MyEyeDr. is committed to helping patients by providing personalized eye care experiences by trusted local optometrists. With expert care and a focus on eye health, patients can see well and live their best lives.

Every MyEyeDr. practice is equipped with the latest in vision care technology, staffed with compassionate, knowledgeable optometrists and eyewear consultants and stocked with a wide selection of quality eyewear, and the MyEyeDr. location in Southlake is no exception.

In this Q&A, Dr. Marcus Whatley, one of the optometrists at the MyEyeDr. Southlake location provides insight into his eye care philosophy and experience with MyEyeDr.

Why did you choose to pursue a career in eye health?

Dr. Whatley: I knew I wanted to be in healthcare, but I was not sure what I wanted to do. I took all the courses that kind of lined up with pre-medical, and then I met with people from the different healthcare fields and after learning more about optometry and helping people see clearly, it felt like a perfect fit for me. After 15 years, I still enjoy it and would absolutely choose it again. I just love being able to help the patients with their vision issues, and I did not think when I first got into school that this is where it is going to be, but I am glad I picked it.

Why did you choose to work at MyEyeDr.?

Dr. Whatley: I initially began in Southlake as a private practice. MyEyeDr. acquired our office in January of 2020. That was a tough year all around because it was right before the pandemic. But MyEyeDr. was able to help navigate all of that for us, which would have been a lot harder had they not come along when they did. They let us focus on taking care of the patients while they took care of all the other backend stuff, which we were having to do when we were in private practice. One of the other things that I did when I was at the private practice was handle all the insurance claims which was very time consuming away from home, so they take care of that part now. We accept all major insurances, allowing us to bring exceptional eye care to more people in the Southlake community. Being able to focus solely on patient care, it got rid of a lot of the stress from having to take care of all that paperwork and allowed me to spend more time with patients and my family.

Why is eye health so important?

Dr. Whatley: I think that reduced vision or vision loss can be the most difficult thing for a person. That is why it is important to stay There's a few diseases that are out of our control, but there are many ways to reduce the risk of serious vision loss from just the common eye health issues. But the number one thing is just general health, systemic issues like diabetes and high blood pressure. They are all on the rise and can cause many problems. So early detection can help prevent that kind of vision loss and some diseases have no symptoms in the initial stages.

Having your annual eye exam can allow us to catch these problems before they start. So that just reduces the chance that it impacts your vision long term.

What are the essential steps to ensuring healthy vision at every age?

Dr. Whatley: Annual eye exams are essential for maintaining good eye health. They are like gatekeepers, helping us detect problems early and determine the best course of action as you age. So, one thing is nearsightedness that happens at an early age. Besides correcting the glasses there are also some new vision therapies. That can help people with nearsightedness reduce the severity in the long term.

Getting older increases your risk for most eye diseases. Avoiding smoking and wearing sunglasses when you need to can help. And again, having that annual eye exam can reduce the risk of preventable division loss.

I specialize in treating patients with corneal diseases like keratoconus and corneal scarring. Early detection and treatment of these conditions are crucial for preserving vision. Untreated, corneal diseases can lead to significant vision loss, but with prompt intervention, we can often slow their progression and protect our eyesight. It is not common, and I see a lot of patients from other eye clinics that get referred to me for these issues. But I am a leader in the area for fitting specialty scleral contacts for these patients. Many of those patients who have not seen clearly in years are just speechless when they come back, and they have tried these lenses on, and they can see again for the first time in years.

What are the signs and risk factors of eye disease and how can you prevent them?

Dr. Whatley: Age, diabetes, and blood pressure as well as autoimmune diseases can increase your eye disease risk. There are also some issues with being near-sighted that cause eye problems. Smoking is one of the preventable issues for macular degeneration. Not all eye diseases have symptoms early on. So again, you need to get that annual eye exam to be able to catch some of those.

But some vision changes should always be addressed. Any new onset of blurry vision or flashes of light, sudden onset of floaters or distorted vision, eye pain, sensitivity to light, red eyes or discharge out of the eyes are all very noticeable symptoms that can cause you know could be a potential eye problem. You should always get that evaluated right away. And we also work closely with various ophthalmology specialties so if these patients need surgery or something like that, then we can expedite it quickly to those types of professionals as well.

With the summer months upon us, we often remember to protect our skin but not our eyes. What are your tips for how to protect our eyes from sun damage?

Dr. Whatley: The best thing obviously is sunglasses. This is Texas, and we have a lot of intense sunny days. I recommend wearing sunglasses, even if you have transition glasses because those are great for when you cannot put on your sunglasses. Sunglasses tend to have a little more coverage around the eye and are more curved, so they fit a little more to your face which gives you a little more protection of the skin around the eyes. That helps protect skin damage and cancers that can get on the eyelid from sun damage.

And while everybody eventually gets cataracts as they get older, UV exposure can cause cataracts to come on earlier and make cataracts advance more quickly. Most quality sunglasses will have 100% UV protection so that should keep the eyes from experiencing those issues.

Tell me more about the MyEyeDr Difference.

Dr. Whatley: I have been with MyEyeDr. for four years and their focus is on patients. We want to make sure that experience is seamless and convenient. We have started with the ease of online scheduling or in person, you can do both. We also have a broad selection of eyewear from quality affordable options to high end designer frames at our location. We also fit every contact brand and our prices are unmatched compared to everywhere else.

Routine eye exams are crucial for preventing vision problems and keeping your overall health in check. MyEyeDr.'s experienced doctors can diagnose and treat a wide range of eye conditions. The practices offer patients full-service eye care that meets their patients' unique vision, health, and financial needs. MyEyeDr. is committed to making eye care accessible to everyone and accepts all major insurance plans and offers affordable payment options for those without insurance. Don’t delay your eye health. Schedule your comprehensive exam at MyEyeDr. today.

Learn more about the Southlake location of MyEyeDr. on the website.

The above story was produced by Senior Multi-Platform Journalist Summer El-Shahawy with Community Impact's Storytelling team with information solely provided by the local business as part of its "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team.