June 2, 2016 | Tonya Hooks, of Little Rock, had never experienced any sort of trouble with her eye sight, so when she noticed spots that were not going away, she was concerned.

Diagnosed with lupus in 2013, she was warned by her doctor that some of the long-term effects of the chronic, autoimmune disease could impact her eye sight. The appearance of spots in her vision, commonly referred to as floaters, reiterated to Hooks the importance of seeking care.

She was referred to Sami Uwaydat, M.D., an ophthalmologist at the Harvey & Bernice Jones Eye Institute at UAMS. Little did she know, she would be the first patient to experience a new retinal imaging machine recently obtained by JEI — the ultra-wide field fundus camera machine called California, made by Optos.

The machine provides a 200-degree, high-resolution digital image of the retina, compared with other machines that only provide a 50-degree image of the retina. The image captures more than 80 percent of the retina. To get the same results as the California, doctors had to move the previous camera to get corresponding pictures and then merge the images into a montage.

Sami Uwaydat UAMS

Sami Uwaydat, M.D., an ophthalmologist at UAMS, with California, an ultra-wide field fundus camera machine from Optos.

“It was a difficult, elaborate process that required a lot of patient cooperation,” said Uwaydat. “This machine, with a click of a button, can get a 200-degree picture.”

With the help of the Optos machine, Uwaydat was able to confirm that Hooks’ symptoms were associated with multiple evanescent white dot syndrome, or MEWDS, which is an uncommon eye condition usually seen in  women.

“In the condition she had, most of the white dots on the retina are outside of the 50-degree image,” said Uwaydat. “Our older cameras don’t catch them easily, but the California does.”

In addition to white dot syndromes, the Optos machine will help JEI doctors in treating a wide variety of conditions, including uveitis, diabetic retinopathy and age-related macular degeneration.

Hooks, who works in the Arkansas attorney general’s office, said she was more than pleased with the care she received from Uwaydat and his staff.

“It is efforts like this that show how far UAMS has come and that it is on the cutting edge in health care,” said Hooks. “UAMS is one of the beacons in our state that makes us proud to be Arkansans.”