How to pick lenses with the protection you need

By: Kirk Smick, OD, FFAO 

In 2013, Atlanta’s beautiful summer weather exposed our eyes to 116 days of “very high” to “extreme” levels of UV, making our city the 20th highest UV city in America. A full day outside without protection from the UV radiation can cause immediate, temporary issues such as swollen or red eyes and hypersensitivity to light, telltale signs of sunburn of the eyes. And years of cumulative exposure can cause cancer of the eye or eyelid and accelerate cataracts, which affect nearly 22 million Americans ages 40 and older. Best Health

Despite those dangers, many Americans don’t realize the harmful effects of UV light to your eyes. In fact, a recent report by The Vision Council found that only 22 percent of Atlanta adults report wearing sunglasses whey they go outside, leaving eyes at risk for the long and short-term damage of UV-related vision disorders. Also, only 47 percent of Atlantans know that UV can accelerate age-related macular degeneration and even fewer (35 percent) know it can lead to cataracts.

The best option is to start wearing sunglasses that can protect your vision health during the course of your lifetime. When buying your next pair of shades, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

See past the tint – Darker lenses aren’t necessarily better. Tint and color of sunglasses lenses has no bearing on the level of UV protection. Even clear glasses with UV treatments provide excellent protection from the sun.

Ask your doctor – Take your sunglasses to your eye doctors’s office and check if your shades provide ample UV protection measured by a special UV meter.

Look for a label – Before purchasing a pair of sunglasses, see if they have a label, sticker or tag indicating UVA/UVB protection, There are sunglasses to fit everyone’s lifestyle, and they don’t have to be expensive.

Be mindful of where to buy – Purchase from a credible source and steer clear of street vendors, online auction sites, and secondhand stores that may acquire glasses illegally, make false claims about UV protection or sell products that are not UV-protectant.




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Assistant Program Director of the AJC Decatur Book Festival, Googie Daniels is here to give you her best advice about to pick a great book this summer.

Googie Daniels


Q: What are the top three best books released this year?

A: Emily Giffin’s “The One & Only,” Nicholas Butler’s “Shotgun Lovesongs,” and John Waters’ “Carsick.” Giffin does a remarkable job of examining the complexities of people’s personal decisions. Butler’s novel is about four men in a small town and one woman who’s meant something special to each of them. “Carsick” is actually 1/3 memoir and 2/3 fiction (and 100 percent hysterical).

Q: Which lesser-known authors should people get to know?

A: Michael Pitre, who served in the Marines, has his first novel out called “Fives and Twenty Fives” about two Marines deployed in Iraq. Thrity Umringar has been published for years but doesn’t get the attention she deserves. Her latest book is “The Story Hour.”

Q: What titles will teens enjoy?

A: “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by Sherman Alexie. Also, every teenage girl should read “We Were Liars” by E. Lockhart.

Q: How do you pick a great book? 

A: I almost always ask for assistance from employees of a bookstore. They are super helpful, especially at independent bookstores like Little Shop of Stories, because they don’t just know the titles – they know the meat of the book.

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Jef Blocker from Bound to Be Read Books is here to give you his best advice on how to pick a great read this summer.

Jef Blocker


Q: What genre do you recommend people explore? 

A: Some of the best writing today happens in graphic novels – they’re not just about superheroes anymore. Start with “Maus” by Art Spiegelman, “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi, “Blankets” by Craig Thompson or “Stitches” by David Small.

Q: What are your favorite books released this year? 

A: “The Martian” by Andy Weir, about an astronaut who survives after being stranded on Mars and “The Shining Girls” by Lauren Beukes, featuring a time-traveling serial killer in Chicago.

Q: Which lesser-known authors should people get to know?

A: Get to know some of Atlanta’s own writers: David Fulmer (mystery), Jessica Handler (memoir), Laurel Snyder (children) and Kate Sweeney (nonfiction).

Q: What titles will teens enjoy?

A: “What They Always Tell Us,” by Martin Wilson, “The Forest of Hands and Teeth” by Carrie Ryan and “Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging” by Louise Rennison.

Q: What format do you prefer to read?

A: I prefer physical books because they provide a tactile, sensory experience that allows a reader to escape one’s life, and they don’t interrupt you with Facebook updates or new e-mail notifications.

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The scoop on whats new around Atlanta

True-Blue Beauty 

blue mercury

The nationwide beauty store Bluemercury recently opened its first Atlanta location and includes a full-service spa and make-up stations throughout. It carries more than 90 brands, allowing you to achieve a personalized look and skincare regimen. Plus. this luxury beauty boutique offers holiday events, in-store beauty experts and an extensive product database that includes their own paraben-free skincare line, M-61.

Details: Buckhead Market Place, 37 West Paces Ferry NW, Atlanta, GA, 

Clean and Green 

daily greens

Do you eat six pounds of produce every day? (Don’t worry, we don’t either.) But that’s exactly how many fruits and vegetables are packed in each bottle of organic Daily Greens juices. The product uses a cold pressing technique, which allows each bottle to contain the equivalent of nine servings of fruits and veggies. The found of Daily Greens, Shauna Martin, is a breast cancer survivor, so a portion of proceeds go to breast cancer support organizations. Pick up your bottle at a local Whole Foods Market.


6th Annual Blue Ties Luncheon Benefits ProstAware 

Blue Ties

All year long, Atlanta’s nonprofit group ProstAware works to educate and support Atlanta amen about prostate cancer through avenues like music, technology and sports. During September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, the organization holds one of their key annual events: the Blue Ties Luncheon. The sixth annual Blue Ties Luncheon will take place on September 12 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. This year’s luncheon speaker is Derrick Hall, prostate cancer survivor and president of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. Tickets are $100 and can be purchased online.

Details: The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, 3434 Peachtree Road, Atlanta, GA,

Dazzle at the Diva Run

diva half marathon

Running has never looked so good. The Divas Half Marathon and 5K race series comes to Peachtree City on September 6 with boas, tiaras and bejewled medals in tow. Whether you’re walking or running, roses and champagne await you at the finish line. If you register now, you can order a personalized divalicious running bib! Be sure to stop by the free Health and Fitness Boutique during the two days before the event.

Details: 202 Fieldhouse Drive, PEachtree City, GA,

Pedal, then Pamper 

Torq cycle atl

Opening this month in West Midtown, Torq Cycle ATL gives you a way to break a sweat and relax a little. Teh studio offers cycling classes from a quick 35 minutes to a full hour, all of which include arm exercises for a full-body workout. Afterward, pamper a little with chilled eucalyptus towels, individual showers and natural Malin + Goetz bath and skin products. And maybe the most luxurious part? The attached parking garage is free to use, and so is your first class.

Details: 935 Marietta Street NW, Atlanta, GA, 

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Dr. Jyoti Sharma from Piedmont Heart answers a reader’s question about “broken heart syndrome.”

Dr. Jyoti Sharma

Q: Is “broken heart syndrome” a real condition?

A: Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, also known as broken heart syndrome, is more common than most people realize. People with this syndrome see their doctor for chest pain, believing they might be having a heart attack. the pain, however, is not caused by clogged arteries. It is the result of sever emotional or psychological stress. Symptoms can also include shortness of breath, weakness and an irregular heartbeat. Things like the death of a loved one, a breakup, an upsetting medical diagnosis, financial difficulty, a car accident, major surgery or an asthma attack can be potential triggers.

Do you have questions for our doctors? If so, please email them to 

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Chef Tandy Wilson

Chef Tandy Wilson

Who needs to travel when new flavors and dishes can come right to you? At Gunshow, former “Top Chef” contestant Kevin Gillespie has invited lauded chefs from across the South to join his Atlanta kitchen as “Hired Guns.” On August 12 and 13, Chef Tandy Wilson from Nashville’s City House will cook alongside Gillespie, adding new dishes to Gunshow’s already creative menu. Chef Jeremiah Bacon from Charleston’s The Macintosh and Oak Steakhouse will contribute his dishes on September 30 and October 1. In addition to tasting their food, diners can meet the visiting chefs and receive signed copies of their cookbooks. To attend, make reservations at Gunshow as usual.

Details: 924 Garrett Street, Atlanta, GA, (404) 380-1886, 

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Brian Croxall from Emory University is here to give you his best advice on how to hit the books! Brian Croxall

Q: What genre do you recommend people explore?

A: Poetry. But rather than just one poem from one author and one from another as we read so often in school, I suggest that people read an entire book of poems by one author. I’d recommend one “Thrall” by U.S. Poet Laureate and Emory faculty member Natasha Trethewey.

Q: What are your favorite books released this year?

A: One of my favorites is Thomas Pynchon’s “Bleeding Edge,” a tale of the dot-com bust and 9/11.

Q: What titles will teens enjoy?

A: As a young teenager, I was obsessed with Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain and Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. Both are classic fantasy tales, but with less wizards than personal growth. China Mieville’s “Railsea” is a more recent novel that should grab teens. I also recommend Scott Westerfeld and Philip Reeve for those interested in smart young adult fiction.

Q: What is your favorite book? 

A: Mark Z. Danielewski’s “House of Leaves.” It is about a house that is larger on the inside than out, and it is the scariest novel I’ve ever read.

Q: How can someone pick a winner in the bookstore? 

A: Ask a bookstore employee! They really do know what they’re talking about!


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Jessica Shops Pick of the Month 

Summer Camping 

family camping


Spend some quality time discovering the great outdoors this summer at one of Georgia’s beautiful state parks. Enjoy hiking, boating, picnicking, camping, fishing, golfing and so much more. It’s one of the best kept lodging secrets with rates starting as low as $80 per night. Plus, save 50 percent off regular rates at the following campsites through August 28, 2014: Florence Marina, General Coffee, Gordonia-Alatamaha, Kolomoki Mounds, Magnolia Springs, Reed Bingham, Stephen C. Foster and Seminole.

To redeem the deal, use promo code SUMMER50% when making your reservations. 

For more info on Jessica, visit


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Cassie Young

The Bert Show’s Cassie Young

As July comes to an end, I invite you to think about how many times you’ve had a negative thought about your body pop into your mind this summer. If you’re like many Americans, whose minds and eyes are saturated by messages of physical perfection, you may have had more negative thoughts than you can count. Even if you think of yourself as someone with a healthy body image, you may still have had a little twinge of anxiety about putting on a bathing suit and baring it all to your fellow beach goers.

Well this summer, local radio personality Cassie Young, the social media director of Q100’s The Bert Show, wants you to stop worrying. Even more than that, she wants you to consciously start changing those negative thoughts into positive ones by posting a photo of yourself in a bathing suit on social media with the hashtag #SuitYourself. This social media campaign began last year, and Cassie’s continuing its positive message through this summer. I spoke with her recently about the initiative, and her passion was clear. “We’re our own harshest critics, and we see ourselves through a really critical lens. You feel like you have to live up to those Photoshop ideals,” she says. Instead of stressing about it, she says, “The point is to be happy with who you are and what you have.” To do that, everyone is encouraged to post their unfiltered #SuitYourself images along with a statement of something you love about yourself.

Cassie Young #SuitYourself 1

Cassie suiting herself with acceptance and happiness this summer

Self-love and self-acceptance weren’t always easy for her, Cassie admits as she recalls a memory from fifth grade. “I remember putting on a pair of jeans at the Gap, and they were size 5 – I think they were a kids’ size. I was so happy, and I remember going into class the next day and talking about that. Then the really pretty, really popular, gorgeous girl in my class goes, ‘Ugh, you’re a size five? I am a zero.’ That’s when I went on the scale, and I swore I would never get above a hundred pounds. I started counting calories, and then I would hate myself if I ate something like a chili cheeseburger – if I lived a normal life, I would feel awful about myself.”

Her story sounds familiar to many of us, but through #SuitYourself, we can start to refocus our attention on acceptance and positivity toward food and toward our own bodies. Cassie reminds us, “Just straight up who you are is perfect. Everyone is different, and that’s what makes humanity so interesting.” And with that truth in mind, she encourages everyone to join this social media campaign and start embracing themselves just as they are.

What are you waiting for? Post your #SuitYourself images on our Facebook wall, or tweet them to @BestSelfAtlanta, @TheBertShow or @CassandraYoung!

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With more than 30 years of styling under her belt, Teri Claiborne, from Claiborne’s Salon and Spa, knows a thing or two about summer hair survival. Here, she dishes on five sure-fire ways to hydrate, protect and fortify your tresses through the most sizzling summer months.

Teri Claiborne

Give it a Break: Your hair undergoes enough heat as it is during the summer months. Commit to giving your hair a few days off from blow-drying and heat styling each week. Instead, try some of the season’s casual braids, buns and ponytails. Just be sure to opt for hair accessories that gently hold the hair, like a thicker, cloth elastic versus a rubber band.Summer Hair

Oil Up: Natural oils, like coconut, avocado and macadamia nut oil, don’t contain silicone like a lot of conditioners, so they absorb into each hair strand instead of sitting on the surface. To fortify dry tresses, once a week, mix a teaspoon of one of these oils with your conditioner and leave on for five minutes before rinsing. Integrating foods with fatty acids in them, like fish, nuts and seeds, into your diet will work the same magic on your hair from the inside as well.

Put a Cap on it: A physical barrier between your hair and the sun’s rays is better than any SPF on the market. Maintain your hair’s moisture, color and overall health by wearing a hat, preferably one with a rim that goes all the way around.

Keep it Trim: Feel like your hair is growing faster than ever? It’s not just in your head. More of your hairs are in the growing stage during late spring and summer than in the dead of winter. To keep split ends at bay and to keep your style fresh, increase the frequency of your haircuts to once every four weeks.summer hair

Make Friends with Moisture: Give your hair added hydration by switching to a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner for the summer. For fine hair, just make sure that you choose a product that isn’t too heavy, as it can weigh down your hair. Also, consider alternating a moisturizing conditioner with your regular conditioner if it’s still too heavy.

DetailsClaiborne’s Salon and Spa, 1420 Terrell Mill Rd SE, Marietta, GA,

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