#Glaucoma Awareness Month

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The American Academy of Ophthalmology has designated January as Glaucoma Awareness Month to raise awareness for the chronic eye condition commonly known as “the sneak thief of sight.” The leading cause of preventable blindness, Glaucoma is estimated to affect nearly three million people over the age of 40 in the United States; approximately 120,000 Americans are totally blind as a direct result of the disease. Current research has found no cure for Glaucoma, but if detected and treated early, symptoms can be improved or stabilized. For this reason, regular eye exams are vital in early detection of Glaucoma.

Glaucoma refers to a group of eye diseases caused by damage to the optic nerve, causing vision loss, and if left untreated, blindness. The role of the optic nerve is to carry images to the brain. The optic nerve is damaged when there is high eye pressure, called intraocular pressure. Vision loss begins in the peripheries, then spreads towards the center of your field of vision. In the most common form of Glaucoma, there are virtually no symptoms, and as much as 40 percent of your vision can be lost before it becomes noticeable.

Open Angle Glaucoma is the most common form, in which pressure builds up slowly behind the eye, gradually damaging the optic nerve. This causes slow, almost imperceptible vision loss, but if left untreated, can lead to total blindness. Alternatively, Acute Angle-Closure Glaucoma is caused by a sudden hindrance to the normal movement of the fluid between the eye lens and the iris. This may cause severe headaches, pain and blurred vision. Immediate treatment is required, otherwise there’s a possibility of complete loss of sight. Vision loss from Glaucoma is permanent, but medication or surgery can slow down or prevent further vision damage.

Glaucoma is more common in people of African American, Asian and Hispanic descent, as well as individuals over the age of 40. Siblings of people with Glaucoma have also been shown to have a significantly increased risk. Early detection is vital; the best preventative measure against Glaucoma is to have regular comprehensive eye exams. According to the World Health Organization, Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness worldwide. It is important to spread the word about the prominence of this disease, and remind people of the importance of getting regular eye exams to maintain overall eye health.

Give the Gift of Vision this Holiday Season

As a LASIK surgery center, we want to help as many patients as possible with their vision problems. You shouldn’t have to suffer through the holidays with vision-correcting contacts and glasses—consider IntraLase LASIK surgery instead.

More than 150 million people in the United States wear glasses to assist with their vision and another 36 million Americans wear contact lenses. More than $15 billion is spent on eyewear every year. The Atlanta Vision Institute is helping patients who need their vision corrected with the Gift of Vision promotion. It will allow you to be as festive as you want this year with 20/20 vision.

In the United States alone, more than 32 million people over the age of 40 suffer from myopia, or nearsightedness, which is the most common refractive problem in the eye. Patients who are nearsighted have eyes that don’t bend or refract light correctly, which causes close objects to look clear and distant objects to look blurry. Over 12 million Americans age 40 and older are afflicted with hyperopia, or farsightedness. Patients who are hyperopic can see far away objects clearly but can’t focus on things that are close to them.

Astigmatism is a prevalent refractive error that happens to one in three people in the United States. It is often seen combined with other vision problems like nearsightedness and farsightedness. Patients suffering from astigmatism have blurry vision because of an imperfectly rounded cornea.

LASIK surgery is capable of correcting and improving all of these common vision problems. During LASIK surgery, Dr. Ashraf uses a laser to remove corneal tissue and reshape the cornea in order to change how light is focused on the retina. Almost one million refractive surgeries are performed each year in the United States, and almost 96 percent of patients have the vision they want after their LASIK procedure. It is an extremely quick surgery with a very fast recovery time.

The Atlanta Vision Institute is running the Gift of Vision promotion for patients through the end of December. When you purchase IntraLase LASIK surgery for yourself, you will be able to give a free IntraLase LASIK surgery to someone else. This special encourages patients to help others who also have vision problems to achieve their ideal vision, without the need for contacts or glasses. In order to be eligible for the promotion, you must print and fill out the form on our website.

For more information on the Gift of Vision promotion or if you have any questions, please contact us.

Eye Health and #AmericanDiabetesMonth

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Professionals in the eye care industry—like those at the Atlanta Vision Institute—stay informed on the latest studies and findings in optical news. This can include research on the newest advances in technology or recent links between diseases and eye health.

One such disease that affects almost 30 million Americans is diabetes, which is a metabolic disease where the body is unable to manufacture enough insulin, resulting in elevated blood glucose levels. There are almost two million cases of diabetes diagnosed in Americans each year and it remains the 7th leading cause of death in the United States. Almost 90 million Americans are classified as prediabetic, which means that they are at an elevated risk of developing diabetes and heart disease due to higher than normal levels of glucose in the blood.

There are several common symptoms associated with diabetes. These can include:

  • Tingling, aching or lack of feeling in the hands and feet
  • Bruises and scratches that heal slowly
  • Feeling thirsty or hungry despite a regular intake of food and drink
  • Excessive tiredness
  • Blurry vision

High glucose levels in the blood are known to cause many eye problems in patients with diabetes. Diabetic retinopathy is a common term for all diabetic retina disorders. The two major types of disorders are nonproliferative retinopathy and proliferative retinopathy. The longer you have diabetes, the more likely you are to suffer from one of these disorders.

Patients suffering from diabetes are at a 40% higher risk of developing Glaucoma; this percentage increases with age. Cataracts are also extremely prevalent in diabetes patients, who often develop them at a younger age with a 60% higher risk than those without diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes is the primary cause of blindness in adults.

There are several additional complications that are proven to result from diabetes in patients. These include blindness, kidney failure, loss of limbs, stroke and heart disease. Almost a third of Americans suffering from diabetes remain undiagnosed and untreated.

Thankfully, the American Diabetes Association has officially declared November as American Diabetes Month with the hopes of raising awareness and understanding of all aspects of this disease. For more information on programs and initiatives, visit the American Diabetes Month website.

If you are diagnosed with diabetes, it is vital for you to visit your ophthalmologist for regular eye exams to avoid developing some of these eye problems. The Atlanta Vision Institute supports American Diabetes Month and encourages all of our patients to raise awareness and remain informed of the latest optical developments.

LASIK Surgery Helps Fall Allergy Sufferers

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Fall is a favorite season for many due to the cooler weather and changing leaves. But seasonal allergy sufferers often dread this time of year because of the allergens it brings with it. According to WebMD, almost a third of Americans have been afflicted with hay fever, which is usually triggered by a fall allergy to plant pollen like ragweed. Although ragweed affects the largest number of seasonal allergy sufferers in the fall, mold and dust mites can also trigger severe allergy reactions.

 

This year, meteorologists predict that the Southeast will have to endure an onslaught of allergies due to a warmer and wetter fall than normal. This climate often prolongs the allergy season with the continued growth of ragweed and mold.

 

Common symptoms seen in seasonal allergy sufferers are a runny nose, sneezing, coughing and irritated eyes. Patients with vision problems and seasonal allergies especially experience a dramatic increase in these symptoms.

 

Airborne allergens can severely aggravate the eyes at the best of times, but wearing contact lenses during the fall can worsen this irritation. Your contacts often act as a magnet for airborne allergens, causing your eyes to feel extremely itchy, dry and sometimes painful. Many sufferers feel as though they have no other choice than to switch to wearing their glasses to avoid eye irritation.

 

A solution to itchy, irritated eyes that seasonal allergy sufferers are beginning to turn to is LASIK surgery. While laser eye surgery and allergies might not initially appear related, many have found that it is the most effective and permanent solution for people who wear contacts or glasses and are suffering from allergies. While it won’t prevent you from experiencing seasonal allergies, LASIK surgery dramatically reduces and often eliminates the need for contacts or glasses.

 

It is important for you to disclose all allergy symptoms with Dr. Ashraf during your initial appointment. He will be able to determine the best solution for your allergy symptoms moving forward.

 

Here are a few temporary solutions for your comfort before you go in for your initial LASIK consultation:

  • Restrict the amount of time you spend outside during high pollen count days
  • Use eye drops or artificial tears to help your eyes feel less dry or irritated
  • If you find that your eyes are hurting or itching, apply a cool washcloth to your eyes for relief
  • Your home’s indoor air quality could be a significant contributor to your eye irritation due to dust mites—be sure that your filters and vents are cleaned properly

 

If you are one of the 40 million Americans that are prevented from enjoying fall due to seasonal allergies, contact us to schedule a consultation for LASIK or visit our website.

 

Photo Credit: © Elenathewise/Photoxpress

LASIK Clinic Concerns in the UK

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LASIK Surgery in Atlanta

A new article in the UK’s Daily Mail has some questioning the morality of LASIK clinics in the London area. At the Atlanta Vision Institute, we see this as an opportunity to address many of the concerns surrounding LASIK surgery and to reassure individuals that when they come to us, they are making the right decision.

The article focuses on optical franchises in the London, England area. It suggests that many of the LASIK clinics investigated actually charged drastically more for their procedures than advertised. One such clinic is Optical Express — a major chain of opticians that cover everything from a new prescription for your glasses to laser eye surgery. These clinics ranked poorest out of those investigated.

Chain clinics such as these often run the risk of poor quality, care and communication. Unfortunately, some clinics worry more about making a profit than ensuring their patients are comfortable and receiving the highest quality of care. We try our best to remain as open and honest as possible with our patients. We are always upfront and willing to discuss our pricing and only advertise genuine specials that will truly benefit you.

An issue found by researchers at multiple optical clinic chains was their inability to explain the risks that go along with a LASIK procedure. While it is a non-invasive surgery, LASIK is still a surgical procedure and should be treated as such.

When you come in for your initial consultation, you will meet with Dr. Ashraf and go over every aspect of the procedure. This includes everything you should know before your surgery, what the surgery entails and what you should be doing after your surgery. He doesn’t shy away from the benefits — or the risks — because it is vitally important that you understand all facets of the surgical procedure before you make your decision. We want you to be as informed as we are!

Unlike other clinics, we think it is important for you to meet with Dr. Ashraf during your initial consultation, as opposed to right before your surgery. This will allow you to feel more comfortable with the entire process and ensure that all of your concerns are addressed before the procedure.

We also encourage patients to do their own research before their initial consultation. This way, you already have an idea of the procedure and can ask questions about anything you’re unsure of. We have a page on our website dedicated to explaining the entire LASIK surgery process for your convenience.

If you’re still unsure of the Atlanta Vision Institute, go to ZocDoc.com to read reviews about Dr. Ashraf from his previous patients. If you have any additional questions or would like to book a consultation with Dr. Ashraf, please contact us.

 

Photo Credit: © .shock/Photoxpress