A Premier Practice For Eye, Facial Care

Institute’s ophthalmologists use latest techniques and technology for cataracts, cosmetics and more.

Vision is priceless. Believing this to be true, the physicians and staff at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute are devoted to bringing premier eye care to residents on the Sunshine State’s west coast. That has been their unifying mission since 1981.

Ana-Maria Oliva, MD

The institute’s eye specialists in Brandon offer a vast selection of services using the most advanced technology available. This includes employing the latest products for the treatment of cataracts.

Cataracts are a clouding of the lens that develops from a breakdown of lens fibers or a clumping of eye proteins, or both.

“Most people develop cataracts in their 60s. Some develop them earlier, some later,” explains Ana-Maria Oliva, MD, a board-certified ophthalmologist and fellowship-trained corneal and refractive surgeon.

Symptoms of cataracts include blurry vision; glare, particularly with oncoming lights in traffic; double vision in one eye; halos; and difficulty reading.

Cataracts are treated with surgery in which the doctor removes the affected lens and replaces it with an intraocular lens implant, or IOL.

“There are different types of IOLs. Our goal is to select one that will minimize the patient’s dependence on glasses after surgery,” Dr. Oliva points out.

Typically, cataract surgeons correct the patient’s vision for distance, and the patient will require reading glasses for near vision. One way around this is to correct one eye for distance and one eye for reading. This is called monovision.

“Not everybody is a candidate for monovision, and not everybody can tolerate it,” Dr. Oliva reports. “The other option is to use one of the advanced-technology multifocal IOLs that have become available in recent years.

“One of the most popular multifocal lens options that we offer at our practice is the Alcon PanOptix®, which is a trifocal lens. It corrects for distance, intermediate and reading vision. It does this by splitting the light entering the eye so patients can utilize the same amount of light to see at all three focal points.”

Unfortunately, when light is split, it can sometimes result in side effects such as halos, starbursts or glare. While these typically improve over time, they can be avoided with another type of IOL, the AcrySof® IQ Vivity™ lens, also by Alcon.

“The Vivity is classified as an extended range of vision lens,” Dr. Oliva discloses. “Instead of splitting light, it stretches the light so it can be used to focus on images far away and up close. It’s a little better for intermediate vision than for very close-up vision.

“It’s also a nice option for patients who may not be PanOptix candidates due to preexisting eye pathology. These considerations are taken into account during the patient’s cataract evaluation with the physician.”

Face to Face

Norberto Mancera, MD, is a fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic surgeon with the institute. At the Brandon location, Dr. Mancera and his colleague, Robert J. Applebaum, MD, MBA, address a multitude of complaints concerning the eyes and face.

Norberto Mancera, MD

“Oculofacial plastic surgeons are specialists in treating conditions of the eyelid, eye socket, lacrimal (tear) system and face,” Dr. Mancera explains. “We treat cancer patients requiring reconstructive surgery following tumor removal anywhere on the face. We care for those seeking treatment for tearing issues, eyelid problems and other disorders of the eyes.

“A big niche of patients comes to us for cosmetic procedures. Typically, when people think of cosmetic services, they think of regular plastic surgeons. But they are trained to treat the entire body. Oculofacial plastic surgeons specialize 100 percent on the face and eyes.”

One of the most common surgeries performed by Dr. Mancera and Dr. Applebaum is blepharoplasty, a procedure to correct dermatochalasis, or excess skin on the eyelids.

“It’s a simple procedure that’s performed in the office,” Dr. Mancera observes. “We start by applying a local anesthesia, so patients are very comfortable, then we make tiny incisions, remove the excess skin from the eyelid and place a couple of stitches, which are removed a week later. Patients are generally in and out in 30 minutes.”

Many patients arrive at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute seeking to rejuvenate their face. For this purpose, Dr. Mancera and Dr. Applebaum provide a range of services, everything from BOTOX® Cosmetic and filler injections to laser treatment and light therapy.

“BOTOX® Cosmetic is often the first stage of nonsurgical treatment for aging faces,” Dr. Mancera describes.

“BOTOX is a neurotoxin, but at the dosages we use for cosmetic procedures it’s not harmful to humans.

“We inject BOTOX Cosmetic into the area where nerves are sending chemical messages signaling muscles to contract. Lines and wrinkles form when facial muscles contract and the skin scrunches up. BOTOX Cosmetic cleaves the signal from the nerves so that the muscles don’t get the message to contract.”

Injections of hyaluronic acid fillers such as JUVÉDERM®, VERSA™ and Restylane® have increased in popularity among those seeking facial rejuvenation. Dr. Mancera and Dr. Applebaum often use fillers to increase volume in the cheeks.

“As people age, they begin to lose fatty tissue in the cheeks, causing a hollow, sagging appearance,” Dr. Mancera informs. “Fillers work against this condition by volumizing the hollow areas, which plumps the face and gives it a lift.”

The next stage of nonsurgical treatment for skin rejuvenation is the use of a laser and light therapy. Dr. Mancera and Dr. Applebaum treat various facial issues using intense-pulsed light, or IPL.

“IPL uses high-intensity light at multiple wavelengths,” Dr. Mancera describes. “The wavelengths and frequency of the light can be adjusted to address many skin conditions, including rosacea, age spots, sunspots, hyperpigmentation, acne and acne scarring. IPL also works for hair and tattoo removal, so it’s a very versatile technology.

“We use a CO2 or YAG laser to resurface facial skin at a deeper level. Using the laser, we make pinpoint changes to the skin. These changes cause the skin to enter a healing phase when collagen, a building block of skin, regenerates. The production of new collagen revitalizes and fortifies the skin, creating a younger appearance.”

A Family Affair

In 2021, Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute broadened its mission and merged with the Gaffney Eye Clinic in Plant City. The union was sparked by a longstanding relationship between the institute’s founder Gregory L. Henderson, MD, and clinic founder, Barry M. Gaffney, OD.

Jeremy H. Gaffney, ODwith patient

Dr. Gaffney sees patients at the Brandon and Plant City eye clinics.

“Dr. Henderson and my father started their practices around the same time and have known each other for years,” confirms Jeremy H. Gaffney, OD, son of Dr. Barry Gaffney. “I joined my dad in June 2011 after graduating from the University of Alabama-Birmingham’s optometry school. My brother, Daniel, is an optometrist at the practice as well. We’re a family group.”

Dr. Jeremy Gaffney specializes in medical and comprehensive optometry. In October 2011, he opened the Dry Eye Center of Central Florida, located within the clinic, to bring awareness and treatment to patients with dry eye disease.

Dry eye is a multifactorial disease,” Dr. Gaffney notes. “There are many reasons why someone might be affected by it. They could be aqueous deficient, meaning they have a lack of fluid production in their eyes, or they may have meibomian gland dysfunction, where the oil component of the tears is lacking.”

Every patient is different, so every dry eye treatment plan is tailored to address what that patient lacks.

“There’s no cure for dry eye,” Dr. Gaffney observes. “There are only different ways to manage it, and as we progress through the management plans, the treatment becomes more specialized.

“We often start with preservative-free artificial tears, which are lubricant drops that most patients use day to day. We may insert punctal plugs into the drainage system of the eye to prevent tears from draining too quickly so the eyes stay lubricated. There are also medications that reduce inflammation in the eyes that causes dryness.”

Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute’s Plant City clinic also provides a complete range of optometry services, including comprehensive eye examinations as well as glasses and contact lenses.

“We’re a huge contact lens practice,” Dr. Gaffney elaborates. “We provide all types of contact lenses, including specialty contacts for patients who were told by other providers they’re not candidates for contacts. We help patients many other doctors are unable to help.

“We practice eye care to the fullest extent at our clinic. We treat glaucoma, macular degeneration, red eye and all ocular emergencies, just about everything related to the eyes.”

Dr. Gaffney practices at Florida Eye Specialists & Cataract Institute’s Brandon clinic as well as the Plant City clinic.

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos by Jordan Pysz. mkb
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