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A number of our patients come to see us because they need to discuss next steps towards getting rid of their cataract. We realize that some people are nervous by this conversation but it’s nothing to fear. We want to ensure that you and your family are fully confident in knowing what a cataract is, how common it is, and how quickly we can help you get rid of it and begin enjoying your life with great sight!

What is a Cataract?

Everyone has a natural lens in both of their eyes. Cataracts form in the actual lens – not on top or underneath it. “I see a number of patients that think a cataract is something that is laying on top of their lens, as if we can simply go in and remove the covering. It doesn’t exactly work that way, but the actual procedure isn’t much more complicated. It’s so simple, the procedure of removing and replacing the lens is completed in 10 or 15 minutes” said Dr. James McHale, an Ophthalmologist and Managing Partner at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates who says he completes this procedure hundreds of times a year. Like Dr. McHale said, a cataract is when the lens, which is clear most of your life, becomes cloudy. At a point, that cloudiness can cause blurry or foggy vision, problems with glare from headlights or the sun, a dullness in color, and other issues. See photo below of what someone with normal vision versus someone with a cataract would see if they looked at the same photo:

Cataract before and after


How do you treat Cataracts?

Removal and replacement of the cloudy lens with an Intra-Ocular Lens is the only way to treat a cataract. But don’t worry, it’s not a difficult procedure at all! Cataract surgery is one of the most successful operations in all of medicine and it has excellent results. The actual procedure only takes up to 15 minutes – and there are no sutures to deal with. Your healing time is quick and most people resume normal activities in days! Cataract surgery is such a common procedure, that by the age of 80, half of all Americans have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. So if you have to have this procedure, we don’t want you to worry at all! We’re here to help you through it.

If you would like more information on Cataract Surgery, watch this quick video:
View Video
For the next few weeks, We’ll be focusing on cataracts and Intra-Ocular Lenses. If you are struggling with cataracts and this is a treatment you need to have, hopefully this will encourage you to further look into completing your cataract surgery. Remember, you are always free to call our office and speak with someone to ask questions and to schedule an appointment to see one of our Ophthalmologists. We would be happy to see you and discuss your options for a brighter, and clearer, vision future!



With the talk of cannabis constantly growing, we get a number of patients who ask about marijuana and glaucoma. We would like to shed some light on the reality of the situation and have asked Dr. Orlando, founder of Columbus Ophthalmology Associates and expert cataract surgeon to shed some light on the reality of using marijuana to treat glaucoma.

But first, let’s start with what is glaucoma?

Glaucoma is a common sight-threatening disease that can cause damage to the optic nerve damage, the delicate cable-like structure that connects the eye to the brain. Most often, the damage is a result of chronic high pressure within the eye that slowly destroys the nerve fibers from the inside of the nerve outward. The loss of optic nerve fibers is not reversible but at detection and with treatment, the progression of the disease can be stopped.




Now that we’re clear about glaucoma, we’ve asked Dr. Orlando to give us a glimpse of what he shares with his patients about glaucoma and the use of cannabis.

“Last year Ohio voted to legalize medical marijuana and almost immediately patients began to ask if it would help them with their glaucoma. So far, Ohio has not determined what medical conditions and in what clinical circumstance cannabis can be used. However, the drug has been studied for many years by ophthalmologists as public opinion has more or less approved it’s use for glaucoma. But the scientific reality is that it does not really work as treatment for this potentially blinding disorder. First of all, one must understand that glaucoma is a very multi-faceted and challenging disease that can present in a variety of ways. Basically, the internal pressure of the eye damages the delicate optic nerve which connects the eye to the brain where images are created. Eye doctors measure this pressure as part of their routine eye exam and look for elevation that is above the normal of 20mmHg. However, damage can occur even with pressure readings lower than 20 and so the optic nerve itself needs evaluation with a variety of tests that can pick up early signs of damage. When diagnosed, the glaucoma specialist will set a “target pressure” and begin the most appropriate treatment to lower the readings to that point. Follow up visits are required in order to make sure there is no further damage to the nerve with the initial medical therapy. In some cases, a special laser known as the SLT will open the internal canals and allow the pressure to drop if topical drops do not control the pressure readings at a safe level. In extreme cases, microsurgery will create a drain from inside to drop the pressure and prevent further damage.

Scientific research on the use of cannabis for glaucoma treatment has been done for over 30 years. Initial studies done with patients smoking the drug found pressure readings that dropped around 25% but the effect lasted only 2 to 4 hours. Other studies with oral administration of cannabis extract also showed only a short time frame for lowering of the intra-ocular pressures. Some case reports have showed variable response to the drug in lowering pressures and so the overall consensus is that cannabis is ineffective for long term treatment of glaucoma. There are far more proven effective therapies and the American Glaucoma Society has stated there is no form of cannabis that is recommended for treatment of this disease.  The University of Mississippi is currently the only approved site for cannabis research and we will await further studies to see if this can be an effective adjunct to our current treatment options.”

Hopefully this update from Dr. Orlando has helped shed some light on the use of cannabis for the treatment of glaucoma. If you are suffering from glaucoma and would like to speak with a specialist, please call our offices and we will be happy to assist you.

Eye Care Tips General - 400X400

As September comes to an end, we still want to remember these great tips to keep your eyes safe. September is Sports Eye Injury Awareness Month and we hope that you practice eye safety at home, on the field, on the court, and at work! Get more information here:


Sept - Eye Protection Eye Care Tips

I had the great privilege in being trained in ophthalmology by William H. Havener, M.D. back in the early 1980’s. Dr. Havener was a world class ophthalmologist and chairman of in the Department of Ophthalmology at Ohio State, now known as the William H. Havener Eye Institute. He taught me many things, from the proper way to use the surgical  microscope to creating a proper cataract incision. But more importantly, he tried to give all those that trained under him a sense of how to communicate with our patients in order to provide the best possible result for their problem. There are times, perhaps, that we do not meet that expectation but do all we can to ensure that we remain first and foremost our patient’s advocate, no matter the situation.

From the standpoint of the communication, he always told us that history taking is paramount so we can elicit enough detailed information to help arrive at the correct diagnosis. Likewise, he emphasized that we should speak in plain language so our patients clearly understand the situation. With proper give-and-take interaction, both the patient and the physician reach a level of acceptance and trust so that any unusual details in the history are revealed.

As a physician, it is my job to determine what is wrong and carefully assess during each step of my examination where the nature of the disease is present. There are many aspects to the visual system that can affect our sight and our years of training allow us to go through a wide spectrum of choices, eliminating unlikely possibilities and carefully weighing the pros and cons to come to just one or two choices. At that point, we must then convey to our patients in a manner that allows them to be assured what we are stating is true and ensure we both have an understanding of their symptoms and the long-term management of their problem.  All surgeons want to be helpful and assist their patients in the best manner possible. Sometimes this may mean a referral to an outside specialist or to someone within our own practice that works exclusively in the management of their condition. I have always tried to put any unwarranted fear aside for our patients and help them understand that there are many possibilities in the treatment for their particular problem. This is the great art of medicine and we take that trust that you place in us very seriously.

This type of communication Dr. Havener used to call, “reassure therapy”. It was not simply a matter of saying “Oh, do not worry”, as that never works. What I will always try to do as a physician is to give you an honest and thorough analysis of your clinical circumstance and stress the positive aspects that can be found with each condition.

- Dr. Richard Orlando

Dr. Havener

The month of August is full of activity. It’s the end of summer, beginning of school, sports teams begin training, and we start to feel the first few breezes of the coming fall in the air. August is Child Eye Heath and Safety Month and in light of this being a busy time of year for kids and parents alike, we decided to dedicate our Eye Care Tips for this month to kids!

We know life is hectic and there is a seemingly endless list of things to do, places to go, and people to see. In the running around of making life work, remember to make you and your kiddo’s eye sight a priority – so you can keep going, and doing, and seeing.

See our August Eye Care Tips below for a few things to keep in mind to make sure your kiddos sight is as good as it can be, so they can continue to learn, play, and have fun!

August Eye Care Tips

July Eye Care Tips

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July is full of fun! From Independence Day celebrations and cookouts with friends and family, to long-awaited family vacations. Everyone is out and about, getting outdoors, and enjoying the summer heat. While it seems to by flying by, there is plenty of sunshine and many more warm days to look forward to before the chill of falls arrives. We’re sharing our July Eye Care Tips with you so you can enjoy the rest of your summer and keep your eyes healthy, too!

July Eye Care Tips

At Columbus Ophthalmology Associates, we have over 165 years of combined experience in ophthalmology and optometry. Our doctors and surgeons have been practicing for years in Ohio, across the country, and some around the world. We also love to give back to students by having our externship program. Many things have changed over the years, but the hard work and dedication it takes to complete the years of education and training to become a doctor or surgeon are still the same and it takes tenacity and dedication to get there. In light of recent college graduations, we asked a few of our doctors to share some of the wisdom they’ve learned through the years with you. Keep reading to learn what Dr. Orlando, Dr. McHale and Dr. Nolan would tell their younger selves!


What advice would you give to your younger self, knowing what you know now?

Dr. Orlando
“So, in regards to what advice I would give a young medical student or resident, I think there are a few things to help them on their journey.  First of all, I would recommend that they take care of themselves first and foremost. We as care givers, especially during training, can disregard our own needs such as eating well, getting regular exercise and finding outside activities that interest us and make us a well rounded person. I learned to paint back in college and it is something I enjoy a great deal. I like brilliant colors, large landscapes and flowers (as evidenced by the big paintings in the COA East dilating area) and landscapes that take me to a place of serenity and peace. I pretty much gave that up all during my years of training due to the time constraints and demands placed upon young residents. Even if I had twenty minutes, I could have done some sketches or water colors just to wind down the scientific side of my brain and develop the artistic portion. So I recommend they find that activity that stimulates their creative side so they can remain curious about the world and constantly asked questions. Every great discovery in medicine has come about because someone asked “what if we tried it this way?” So it is vital to ensure that we as physicians never lose that inquisitive nature by being bogged down in the day to day rituals of patient care. We must allow ourselves time to unwind, recharge our souls and re-engage with nature and all that is beautiful in this world. Likewise, I also feel they truly do need to make sure they pay attention to their own health so again, find the time to do yoga, stretching, run on a treadmill or play a team sport so they can keep their stamina and endurance during the long days in clinic and the operating room. Healthy eating is part of that process so do not take the easy way out by gorging on fast food or eat while “on the run”.  Sit down, have a nice salad with salmon or piece of fruit and some nuts. Drink a lot of water and stay hydrated. Simple things but truly will help them stay focused and provide better patient care. By developing these habits early in their careers, these doctors will have a balance all their lives. Caring for patients is a very serious business that demands our full attention and can take a lot out of us if we are not careful. Taking time for ourselves, finding creative hobbies that nurture our spirit and continuing to stay in touch with friends and family are critical to a long and happy career.”

Dr. Orlando received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and his medical degree from The Ohio State University in 1979. He completed his residency training at The Ohio State University Medical Center in 1983 and founded Columbus Ophthalmology in Dublin the following year.

Dr. McHale

“‘You know what you have to do, now do it!’ I think it is something that many of us understand. In terms of becoming a physician, that means achieving a high level of academic success so you can gain entry into medical school. Of course, knowing what you should do and doing it are very different things. Sacrifice- not going out with your friends to finish your chemistry project, endurance- getting good grades this semester was great, but you need to do it next semester, and the next, and the next, focus- learning is not just about grades, it’s building blocks that will form your brain and your cognition that will enable you to make important decisions, in a complex arena, that will directly effect your future patients. In the end, doing the right thing is hard. It’s easier to procrastinate. It’s easier to give up.  But if you do it right, it will pay dividends: the first time you deliver a baby, when you alleviate someone’s pain, when you restore a blind person’s sight, you know it was all worth it.”

Dr. McHale was born in Cleveland, Ohio, James McHale, M.D. graduated cum laude from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio in 1995. His medical degree is from The Ohio State University. There he served as President of Student Council and graduated with the highest honors. He completed his ophthalmology residency at The Ohio State University Hospitals and joined Columbus Ophthalmology Associates in August of 2004.

Dr. Nolan

“Higher education will take many years to complete but it will be very rewarding and financially worth it. If you’re passionate about your career path, then learn all you can and enjoy the ride. Stay the course and have fun!”

Dr. Nolan was born in Cleveland, Ohio, Mark Nolan, O.D. received his bachelor’s degree from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea, Ohio. He completed his optometry degree from The Ohio State University College of Optometry and joined Columbus Ophthalmology Associates in January 2001.

We hope you learned a little from each of our physicians!



June Eye Care Tips

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This week we will welcome the official start of Summer! With everyone soaking up the sun and being active outdoors, don’t forget to have healthy habits concerning your eyes. Little things, like wearing sunglasses or goggles, can go a long way in making sure your eyes are in good health and you’re able to have fun all summer long.

Take a look at our June Eye Care Tips and have a fun & safe summer!

June Eye Care Tips

And even your pooch can even be protected…

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Happy Summer, friends!

We are growing our team at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates and want you to meet some of our new staff members. Our staff prides ourselves in providing the best care for our patients and making sure they have the best experience possible. Meet some of our newer staff members – Jessica, Tricia, and Tiffany!

R to L: Jessica, Tricia, Tiffany

R to L: Jessica, Tricia, Tiffany


Jessica has an addiction to prescription glasses and likes to match them to her outfits! She brings 13 years of optical experience to the COA team. When asked what she loves about working at COA, she shared this story:

“The best glasses dispense I have done so far at COA was to a 16 month old baby boy. When we put on his very first pair of glasses, he couldn’t stop smiling at everyone, especially his daddy. He was seeing everybody’s faces clearly for the first time and his happiness was contagious to everyone around!”


Tricia enjoys cooking, spending time with family, and photography. She also loves shopping. Her favorite stores are Penzy’s Spices, cookware stores, and specialty markets. Here’s what Tricia had to say about working at Columbus Ophthalmology Associates:

“I love working at COA! I enjoy interacting with people from all walks of life and helping them alongside a team that is committed to the highest possible standards.”


Tiffany also loves matching her glasses to her outfits. She owns 10 pairs and wears them all frequently. She has 3 kids and 1 husband. Tiffany was employed with COA in the past and recently came back to work for The Optical Shoppe. We’re happy to have her back on our team!


You’ll be meeting more of our staff through the summer. If you’re in one of our offices, be sure to say hi! We love getting to meet COA patients!



Cataract Awareness MonthJune is Cataract Awareness Month and we’re here to help you learn more about this common eye issue.

Do you know what a cataract is?

Your eyes are very similar to a camera. Like in a camera, there is a lens in your eye that focuses light on your retina, much like a camera lens focuses light on film. From the retina, images are collected and transmitted to the brain. When the lens get cloudy, it is called a cataract; the images will appear blurry or distorted, as if you’re looking through a window that is covered with ice.

Cataract VS Normal Eye

What are signs that you may have a Cataract?

  • Foggy or blurred vision
  • Colors appear dull
  • Problems with glare from indoor lighting or the sun
  • Frequent changes in your eyeglass prescription
  • Your night vision has decreased or you see halos around headlights on cars

Here’s an example of how you may see with and without a Cataract:

tulips side by side CATARACT EXAMPLE
How are Cataracts treated?

Medically, there is no way to slow the progression of cataracts. Thankfully, surgical treatments have significantly improved in the past 50 years and is the best way to treat cataracts.

What happens when you have a Cataract removed?

A small incision (less than 3mm) is made in the eye. A small instrument is placed in the eye through the incision and breaks up the cataract using ultrasound technology while also removing the fragments. Once the cloudy lens is removed, a replacement lens (Intra-ocular Lens, or IOL) is inserted into the eye and set into permanent position. This process only takes about 15 minutes.

Cataract Facts:

  • By age 65, over 90% of people have a cataract
  • Half of the people between the ages of 75 and 85 have lost some vision due to a cataract
  • A cataract is not caused by overuse of your eyes
  • Cataracts do not travel from one eye to the other


If you’d like to test you knowledge of cataracts, click here to take the Cataract Quiz!

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