. However, in theses procedures, a laser instead of a hand-held blade breaks up cataracts and creates a circular opening for removing them and placing the new lens.
2) Laser cataract surgeries have increased accuracy and precision.
In addition to correctly sizing and fitting the replacement lens, the goal of both traditional and laser surgeries is to make incisions as circular as possible and in the right location in the eye. The primary difference between the procedures is that in laser surgeries, instead of surgeons manually making incisions, the laser precisely creates the opening in the cornea. Studies have found that these openings are approximately 10 times more accurate when made by a laser rather than by hand. Additionally, laser surgery treats astigmatism, an irregular-shaped cornea, that leads to improved vision over the traditional method.
3) Laser cataract surgeries have helped to lower risk of complications.
Both procedures are relatively painless and have a quick recovery period. However, laser cataract surgery takes less energy and less surgical time, which reduces the risk of complications and improves recovery time. The laser has replaced the need for blades to make incisions and to correct astigmatism.
Although laser cataract surgery is not typically covered fully by most insurance plans, we have tried to make it very affordable for most patients. Many patients have found they no longer rely on their prescription glasses which helps to save money in the long run.
However, not everyone is a candidate for laser surgery, so talk to one of the doctors at Piedmont Eye Center to find out which option is best for you!
April 26, 2017
Everyone prefers the convenience of clear vision, but we weren’t all blessed with the gift of 20/20 eyesight. Whether you were born with vision problems or they developed over time, you may have found that corrective lenses are required for you to enjoy everyday life. While many people with vision problems wear contact lenses, there are risks that accompany the many benefits of contacts. Compared to glasses, contacts are more convenient, provide better field-of-view, and increase peripheral awareness. However, the negative aspects of wearing contacts, especially when used incorrectly, are plentiful.
Contact Lense Risks
First, wearing contact lenses can cause several serious eye conditions including infections, corneal abrasions, and ulcers. These conditions may develop at different rates for individuals and will damage your eyes. In some extreme cases, these conditions can cause permanent blindness. For example, some people that wear contact lenses may leave the lenses in for long periods of time or sleep with their contacts in. When the lenses are eventually removed, the consequential dryness of the lenses can easily scratch your eye.
No matter how small the abrasion is, the pain is noticeable and may leave your affected eye extremely sensitive to light. When an incident like this takes place, you will not be able to determine the seriousness of the developing problem until you actually remove the contact. Sometimes, these conditions develop slowly over time. Symptoms of eye irritation can indicate a more serious problem. So, always seek out a diagnosis from an eyecare professional to determine whether your eye irritation is developing into a serious problem.
Second, contact lenses are expensive. If you wear disposable contact lenses daily and replace them every two weeks — the most common lens replacement schedule recommended by eye doctors — you can expect to pay approximately $250 for a year’s supply of lenses. Don’t forget that you will likely pay another $150 to $200 on contact lens solution and doctor visits for a total annual cost of around $400 to wear contact lenses. Depending on your specific eye complications, wearing contact lenses could cost you even more.
Additionally, studies show that contact lens wearers are 10 times more likely to experience significant vision loss or blindness from wearing contact lenses than from having LASIK eye surgery. When the surgery is performed by an experienced surgeon in a facility with excellent equipment and a careful screening process that ensures good candidacy, the rate of success is very high. While complications from contact lenses accumulate over years, those from LASIK eye surgery occur over a brief time and heal quickly.
Knowing some of the risks of LASIK can help you determine whether eye surgery is right for you. For example, LASIK may induce dryness in eyes and may cause some haloes for a brief period of time after surgery. The surgery could cause complications such as infection. However, these risks are actually less likely than those associated with contact lens wear. As far as the costs, LASIK requires a substantial upfront expense of $2,100 per eye, on average. However, for those who wear contact lenses, the benefit over time has value. LASIK patients appreciate not having to wear contact lenses. Also, they don’t worry about the constant dangers of wearing contact lens. Finally, they enjoy the convenience of waking up every morning and going to sleep every night without the task of inserting or removing lenses.
It is important to note that research does not suggest that either contacts or laser eye surgery (LASIK) are risky. In fact, research shows that both are safe in their own ways. The widespread use of contacts indicates that many people are willing to take some risks to correct their vision. In the same way, laser eye surgery is a relatively less risky option than a lifetime of wearing contact lenses, according to several studies. With technological advances such as faster, blade-free lasers, and more experienced surgeons, laser eye surgery has become a preferred option for improving eyesight.
Improving your vision with LASIK will substantially reduce the risk of damage to your eyes and reduce the expenses required for clear vision.
Deciding to get LASIK surgery is a personal choice. There are many to help you determine Is Lasik Right For You? For example, there are some general guidelines that may help you identify the ideal time to get LASIK. Although there are exceptions, most doctors recommend getting the LASIK procedure between the ages of 25-40 years old. Below is some additional information about LASIK at every age.
Before 18 years
LASIK is FDA-approved for adults ages 18 and up. Additionally, most doctors won’t perform LASIK on anyone under 18 years of age for several reasons. First, eyesight changes well into early adulthood. Most providers won’t perform LASIK on those under 18 because eyes tend to keep changing into early adulthood. Second, most children don’t need the benefits of LASIK surgery to function.
LASIK doctors require your vision to stabilize before the procedure. They will review records of previous eye exams to see that your prescription has not significantly changed in the past year. Many also recommend waiting for your prescription to stay the same for two years.
Although LASIK is approved for individuals between the ages of 18 to 24 many doctors report that these younger patients have specific lifestyle or job requirements that are hampered by contact lenses. For example, someone who wants to be a military pilot or join law enforcement may be interested in getting LASIK surgery at a young age. Sometimes, these individuals need small ongoing corrections to their vision throughout their twenties.
Thirties to Forties
The most popular time to get LASIK surgery is between 35 to 40 years old. At this time, patients vision is most stable and they are more likely to afford the treatment. Many doctors find that these patients prefer more years of active lifestyle with reduced dependency on eyeglasses and contact lenses. So, the average age of LASIK patients lowers each year. People are starting to think of the surgery as an investment, saving both their vision and the cost of glasses or contact lenses.
Fifties and Beyond
A patient’s eyes will start to change again around the age of 40. During this time many patients develop presbyopia, which causes patients to require reading glasses. Although doctors conduct the LASIK procedure on older patients, many of these patients choose to have monovision. This is something your surgeon can simulate for you in a LASIK evaluation.
Many of these patients find that LASIK greatly benefits them which is why the surgery is trending among older patients. Many in this age group life very healthy lifestyles as non-smokers with healthy diets, and consistent exercise. These healthy, active people don’t want to be hindered by glasses while they enjoy life.
While age is a factor that can affect LASIK candidacy, it is only one aspect of eligibility. Only a personal evaluation can definitely determine whether you are a LASIK candidate. If you’re interested in the procedure, please set up your evaluation with Dr. Bowers to find out if LASIK is right for you
Hi, I'm Dr. Bowers at Piedmont Eye Center and I'm thrilled to announce the 2020 stories and focus campaign where we will be giving away a free…
Robert Vogel, MD, JD : Retina & Vitreous
Darin Bowers, MD : Cataract & Refractive
Gail Ganser, MD : Pediatric & Neuro
Elizenda Ceballos, MD : Cataract & Glaucoma
Saxton Moss, MD : Cataract & Comprehensive
Gene Moss, Jr., MD : Cataract & Cornea
Golnaz Javey, MD : Retina & Vitreous
James Paauw, MD : Glaucoma & Cataract