Who Needs A Glaucoma Screening?

January is National Glaucoma Awareness Month, a time to spread the word about this sight-stealing disease.  Glaucoma is called “the sneaky thief of sight” because as much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.  Over three million Americans have glaucoma and combined with our aging population, an epidemic of blindness is looming if we don’t raise awareness about the importance of getting glaucoma screenings.

Who needs a glaucoma screening and when should they start?

Those at a highest risk of glaucoma include African American and Latino populations.  African Americans are over six times more likely to have glaucoma than Caucasians. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop glaucoma. Other increased risk factors are those with an immediate family member who has been diagnosed with glaucoma and anyone over the age of 60. Also, if you are severely nearsighted, you fall into the high-risk category.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends the following schedule for glaucoma screening eye exams:

             Age 20 to 29

  • Individuals of African American descent screening every three to five years

  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma every three to five years

  • Individuals with diabetes at least once a year

  • Others should have screening at least once during this period

             Age 30 to 39

  • Individuals of African American descent screening every two to four years

  • Individuals with a family history of glaucoma every two to four years

  • Individuals with diabetes at least once a year

  • Others should have screening at least twice during this period   

    Age 40 to 60

  • Individuals with diabetes at least once a year

  • Others should have screening every two to four years

         Age 60 or older

  • Everyone needs to be screened every one to two years

Learn more about glaucoma here. During National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we are excited to announce FREE glaucoma screenings at all four of our locations. Call us to sign up for your FREE glaucoma screening during the month of January.

Bryant – All of January  (501) 653-2010

Pine Bluff – January 23 (870) 536-4100

Little Rock – All of January (501) 830-2020

Hot Springs – January 31 (501) 318-1111

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New Vision for 2019 - 5 Reasons to get LASIK

Most New Year’s resolutions revolve around improving yourself, so why not consider improving your vision in 2019?  Are you tired of waking up and reaching for your glasses because the room is blurry or struggling every day with contacts?  LASIK surgery may be the answer to make your new vision resolution a reality.

Here are five reasons to get LASIK:

#1) No more glasses or contacts - Imagine being able to work out or play a sport without your glasses bouncing on your face or experiencing sweat and dirt irritating your contact lenses.  LASIK can improve your overall quality of life and can make the little things like actually seeing your face when doing your make-up or being able to wear regular (non-prescription) goggles when you ski or swim less of a hassle.

#2) LASIK is usually a painless procedure - Most of our patients say they don’t feel any pain at all during LASIK. You will be given a mild sedative to help you relax before the procedure and then we apply numbing eye drops. LASIK does not hurt during the procedure; however you may feel some pressure on your eyes which is normal. Even after the numbing eye drops have worn off, you shouldn’t feel any pain or discomfort.  Recovery time is very minimal for most patients and some can usually return to normal activities within two days after the procedure.

#3) LASIK is affordable – Affordable LASIK is within your reach, and one payment option is your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA) offered through your workplace. LASIK is considered a qualified medical procedure for your FSA/HAS, and many plans have a grace period extending a couple of months into the new plan year.  So, if you have leftover money from 2018, hurry and take advantage of using those pre-tax dollars to pay for your new vision in 2019. But, if you have already used those funds, we also offer an affordable payment plan through CareCredit to finance your LASIK procedure at 0% Intertest for 24 months.

#4) LASIK is safe – As with any surgery, you should do your homework and understand the procedure.  Having concerns about the safety of LASIK surgery and your eyesight is normal. However, LASIK is the most frequently performed elective surgery and complications are very rare.  At McFarland Eye Care many of our team members have had LASIK, including our surgeon, Dr. Evan Newbolt.

#5) LASIK patients say they wish they had done it sooner - We find that many patients think about the surgery for years before they actually do it and then share that they wish they would of had it done sooner. LASIK provides immediate results to the patient’s vision and it improves throughout the healing progresses. It is truly life-changing. Read Sven’s story here about how LASIK changed his life, or read Timie’s!

Contact our office to schedule a consultation or get information about using your FSA/HSA funds for your LASIK procedure. In 2019, why not resolve to enjoy your new year and your new vision? 

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5 Things You Need to Know about Glaucoma

Although it affects over 25,000 Arkansans, patients often walk into our clinics who don’t know their vision is being compromised by glaucoma. January is Glaucoma Awareness month, so here are the five things you need to know about glaucoma.

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#1) What is Glaucoma? Glaucoma is a group of eye conditions where optic nerve damage often occurs when the fluid pressure inside the eye increases. It is the second leading cause of blindness, but it is THE leading cause of blindness that CAN be prevented.

#2) What are the risk factors of glaucoma? African, Hispanic or Asian heritages have the highest chance of developing glaucoma. People with diabetes, a family history of glaucoma or are severely nearsighted are also considered high risk. The risk for developing glaucoma increases with age, so if you over the age 60 you should be mindful to have regular eye doctor visits with glaucoma screenings.

#3) What are the common symptoms of glaucoma? There are usually no early warning signs or noticeable symptoms. In fact, most do not recognize any symptoms from the disease until they begin to experience severe vision problems. Other patients complain of severe pain in the eye or start to notice blurred or narrowed field of vision.

#4) What are treatments for glaucoma? The most common treatment for glaucoma is eye drops. These topical medications work by decreasing the eye pressure if used appropriately. For individuals who do not tolerate or respond to eye drops, laser procedure can be performed which improve the fluid outflow from the eye.

#5) How is glaucoma diagnosed? The only way to diagnose glaucoma is a complete eye exam with dilation. To dilate the eye, drops are placed in each eye to widen the pupil and allow better viewing of the inside of the eye. After the doctors test your vision, they will measure your eye pressure, perform a Visual Field test and examine your optic nerve for signs of glaucoma.

Glaucoma damage is permanent – so PREVENTION is KEY! Early detection and treatment is vitally important to prevent vision issues.

During National Glaucoma Awareness Month, we are excited to announce FREE glaucoma screenings at all four of our locations. Call us to sign up for your FREE glaucoma screening during the month of January.

Bryant – All of January  (501) 653-2010

Pine Bluff – January 23 (870) 536-4100

Little Rock – All of January (501) 830-2020

Hot Springs – January 31 (501) 318-1111

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Eye Safety During the Holidays

Mom was right when she warned you, “you can put an eye out with that!” And during the holiday season, the dangers are real. Eye safety is always important, and being aware of the common seasonal accidents can help you avoid a trip to the eye doctor or the emergency room.

Many Christmases have been spoiled by eye injuries from the toys meant to bring joy, but thankfully, since 1972, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has made Christmas mornings a little bit safer. Gifts such as Jarts (giant metal yard darts) and Chemistry Sets that included explosive materials have been banned. However, children’s wish lists still include Nerf guns, air soft guns, or slingshots. In fact, over 20% of all eye injuries are caused by propulsion toys. Make sure if gifting these toys that they include the proper safety accessories. Don’t forget to make age appropriate selections, give proper instructions, and offer parental guidance with any hazardous toys.

The holidays offer many other opportunities for eye injuries. Just putting up your tree with its prickly needles can pose a danger to your eyes. Make sure to wear proper eye protection if you are headed to the woods to cut down your own tree. Accidents have also occurred while decorating, whether a tumble into the tree from a wobbly ladder or just reaching in to plug lights and inadvertently getting a tree needle in your eye. The beautiful frosted spray snow can be an eye irritant if it is sprayed above your face. Glitter, spun glass (angel hair), and fragile glass ornaments can also cause damage to you or your children’s eyes. Remember when working around your tree or garland, eye protection is always a good idea.

A new trend in holiday decorating is the dazzling Christmas laser light shows. These laser lights project onto the outside of your home and display beautiful designs. But you have to be careful not to look directly into the light when setting up your show. Laser lights can do permanent eye damage, so be sure to be safe when setting it up.

Many people also enjoy celebrating Christmas and New Years with fireworks. Fireworks should only be handled by an adult wearing protective safety glasses and discharged from a secure distance away from family and friends. Over half of the fireworks-related injuries are suffered by innocent bystanders and most are eye injuries. Enjoy your fireworks display, but please be aware of the potential dangers and remind everyone to point those “party poppers” away from people’s faces.

Lastly, don’t forget the bubbly! Mishandled champagne corks can fly out at an incredible speed. Every holiday, doctors see numerous eye injuries from these errant corks. Make sure to point the bottle at a 45-degree angle away from your face and your guests. It is also recommended to place a towel over the top of the bottle.

The lights and festivities of the upcoming holidays are truly a beautiful thing. Just remember to practice eye safety so you can enjoy all the sights for years to come. We hope some of these helpful tips and words of caution for avoiding eye injuries will make this a joyful, safe holiday season for you and all of your loved ones.

Flexible Spending Plan + LASIK

Flexible Spending McFarland Eye Care

Do you have a Flexible Spending Plan (FSA) through your workplace or employer? Many people have access to this account that allows you to set back money for health expenditures on a pre-tax basis without knowing it! This means that during your enrollment period, you can allot money for qualified medical procedures from your pay before taxes. When money is held back on a pre-tax basis, it means that the amount is not taxed at that time, giving you more money to spend on a qualified procedure (like LASIK). This is a useful tool when used to cover known expenses (like a planned procedure) or deductibles.  

As open enrollment season approaches, it’s a good idea to determine how much - if any - money to put back on a pre-tax basis for the upcoming year. It’s important to think this through, because often this money is not rolled over into the next year and must be spent in the year that it is set aside. Many people chose this time to schedule elective procedures such as LASIK so that this money does not go to waste. Or, you can elect to use it for cosmetic procedures or treatments such as Kybella.

These funds can also be used in conjunction with other payment methods (such as Care Credit) to pay for a procedure. If you are curious about using FSA funds for a procedure at McFarland Eye Care, let us know! We can help! 

Dr. Mike McFarland Wins Best of the Best in Ophthalmology!

We are SO excited to announce that Dr. Mike McFarland has been voted “Best of the Best” in Ophthalmology by the readers of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette!

Those of us who work for Dr. McFarland know that he is a history-making, exceptional eye surgeon who has made tremendous contributions to Ophthalmology - including the invention of “No-Stitch” Cataract Surgery! We also know him as a genuine, kind and humble person who never stops learning or growing. We are so excited that he has, yet again, received this honor! We think the world of “Dr. Mac” and we are thrilled that our patients do, too!

He will also be the first to say that his success is all about the team of doctors and staff at McFarlands. His theory is that people vote for him because they know his name… but they are really voting for their positive experiences at McFarland Eye Care, which is made possible by the dedication of all our doctors and team members.

“I’m like a proud parent when I hear people talking about my doctors and my staff. I get to work with some of the finest people that I’ve ever known, not just professionally but personally.”

McFarland wins Best of the Best

Doctor says improving patients’ vision is ‘an act of love’

For nearly 40 years, ophthalmologist Mike McFarland, M.D., and the staff at McFarland Eye Care have worked to provide loving care using the most advanced technology. This year, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette readers showed appreciation for McFarland’s work by voting him Best Ophthalmologist in the Best of the Best contest.  

“It’s a real honor,” McFarland said. “This is a team effort down here. I’m just on the team.”

McFarland began his practice 37 years ago after attending medical school at Louisiana State University. A friend in the university’s ophthalmology program invited him to observe an eye surgery, and McFarland said it was “mind-blowing” to see the human eye beneath a microscope. “I thought it was the most incredible, fascinating thing I’d ever seen in my life, and I still think that,” he said. “It is still the most amazing thing for me to work under an operating microscope every day.”

 In 1981, he opened McFarland Eye Care in Pine Bluff, where he said he revolutionized cataract care by inventing no-stitch cataract surgery in 1990. He later opened additional clinics in Hot Springs, Little Rock and Bryant.

McFarland and his team handle all kinds of eye-care needs, from routine vision maintenance to procedures such as laser-assisted cataract surgery and ophthalmic plastic surgery. He said he works to stay on the cutting edge of technology, using the latest equipment and techniques to deliver exceptional results to his patients.

 “I love high-tech stuff and love being able to offer it to our patients,” he said. “It’s another thing that separates us, sets us apart from the rest of the competition, because we can offer better, more consistent, safer surgery and results than other people can.”

McFarland added that his practice would not be successful without his team of nurses, physicians and support staff. “I’m like a proud parent when I hear people talking about my doctors and my staff,” he said. “I get to work with some of the finest people that I’ve ever known, not just professionally but personally.” Staff members cultivate deep relationships and share their lives with one another, he said, adding that they read Scripture together in the morning. McFarland said his Christian faith plays a major role in his work.

 “It’s not a labor of love — it’s an act of love,” he said. “I serve God by serving my patients. That’s what this practice is centered on.”

(Writen by Sarah DeClerk, Published by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette on 10/26/18)

What to Expect During A Brow Lift

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As your skin loses elasticity over the years, it can become susceptible to the pull of gravity and the brow line falls. This results in forehead wrinkles and sagging skin around your eyes that can make you look tired, upset and even angry — the opposite of how you want the world to see you.

Brow lift surgery (also known as a forehead lift) can reverse the effects of aging and can give a natural contour to your face shape, lids and brows. A brow lift opens up the eye area giving you a youthful, refreshed look. 

Here are some reasons why you may want to consider brow lift surgery:

o   Wrinkles, frown lines or deep horizontal furrows across the forehead

o   Vertical (11) lines between the eyebrows

o   Sagging eyebrows hanging low over the eyes

o   Crow’s feet (fine lines at the outside corners of the eyes)

What to Expect Before A Brow Lift

During your personal consultation to define your appearance goals, Dr. Byron Wilkes will make recommendations based on your unique anatomy and the extent of correction needed to achieve your desired results. There are varying brow lift methods, which involve different length incisions in different locations. In most cases, brow lifts are completed using the standard surgical method (incisions created at the hairline). The surgery is performed by Dr. Byron Wilkes, our Board-Certified Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon.

What to Expect During Brow Lift Surgery

Our surgeries are performed in our outpatient surgery centers located in Pine Bluff and Little Rock. You will be given light monitored anesthesia and Dr. Wilkes will usa a local anesthetic to numb the incision site. Once the operation is over, the the incisions will be closed with stitches or staples. Your forehead may be taped, and your head might be loosely wrapped to reduce any swelling. The surgery typically lasts just one hour.

 

What to Expect After Brow Lift Surgery

It is common to experience some swelling and bruising or to feel sensations of tightness or numbness on the forehead.  We will provide you with a list of post-operative instructions to follow, to ensure that your recovery is as complete and comfortable as possible. Most people can return to work within seven to ten days, depending on your own personal rate of recovery. Results typically appear within a few weeks, revealing smoother forehead skin and a more youthful, rested appearance. However, final results should not be expected for several months.

It’s completely normal to go into a procedure like this with plenty of questions. Don’t hesitate to ask Dr. Wilkes any of them! Preoperative stress and anxiety are completely normal, and at McFarland Eye Care, we want to do all we can to put your mind at ease.

To learn more about brow lift surgery and find out if it's right for you, schedule a personal consultation with Dr. Byron Wilkes.

The Solution to Your Under Eye Bags

The Bad News – bags under the eyes are common as we age.  The mild swelling and puffiness increase as the tissues around our eyes weaken and sag.  The normal fat pads that help support the eye can move into the lower eyelids.  This causes the lids to appear puffy and may lead to swelling due to fluid accumulating. The Good News - bags under the eyes are rarely a serious medical condition but more of a cosmetic concern. It is also common to have dark circles under the eyes at the same time, which appear because the thin skin of the lower eyelid can become translucent and reveal the underlying blood vessels.

There are many factors that can cause or even worsen the appearance of under-eye bags and dark circles. In addition to aging, the common culprits are fatigue, allergies, smoking, crying or fluid retention from excess alcohol or salt intake.  The cause of bags can even be hereditary.

Store shelves are full of products to alleviate or conceal bags under the eyes and the internet is full of articles on home remedies, but we recommend the following:

  • Apply a cool compress

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep with your head slightly elevated

  • Drink plenty of water and limit sodium intake

  • Always wear sunscreen to protect the fragile skin around the eye area

Although many creams do claim to treat bags under the eyes, no topical cream can address the structural issue of lower eyelid changes. The creams will make the skin appear smoother and cosmetic concealers can be used to mask the dark circles under the eyes.  Also, some articles recommend using sliced cucumbers or frozen tea bags as treatment methods.  It is actually the coldness that constricts blood vessels and reduces the swelling and not the cucumber or tea bag itself. Remember, food sometimes contains bacteria and putting a possible contaminated source directly on the eyes can lead to eye infections. We recommend just using a clean washcloth soaked in ice cold water. Also, another home remedy is hemorrhoid cream, which can actually do more harm than good. The cream may contain steroids and when used on the sensitive skin around the eyelids, can cause irritation.

We understand that puffy eyes are not your favorite look. If you are concerned about the appearance of bags or dark circles under your eyes, medical treatments are available at McFarland Eye Care. Our surgeon, Dr. Byron Wilkes, has undergone specialized training in Oculoplastics, better known as oculoplastic surgery, which combines both eye and plastic surgery together. Depending on what is causing the bags under your eyes, outpatient plastic surgery may be your solution. Before pursuing surgery, you may want to rule out other possible causes of under-eye bags such as an allergy, infection or thyroid disease. Cosmetic surgery is 25% off for the month of September only so book your consultation today!

The Best News - even though the bags and dark circles under our eyes make us look tired and older than we really are, the treatments available at McFarland Eye Care can reverse the signs of aging and restore the face we remember in the mirror.  For more information, contact us to schedule your personal consultation.

 

 

Choosing the Right Frames for Your Face Shape

Choosing the Right Frames for Your Face Shape

If you've been wearing glasses for very long, you know the feeling­ of standing in front of a wall with rows and rows and rows of frame options with a sinking feeling that you may never make it out of there with a pair. But picking out a pair of glasses should be fun and easy, and at our offices we do all we can to make sure you walk away with a pair of frames you love.

One of the best places to start in choosing frames is by finding a pair that best complements your face shape. 

Oval
Oval faces are widest at the cheekbones, have balanced proportions, and a narrow chin. If you have an oval shaped face then you're in luck, really any style will look good on you, round or square. Just be careful to not to go too big– oversized frames may be too large for your facial features.

Round
Round faces, like oval, are also widest at the cheekbones, but shorter in length than oval. Round faces have soft jawlines and rounded chins. If you have a round face shape, stick with square or more angular frames to contrast your features. Avoid rimless, small or circular glasses that will make your face shape appear even rounder.

Square
If you have a square face shape then your temples, cheekbones, and jawline are close to being equal at the widest part of your face. Anyone with a square face, don't add to the angles. Look for round or oval frames that will contrast your features; avoid geometric and square shapes.

 Heart
Heart shaped faces are widest at the temples, and taper down to the chin. Balance the width of your face with oval and round shaped frames. Stay away from darker frames that will bring more attention to your wide forehead and high cheekbones.

Bonus Tip
Choose a frame color that complements your skin tone, hair color, and eye color.

Most importantly, do the glasses feel good? Do you like how you look? If so, flaunt what you got and enjoy your new frames! If you're ready to pick out new frames, stop by one of our offices in Little Rock or Hot Springs!

7 Things to Know About Cataracts

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You can ask most people what they know about cataracts and you will probably hear a combination of things like “my grandmother had cataracts” or “my doctor said I’m starting to develop cataracts”.  It is surprising for an eye disease that affects roughly half of all older Americans – that is all they know about cataracts.

Here are the seven things you should know about this eye condition:

1.      Cataracts are not on your eyes, they are in your eyes.

A cataract is a clouding of the lens and most assume it develops on top of the lens, but it is actually inside the eye. Clumps of protein build up in the eye and the lens becomes less transparent. The lens must be clear for the retina to receive a sharp image.

2.     Cataracts are common.

Cataracts affect almost 25 million Americans. More that 3.5 million cataract surgeries are performed annually and it is one of the safest, most effective types of surgeries. The Boomer generation is opting to have cataract surgery earlier than their predecessors and the average age for surgery has dropped to 65.

3.     What are the symptoms?

Cataracts are not painful and usually form slowly, so you may not know you have them until they start to block light. Your vision will become cloudy, blurry or foggy. Some people complain of problems driving at night due to the glare of oncoming headlights. Any changes like double vision, nearsightedness or the way you see color, could be symptoms of cataracts.

4.     How is a cataract detected?

Cataracts are detected during a comprehensive eye exam that includes an eye chart test and a dilated eye exam.  The doctor will place drops in your eyes to widen (dilate) the pupils and examine your retina and optic nerve for signs of damage. 

5.     There are different types of cataracts.

  • Senile cataracts are the most common form and are age related.
  • Secondary cataracts are caused by diseases such as diabetes or some medications.
  • Traumatic cataracts result from eye injury such as cut or chemical burns.
  • Childhood cataracts can be linked to congenital disease or a disease during pregnancy.

6.     Who is at risk and can you reduce your risk factors?

Cataracts are most often related to age.  However, we can reduce our risk factors. Cataracts can be related to sun exposure; therefore wearing sunglasses with UV protection can reduce the harmful effects.  Healthy habits such as not smoking, limiting alcohol and loading up on antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies can also help.

7.     What is the treatment for cataracts?

Surgery is the safe and effective option for treating cataracts. Our skilled surgeons use a procedure called “No-Stitch” cataract surgery, which was developed by Dr. Mike McFarland.  This type of surgery is now the global standard for treating cataracts. With “No-Stitch” cataract surgery the eye is allowed to naturally heal itself without the use of sutures. During surgery, the natural lens is removed and the surgeon replaces it with a new artificial lens implant.

Think you may have cataracts? Take our quiz. Want additional information about cataracts? Click here.

A Look Into LASIK

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Have you heard of the wonders of LASIK but have been nervous to experience them yourself? Well, now you can know exactly what to expect thanks to Timie Yancy and her behind the scenes insights.

Timie had not been able to see the world without glasses since she was 12 years old. She even slept with her glasses on when her children were babies worried that something would happen and she wouldn't be able to find her glasses fast enough to see and help her children. The thought of LASIK terrified her, not knowing what to expect. Her husband had recommended LASIK for her for years, but she did not want to take the step for fear of what might happen.  

In June, she decided the gift of a life free from glasses and contacts was worth it and she had LASIK surgery with McFarland Eye Care and Dr. Evan Newbolt. She posted a Facebook live video after her surgery here. More than 2,000 people have watched and learned more about LASIK and how it can changed her life in a matter of seconds.

Timie described her LASIK procedure as feeling some pressure, like a foreign sensation. Dr. Newbolt talked her through the entire process, which lasted only 10 minutes. She noticed the difference in her vision immediately, and began seeing the benefits of the procedure on the way home. For Timie, the worst part was not being able to wear her eye makeup for a week after her procedure.

"The last time I was able to see the world without the assistance of contacts or glasses was at the age of 12,” Timie said. “Today, at the age of 37 I feel so free. I can wake up and see the beauty of the world immediately without grabbing blindly for my glasses. LASIK surgery is (to me) the 8th wonder of the world. My only regret... I didn't do this years ago!"

We know having LASIK performed can be nerve wracking. That’s why we go out of our way to make sure you are comfortable and at ease before, during, and after your procedure. Timie mentioned the massage chairs in the waiting room in her live video. That’s just one way we make sure you are comfortable during your procedure. When we say “Experience the McFarland Difference,” we mean it.

Don’t let your fear of the unknown keep you from trying something new. Thanks to Timie and her first-hand account of her LASIK experience, you don’t have to. She broke down LASIK step by step so you can know exactly what to expect before, during and after the surgery. The only thing keeping you from getting LASIK is you. Are you ready to see the world in a new way? 20/20 vision without corrective lenses is an option, and one of the most common comments we hear from our LASIK patients is that they wish that they’d done it sooner!

To learn more about LASIK, have your questions answered, or to schedule a FREE consultation, fill out our form below and experience the McFarland difference.

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It’s UV Safety Month

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July has been designated as National Ultraviolet (UV) Safety Month by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The goal of this special recognition is to create awareness of how important it is to protect yourself from the harmful effects of the sun’s ultraviolet light radiation or rays. While UV rays are the main cause of skin cancer, they can also have harmful effects like eye damage and vision loss. 

So, what are UV rays? “Ultraviolet” just means “beyond violet”, which is the color of the highest frequency of visible light. Ultraviolet rays are present in sunlight but are mostly invisible to our human eyes. The rays are defined by the wavelength of the light and are broken down into three categories:

  • UVA - Not absorbed by ozone layer
  • UVB - Mostly absorbed by ozone)
  • UVC - Completely absorbed by ozone and atmosphere

Both UVA and UVB rays can damage skin and cause cancer. There are no safe UV rays!

The risk of damaging UV radiation depends on a number of factors including the length of time you are exposed and whether you are protected.  UV exposure is based on the time of day, season and cloud cover. Be extra cautious between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the summer and know that cloudy days do not mean that you are safe. Some clouds block UV rays and some clouds reflect or even actually increase our UV exposure. To help us better understand the strength of UV light in our area on a given day, the National Weather Service has developed the UV Index.  On the index scale, a higher number means we are at a greater risk of exposure, higher chance of sunburn and damage to skin and eyes.

Most of us have been taught to wear sun protection for the skin and how to avoid the damage from UV rays.  The recommended way is to wear protective clothing as well as a broad-brimmed hat.  Prior to enjoying the outdoors, you should also apply a water-resistant sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 30 or higher and reapply every two hours when you’re swimming or sweating. We have all experienced the visible effects of UV overexposure like sunburn or suntan. 

However, many people are unaware extended exposure to UV rays can cause long-term eye damage. Just because you can’t see the damage doesn’t mean you don’t have to take precautions with your eyes. UV radiation eye damage can lead to serious complications like blindness, eye cancer, cataracts or macular degeneration.  Remember that sunglasses are not just a fashion statement; they are an important tool in defending your eyes from UV radiation.  You should wear sunglasses that block 100% of UV rays and wrap around to protect your eyes from every angle. Be sure and look for labels that say UVA and UVB or UV 400 protection. It is also just as important to wear them during the cooler months when the sun is not as intense, but the UV rays still are.  Prevention is the best defense when it comes to protecting your eye health.  Be sure and check out our many stylish options for sunglasses at our Little Rock or Hot Springs locations.

During the month of July, join with us and the American Cancer Society to promote this clever slogan.  It is easy to remember for the ultimate ultraviolet (UV) light radiation (rays) protection.

Slip on a shirt, Slop on sunscreen, Slap on a hat and Wrap on sunglasses”

 

Free Cataract Screenings at McFarlands

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According to the National Eye Institute, by age 80, more than half of all Americans either have a cataract or have had cataract surgery. While cataracts are extremely common, there is good news - cataract surgery is one of the most successful surgeries performed in the United States. Tens of thousands of successful cataract surgeries have been performed right here at McFarland Eye Care by Dr. Mike McFarland, Dr. Evan Newbolt and Dr. James Hoffmann. Our surgeons are dedicated to providing you with the best care and best options for your vision.

The most common symptom of cataracts is cloudy vision, which causes difficulty seeing clearly. When vision is impaired, it’s much harder to carry out our normal daily activities. Have vivid colors become faded? Does your vision become worse at night? Are you now sensitive to light and glares? If so, these may be signs of cataracts. The only way to truly know what is causing your vision problems is to see one of our doctors who can diagnose the issue and offer the best treatment plan. 

At McFarlands, we have several options available for cataract surgery and lens replacement, one of which is “No-Stitch” cataract surgery. “No-Stitch” cataract surgery was developed by our own Dr. Mike McFarland. The first “No-Stitch” surgery in the world was performed by Dr. McFarland in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. This is now the global standard for cataract surgery.

Our surgeons also offer the latest cataract surgery technology called Laser Cataract Surgery. During Laser Cataract Surgery the most difficult parts of the surgery are performed with the ease and accuracy of a laser. When it comes to cataract treatment, McFarlands provides a wide range of options to suit your lifestyle and preferences. You can trust our experience and care.

Is there anything I can do to prevent cataracts? One way to protect your eyes is to wear sunglasses. Cataracts can develop for a number of reasons, but UV rays from the sun is one of the most common. Wearing protection like sunglasses and glasses with UV protection can guard your eyes from the sun’s harmful effects. Check out our blog here why sunglasses are so vital for your eye health. Plus, all sunglasses are 20% off the entire month of June!

If you suspect that you already have cataracts, you don’t have wonder anymore! We are excited to announce FREE cataract screenings for the month of June at all four of our locations. In order to be eligible for a free screening, you must request an appointment through the form on this blog or by calling (501) 830-2020 and requesting a screening at the most convenient location for you.

Days and locations of FREE Cataract Screenings:

Hot Springs – Wednesday, June 20

Bryant – Tuesday, June 26

Pine Bluff – Wednesday, June 27

Little Rock – Thursday, June 28

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Sunglasses are Important (and on sale!)

Browse these brands and more in our Optical Shops - all 20% off through June 30!

Did you know over 14 million Americans experience eye related issues? McFarland Eye Care is here to help you during all stages of your eye health. Prevention is one of the best defenses you can have when it comes to protecting your eye health.

One of the least expensive, preventative ways to care for your eye health is by wearing sunglasses. This protection can prevent you from having to deal with a multitude of eye problems in the future. Here are sunglass tips to keep in mind this month as you work towards protecting your peepers for a lifetime.

What’s the risk of not wearing sunglasses? While there are many complications that can occur due to not wearing sunglasses, the most important are blindness, eye cancer, macular degeneration and cataracts. Because your eye health is extremely critical you will want to make sure you are wearing the best protective eyewear. Check to see if your sunglasses have 100% UV protection. Look for labels that say UVA and UVB or UV 400 protection to ensure your eyes are covered.

During the summer, we are more likely to remember to wear our sunglasses but is it also just as important to wear them during the cooler months. The sun may not feel as intense, but the rays still are. While we might think of sunglasses as a fashion statement or a cool trend, that's not their main purpose. Sunglasses may look cool, but they also help you maintain good ocular health.

While more expensive sunglasses may seem like they will offer more of a safeguard for your eyes, that isn’t always the case. Look for special labels as you choose the sunglasses that are right for you. Again, just be sure that they are protecting your eyes from the ultraviolet rays. While cost shouldn’t be as important, purchasing from a reputable retailer should be. You can trust our experience. Check out our optical centers here.

Not only should your eyes be sheltered from the sun, so should your skin. The skin around your eyes is extremely delicate. Without proper protection, skin cancer can become reality. Wearing larger frames can help to cover a bigger area of skin and reduce the risk. Even if you think that the sun doesn’t bother you, you should still be wearing them because the sun’s rays affect everyone’s eyes. Plus, you can avoid wrinkles from having to squint to see.

With so many options to choose from, it can be difficult to decide which pair is best for your eyes. Our friendly and experienced opticians are happy to answer any questions you may have to help you pick out the best pair for you. Plus, we are happy to announce that during the month of June you can enjoy 20% off ALL sunglasses at McFarlands. Come visit our optical stores and we will help you find the best optical protection (and most stylish 😊) pair today!

Be proactive in your eye health and take precautions now. Remember to wear your sunglasses to take care of your peepers all year long.  

Hometown Hero Receives the Gift of Sight

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Pine Bluff Firefighter, Sven Hipp won our LASIK hero giveaway two years ago. We recently listened to Sven talk about how LASIK impacted his entire life. It was such a wonderful story, we wanted to share it with all of you.

LASIK changed Sven’s life for the better. From a young age, Sven always had trouble with his vision. As he grew older, it continued to decline. Without contacts, Sven couldn’t see his hand in front of his face. He continued to battle with poor vision, trying to make it by using glasses and contacts. He eventually chose a career as a Pine Bluff firefighter. Being a firefighter means being ready to rescue, defend and protect at all hours. As you can imagine, waking up in the middle of the night to fight a fire was not a good time to be dealing with dry eyes and contacts. Glasses were out of the question because he couldn’t get a seal on his SCBA mask while wearing them. At this point, Sven’s poor vision was becoming not just an annoyance, but a serious handicap.

Every time there is an emergency, Sven only has two minutes or less to be on the truck. When the alarm sounds, there is no time to search for contacts or eye drops. Being able to see clearly was vital for him because he is a driver. He would hope and pray he wouldn't blink out his contacts because his eyes were so dry. He recalled that sometimes he’d be driving to the fire with one eye closed and one eye open. His fellow firefighters would take one look at him and say, “Oh man, I hope we make it.” Often, when they would reach the fire, Sven would get water in his face and sweat in his eyes which worsened his vision even while wearing his contacts. The contacts and glasses were becoming more of a hassle than a help to Sven.

Finally, Sven hit his breaking point. He had considered getting LASIK several times but couldn’t afford it. As fate would have it, we were running our first ever LASIK Hero contest for free LASIK Surgery at that very time. Sven immediately entered the Facebook Hero contest and got to work. The contest winner was chosen by the most number of likes given to an entry. Sven called, texted, tagged and shared the contest with everyone he knew to try to get likes on his entry. The day the contest ended, it all proved to be worth it. Sven had won.

Since the third grade, poor vision and wearing glasses or contacts was his way of life. But now the burden of all this has been lifted. Now he no longer worries about purchasing new frames, his lenses getting scratches, water or mist making it difficult to see, cleaning his lenses and going in and out from hot to cold and his lenses fogging over. He no longer has the hassle or distraction of contacts and dry eye. He didn't realize how much of an inconvenience those things were, but now that he has had LASIK he realizes how much easier life is. Just the other day he was cleaning out his truck and found spares of solution and contact cases that he kept on hand and was happy to be reminded he doesn’t need them anymore. For Sven, it’s a major difference. It’s hard for him to even explain it. Like he said, “glasses are a way of life. You only get one pair of eyes but with the LASIK procedure, you get a chance to start over.”

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Dr. Newbolt performed his LASIK surgery shortly after the contest. Sven’s experience was quick and painless and he says not nearly as stressful as competing for the giveaway! Getting LASIK has been a drastic change and he wishes everyone who struggles with glasses or contacts could do it.

If you are on the fence, Sven would tell you, “Just do it. If you can afford to do it, there is absolutely no reason why you should be hesitant to do it. I have no after effects, no halos at night, no pain, no blurriness. The whole process is over in minutes and it changes the rest of your life. I am forever indebted to McFarlands. I’ll keep spreading the word and being their walking billboard because of what they’ve done for me.”

Look out for more of Sven’s story on tv and radio! This is why we do what we do here at McFarlands. We are so blessed to be a part of Sven’s story and love hearing and sharing how much this has changed his life and his job. Do you know a hero worthy of winning LASIK? Enter our Facebook contest here. Rules are listed on our Facebook post.  

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As a way of giving back to those like Sven who give so much to us, we have established a HERO Program, which offers LASIK and other Refractive Surgery at substantial savings. This is not a special offer which "expires soon." It is an ongoing expression of appreciation from McFarland Eye Care to all those who serve. Click here to learn more. 

Honoring Our Heroes

The HERO Program

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At McFarland Eye Care, we appreciate those who put their lives on the line for us - both at home and overseas - and are the first to help our communities in the event of an emergency. 

As a way of giving back to those who give so much to us, we have established a HERO Program, which offers LASIK and other Refractive Surgery at substantial savings. This is not a special offer which "expires soon." It is an ongoing expression of appreciation from McFarland Eye Care to all those who serve. 

Our HERO Program includes:

  •  EMTs
  • Army Reserve
  • Active Military
  • National Guard
  • Law Enforcement (Local, County, State and FBI)
  • Firefighters (City and Volunteer Fire Departments)

Our HERO Program results in savings of $675 per eye for LASIK. Similar special pricing applies to Clear Lens Exchange procedures.

Our heroes should bring their qualifying ID at time of their FREE LASIK/ Refractive evaluation.

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Keep an Eye on It: Five Things Women Need to Know About Eye Health

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April is National Women’s Eye Health Month, and believe it or not, women make up the majority of the 4.4 million Americans age 40 and older who are visually impaired or blind. In an effort to educate women about ways they can protect their eyes and vision, Dr. Teri Whittaker, O.D., with McFarland Eye Care, stopped by to give us the scoop on what ladies need to know about eye care.

Pregnancy and Vision Changes

Adding a new member to the family can add stress and the realization of new changes to your body, and your eyes aren’t excluded. Dry eye syndrome, light sensitivity, prescription changes and eye puffiness are the most common eye-related changes in pregnant women. While these changes are oftentimes temporary and usually go back to normal shortly after the baby is born, talk to your eye care physician if you experience any long-term discomfort after giving birth to your little bundle of joy.

Menopause and Dry Eye

Dry eye syndrome affects an estimated 3.2 million women in America, and it is a little known symptom of menopause. “Many women going through menopause experience dry eye syndrome or worsening pre-existing symptoms,” says Whittaker. “Hormones are likely to blame in these occurrences, and it important to have a talk with your eye care physician if you are experiencing any differences in your eyes or vision.” It has been proven that plummeting hormone levels can affect the ocular tissues and composition of tears. If scratchy, itchy or burning eyes are an issue for you and you are between the ages of 35-55, you may want to consider talking to your doctor or eye care physician.

 Eat Healthy

A healthy diet makes for healthy eyes. And, while carrots may be known for boosting eye health, “anything that’s good for your overall health is most likely good for your eyes as well,” says Whittaker. It is recommended that women eat a diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, zinc and omega-3 fatty acids to help keep clear and sharp vision as they age.

Stay Active

Regular exercise not only benefits your heart and waistline, but it has also been proven to reduce the chances of eye disease. In fact, physically active individuals are less likely to get cataracts, age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and glaucoma. “The benefits to an active lifestyle are endless. From a brisk walk, to a little time on the treadmill, a little can go a long way in regards to your eye health. Just remember to always wear UV eye protection when exercising outdoors!”

Get Your Eyes Checked

Last, but not least, be sure you are getting your eyes checked regularly. Many eye diseases come without much notice or warning, and a yearly comprehensive eye exam is crucial to combating these diseases. Whittaker says, “Women make up the largest group of people affected by eye problems and diseases, so it is especially important for us to have regular eye checkups.”

Dr. Whittaker sees patients at McFarland Eye Care in its Bryant and Little Rock locations. She provides general eye care, refractions, complete eye exams and also assists with pre- and post-operative care.

History of LASIK

Many people are surprised to learn the history of the LASIK vision correction procedure, since modern LASIK is generally considered one of the safest and most effective procedures available. Pioneered in the 1970s, laser vision correction technology has advanced exponentially and currently over one million vision correction procedures are performed using it every year.

The LASIK procedure was discovered in the former Soviet Union entirely unintentionally. According to the Laser Eye Center, a young boy was playing outdoors when he accidentally fell and cut his eye with glass. This normally devastating injury turned out to be a blessing in disguise, when the vision in his injured eye was improved by the glass cut. Doctors studied his case, and were eventually able to replicate the occurrence using a scalpel to make small, precise incisions in the cornea to correct the vision. That procedure has evolved, eventually becoming LASIK (Laser-Assisted In Situ Keratomileusisis) and is now performed with lasers that allow for much more precision.

The first LASIK surgeries took place in the former Soviet Union. In 1995, after many years of learning and perfecting the technique, a surgery very similar to LASIK was conducted as a trial in the United States. The only difference between that type of surgery and LASIK was the procedure itself. Four years later, after many exhaustive studies, LASIK was approved in the United States in 1999. Until 1995, PRK (Photorefractive Keratectomy) was solely used, but now that is used in combination with Keratomileusis.

Dr. Gholam Peyman, M.D. is credited with inventing the modern LASIK procedure. This technique consists of creating a flap in the surface of the cornea and reshaping the tissue underneath in one procedure. Before LASIK, the techniques used in the procedure were two separate procedures. Today’s LASIK technologies are far more advanced, allowing for LASIK surgeons to utilize increased precision and advanced testing to provide patients with an stable, effective vision correction alternative to glasses or contact lenses.

The procedure itself is typically short and most patients report feeling little or no discomfort. The cornea is cut to be a flap. The flap is then folded back and the laser is used and applied to the tissue that lies under the cornea. After the laser has re-constructed the desired amount of tissue into a new shape, the corneal flap is then folded back over, acting as a natural bandage for the eye.

Even with the most advanced LASIK technologies available, the most critical aspect to the LASIK journey is determining whether a patient is a good candidate. McFarland Eye Care’s physicians are dedicated to getting the best results possible for our patients. Additionally, we now offer a walk-in LASIK evaluation at our Bryant location that takes about 15 minutes and allows for all of your questions to be answered quickly and conveniently. 

For more information about LASIK at McFarland Eye Care, fill out our form below.

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What is Oculoplastics?

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Oculoplastics, better known as oculoplastic surgery, is a difficult word to say but not difficult to understand. Essentially, four oculofacial procedures fall under the category of oculoplastic surgery: eyelid, orbital, cosmetic and tear duct surgery. As you can see, it encompasses many ranging surgical options.

An oculoplastic surgeon is someone who is a trained and certified ophthalmologist and who has undergone more education and training to be able to perform this focused type of corrective surgery. Our oculofacial plastic surgeon, Dr. Byron Wilkes, has a thorough knowledge of the eye, eyelid and all the precise details of that region of your face.

While there is a vast range of procedures that oculoplastics can cover, overall, it encompasses the eyes and the face. It combines both eye surgery and plastic surgery together. Plastic eye surgery is another term that tends to combine the overarching definition of oculoplastics.

Oculoplastic surgery can be used to treat drooping eyelids, tear ducts, Botox, eyelid lifts, under eye bag removal, changing the way your eyelids are turned, and repairing serious injuries, to simply name a few. This type of surgery can be medically necessary or cosmetic. Whether you simply want to stop the signs of aging or improve your range of vision, we are here to help.

With all the procedures that this type of surgery includes, results will vary from person to person and from procedure to procedure. We encourage you to come in for a personal consultation with Dr. Wilkes. He will work with you to determine which procedure(s) will best meet your goals. At that time, he can  answer your questions and give you specific details about the procedure(s) the two of you have agreed upon. After consultation, we can also help you determine if your insurance can assist with costs.

Here at McFarland Eye Care, Dr. Wilkes offers a range of surgical and non-surgical procedures. He can perform and repair drooping eyelids that may be interfering with your line of sight or it could be that you are simply not satisfied with the wrinkles that the years have brought. He offers brow lifts, Kybella, Juvederm and Botox as well. The brow, eye socket and tear ducts are all common areas that oculoplastics includes. Whether you are interested in a procedure for cosmetic rejuvenation or medical reconstruction or a number of any other reasons, we are ready to assist you.

For more information concerning oculoplastic procedures, fill out the form below or give us a call to schedule your personal consultation with Dr. Wilkes. 

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Keeping Your 20/20 at Your 9-5

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Article previously published March 13, 2018 by Soiree.

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month, and, believe it or not, you are probably breaking a few rules simply sitting at your desk. While many think work-related eye injuries are isolated to jobs that require you to work outdoors, office life can be just as hazardous. We caught up with Dr. Jeffery Johnson from McFarland Eye Care to give us the inside look on what you can do to protect your vision at work.

Cut the Glare

If you suffer from headaches, fatigue, blurred vision or sore, tired, burning eyes, you may be suffering from computer vision syndrome (CVS). From anti-glare screen protectors to specialty computer eyewear, there are a number of quick fixes to protect your eyes from those glaring screens.

"There are tons of lens options to help combat CVS and general eye strain due to screen glare," Johnson says. "Talk to your eye care physician about specialty eyewear to help protect your vision, and try searching the web for screen protectors that limit light exposure."

Exercise Your Eyes

"At McFarland's, we recommend our patients abide by the 20-20- 20 rule. If you find yourself gazing at screens all day, every 20 minutes, take a 20-second break and look at something 20 feet away," Johnson says.

Think you'll have trouble remembering to do this every 20 minutes? Johnson advises setting a timer to remind yourself. "It's really amazing what a simple 20-second break can do for your eyes."

Blink

Humans normally blink around 15 times each minute. When staring at screens, this number decreases by half or one-third, which can lead to dry, irritated and tired eyes. If time allows, give your eyes a break away from your phone or computer screen.

"I recommend that all of my patients take multiple breaks from screens throughout the day," Johnson says. "Too much of anything can turn into something bad, and that includes staring at your computer screen for hours on end."

Drink Water

Drinking plenty of water is crucial to eye health. The eye is surrounded by fluid, which protects it by washing away debris and dust every time we blink. In order to maintain a healthy amount of fluid around your eye, it is important to stay hydrated. Johnson recommends keeping a bottle of water at your desk and drinking approximately three liters per day to help prevent dry eye symptoms.

Get Your Eyes Checked

Last, but definitely not least, be sure you're getting your eyes checked regularly. Many eye diseases come without much notice or warning, so it is especially important to get your eyes checked at least once a year.

"A yearly comprehensive eye exam is your best weapon against any eye disease," Johnson says. "So often I see patients who had no idea something was wrong until they came in for their eye exam. I can’t emphasize enough how critical it is to your eye health that you find a reliable eye care physician and schedule regular appointments."

Dr. Johnson sees patients at McFarland Eye Care centers in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Bryant and Little Rock. He provides general eye care, refractions and complete eye exams, and also assists with pre- and postoperative care.