Ask the Optometrist Q & A

Below are our archive of questions and answers.


Question:  I am 37 years old and just started having trouble with my eyes about a month ago.  Both eyes have a yellowish glob on the inside of my eye (between the blue and the tear duct).  My right eye has a red vein that stays inflamed all of the time and gets worse on some days.  My eyes get irritated quite often.  And my vision stays blurry.  When I am reading it gets real strange.  I can see what is right in front of my eyes but as they move across the page I have to focus in.  This is real hard to explain:  If I look straight at the page and not move my eyes I can see what I am looking at pretty clearly, but what is to the right and left is real blurry.  I went to the doctor two weeks ago for a sinus infection and he suggested that I wait at least two weeks before seeing an eye doctor. I'm not sure what to do.  I do have sinus headaches but not everyday anymore.  Please offer any suggestions.

Answer:  It sounds like you may have allergic conjunctivitis.  You should see your doctor and get eye drops to clear up the yellow discharge.



I have stigmatism in my eyes.  I always either have to have in my contacts or have on my glasses because my eye's are so bad. My prescriptions are right eye -2.50, and my left is -2.00.  My husband wants me to have surgery on my eyes to correct them, but I'm scared.  My eyesight is very special to me, and with my luck I will be the one that something goes wrong and I go blind.  I cannot ever remember waking up and being able to see.  It would be a miracle to me to open my eyes and see.  We are not a rich family, because we have 3 children and two of them are disabled. My husband work's all kinds of hours to support us with out any government assistance.  What can I do to help or fix my eyes without putting us in financial situation?  I have migraines very bad and with my contacts and glasses it makes them worse.  I think I'm really ready to do something for myself, and my pick of things would be to fix my eyes if possible.  

Answer:  You should investigate refractive surgery.  Many surgeons will test you to see if you are a good candidate.  In the Jonesboro area surgery to correct astigmatism is around $1,700 per eye.  If you suffer from migraines, this will not change your headache frequency. Contact me if you would like to schedule a consultation to see if refractive surgery is right for you.



I'm 45, and I have been wearing glasses as a nearsighted person since third grade.  I just got a new pair of glasses and the vision is weird.  This is the first time I've visited an optometrist in the last five years, so I'm wondering if it's just that my vision required such a drastic correction, or could the base curve be totally wrong. Specifically, I am more comfortable--with both the way I see and the physical fit--by sliding the glasses downward toward the middle of my nose; if the glasses are way back against my face, the prescription seems over-corrected.  Also, if I pull the frames upward off the back of my ears, and point the lenses slightly downward at an angle, the vision is clearer and more "relaxed" than if I just look straight through the lenses. Does this indicate the lenses need to be re-ground or something?  Thanks so much!

Answer:  You should return to the doctor that prescribed your glasses.  I suspect you are over corrected in your new prescription.  Did you purchase an option to make your lenses lighter or thinner?  High index lenses my cause some of the problems you mentioned.



I have been wearing contacts or glasses for the past 12 years, and I'm only 19 years old. Contacts were a great step up from glasses, but I'm really interested in Laser surgery.  I was just wondering what the age requirement was.  I'm not sure if my eyes are stabilized or not.  They are fairly bad both around -7.  I'm nearsighted.  Any information you could provide would be extremely helpful.

Answer:  Laser surgery is a great option for a nearsighted person.  Most surgeons prefer that you are 18 and have a stable prescription for at least a year. The goal is to do the procedure and get maximum benefit.  I have had mine for 2 years and am very pleased with the results.



I am having spots in my eyes. The spots look just like what you would see if you looked at the sun or a light bulb-just a blind spot in the eye.  They come and go, but the longest they have stayed is 40 or 45 min. at a time.  They have come in 2 times in the past 6-8 weeks.  I can't see through the spot.  At the time of the occurrence there was no strain on the eyes at all.  Do you have any advice that could help?

Answer:  Spots in front of your eye could signal a serious problem.  The way you describe the temporary nature of the event, it could be a "floater" or a precursor to migraine headaches.  I would advise an eye exam to rule out any serious problems like retinal detachment.  A pressure check to rule out glaucoma is also in order.  My office number toll free is 1-866-634-2020.

Question:  I have worn glasses for forty years!  I would love to have Lasik, but understand that as you age your eyesight will continue to worsen and the surgery affects will not last long!  Is that true?

Answer:  Lasik is a wonderful procedure.  It does not cure every single eye problem you could ever have. If you are nearsighted for example, Lasik will correct the distance vision permanently.  The change called presbyopia will happen whether you have laser treatment or not around age 40.  If your goal is to be less dependent on glasses you could have great success with the procedure.  How often glasses will be required will depend on your prescription pre and post-op prescriptions.

Question:  My son is almost 15; he has been wearing glasses since he was 2. We have tried contact lenses and they bother his eyes, he can’t see 5 foot away from his eyes. I was wondering if he would qualify for laser surgery?  Below is his last prescription for glass Feb. of 2002. -8.50-2.75x030 -8.75-1.75x165 can you help, he is a 9th grader and would love to play sports but he can't enough see the ball unless it hits him in the face (and it has done that several times)

Answer:  Laser surgery would help his condition.  Most surgeons would not consider doing surgery until he is over 18.



Do eye exercises such as "The See Clearly Method" really work to improve vision?

Answer:  The see clearly method just sounds too good to be true.  They are under investigation by the better business bureau.  There are methods to help reduce your use of glasses, but their claims are unfounded.

Question:  I had cataract surgery here in Jonesboro in Aug 2001. Less than 2 days later I was sent to Memphis for emergency surgery because of Staph infection I very nearly lost the right eyeball. It was touch and go for a couple of weeks at the Meyer Clinic, with very painful procedures to rid the eye of bacteria.  In May I suddenly lost vision again and was sent to Memphis again for another vitrectomy because the Dr. had left a stitch in from the original surgery and 2 ulcers had formed around it and infection once again set in. He tells me this is an acceptable practice to leave a stitch in for as much as a year, but the Memphis Dr seemed surprised to see it there. Now, a year later, after two extra surgeries, a year's worth of eye drops and a loss of vision from 20/40 to 20/70 (although I can read the 20/40 line for a few letters briefly) and two pair of glasses @ $430, I am being told that I must have the left eye operated on for a cataract removal. This may have been a fluke, but I'm not anxious to go under the knife again, seeing as how I have the same vision before I had it removed. The first occurrence I tried to pass off as bad luck, but what I really want to know is if there is ever a need to leave a stitch in place for a year?  Also the day I had the cataract surgery done, the air conditioning was not working properly and I recall one of the two assistants commenting on the room temperature being at 82 degrees. Could this have had anything to do with the initial infection? I now also have lid-lifting surgery to look forward to since I cannot keep my eyelid open more than half way. A local businessman here noticed it and asked what happened. When I told him he was able to guess who had done the surgery. Thanks for letting me unload.

Answer:  It sounds as if you had a very complicated case.  Cataract surgery is usually routine.  I am concerned about the temperature of your OR.  Usually temperature is kept low to prevent infection.  Different surgery centers have different protocols.  The question about having a stitch left in your eye following cataract surgery doesn't have a simple answer.  In 1990 when I started following cases, the incision was 12mm in width and 10-20 stitches were left in place permanently.  A few years later 3 stitches were standard and later the NO STITCH procedures became very commonplace.  The no stitch procedures are used with a very small incision.  If your incision needed to be larger, a stitch might be appropriate. As for needing cataract surgery in the other eye, what is your vision now in that eye?  I would advise that you wait until it is in the 20/60 range before you proceed.  I would also get a different surgeon to give a second opinion and to evaluate your first eye. I hope this is helpful in your decisions about your precious eyesight.

Question:  My glasses sit great over my left ear. I don't even feel them. It's a different story over my right ear. I feel like something's being pinched. I've even adjusted that side so it's practically not on the ear at all. Any suggestions? Do I just need to be more patient? When I have my dr. adjust them they feel fine for a while then later they'll start hurting again on the right ear. I appreciate any advice.

Answer:  You may have a slight anatomical difference between your 2 ears.  One may be placed higher or more forward than the other.  Proper adjustment by your eye doctor is critical.  Frames that keep their adjustment are often made of titanium for lightness and durability.  Have you ever had glasses that remained comfortable?  If so try to duplicate that pair in you next pair. Contact lenses and refractive surgery are other options that are available to get those pesky glasses off of your ears.

Question:  I have 2 children ages 5 and 7 that I recently took for an eye exam. The seven year old is near-sighted in his right eye with only a -0.50. My 5 year old is not near-sighted yet but had a lower range than what it should be for his age. I was told both needed glasses with the 5 year old only needing them for reading and schoolwork. My question is: Do they really need the glasses with such slight near-sightedness?

Answer:  A small refractive error can keep your child from having a good performance at school.  Are you or your husband near sighted?  I remember when I personally got my first prescription, I was sure I needed it long before I received the glasses.  At -0.50 you could conservatively watch for problems such as sitting close to the TV or squinting.  There is the possibility that if you do not correct the small refractive error now that it will get worse.

Question:  I have astigmatism and can’t see well with soft contacts, but I can see great with hard lens (gas perm) but with the hard lens I cant keep my eyes wet enough, any suggestions. Drops only last a few minutes usually.  I really want to wear them...

Answer:  A stable tear film is a must for wearing gas permeable lenses.  You may have some trouble with the lens surface wetting.  What solutions are you using? I recommend Alcon Unique PH solution for soaking your lenses in overnight. Also I have some patients with really oily tear film who use Dawn brand dishwashing liquid to clean their lenses.  You should ask your doctor about this option and be sure your lens material will tolerate this. Vitamins and drinking plenty of water will also help your tear film.

Question:  The pressure in my eyes is high. What causes this and what can be done for it?  I am currently seeing an optometrist and he recommended eye drops for this problem.

Answer:  High pressure in your eyes can be caused from your eyes producing too much fluid, or the drainage mechanisms of your eye not functioning properly.  If you will send your mailing address, I will forward some information about glaucoma to you.

Question:  What are floaters and what are they a sign of?

Answer:  Floaters are small fragments of tissue contained in the vitreous cavity of the eye.  They are trapped in the eye and are limited in their motion. Visit my website at and go to the eye conditions section, there is a section on floaters.  They are usually harmless, but can sometimes precede serious problems like retinal detachments or diabetic retinopathy.  A thorough eye examination can determine if any pathology exists.



Could you please tell me if people with Glaucoma can wear Contact Lenses. I would appreciate your help very much.

Answer:  Glaucoma does not keep you from being able to wear contact lenses.  If you are on eye drops to control your glaucoma, you will need to use them before lens insertion and after lens removal or your lenses could become damaged. Have you tried contact lenses before?  I specialize in challenging fits. Phone 870-236-7713 or toll free 1-866-634-2020.



What is Elevator Palsy-OD?  How does the thyroid affect this when the blood test are normal?

Answer:  Elevator palsy is a temporary paralysis of the muscle that elevates the eye.  O.D. is the medical abbreviation for the right eye.  Hyperthyroidism can cause thickening of the extra ocular muscles, which can press on the nerve and cause the paresis.  Essential control is to regulate the thyroid and recurrences of the palsy should subside.



Should a "routine" cataract surgery, that is to take 45 min pre-op to leaving turn into to a near tragic experience.  My husband had surgery 2 wks ago today. He is blind in the eye today. His Dr. said, “don't worry”. He had to do emergency surgery and came close to rushing him to Memphis to a "retinal surgeon” His eye is not healing. Antibiotics are still being administered. I think we need another opinion. Do you?

Answer:  I am concerned about your husband's outcome.  Are you most concerned about the complication of surgery, or the follow up care he is getting from the retinal surgeon?  Who did the cataract surgery?  Which retinal surgeon are you using? I went to school in Memphis, I would be glad to recommend someone for a second opinion.



Are you going to put an office in Jonesboro?

Answer:  I do not currently have plans to add a Jonesboro office.  I am curious about your question.  Are you unhappy with your choice of providers in the Jonesboro area?  The Paragould office should be 30 minutes or less from your home if you would like to meet me and have your eye care done there.  I am in that office on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  We would be glad to show you our facility and answer any questions.  If you would like to be referred to a doctor in the Jonesboro area, let me know what kind of service you need and I would be glad to recommend someone.  I know many of the doctors there personally.


Question:  I have considered having Lasik surgery.  I currently wear contact lenses; my prescription is -9.50 for one eye and -9.00 for the other.  Do you know if Lasik can correct nearsightedness of this degree?

Answer:  Lasik is successful for many nearsighted people.  It is approved for your amount of nearsightedness.  You should be evaluated by your surgeon to make sure that you can be corrected 100%.  It is possible that you can be corrected to be less nearsighted but still have to wear a prescription for some circumstances.  You should have this information before you decide.  I had my procedure 2 years ago and have been delighted.


Question:  In the past year I have had two back surgeries and I have had a lot of blurry vision problems my doctor thinks maybe this is due to the pain medications I am taking. I have to wear my glasses all the time now instead of just for reading. I was wondering if these pain medications could cause that or if it is just my eyes getting worse I would appreciate your response.

Answer:  Many of the pain medicines and muscle relaxers will also relax the muscles in your eyes.  When you are no longer on the medications, your vision should improve.  You may have to learn to focus again but should not have any permanent damage.



I was told that since I have astigmatism, I would need the most expensive brand of contacts?

Answer:  Many contact lenses are available in prescriptions with astigmatism.  A contact lens fitting is custom for each eye.  Cost on toric lenses is reasonable and competitive with glasses.  In our office you can be examined and be fitted for a trial period of about 2 weeks to be certain contacts are right for you.  Call us at 236-7713 and we can see which lenses are best for you.


Question:  My son is 18 and is needing to have cataracts removed from both eyes. I am looking for an excellent doctor in the Jonesboro area to do the surgery he will need to be put under will not let anyone touch his eyes. Please send recommendations

Answer:  Southern eye associates in Jonesboro are excellent.  Thomas Stank, Robert Landry, and Dan Good are their surgeons.  Their anesthesia department is great.  Their number is 1-800-634-7299 you can call to schedule an appointment to meet the doctors and see the facility.


Question(Follow-Up):  She does not have crossed eyes; she only has the poor vision in the one eye. So, she may benefit from refractive surgery when she is older?  What are the dangers with this surgery?  Is it pretty safe?  How much does this sort of surgery run?  Thank you very much for your reply.

Answer:  Refractive surgery is considered to be low risk. I had mine done in May of 2000 and have been very pleased with the results.  It costs around $1,700 per eye in the Jonesboro market.  It may be a little less in Memphis or Little Rock because more doctors are performing the procedure. It would make a great college graduation gift.



My 12-year-old daughter has a "lazy eye" amblyopia, she has gone from 20/400 vision as a toddler with patching to 20/40 vision now.  She is very far sighted and has a +6.00 prescription for a contact.  Can she have surgery to correct this type of problem? If the answer in general is yes, then, what is a ballpark figure of the cost of this?  Is it ever covered by insurance?

Answer:  Your daughter may benefit from refractive surgery.  Most surgeons will not work on anyone under 18 for Lasik or Lasek.  Does she have crossed eyes? There are also surgical procedures to correct crossed eyes that would be available to her as a minor.



I have something that goes on with my eyes that worries me.  Sometimes my eyes feel numb.  And sometimes I feel a lot of pressure in them.  Is this anything to be concerned about?

Answer:  It is not normal for your eyes to get numb.  Do you have a history of Glaucoma in your family?  You should have your eyes checked and a pressure check for glaucoma to be sure you do not have an early sign of the disease.


Question:  I had surgery 7-10-01 for breast cancer. I took 8 Chemo treatments once every 3 weeks, taking my last on 12-29-01. My eyesight has gotten worse; will it help me to get new glasses? I am currently wearing trifocals because I work at an Elem. school in the Computer Lab.  I thought my eyesight might get better after Chemo, but it hasn't. Is there anything you can do to help? Please e-mail me back. Thank You

Answer:  Many chemotherapy patients have visual changes.  You should be examined to determine that your prescription does not need to be changed.  In my experience many patients need Rx changes after cancer treatment.  You should also have a dilated eye exam to make sure you do not have any metastatic tumors in your eye.



Do you think the Clear Vision Method really works? One more question, I see you have had the Lasik surgery, will you tell me how expensive it is?

Answer:  I am not really familiar with the Clear Vision Method.  I suspect it is a treatment for nearsightedness where you wear different hard lenses to reshape the cornea.  In some patients it works well.  You can wear a "retainer" lens at night and nothing during the day.  If you are really nearsighted the treatment does not work as well compared to a minimally nearsighted person. I had Lasik myself in May of 2000.  I have been very successful with my correction of nearsightedness.  Cost is approximately $1,700-2,000 per eye in the Jonesboro market.  The Metro markets may be as low as $900 if you are willing to travel to Memphis, Little Rock or Dallas.  Be careful about selling your eyes to the lowest bidder.  Refractive surgery is forever.


Question:  I would like to know if Medicare will help pay for a dilated Eye examination?

Answer:  Medicare part B usually covers a medical eye examination.  If you have a medical problem like diabetes, high blood pressure or cataracts Medicare will cover your visit.


Question:  I recently was diagnosed with Cone dystrophy, Histoplasmosis, and Myopic Degeneration.  Are there any new treatments that can help restore some of my sight?

Answer:  Research is being done every day to help with the conditions that you have been diagnosed with.  Low vision aids have been able to maximize the use of new technology to assist visual function.  What is your present visual acuity?  Are your eyes stable or worsening quickly?


Question:  I have severe allergies and I have heard that having allergies puts more deposits on your contacts.  If this is true, what can I do to help?  I am wearing contacts that are supposed to last 3 months, but I am lucky if I get through 2 without changing them.

Answer:  If you have protein in your tears, this can build up on your contact lenses. The eye can be allergic to the protein on the lenses and cause itching, watering and allergy symptoms.  You may need to add a protein remover such as the Protein Remover Eye drops by Optifree, or switch to lenses that you replace daily instead of once every 3 months.


Question:  I currently wear glasses to read, however when I wear them for an extended length of time and take them off everything appears fuzzy.  Do I need another prescription or different glasses?  I currently wear the kind with no lines.

Answer:  It sounds like you are having accommodative problems.  That is when the eyes have trouble focusing up close, when the eyes lock up at near the distance will be blurred.  You may need a different prescription for reading.  You may notice that the more you wear your glasses the more you notice blurred vision without them.  The condition called presbyopia occurs when the lens of the eye cannot focus for near at all.  In the early stages the eye has some focusing power available.  By age 60 there will not be any focusing power left at all.  You mentioned that you wear no lined progressive lenses. The correction for near is available in progressive lenses, standard bifocals or trifocals or in single vision "Reading Only" lenses.


Question:  How do you protect your eyes from harmful stuff?

Answer:  Eye protection is very important.  If you have an industrial job you need to protect your eyes from flying debris with safety glasses with side shields. Everyone needs protection from the sun's UV rays.  Safety glasses and sunglasses are available in prescription and non-prescription form.


Question:  My mother was taking eye drops for Glaucoma. She went to the doctor because she was having chest pains and pain in her arm. Come to find out there was nothing wrong with her. She stopped using the eye drops for 3 days and she if fine.  Do some prescription drops have this side effect?

Answer:  Glaucoma drops can have side effects that can change the entire body.  The most likely to have a reaction is a beta-blocker.  Timoptic particularly. You need to have her contact her eye doctor immediately and report the reaction.  There are many safe glaucoma drops that she may be able to tolerate without the sudden pains.  If she is having elevated pressure in her eyes and cannot tolerate any eye drops without side effects, then there are surgical procedures that can be performed.


Question:  My husband has Histoplasmosis; I’m not sure of what you mean...visual acuity. My husband has suffered from this for many years. About 15 years ago he had laser surgery on his eyes due to bleeding of some blood vessels, and it wasn’t until last year his vision really decreased. I do know when his eyes were tested last; they said he was blind in one eye and legally blind in the other eye. He can still see and able to do a lot of things, but it have really handicapped him. He had reading glasses that help him to read small print, close up. And was fitted with telescopic type glasses for watching TV and etc.  But he did not want to purchase them.  I know it has greatly affected his central vision, and side visions. Thank you for any information you can find. I have looked on the Internet a lot for articles that may be of some use, and it seems like I keep hitting walls.

Answer:  I'm surprised that there is not a great deal of information about Histoplasmosis on the Internet.  The best site I have found so far is sponsored by the National Institute of Health.  It is I will continue to search and will see if there are any articles in print. The telescopic lenses are expensive; there are some grants available for such items if you know where to look.  Has your husband lost his job due to his visual problems?  There may be funds available for retraining for a different job also.


Question:  I am nearsighted, and I have been hearing about the new Lasik surgery.  I was wondering if the surgery really works and also is it safe?

Answer:  Lasik is another option that we now have available to correct nearsightedness.  It is a safe painless procedure that reshapes the cornea with a laser.  I personally had the surgery done to correct my nearsightedness in 2000.  I have been delighted with my results.  The surgeon I chose was Tom Stank, M.D. from Southern Eye Associates in Jonesboro.  I can evaluate you to see if you are a good candidate and refer you for surgery if you choose to do so.


Question:  If a person has Histoplasmosis, will the new breakthroughs of " prism glasses or the inserting of the new pill help in any way? And if not, is there any new information out there for this condition?

Answer:  Histoplasmosis is a fairly common eye problem in this area.  It has mild and severe forms.  Do you have Histoplasmosis yourself?  Do you know your visual acuity?  The area of low vision has been able to use many breakthroughs in technology to help people with severe visual loss.  I will research some information on the Internet and forward it to you.


Question:  My eyes keep messing up, the floors look wavy when I vacuum, and I notice I hit my hands a lot because things are closer then they seem. I had my eyes checked 2 weeks ago and he said not much change in my eyes and I don’t need new glasses

Answer:  I am concerned about your vision.  Were you checked for cataracts?  Are you taking any medication that might have visual side effects?


Question:  About three months ago I’ve been seeing black dots in my eyes. They come and go and this morning I’ve seen two dots in my left eye and now I see one dot in my right eye, but they don't stay in my eye all the time. A month ago I had a little blurry vision. It didn’t last long and I have not seen any since. Also I have had a lot of bad headaches. They are so bad when you lean over, it hurt's. I thought it was sinus, could it be my eyes? They are easing up though and my head does not hurt as bad. Thank you.

Answer:  What your describe sound like vitreous floaters.  A floater occasionally will show up and disappear gradually.  Have you ever had migraine headaches? It is possible the black spots could be related to migraine headaches.


Question:  Lately I have been seeing a tiny black dot in my right eye.  I don't see it all the time.  I notice it about 4-5 times a day.  I have been having terrible headaches.  I wake up with them often.  I have had an MRI but haven't gotten the results yet. It has been over 10 days now.  I was just wondering if this could be serious.

Answer:  Headaches with ocular symptoms may occur with migraine, or ocular migraine headache syndrome.  Do you see any flashes or lights like lightening?  A tiny black dot could be a vitreous floater, a benign condition that happens as the vitreous humor softens and allows internal particles to float. Your MRI should rule out anything serious like a tumor of the eye, or brain.


Question:  How often should you have your eyes checked? I have a 2 year old. When should she have her eyes checked? If diabetes runs in your family history how often should your eyes be checked?

Answer:  You should have your eyes examined every year even if they seem healthy. Children should have their eyes evaluated by their second birthday for birth defects.  Plugged lachrymal ducts and Crossed eyes are more common problems with children this age. A life threatening cancer called Retinoblastoma can be seen in the infant population, so it is a good idea to have a routine wellness visit.  Checkups for children should be done every year.  It is especially important to have a vision checkup before starting kindergarten as part of an overall wellness physical. Adults should have their eyes checked yearly.  Diabetes in the family is a risk factor for eye disease.  Thank you for your inquiry.  If you have further questions or would like to speak to me personally phone 1-800-682-0206.


Question:  I wear glasses and wore contacts for many years until I was told that due to my eyes burning a lot that I should stop wearing the contacts. Now that I only wear glasses my eyes still burn often. Sometimes when driving I find myself pulling over because the burning is so intense I can't see to drive. What should I do?  I really need your advice.

Answer:  Thank you for your question.  Dry eyes can be a contraindication for Contact lens success.  Are you taking any antihistamines or prescription medications?  Are you using eye drops or taking allergy shots?  Please respond and I will try to evaluate your situation.