Cataract Surgery Amarillo TX

Cataract Surgery Customized to Improve Your Vision

Cataract Surgery Amarillo TXMillions of Americans are expected to have to deal with cataracts at some point in their lives. This common problem can slowly degrade vision but, with appropriate care, can be corrected. This is great news! All you need to do is recognize when it is time to have cataract removal surgery, and how to discover which approach is best suited to your needs. That’s where we come in. Dr. Murrell has been providing personalized ophthalmologic care to patients in the Amarillo area for more than 30 years. When you visit our office, you can expect to receive a thorough examination and full information regarding your treatment options.

Cataracts: What They Are and how to Spot Them

Cataracts develop on the natural lens of the eye when individual protein cells clump together. When this happens, the lens becomes cloudy. Once proteins begin to accumulate, cloudiness progressively worsens. Without lens replacement, clouding can completely obstruct vision. Fortunately, vision can be restored with a simple in-office procedure that takes less than half an hour.

One of the telltale signs of a cataract in one or both eyes is blurred cloudy vision. People who wear eyeglasses or contacts may notice that their prescription changes frequently. Halos or glares may appear around light sources, and light sensitivity may occur. Finally, the vibrancy of colors may appear diminished, and night vision may decline. Symptoms like these serve as an alert that a comprehensive eye exam is needed.

Cataract Removal can Include Vision Correction

Cataract surgery is performed to remove the clouded lens and insert a new lens in its place. The new lens sits within a pocket of tissue and does not feel any different than the natural lens. In many cases, cataract removal surgery also corrects vision. The way this is accomplished is by implanting a corrective lens in place of the natural lens that has become clouded.

Recent advances in ophthalmology have made it possible to greatly reduce a person’s need for corrective eyeglasses after cataract removal. For example, multifocal intraocular lenses allow for near vision and tasks like reading, as well as distance vision and tasks like driving. Another option for vision correction is available with Toric intraocular lenses. This premium lens may be appropriate for patients with astigmatism.

Cataracts are not usually considered a serious eye condition, but they can put a serious damper on quality of life. Therefore, treatment should be obtained as soon as enjoyable activities or safe driving are diminished by poor vision.

Learn more about cataract treatment. Call our Amarillo office at 800-782-6393.

Dry Eye Amarillo TX

Why Dry Eyes Need More than Lubricating Drops

Dry Eye Amarillo TXWe have heard about Dry Eye Disease more frequently in the past several years, and the increase of information has coincided with the development of a variety of treatment options. There is no denying that there are effective treatments and medications available today to soothe chronically irritated eyes. The problem is, many of them, both over-the-counter and prescription, are focused on the correction of tear deficiencies. To treat tears can be a frustrating endeavor when the root problem is located in the Meibomian glands of the eyes.

What are Meibomian Glands?

Each eye has between 25 and 40 Meibomian glands in the upper lid alone. The lower lid can also have as many as 30 of these glands, which were first discovered back in the 1600s. Meibomian glands’ function is to produce the oil that is needed on the ocular surface. Oil makes up a vital aspect of tears; it keeps the water in tears from evaporating prematurely.

For the eyes to function properly, a stabilized tear film is needed. This means there needs to be adequate water to mucin to lipids, or oil. The lipid layer produced by the Meibomian glands lies on top of the water on the eye, preventing irritation and protecting the eyes’ surface from damage.

Dry Eye or Meibomian Gland Dysfunction?

In clinical studies, researchers have found that more than 80% of patients evaluated for dry eye have coinciding symptoms of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). This makes sense due to the integral value of oil in the tear film. The observation of the similarities between temporary dry eyes and chronic dry eyes associated with MGD allows us to treat the underlying condition for the prompt and long-term relief of symptoms.

Treating blocked Meibomian glands is an excellent way to restore stabilization to the tear film, and a great way to restore comfort to your eyes. Dr. Murrell treats MGD using the Lipiflow and EyeXpress techniques. Each similarly disrupts the debris that is blocking oil production in a gentle manner. Treatments take approximately 15 minutes and are described as feeling like slight pressure and heat. The combined use of each modality can achieve optimal results starting with just one treatment.

Relieve the symptoms of Meibomian gland dysfunction with appropriate treatment. Call our Amarillo office at 806-351-1177.

eye care services Amarillo TX

What is Behind Those Hooded Eyelids?

eye care services Amarillo TXIf you give merit to old adages, you may believe that what is behind our eyes is the soul. From our perspective, the phrase “the eyes are the windows to the soul” more or less referred to the way that a person’s general personality and excitement for life can be seen in their eyes. Where many people may struggle is when the eyes are hooded by heavy upper eyelids.

Eyelid hooding may be a cosmetic problem alone, or it may indicate that the structure of the affected eye has been compromised in some way. Sometimes we refer to hooding as ptosis, and sometimes this condition is observed as merely a side effect of age. Here, we discuss what may cause the eyelid to droop, and what can be done to improve appearance.

Eyelid Hooding May Be Caused By . . .


The natural effects of age may be the most common reason for a drooping eyelid or lids. There are several factors related to the aging of the eyelid, all related to Mother Nature herself. The skin on the eyelids is organically very fragile. Therefore, when we rub our eyes, the stretching that occurs has a lasting effect. With age, eyelid skin becomes even more delicate and vulnerable due to loss of support from strong collagen fibers. Finally, Mother Nature can reach in from the outside, in the form of UV light from sunshine, to degrade the collagen that keeps skin intact at the cellular level.


Ptosis may result from a direct injury to the eye, in which nerves that feed the muscles that open the upper eyelid lose potency. In some cases, it is a cranial or brain injury that lies beneath the position of the eyelid. This is also related to the operating function of the nerves around the eye.

Eyelid hooding can be a frustrating problem that affects more that the appearance of the eye. When ptosis is severe, it is also possible that vision could become impaired. One should not assume that cosmetic blepharoplasty is the most appropriate treatment for hooded eyelids. During consultation for eyelid surgery, Dr. Murrell is careful to observe the involvement of the levator muscle in addition to excess skin and other age-related factors in hooding.

Find your most suitable approach to hooded upper eyelids. Call our Amarillo office at (806) 351-1177.

Eyelid Surgery Amarillo TX

How to Reduce Your Risk of Complications After Eyelid Surgery

Eyelid Surgery Amarillo TXBlepharoplasty has become one of the leading cosmetic procedures to be performed annually. Patients who have elected to have this surgery as opposed to a full facelift have reported that their satisfaction with the overall appearance of their face improved significantly after their eyes regained a bit of youthfulness. Statements such as that are a testament to the benefits of a well-performed blepharoplasty. Still, patients are often concerned about the risk of post-surgical complications.

Instances of complications after blepharoplasty are low compared to the high success rates reported by patients. However, this is an important matter to consider and to discuss with your surgeon. As an oculoplastic surgeon, Dr. Murrell is acquainted with techniques that carefully consider the delicate nature of structures around the eye. Surgeries are performed in a manner that reflects extensive training and experience in eyelid procedures.

In addition to surgical performance, there are strategies that patients may implement from the onset of their cosmetic surgery experience all the way through recovery.

Select an experienced surgeon.

No plastic surgeries should be sought out of the country. Medical tourism may be popular, but that does not mean its safe. Consider what recourse you may (or may not) have if your out-of-country surgery did not go as planned. The risks of complications can be further reduced when you choose an oculoplastic surgeon versus a general, cosmetic surgeon for your eyelid procedure. Dr. Murrell established his private practice more than 30 years ago and has since founded Panhandle Eye Group Subspecialists. He has performed thousands of eye procedures during his career.

Take “Me Time” after surgery.

We are so accustomed to the pressure of a busy lifestyle that post-surgical recovery may very well be something we try to rush. Don’t do this. For the first week after eyelid surgery, your primary job is to rest. That’s it. Sleep and an abundance of restful activity encourage the natural self-healing capabilities of the body.

Exercise is a word to take out of your vocabulary for the first few weeks after eye surgery. During this time of healing, the last thing the surgical site needs is an exertion of pressure. That means no lifting, jumping, bouncing, or bending.

If you are ready to see a younger version of yourself in the mirror, now may be a great time to learn more about blepharoplasty and how to minimize the risk of complications. Call our Amarillo office at (806) 351-1177 for assistance.

Eye care services Amarillo TX

How Alcohol Can Affect Eye Surgery

Eye care services Amarillo TXMen and women sometimes have eye surgery to improve vision, and sometimes to improve the appearance of their eyes. In either situation, eye surgery usually brings up a lot of questions, such as how to best prepare for surgery and how to maximize the recovery process. We usually think of aspects of surgery like how to manage pain. Here, we want to discuss something that isn’t usually brought up but may be in question – and may have an effect on the surgical experience: alcohol consumption. We’re not talking about excessive alcohol consumption, but a drink or two before and following eye surgery.

Pre-Surgery Alcohol Consumption

Most surgical pre-op instructions do not set clear guidelines for alcohol consumption, right up until the day before surgery. When we’re focusing on improving something about the eyes, though, we may need to be more thoughtful. Alcohol has a dehydrating effect on the body, which means the eyes could become drier than usual. This may present a challenge for medicated eye drops to work at their highest efficiency.

One of the reasons that many people enjoy a nightcap is because it enables them to relax after a long day. A glass of wine or other mild alcoholic beverage may be thought advantageous during the time before surgery in which nerves may threaten to keep you up at night. If you are feeling nervous about an upcoming eye surgery, bring up your concerns to our staff. We are happy to speak with you and offer suggestions for managing surgery-related stress. Your peace of mind is important to us.

Post-Surgery Alcohol Consumption

Once eye surgery is finally over and done, a nice, rich glass of wine or another favorite cocktail can sound oh so nice. However, we have to go back to the matter of dehydration. The main focus of surgery is allowing the eyes to heal in the most comfortable manner possible. Many eye surgeons advise patients to avoid alcohol for the first week after eye surgery to ensure the eyes can maintain adequate lubrication.

Eye surgery can significantly improve how you feel about your appearance and how you engage in life. Having a better vision and higher confidence means doing more of the things you love. Learn more about the cataract removal process or cosmetic eye surgery procedure from your Amarillo ophthalmologist. Call 806-351-1177.

Dry Eye Amarillo TX

Have You Tried These Strategies to Treat Dry Eyes?

Dry Eye Amarillo TXIf you don’t struggle with chronic dry eye syndrome, you may notice the slight burning or watery sensation as the weather changes during the winter season. If your eyes feel like this more often than not, and as if they’ve got true grit, and not in a good way, we should talk about strategies for managing moisture.

Dry eye can be a temporary condition, or it may be chronic. The greater the frequency or persistence of discomfort, the more reason there is to talk with your eye doctor. Here, we discuss a few ways that you may reduce symptoms caused by lack of adequate lubrication on the surface of your eyes.

  1. Add moisture. The first thing that you may do if you notice seasonal dryness (or even dryness caused by digital eye strain) is added lubrication in the form of artificial tears. Keep in mind that, if you wear contact lenses, you may need to remove them for longer periods of time so the eyes can better absorb and respond to artificial tears. You may also use a specific type of artificial tear that is appropriate for use with contact lenses.
  2. Add nutrients. Certain dietary supplements have been shown to improve the natural lubrication of the eyes. In particular, healthy omega-3 fats are good for eye health. Good sources of this fat include tuna and salmon, walnuts, and flaxseed.
  3. Add to your environment. The cold months send us running for the cover of heated air. Where the air is heated, it is also dry. Therefore, adding some moisture to your home or office environment may be a necessary strategy for improved comfort. Consider a small humidifier for your personal space. When driving, adjust the vents, so air does not blow your eyes.
  4. Add power. Not all artificial tear products are over-the-counter. You may need to talk with your eye doctor about something more powerful. Prescription eye drops may improve comfort by increasing tear production or reducing inflammation on the eyelid.
  5. Add innovation. Ophthalmic treatments have been developed over the years to address the underlying symptoms of dry eye syndrome. If uncomfortable sensations occur frequently, talk with your doctor about specific treatment. In our Amarillo office, patients can find lasting relief from true dry eye syndrome through LipiFlow or EyeXpress, treatments that focus on the oil glands that facilitate lubrication.

Get results from dry eye treatment. Call 806-351-1177.

Eye Care Serivces Amarillo TX

Exercise for Eye Health

Eye Care Serivces Amarillo TXWhen we think of physical exercise, we may consider how the activities in which we engage may help us manage our weight. Our medical doctors encourage us to exercise for certain health benefits, such as lowering our risk of high blood pressure and diabetes and keeping our muscles and joints in good working order. Did you know that your eye doctor in Amarillo may have a little something to add to this?

According to research, we know that exercise can ultimately support long-term eye health in addition to general wellness. Studies indicate that exercise may reduce a person’s risk for glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration, and cataracts. This may be because a healthy body is less likely to suffer from conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure, both of which affect eye health and vision.

How to Protect Long-Term Vision

There are several easy steps that may be taken to promote eye health as we age. These include:

  • Prioritize exercise. The research that has mounted in just the past decade suggests extensive benefits from regular exercise.
  • Eat well. Healthy eating goes hand in hand with exercise to reduce the risk of health conditions that could ultimately degrade eye health.
  • Visit the eye doctor every year. Annual eye exams do more than observing how well you can read letters on board. These exams also observe the structures throughout the eye, including the lens, the retina, and more. This observation and record-keeping enables your eye doctor to notice changes quickly, and prescribe necessary treatment.

What the Research Says

Two separate studies, one published in 2013 and one in 2016, have pointed out the correlation between cataracts and exercise. The first study found that regular exercise could decrease the risk of cataracts. The second suggested that cataract formation may increase in individuals who do not exercise regularly.

A long-term study of approximately 4,000 older adults discovered fewer instances of age-related wet macular degeneration among those who exercised regularly.

The Glaucoma Research Foundation encourages adults of all ages to exercise regularly as a way to reduce intraocular pressure. In one study of younger adults, researchers discovered that moderate, low-impact exercise significantly lowered pressure within the eye.

Schedule your visit to our Amarillo office by calling (806) 351-1177.

Cataract Surgery Amarillo TX

Need More Reasons to have Cataract Removal?

Cataract Surgery Amarillo TXCataract removal surgery is a very common, and very personal, vision-improving procedure. Because cataracts can greatly diminish vision, experts recommend removal at some point. Just where that point depends on the individual whose vision has been affected by the clouding of the natural lens. If you have cataracts, you have the final say in when, or if, you obtain treatment to replace the clouded lens with one that is clearer.

Here’s why you may want to consider cataract removal sooner rather than later . . .

  1. Quality of life matters. At the very heart of wellness is the quality of life. We all want to feel well, to move well, to see well to live our best life. Cataracts can substantially reduce the ability to do the things we love, but this need not be the case. Remember, you get to choose when to have cataracts removed. If you find that you are engaging less and less in the things that bring you joy, such as reading or walking in nature or jogging with your dog, it’s time to think about how much cataracts are impacting the quality of life.
  2. Safety is important. We don’t often think about how much our vision affects the way we move in physical space. Research reminds us that falling is a real possibility, especially as we age. Elderly individuals who have undergone cataract removal have been found to have a 23% lower risk of falling than same age-range folks with Having cloudy vision increases the risk of falling, and also of automobile accidents, so should be managed with great care to best decide when the time has come for surgery.
  3. Longevity is affected. Researchers have come to some pretty interesting conclusions about cataracts and how they can affect various aspects of life. In one long-term study, researchers found that cataract removal could lower mortality risk by approximately 40%.

Dr. Murrell and the team in our Amarillo practice offer friendly assistance for cataract care. Contact us at (806) 351-1177 for more information on our services.

Hygiene for your Eyes | W. John Murrell, M.D. | Amarillo, TX

Hygiene for your Eyes

Hygiene for your Eyes | W. John Murrell, M.D. | Amarillo, TXGood hygiene is something that we were taught as children. We learned to wash our hands before eating and to brush our teeth after meals and before bed. We know that we should shower often and also wash our clothing and bedding to minimize health risks associated with germs, bacteria, and viruses. All of the hygienic practices that we do keep may lead us to believe that we are doing enough. We may not be. Eyelid hygiene is something that needs to be remembered if we want to avoid uncomfortable consequences.

Inflammation and infection in and around the eye can be highly uncomfortable. Fortunately, not everyone will face such issues, but why leave this to luck? Why not learn how redness, itching, burning, stinging, and crustiness occurs, and, better yet, how to avoid it.

Eyelids are Complex

There is a degree of delicacy to the eyelids. These parts of the eyes are not just folds of skin covering the eyeballs. Across the eyelids, we have not one but two different types of skin, hair follicles, and also glands that nourish the eyes and keep them clear of debris (including germs). For the ocular surface to stay optimally healthy and comfortable, the eyelids need to be clean, and that means hygiene is needed.

Where infection and inflammation may come from is the lid-margin, the area where the lid meets the ocular surface. Here, bacteria may accumulate amidst the oil that is secreted from the glands of the eyelid, and the dead skin cells that hang around after loosening from the epidermis. Inflammation may originate at the base of the eyelashes, giving very few warning signs of potential infection to follow. The first indication of a problem may be the persistent sensation of dry eyes. You know, the gritty, painful feeling of having sand in the eye.

Maintaining the Eyes for Comfort and Health

Eyelid hygiene is a preventive measure against the dry eye, blepharitis, and unpleasant eye infections. But we don’t care for the eyes with soap and water the same way we do the face and body. Sometimes, more is necessary. One way to cleanse the eyes is to periodically apply a warm, moist cloth over them. Let this sit for a few minutes, and then gently, gently, rub the cloth across the eyelids. Cleansers formulated specifically for eyelid hygiene are also available. Patients may obtain Avenova eyelid cleanser over-the-counter in our Amarillo office.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about eyelid hygiene or to schedule a consultation at our office in Amarillo TX, please call 800-782-6393.

Eye Health is an Important Matter for Women | W. John Murrell, M.D. | Amarillo, TX

Eye Health is an Important Matter for Women

Eye Health is an Important Matter for Women | W. John Murrell, M.D. | Amarillo, TXWomen’s Health. When you hear this term, where does your mind go? Women are quite familiar with the medical exams they need throughout life to stay as healthy as possible. As women age, the care they obtain from their primary healthcare provider changes. As it does, there is the good reason for a woman to start thinking about her eyes, as well. Here’s why . . .

Research has indicated a prevalence of certain eye conditions among adult women. Some of the common diseases that need to be on the radar include:

  • Cataracts.
  • Glaucoma.
  • Vision disruption from refractive errors and other conditions.
  • Dry eye syndrome.
  • Age-related macular degeneration.
  • Vision loss.

Explaining Statistics

Why do statistics for eye disease lean toward the female side of the population? There are a few potential explanations. No singular theory is necessarily right; perhaps there are combined factors at play in many women. Aside from family history for eye disease and contributing factors to eye disease, women may also be more susceptible because hormone changes in the body affect their eyes. For example, reduction in sex hormones estrogen and testosterone can make a woman’s eyes persistently dry. Systemic inflammation associated with autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, also increases the risk of eye disease. Finally, research points out that women commonly live longer than men. A longer lifespan means more years in which eye disease, as well as general health conditions, may develop.

Taking a Stand

Women learn over time that they must take a stand for their health and wellness. To do so means to gain awareness about the conditions that may affect them. Fortunately, eye care does not require extensive research, nor complicated steps. Tips for healthy eyes through the ages include:

  • Avoiding tobacco. Smoking, in particular, directly affects the eyes due to the proximity of toxic chemicals.
  • Eating well, which means consuming fresh fruits and vegetables. The antioxidants and phytonutrients in fresh foods nourish the eyes for long-term health. Good dietary habits also decrease the risk of health conditions that have a secondary effect on the eyes.
  • Managing eye health on a daily basis by engaging in hygienic practices with cosmetics and contact lenses, if applicable.
  • Maintaining annual, comprehensive eye exams that include dilation.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about eye care or to schedule a consultation at our office in Amarillo TX, please call 800-782-6393.