March 8, 2019

The Drive to Maintain Independence

James W. (Jim) Bell UAMS Jones Eye Institute Patient

James W. (“Jim”) Bell UAMS Jones Eye Institute Patient

For senior citizens, seeing clearly is critical in maintaining independence. With a need to be able to read labels and signs, perform tasks to maintain a household and see clearly to drive, eye care services are extremely important to active retirees like James W. (“Jim”) Bell.

Since Jim had watched his father go blind and subsequently suffer deep depression as a result, he has a real understanding of the difference that good vision can make in a senior’s life.

When Jim was concerned that his vision was not sharp enough for him to drive, his need for personalized care was met by Richard Harper, M.D., of the UAMS Jones Eye Institute. After a thorough medical eye exam, Dr. Harper advised that with the right glasses, Jim could continue driving. After Jim’s glasses were ordered by the UAMS Optical Shop, his vision improved substantially, and he easily passed the eye driving test.

Later, when Jim developed cataracts, their growth was monitored by Dr. Harper for several years, but surgery was deferred until needed. When Jim was driving out of state with his wife to attend their granddaughter’s wedding last year, he realized that he was unable to see well enough to drive in the rain and knew the time had come to have cataract surgery.

Jim had concerns about cataract surgery and notes that Dr. Harper was very patient and informative during his eye appointments. Jim was concerned that he wouldn’t be able to stop blinking during the surgery, but Dr. Harper’s answers to the questions and outstanding bedside manner alleviated Jim’s fears.

“Many people are understandably anxious about having their eyes operated on,” says Dr. Harper. “I believe it is critical that anyone contemplating cataract surgery obtain all the information that they can about their specific situation before making that decision. This will allow them to proceed with confidence, as Mr. Bell did.”

Working hand in hand, Jim and Dr. Harper jointly set Jim’s post-operation vision goals to have vision distance in one eye and reading vision in the other eye. The goals were met, and Jim is very pleased with the high quality of his treatment and his vision. “Dr. Harper is the most thoughtful doctor I have come across. He gave me a booklet that completely explained my cataract surgery and went through the booklet with me.”

Independent and happily active with his improved vision, Jim recommends Jones Eye Institute to his friends and acquaintances.

“Thanks to UAMS, the Jones Eye Institute and Dr. Harper, I am living a full life and have been appointed to a three-year term on Little Rock’s Midtown Redevelopment District #1 Advisory Board. Not bad for an 80-year-old.”