As their mission to serve the community and in conjunction with Glaucoma Awareness Month (January), McFarland Eye Care offered free glaucoma screenings to the public on Friday. The screenings helped people to learn if they have signs of glaucoma, which indicate the need for additional medical attention.

“We are very proud to offer free glaucoma screenings to the public. It’s so important for people to be aware of glaucoma and to have regular eye exams. We see patients all the time who had no idea they had glaucoma until they had an eye exam with us. When we catch glaucoma early, we can many times treat it very effectively and give hope to patients afraid of losing their vision,” said Dr. Tom Chwe.

Glaucoma is an eye disease that damages the optic nerve causing permanent damage and loss of vision. The damage occurs when the eye is unable to effectively manage the pressure inside the eye.

According to, Glaucoma affects more than 3 million Americans and is the second leading cause of blindness in this country. It is the leading cause of preventable blindness. It has no noticeable symptoms and once vision is lost due to glaucoma, it cannot be restored.

There is no known cure for glaucoma, though it can be managed if detected early. Therefore, it’s important to have routine eye exams, especially if you are high risk for this serious disease.

Groups at high risk for glaucoma are people over 60, family members of those already diagnosed with glaucoma, people with diabetes, people who are severely nearsighted, and African-Americans.

“I knew there was a possibility of me having glaucoma because my dad had it. I wanted to come in and get checked. I know that once you lose that vision, you can’t get it back. I’m glad I came in today. Now I know and I can come back for additional testing and go from there,” said patient Levester Green, Pine Bluff.

Glaucoma treatment starts with getting your eyes checked regularly. “Sometimes we take our vision for granted. We don’t realize how important our sight is to us, and what life would be like without it,” said Darby Wall, McFarland Eye Marketing Coordinator.

According to, common treatment options include prescription eye drops, SLT laser, endoscopic cyclophotocoagulation (ECP), and implantable stents.

Wall said that there are programs in-house and through the city of Pine Bluff to assist patients that may not have insurance to cover medical attention and treatment.

McFarland Eye Care also observes age-related macular degeneration awareness month, sports eye safety month, healthy vision month, children’s eye health/safety month, diabetic eye disease awareness month, etc.

According to a press release, the award-winning McFarland Eye Care team has been serving Arkansans for more than 36 years. McFarland offers safe and convenient outpatient surgery with the help of experienced and friendly staff, and provides skilled clinical care for glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic eye disease, dry eye and complete eye exams. In addition to state-of-the-art options for cataract surgery, the practice offers oculofacial plastics surgery, cosmetic eyelid surgery and custom bladeless LASIK. The McFarland Eye Care medical team is led by eight well-trained and caring doctors who serve patients at clinics located in Pine Bluff, Hot Springs, Little Rock and Bryant.