6 Quick Tips For Eye Safety

how to protect your eyes when playing sports

When you think of hard-hitting sports, you may think only of pads and gear or masks and mouth guards, but sports safety should also always include protecting your eyes. Each year, more than 40 percent of eye injuries reported occurred during sports play or other recreational activities. Ophthalmic injuries sustained during sports can have long-lasting and damaging repercussions.

Warmer weather and sunshine bring springtime sports. April is Sports Eye Safety Month, so we’re shining the spotlight on vision safety with 10 quick tips to keep your eyes safe during practice and play.

  1. Your normal eyeglasses just won’t cut it out on the court. Wear goggles or other protective eye gear. Looking a little bit silly is a small price to pay for safe and healthy eyes. Protective gear has the added benefit of keeping out things that may irritate your eyes and take you out of the game like dust, dirt or even bugs.
  2. Invest in sport-specific eyewear. If you need to wear eyeglasses during game time, purchase a pair that is specific to sports. These glasses have lightweight, flexible frames and shatterproof lenses made from poly-carbonate. Wear an eyeglass cord or pick a pair of frames that wrap around your head to prevent them slipping or falling off your face.
  3. Wear soft contact lenses and always have a backup. When playing sports, there’s always a possibility that you’ll be hit in the face with a fly ball or opponent’s elbow. Be prepared to lose a contact lens in the field and have a replacement lens or pair of eyeglasses on hand.
  4. Treat injuries immediately and see an ophthalmologist. Even if you think the injury you sustained was minor, a quick visit to the eye doctor is recommended to ensure the problem isn’t more serious. Procrastinating could lead to permanent eye injury or even blindness depending on the severity of your injury. If you are injured while playing sports, take the opportunity to discuss other safety options available to you.
  5.  Consider having LASIK. If you are over the age of 18, LASIK is an option regardless of whether you play professionally or recreationally. In addition to improving your vision overall, LASIK offers additional benefits. If you normally wear glasses or sports goggles, LASIK may increase your peripheral vision and boost hand-eye coordination. Wearing contact lenses may dry out your eyes, causing you to blink more frequently and miss some of the action. In this case, LASIK may help to reduce dry eye symptoms.
  6. Safety first. Whether you have already had LASIK surgery or plan to have it in the future, wearing protective eye gear after surgery is essential to protecting your corneas. Any hard or abrupt impact by another player or a ball can damage the cornea or cause the corneal flap (an essential part of LASIK) to become dislodged, which will damage your eyesight.


If you’ve had LASIK and are concerned about your eye safety when playing sports, please contact Dr. Ashraf for a consultation.

Photo credit: © Glenda Powers/Photoxpress

Show Us Your Ugliest Specs for a Chance to Win New Sunglasses


We want to see your ugliest eyeglasses! Submit a selfie snap of you in your specs or a photo of a loved one or friend wearing old, ugly or damaged frames on our Facebook page to be entered to win a new pair of sunglasses just in time for the sunny Atlanta summer.

To enter, visit our Facebook page. If you haven’t yet, please “like” our page! Click on the Ugly Eyeglasses contest tab below our cover photo. Snap a photo of you in your specs and submit it to us using that contest form*. For bonus points, share your photo on your personal Facebook, on Twitter or on Google+ with the hashtag #UglyGlasses. The deadline to enter is Tuesday, April 15, 2014 and the winner will be announced on our Facebook page as well as on our blog on April 22.

The more, the merrier! Spread the word about our ugly specs contest on social media and get your friends involved. We can’t wait to see your submissions!

*The fine print:

Contest begins on March 24, 2014 and ends on April 15, 2014. One entry allowed on Atlanta Vision Institute’s Facebook page per contestant, plus one additional entry on each of the following: personal Facebook, Twitter and Google+, for a total of four possible entries. To be considered an entry, Atlanta Vision Institute must be tagged in the post (@atlanta2020 on Twitter, Atlanta Vision Institute on Facebook and +AtlantaVisionInstitute on Google+) and the contest hashtag #UglyGlass must be used. Photos must depict a person wearing eyeglasses. Any photos received that do not show a person wearing eyeglass frames will be discarded and will not be considered an entry. 

The contest winner will be chosen randomly. The winner will be announced on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and the Atlanta Vision Institute blog. Contest prize is non-transferable and not redeemable for cash.

Employees of Atlanta Vision Institute and Atlanta Vision Clinic and their families are not eligible to enter. No purchase is necessary. Void where prohibited.

Atlanta Vision Institute may use winner’s name and submission photo for media promotion where necessary. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by or associated with Facebook. 

Give Your Hardworking Eyes a Break — It Is Workplace Eye Wellness Month

how to improve vision at work

March is Workplace Eye Wellness Month. Workplace eye safety is imperative in industries where injuries are more likely to occur such as construction and those that require the use of machinery, equipment or otherwise generate dust and debris that can damage eyes. Understanding eye health in the workplace is important for all jobs, however, especially for individuals who spend the majority of their daytime in front of a computer screen.

This month is a good time to review current safety guidelines and to implement wellness and safety protocol for eye health. If your work involves machinery, equipment or tools, make sure you’re provided with the right forms of eye protection. Make sure goggles or safety glasses are clean and not scratched which can cloud your vision. Use anti-dust or anti-fog sprays to prevent buildup, and replace damaged lenses or shields. Make sure eyewash stations are stocked and properly functioning, as well, and ensure staff is properly trained on how to use these stations.

Extended periods of time in front of a computer screen can strain your eyes, causing fatigue and eye pain. The catchall term for these eye problems is Computer Vision Syndrome (CVS) and it affects 60-90% of office workers. Children who frequently use computers or play video games are also susceptible and may experience CVS.

Computer-related eye problems are more likely to occur if you already have an eye problem like astigmatism but the good news is that it isn’t likely to cause long-term damage. You may experience blurry or double vision, dry eyes, red eyes, eye irritation as well as headaches and neck pain.

To reduce CVS, use proper lighting. Avoid excessively bright light and balance your ambient light using fewer or lower-intensity bulbs. If possible, avoid working under fluorescent lights. Minimize glare and upgrade your computer monitor to an LCD screen which is easier on the eyes. Try adjusting your screen display settings including temperature, font size and brightness.

Blink frequently and take breaks away from your computer screen to allow your eyes to focus on something else. Visually take stock of the room around you to keep your eyes in constant motion. This allows your eyes to focus on things at various depths. You can also focus on something else in the room for a few moments. Simple eye exercises, like rolling your eyes around in circular motions, are also beneficial. This lubricates your eyes and eases muscle strain.

These safety precautions and easy exercises will keep your eyes healthy and your workday productive.

Photo credit: © Dash/Photoxpress

Pink Eye Infection Keeps #BobCostas from Covering the Olympics on NBC

Bob Costas eye infection

Bob Costas, NBC’s primetime host for the Sochi Winter Olympics broadcast, began coverage on Thursday, February 6 wearing glasses instead of contact lenses because of a seemingly minor eye infection in his left eye. Over the weekend, however, the infection spread to his other eye, causing Costas to temporarily step down and hand over hosting duties to Matt Lauer, co-host of NBC’s Today show.

Viral conjunctivitis, also commonly called “pink eye” is an infection of the mucous membrane that line the eyelid and eye surface. The membrane becomes red and swollen. Symptoms include swollen and tender eyelids, red eyes, itching or burning sensation of the eyelids, tearing and drainage. There are several causes of conjunctivitis, including viral or bacterial infections.

Viral eye infections can be incredibly contagious, and there is no specific treatment or cure so preventing the spread of infection is important. It can easily spread to both eyes, and can be passed to others if they use towels that have touched infected eyes or touch surfaces that were touched by the infected person after he or she touched the infected eye.

While Costas initially believed the infection would clear up quickly, it has rapidly worsened and spread from his left eye to the right eye. This is common with adenoviral conjunctivitis. Typically conjunctivitis clears up on its own without medical intervention in 7 to 10 days. Some treatments are available to alleviate the symptoms like itching and burning, however.

To avoid spreading the infection, use precautions similar to avoid spreading other illnesses like the flu. Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching your eyes. Avoid touching common shared surfaces like doorknobs or computer keyboards. Don’t share towels, which can transmit the disease and avoid shaking hands.

Adenoviral conjunctivitis usually clears up without causing damage. In rare instances, corneal keratitis may result in permanent scarring, leading to a residual loss of vision.

If you experience symptoms of illness, infection and conjunctivitis, please see your ophthalmologist or eye care professional.

Photo credit: © Web MD

Dr. Ashraf Tests for Glaucoma and Urges Patients to Get Tested Annually

atlanta lasik

January is Glaucoma Awareness Month. This month, help the Atlanta Vision Institute spread awareness and education about glaucoma, the second leading cause of blindness worldwide.

Glaucoma is not a singular eye disease. It’s actually a group of diseases that damage the optic nerve, cause vision loss and, ultimately, blindness. While it is more prevalent in the middle-aged and elderly, glaucoma can affect anyone of any age.

There is currently no cure for glaucoma. Medication and surgery can slow vision loss and deter further damage. Regular, yearly eye examinations are incredibly important as early detection can stop the disease from progressing.

There are several types of glaucoma, all of which damage the optic nerve. The optic nerve is a complex network of millions of nerve fibers that transmit images to the brain. It cannot regenerate when damaged, which is why early treatment and prevention is so important.

Intraocular pressure is the fluid pressure inside the eye. It can vary with many other factors other than eye disease, such as heart rate, fluid intake, medication and alcohol or caffeine consumption. Some forms of glaucoma increase IOP, which places additional pressure on the optic nerve, ultimately damaging it. Some forms of glaucoma are secondary, meaning they are caused by or are a side-effect of another illness or disease (such as extended steroid use or ocular trauma). Some people experience optic nerve damage and vision loss without an increase in IOP.

Testing for glaucoma is simple. During a normal eye examination, your optometrist or ophthalmologist may administer a small puff of air in each eye to measure the pressure within your eyes. This is called tonometry. Those at risk of glaucoma may undergo other testing to measure the optic nerve, the complete field of vision and the thickness of the cornea. Many of these tests are common during a comprehensive annual eye examination. In fact, our office always includes a glaucoma test when examining potential LASIK patients.

In the US, glaucoma accounts for 9-12% of all cases of blindness. Worldwide, over 60 million people have glaucoma. Early detection and treatment is vital to preventing blindness. See clearly for a lifetime and schedule an eye exam today.

Photo credit: © lightpoet/Photoxpress