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Protect your vision with routine eye examinations. Our eyes are susceptible to a number of conditions and diseases and regular exams are the best method to find them quickly and begin treatment. A visit to Dr. Howell and dr. Wells ismore than making sure your glasses are the correct strength. It means keeping your eyes healthy. Learn more about eye care and various eye conditions and diseases by clicking the selection below. Email the doctors if you have any questions or need additional information.
Eye Conditions

Macular Degeneration

Macular degeneration is a condition of the eye that is the leading cause of blindness in America. It is often related to aging and is commonly referred to as age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

About 8.5 million Americans over the age of 40 suffer from vision loss due to AMD. Though its cause is unknown, AMD results when changes occur to the macula, a portion of the retina located at the back of the eye.The macula provides our central vision and allows us to see fine detail such as recognizing a face, reading, or watching television. When the macula becomes damaged, extreme and dramatic vision loss can occur.


Early symptoms of AMD are the appearance of spots beneath the retina. The spots, called drusen, are small, round lesions. They usually do not change vision very much and most people with drusen will never have a serious loss of vision. Other common symptoms include the gradual loss of the ability to see objects clearly, distorted vision, a gradual loss of color vision and a dark or empty area in the center of your vision. Most changes occur gradually and begin in only one eye. Because the healthy eye compensates for the weaker eye, these changes may go unnoticed for a while.

There are two forms of the late stages of AMD: dry AMD and wet AMD. When the early stage of drusen (the spots mentioned above) are present for an extended period of time, they cause the macula to become thinner and cease functioning. This is referred to as the dry form of AMD. People with this type may have "blank" areas in their central vision. No treatments are available at this time, but various vision aids such as magnifiers are available and can help people live their lives as normally as possible.

Treatment for Wet AMD

Wet AMD is caused by the growth of abnormal blood vessels across the macula and retina. As these vessels leak fluid and blood into the tissue at the back of the eye, scar tissue typically forms and vision loss may occur. This activity is responsible for up to 90% of the severe vision loss associated with AMD. There are two forms of treatment for wet AMD. One is using a laser to stop any leakage and destroy the abnormal blood vessels. This treatment results in a scar which can leave a permanent blind spot in the field of vision. Usually this loss of vision is less severe than if the AMD had gone untreated. The other form of treatment for wet AMD is Visudyne therapy. In this procedure a light-activated drug (Visudyne) is injected into the patient's bloodstream. It is then activated by a non-thermal laser. This produces a clot that closes the abnormal blood vessels without causing damage to the retina. If you suffer from any type of vision loss or suspect that you might be at risk for AMD, contact Dr. Howell immediately for a comprehensive examination. It is important to treat this as quickly as possible to prevent additional vision loss. AMD may be hereditary and anyone over 40 who has a relative with AMD should have a retinal exam every two years.


Glaucoma is a major cause of blindness in people over the age of 40. Those that have a higher risk of this disease include people with a family history of glaucoma, African Americans, and those who are very nearsighted or diabetic.

The disease occurs when the internal pressure in your eyes increases enough that the nerve fibers in your optic nerve become damaged. The increase in pressure occurs when the passages that normally allow fluid in the eyes to drain become clogged. The cause of this is not known.

Glaucoma usually develops gradually, painlessly and without any symptoms. There is a rare form of the disease that can occur rapidly. Symptoms may include blurry vision, loss of side vision, and pain or redness in the eyes.

Though there is no prevention for glaucoma, if caught early it can be controlled. Once vision has been lost to this disease it cannot be restored, so early detection is very important.

Treatment for glaucoma includes prescription eye drops and medicines that will lower the pressure in your eyes. Some cases require laser treatment or surgery to reduce the pressure.

Drs. Howell and Wells recommend an annual eye exam for people at risk for glaucoma. The exam will include a test of the pressure in your eyes; an examination of the inside of your eyes and optic nerves; and a field test to check your center and side vision.

A cataract is the clouding of all or a portion of the normally clear lens in your eye causing vision to be blurred or cloudy. Though sometimes found in younger people, cataracts are usually found in persons over the age of 55.

Although there is no known cause of cataracts, doctors know that a chemical change occurs in the eye that makes the lens to become cloudy. It is an educated guess that advanced age, heredity, injury or disease may be the culprit. Additional risk factors include cigarette smoking, excessive exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight and the use of certain medications.

There can be several indications that a cataract is forming, such as blurred or hazy vision, spots appearing in front of the eyes, the feeling of having a film over the eyes, or increased sensitivity to sunlight and glare. Cataracts usually produce no pain or discomfort.

When a cataract develops to the point that it affects your daily activities, surgery may be recommended. During surgery, the eye's natural lens is removed and is usually replaced with a plastic artificial lens.

If you suspect you might have a cataract, schedule a visit for a comprehensive eye examination. Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells can diagnose a cataract, monitor its development and, if needed, refer you to an eye surgeon.


Conjunctivitis is an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the thin layer that lines the inner eyelid and covers the white part of the eye.

Common symptoms include red watery eyes, inflamed inner eyelids, blurry vision and scratchy eyes. Some eyes will have a pusslike or watery discharge.

There are three types of conjunctivitis. Infectious is known commonly as "pink eye" and is caused by a contagious virus or bacteria. Allergic is a reaction to your body's allergies, whether it be pollen, animal dander, dyes or cosmetics. Chemical can be produced by irritants like air pollution and noxious fumes.

If left untreated, conjunctivitis can harm your vision. Antibiotic eye drops can be given for infectious conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria. You can control its spread by avoiding hand-to-eye contact and washing your hands thoroughly before applying eye drops. Never share washcloths, towels, makeup or eye drops with anyone.

If you suspect you may be suffering from conjunctivitis, schedule an appointment for an eye exam. Your eyes are too valuable to be taken for granted. Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells can diagnose your problem and offer the appropriate care.

Dry Eye

Dry eye is your body's inability to produce enough tears, or your tears do not have a proper chemical composition.

Symptoms can include scratchy, dry or red eyes, a burning sensation, the feeling of having something in your eyes and blurry vision.

For many people, dry eye is part of the natural aging process. For others it can be caused by blinking or eyelid problems, a dry climate, wind or dust, some medications or health problems.

Some treatments for dry eye include blinking more frequently, using artificial tears and increasing the humidity in your home.

Excessive dry eye can cause damage to your eye tissue and your vision. If you have symptoms of dry eye you should schedule a visit with Dr. Howell. An exam will be performed to determine the cause of your eye discomfort and prescribe any necessary treatment to keep your eyes healthy.

Ocular Hypertension

Persons of any age can suffer from ocular hypertension, though it occurs more often in African Americans and in people over the age of 40.

Ocular Hypertension is common in those who are very nearsighted or who have diabetes. If you have a family member who suffers from ocular hypertension or glaucoma, you will be at a higher risk of this condition.

Ocular Hypertension is an increase in eye pressure above the normal range without any detectable change to vision. There are no noticeable signs or symptoms, but it can be found during an examination with the use of a tonometer.

The term ocular hypertension is used for people with an elevated eye pressure, but who do not suffer from glaucoma. People with ocular hypertension have an increased risk of developing glaucoma.

Though there is no cure, Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells will closely monitor your eyes and provide any necessary treatment. Decrease the risk of damage to your eyes by making an appointment today.

Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetics know they face a wide range of health issues brought on by their disease. One of these is diabetic retinopathy which causes the small blood vessels in the eye to leak or swell.

In the early stages of diabetic retinopathy, persons may notice nothing at all or a blurring of their vision. Once the disease has progressed, vision may become cloudy or blind spots and floaters may appear.

Without treatment, this disease can lead to blindness. It is imperative that diabetics or those who have a family history of diabetes have their eyes examined on a regular basis. Early detection can decrease the risk of any permanent loss of vision. Diabetics can help prevent this disease by taking any prescribed medicine as instructed, following a good diet and exercising regularly, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and controlling their blood pressure.

If you are a diabetic, you have special needs when it comes to eye care. Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells can provide you with the examination your situation requires and any necessary treatments.

Don't risk losing your eyesight. Call for an appointment today.

Eye Care
Eye Examinations

Many people think that an eye examination is needed only when their glasses need to be replaced. They feel that as long as they are seeing well and their glasses are holding up, everything is fine.

Unfortunately, that is not always true. Eyes, just like the rest of your body, undergo gradual changes as you age.

Unlike your body, your eyes rarely hurt when something is wrong. In the early stages of some conditions and diseases, your vision may not be affected. This is true of glaucoma, cataracts and complications from diabetes and high blood pressure.

Regular annual examinations are necessary to maintain healthy eyes. The doctors will look for symptoms of disease during an examination, as well as any changes that have occurred in your vision since your last checkup. Early detection of any problem allows treatment to take place and in some cases, can stop or slow a condition from becoming worse.

Unless your child has exhibited vision problems at an earlier age, he or she should have an eye exam by age three and then every two years. If your child wears glasses, an exam should be performed every year. Parents are usually the first to notice any possible changes in their child's sight. Look for symptoms such as holding a book too close, sitting too close to the television, squinting, frequent eye rubbing and sensitivity to light.

Stay on top of your vision and schedule an appointment today. Contact either Dr. Howell or Dr. Wells if you have any questions or concerns.

Contact Lenses

With all the new contact lenses available, the option of wearing contacts is open to a greater number of people, including those who wear bifocals or suffer from astigmatism.

Contacts are produced as either disposable or extended wear. Disposable lenses are made to be worn from only one day to several months before they are thrown away. Extended wear contact lenses can be worn overnight, and don't need to be cleaned until they are removed or replaced with fresh ones.

If you want a different "look" you might consider tinted contact lenses. These are made to enhance or change your eye color. The appearance, thanks to today's technology, is natural. Contacts with built-in ultraviolet blockers can help protect your eyes, though they are not meant to replace sunglasses.

Contacts are available in two basic types of material: soft and rigid gas permeable (RGP). RGP's are more popular as they last longer and are easier to clean than soft lenses.

If you have wanted to wear contacts but always thought you were a poor candidate, think again! Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells can determine your specific needs once an examination is performed. Schedule an appointment today and see all the options now available to you


Eyeglasses today come in a wide and varied range of colors and styles. Prescription glasses have even become a fashion statement to many wearers. Frames are stronger and more durable. Lenses are thinner and lighter.

Dr. Howell and Dr. Wells offer a wide selection of frames at her offices where you'll find frames for men, women and children. Unisex frames are also available. Your choice of frame should blend well with the shape of your face, as well as your coloring, lifestyle and any special needs you might have.

Lens options include anti-reflective, light-changing tints, progressive and polycarbonate. Anti-reflective coating, UV coating and scratch-resistant coatings are options you may choose. Progressive lenses are a bifocal or trifocal without the lines. Dr. Howell will inform you if these will work for your specific vision requirements.

Bifocals and trifocals are available in configurations to meet your specific needs. Configurations can be made that allow you and your glasses to work better, play better and see better. If you have to throw your head back in order to see with your bifocal, the bifocal can be placed higher in the lens.

Many eyeglass wearers have hobbies or job needs that require a special pair of glasses. Some jobs demand safety glasses. Special athletic glasses offer protection and freedom of movement for the sports-minded. The range of eyewear available is tremendous.

If your child requires glasses, allow him or her to participate in the eyeglass selection process. Sometimes this encourages a child to wear the glasses and be proud of them. If you are worried about your child's selection, then pick out three or four pair from which your child can then choose.

When you visit Dr. Howell or Dr. Wells for your next examination, you can select your new pair of eyeglasses right in the same office. Choose from a great selection of glasses while you receive personal and professional attention. Contact the doctors for more information or schedule your appointment today.

Care for your Glasses

Caring for your glasses is fairly easy and there are a number of ways to prolong the life of your glasses.

  • Always keep your glasses in a case when not in use. This will protect your lenses from scratches and help extend the life of the frame.
  • To avoid scratching, never lay your lenses directly onto any type of hard or abrasive surface.
  • Use both hands when putting on or removing your glasses.
  • Do not let anyone wear or "try on" your glasses. The frame has been custom fitted for you. Letting others wear your glasses, even for a moment, may cause stretching or damage to the frame and lenses.
  • Clean your lenses and frames on a regular basis with warm water or an approved lens cleaner and wipe clean with a dry cloth. To avoid scratching, never wipe your lenses when they are completely dry.

Your glasses will last longer if you have them adjusted every 3-4 months. This allows us to check for loose screws or any other problems. If your frame breaks, don't repair it with glue or tape. Bring it to us and we will repair it properly.

Dr. Angela Howell
2100 Highland, Suite 100 • Jonesboro, AR 72401 • 870-972-6040

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