7 Things to Know About Cataracts


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.

Name *
Phone *

It’s UV Safety Month


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


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

Name *
Phone *

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.”


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.  


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

McFarland Eye Care LASIK HERO Program

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.

Name *
Which McFarland Eye Care location is most convenient for you? *

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


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.

Name *

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. 

Name *

Keeping Your 20/20 at Your 9-5


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."


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.

7 Things You May Not Know About Botox


Botox is mostly associated with helping cosmetic appearance; but, did you know Botox injections can also ease many eye-related issues? McFarland Eye Care offers both cosmetic and medical Botox injections. Botox has been FDA approved as treatment for more than just erasing fine lines and wrinkles, so here are seven things you may not know about Botox:

1.      Botox is paralyzing your muscles.
Botox works by preventing the treated nerves from telling your muscles to move, paralyzing those muscles temporarily.

2.    Botox is a toxin.
Botox comes from the strain of neurotoxin that causes botulism. However, Botox is safe and has been around and FDA approved for the following treatments for decades.

3.    Botox is FDA approved to treat blepharospasm.
Blepharospasm is involuntary spasms of muscles around your eyes, often causing the eyes to clamp shut and not open without strong effort. Botox can help prevent the muscles around the eyes from spasming due to this condition.

4.    Botox is FDA approved to treat strabismus.
Strabismus is a condition where your eyes don’t track in the same direction, more commonly called crossed eyes. This ailment affects adults and children. Botox can help by injecting the stronger muscle to relax it, allowing for the muscles to pull the eye equally.

5.    Botox is FDA approved to treat chronic migraines.
Although not directly eye related, many who experience chronic migraines experience pain in/near their eyes due to the migraines. Botox has been shown to relieve these headaches in many patients.

6.    Botox is not permanent.
Although very effective for most patients, Botox treatments are not permanent. The amount and frequency of treatments vary depending on the person and severity of their condition, but most patients go three to six months between treatments.

7.    Botox takes a while to kick in.
Patients probably won’t see or feel immediate results to Botox treatments. It may take a few days to kick in possibly up to seven days for the maximum effect.

If you have questions about the cosmetic and medical Botox treatments offered at our clinics, please call us at 501-830-2020 to set up a consultation with Dr. Byron Wilkes, our Board-Certified, Fellowship-Trained Oculofacial Plastic Surgeon. Read more about Botox injections on our website.

Bye-Bye Double Chin, Meet Kybella

Do you look in the mirror and dread seeing that double chin? Is the top button of your shirt that close to fitting comfortably? Sometimes, even after losing weight, the second chin still seems to stay. If you find yourself wondering what can be done, McFarland Eye Care has an answer! In additional to taking care of your eyes, we also offer a full suite of cosmetic surgeries and treatments to meet your needs for a variety of issues or concerns. One of these is Kybella.

What is Kybella?

Kybella is a series of FDA-Approved injections that diminish the double chin by destroying fat cells in this area. A great thing about Kybella is that no anesthesia or surgery is required, only a few, fast treatments. Kybella destroys fat cells and prevents these cells from storing or accumulating more fat, so further treatments aren’t expected once you reach your appearance goal.

McFarland Eye Care Kybella

What Can I Expect?

If you are interested in Kybella, we will set up a consultation between you and Dr. Byron Wilkes, our board-certified, fellowship-trained oculofacial plastic surgeon. You and Dr. Wilkes will define your appearance goals and he will examine the area under and around your chin to determine if Kybella is the right choice for you.

After the initial consultation, Kybella treatments are quick and easy. At each treatment, Dr. Wilkes will give you multiple small injections under your chin. Each treatment only takes 15-20 minutes.  The number of treatments varies for each patient and depends on your appearance goals and your profile. Your Kybella treatment sessions will be given at least one month apart. It’s likely you will experience some swelling, bruising or numbness to the treatment area. Read more about Kybella and what to expect at mykbella.com.

McFarland Eye Care Kybella Treatment

Schedule Your Consultation

Kybella is a great option if you’re looking to improve the appearance of your facial profile. If you are interested in learning more about Kybella to see if it may be a good option for you, contact us. We look forward to scheduling your consultation and discussing this exciting treatment with you!

Are You a Good Candidate for LASIK?


With February being Low Vision Awareness Month, now is the time to think about the benefits of LASIK surgery. If you have been a glasses or contact wearer for a while, can you imagine what it’s like to wake up and be able to see clearly? When considering LASIK or any procedure, it is best to consult your doctor and consider all the factors about the surgery.

LASIK is a type of refractive surgery that is performed using a pair of lasers to reshape the cornea of the eye so that the eye becomes more round or flat, depending upon your vision needs. LASIK is a procedure designed to correct common vision issues. It is a great option if you have an astigmatism or are nearsighted or farsighted. People with mild nearsightedness actually tend to have the most success after surgery.

One benefit of having LASIK surgery is not having to wear glasses or contacts, as well as improving your overall quality of life. Most patients recover quickly and are able to get back to doing the things they love with minimal downtime. Complications are very rare, but some side effects such as dry eyes or seeing halos around lights can occur. However, these usually tend to go away within a few weeks or months post procedure.

You must be 18 years old or older to have the procedure. Because your vision can change, it is best to have LASIK performed when you are older and your vision prescription has stopped changing. If you have other serious eye conditions such as glaucoma, retinal disease or cataracts, you may not be a great candidate. As with any procedure, there are risks, so it is best to consult with your doctor before making any decisions.  

Everyone’s eyes are different, so it is important to have a thorough examination administered by your doctor to assess if you are a good candidate. Knowing if you’re a great candidate for LASIK is the very first step in evaluating whether or not to get LASIK vision correction. You can find out if you’re a candidate for LASIK during a free LASIK evaluation at any of our four locations: Bryant, Hot Springs, Little Rock or Pine Bluff. Call us to schedule a consultation today at (501) 830-2020.

7 Things You Should Know About Macular Degeneration

Did you know that age-related macular degeneration (ARMD) is a leading cause of vision loss in Americans over the age of 50? Over 9 million people have been diagnosed with ARMD and that number is expected to grow to almost 18 million people by 2050. But what, exactly, is macular degeneration? Macular degeneration can be classified as wet, dry or as Stargardt disease. Dry macular degeneration is more common than wet and Stargardt disease is hereditary. Dry macular degeneration occurs when the portion of the eye called the macula breaks down and leaves deposits of the tissue under the retina. Wet macular degeneration is caused when new blood vessels grow where they are not supposed to. The macula is responsible for allowing you to see crisp, clear images with fine details. Once this breaks down, so do your once detailed images. This can make things look progressively blurry or fuzzy until total vision is lost.

Source: https://nei.nih.gov/health/maculardegen

Because macular degeneration is such a widespread cause of vision loss, here are 7 things you should know about macular degeneration:

1. Macular degeneration is incurable
2. There are three different types: wet, dry, and Stargardt disease
3. Smoking doubles your risk
4. Most common in older Caucasians, especially women
5. Exercise can help to reduce your risk
6. Some types are hereditary
7. Only an Optometrist or Ophthalmologist can diagnose and treat ARMD

Even though macular degeneration is incurable, it is preventable. Your family genes and your environment both affect the likelihood of developing macular degeneration. The biggest risk factor is your age, as well as race, both of which cannot be changed. However, there are a few ways you can try to prevent macular degeneration. By not smoking, exercising regularly, maintaining a healthy diet and wearing protective sunglasses, you can reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration. Following these tips can help to prevent or slow progression of the disease. As always, you should also have routine dilated eye exams. The earlier ARMD is discovered, the better your chances are for saving your vision.

Here is a tool from All About Vision that can help you test your eyes.

Who Is At High Risk for Glaucoma?



The eye disease glaucoma is aptly described as the “Silent Thief of Sight.” Since the symptoms of glaucoma are often invisible until it is too late and irreversible once they occur, knowing if you are at a high risk for it can help you prevent any potential vision loss. The best step you can take for your eye health is to have your eyes routinely checked by your eye care professional. Between check ups, here are some things to look (wink wink) for.

Signs of damage

You may not notice the signs of glaucoma at first because it typically develops slowly over time. Before you know it, your range of vision has decreased. However, sometimes it can come on quickly. But, in both cases, there are no early onset warning signs.

If your vision has become increasingly hazy, if you are seeing halos around lights or are losing your peripheral vision, you should see your eye doctor as soon as possible. These signs are not often noticed by an individual until the disease has progressed. Other signs like elevated intraocular pressure, abnormalities with optic nerves, as well as other various symptoms, are only able to be identified by your eye doctor, which is why it’s important to have a routine checkup.

Once the damage is done, there is no correcting your vision. This is yet another reason why it is imperative to have your eyes checked. Catching a glaucoma sooner rather than later can ensure better treatment options. Spotting glaucoma and preventing it is key to maintaining your vision.

Since there are no warning signs, being proactive and watchful (no pun intended) can be helpful in managing and preventing any future damage that may occur if left unchecked. Additionally, knowing if you are at a predisposed high risk for glaucoma can help you to be more aware of this disease and the chances of it happening to you.

So, who is at a high risk for glaucoma?

  • African Americans - females have the highest chance of developing a glaucoma.

  • Hispanics and Latinos

  • Those over the age of 50

  • Steroid users

  • Those with a family history of glaucoma

  • Those with diabetes

  • Those who have had eye injuries

Everyone is at risk for glaucoma, but if you fall into this list, know that your chances of developing glaucoma are higher and be mindful to have regular visits with your eye doctor.

Remember, there are no symptoms of glaucoma at first, the disease will continue to get worse unless treated. Once you lose vision to glaucoma, it cannot be regained, which is why you should have regular eye exams.

Sign up for one of our FREE glaucoma screenings during the month of February at any of our locations.

Bryant - January 15-February 12

Pine Bluff - February 2

Little Rock - February 7

Hot Springs - February 12


FREE Glaucoma Screenings at McFarlands!

Glaucoma - Free Screenings - McFarland Eye Care

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month so we are offering FREE GLAUCOMA SCREENINGS in all four mcfarland clinics! Schedule your appointment today!


Email us to set up your FREE Glaucoma Screening!

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January Is Glaucoma Awareness Month

Glaucoma - McFarland Eye Care

Glaucoma, which affects more than three million Americans and over 25,000 Arkansans, is the second leading cause of blindness in this country and is the leading cause of preventable blindness.

"There are no early warning signs. Once vision problems begin, the damage is irreversible,” says Dr. Evan Newbolt. “Glaucoma is not curable, but it can be managed if caught in time: that’s why early detection is critical.”

Glaucoma damages the optic nerve, leading to progressive loss of vision. It is often referred to as the “sneak thief of sight” because the progression is gradual, and many people do not realize they have Glaucoma until serious symptoms appear.

Glaucoma is often – but not always – a result of increased pressure within the eye. People of African and Asian descent have an elevated risk for Glaucoma, as well as those with a family history of the disease.  While the elderly are at increased risk, nobody – regardless of age – is immune from Glaucoma.

Testing for Glaucoma requires an eye examination that includes an intraocular pressure check, a quick and painless test that monitors the eyes pressure. The Glaucoma Research Foundation recommends the following schedule to be checked for Glaucoma:

  •  before age 40, every two to four years
  •  from age 40 to age  54, every one to three years
  • from age 55 to 64, every one to two years
  • after age 65, every six to 12 months
  • anyone with high risk factors should be tested every year or two after age 35

“We have patients who walk in every day who don’t know their vision is steadily being compromised by glaucoma,” says Dr. James Hoffmann.  “We hope that during Glaucoma Awareness Month people will be reminded to see their eye doctor so we can diagnose and treat glaucoma before it becomes a serious health and lifestyle issue.”