March 8, 2019

Cycling to Benefit the UAMS Jones Eye Institute

Emil Mackey, chairman of the 2010 UAMS Jones Eye Institute Cycle for Sight

Emil Mackey, chairman of the 2010 UAMS Jones Eye Institute Cycle for Sight

Living in the Natural State offers an abundance of beautiful scenery for an avid runner and cyclist like Emil Mackey. Since he is grateful to the doctors at the UAMS Jones Eye Institute for restoring the quality of his vision, Emil chaired the second annual Cycle for Sight endurance ride to help raise awareness and funding for eye research and outreach.

In his job for the Department of Workforce Education, Emil began working with UAMS to approve educational programs. After his ophthalmologist moved five years ago, Emil became a patient at the Jones Eye Institute.

Unable to fully enjoy views of the Arkansas River, parks and woodland he passed by, Emil had an eye exam and learned that he had cataracts. Michael Wiggins, M.D., a comprehensive ophthalmologist who specializes in cataract surgery, performed surgery so that Emil could see whites clearly and other colors more sharply. “I think Dr. Wiggins is tops. He is a fine doctor with a great bedside manner.”

A few years after his cataract surgeries, Emil was in the middle of a training run for his third marathon when he started having issues with one of his eyes. When he reviewed eye information on Web sites, Emil feared that he had a detached retina. Emil’s suspicions were confirmed when he visited the Jones Eye Institute the next day, and he was relieved to find that his urgent need for medical care was met very quickly. One year after surgery to repair his retina, he has 20/20 vision in that eye and is thrilled with the outcome.

“Symptoms of retinal detachment include the sudden appearance of multiple floaters, flashes of light or a curtain moving across your eye. Patients experiencing any of these symptoms or with any sudden loss of vision should seek immediate eye care,” said Sami Uwaydat, M.D., a retina specialist at Jones Eye Institute. “A patient with a detached retina has a better chance of regaining vision if retinal detachment surgery is done as soon as possible. Patients should also contact their eye doctor if they notice that straight lines appear wavy or if blank spots appear in their central vision, as these can be signs of age related macular degeneration.”

Having personal experience with the high quality of eye care provided at the Jones Eye Institute, Emil wants to spread the word to tell others in Arkansas and neighboring states. Emil believes it is important to establish a relationship with an ophthalmologist long before you need specialized services.

“I have a good ophthalmologist backed up by specialists and a state-of-the-art hospital. I’m confident that the Jones Eye Institute can provide whatever service I need now or at any time in the future.”
Emil was especially pleased that the 2010 Cycle for Sight ride route included the Medical Mile, which has been called the crown jewel of the Arkansas River Trail. Other ride highlights included the Big Dam Bridge and the Main Street Bridge.

Emil and our Jones Eye Institute staff members invite you to join us for this endurance ride. With three ride options designed to fit your level of cycling, this ride is for all levels of cyclists (even beginners).