Why Are My Eyes Red?

  • Written by Dr. K. W. Scarbrough, OD
Having red eyes is always a little alarming — for you and for anyone looking at you. Often red eyes are not contagious but are simply caused by inflammation or irritation. Some red eyes are very painful and some are not. We often use pain to gauge how severe a problem is, but with eyes pain is not always a good indicator.

Many people think of "pink eye" as a common contagious infection requiring antibiotics. Actually bacterial infections are rare, especially in adults. Children get them more readily because of hand-to-eye transfer of germs. Bacterial infections often follow a cold or respiratory tract infection because of the drain connecting the eye to the nose. They also create copious amounts of pus; the eyes are often glued shut in the morning.

Viruses cause nasty looking red eyes which are highly contagious. There is no pus but there is usually a flood of tears and some pain. Often one eye is infected first for a few days then the other. The second eye is less red and painful due to the immunity the body develops to the virus. A viral eye infection lasts seven to ten days. Waiting it out and using artificial tears is often the only treatment for a viral eye infection. Viruses are not helped with antibiotics. Steroids can make the eye more comfortable but these often prolong the infection. Some doctors use betadine eye washes if the infection is caught early enough. If infected, do not share towels, pillows, or washcloths with anyone in the family. Get plenty of rest. Do not go to work or school until you are fully well.

Allergies are a primary cause of red eyes, particularly during the spring and summer months. Allergy eyes are typically glassy, swollen, and very itchy. Simply rinsing the eyes out helps a substantial number of people manage their symptoms; cold compresses can also be used to numb the eyes and reduce swelling. Over-the-counter eye drops are available which can be very helpful. Taking oral antihistamines dries the eyes out and so may actually be counterproductive.

A broken blood vessel can create an alarmingly red eye without pain or loss of vision. This is a bruise on the white of the eye. The eye is sealed around the colored iris so no blood will enter the eye. Often no cause is found but heavy lifting, sneezing, constipation, or taking blood thinners such as aspirin, Motrin or flaxseed oil can be the culprit. Stop all such activities, after 24 hours use warm compresses to carry the blood away, and stop all blood thinners your doctor has not prescribed. The bruise usually resolves after a week or so but a little stain may remain.

Another cause of red eyes is dryness, typical of extended computer use, menopause, over-wear of contact lenses, and dry air. Treatment is geared toward moistening the eye. Artificial tears, silicone plugs, and eye drops all work well but there is no cure. Contact lens wear may become challenging.

Lid hygiene — washing the eyelashes with special soap — can make a big difference. There are some bacteria which live around the eye that can cause an overall red, cranky, gravelly eye. Middle aged persons with ruddy skin, fair hair, and light eyes are especially vulnerable. These bacteria are reasonably contained by lid washes and eating well, lubricating drops, and sometimes antibiotic ointments. Extreme cases may get significant relief with chronic low-dose oral antibiotics.

Eye injuries can cause a red eye without your knowledge. Sometimes the offending object is too embedded to be felt, or is tucked under the eyelid, or was transferred from the hand to the eye. Eyes that are injured can heal over but the internal parts of the eye become inflamed. This leads to vague nausea, light sensitivity, and a sense of fullness in the eye. Dilation and steroids are required to give the body a jumpstart toward healing.

In general with a red eye, using artificial tears is a good place to start. Any loss of vision must be explored immediately. If an eye is consistently red, painful, or light sensitive, see your eye doctor for a full checkup.


Dr. Scarbrough is the owner of Eagle Eye Vision Care PS in Woodinville.

Sun and Sunscreen

  • Written by Alex Kraft, ND, L.Ac
We’ve all seen it at least once or twice. That mysterious yellow glowing orb in the sky. We are so seemingly sun deprived that a daytime temperature of 65 can prompt wearing shorts and a tee shirt. And if the weather report says tomorrow is going to be 70 degrees? Yay, summer! Although few days have required sunscreen or even sunglasses so far around here, it’s time to get back in the habit of preventing both the immediate discomfort of sunburn as well as the long term consequences of excessive sun exposure. Read more ...

Nurturing Pathways stimulates brain growth, healthy development

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Parent-child creative dance and movement classes stimulate brain growth and healthy development

Dorothy Bridges bubbles with enthusiasm when she talks about the Nurturing Pathways Program and the upcoming class she plans to teach this summer.The Woodinville woman, a longtime educator, who currently teaches first grader at College Place Elementary in Edmonds, first learned about the program when she took a workshop at an early childhood education conference in Bellevue a few years ago. The session was taught by Christine Roberts, a Seattleite, who founded Nurturing Pathways in 2001. Roberts combined her passion for dance with the fields of brain development and early childhood. After a career teaching dance and performing professionally, she turned her attention to the formative years, infancy through school age, which constitute a key time for learning. The program she created is derived from scientific research on the brain-body connection and emphasizes the positive impacts of movement on a child’s development and school readiness.

"Young children need to move to learn and play and grow," explains Bridges. "We can improve learning by moving the body more and the earlier this starts, the better off we’ll be."

Bridges notes that movement is a catalyst for organizing early cognitive, emotional and physical development. As a child begins to get a sense of his/her body in space, he/she develops an internal system of balance, along with the all-important tactile, touch and sensory system.These are considered basic building blocks of learning, which help to establish kinesthesia, or a sense of body and movement," adds Bridges. "This leads to the formation of other building blocks, including motor patterns, motor planning and finally, body image."

Read more ...

Have you ever heard of Craniosacral Therapy?

  • Written by Health Moves
It’s a form of bodywork that is gaining in popularity. Why is that?

Craniosacral Therapy popularity is growing because it’s gentle, effective, and becoming more widely available. The word craniosacral refers to the skull (cranium) and tail bone (sacrum). Whereas the craniosacral system encompasses the entire connective tissue network of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, and fluid contained within the connective tissue. The craniosacral system has a pulse of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The spinal fluid is actually created and reabsorbed every few seconds. This ebb and flow of fluid creates a tangible pulse that a trained craniosacral therapist can just as easily as the common pulse of a heartbeat.

Craniosacral Therapy (CST) is a technique developed by Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.). These CST treatments have been practiced for several hundred years and in the last few decades the techniques have been shared with other health care professionals. CST is practiced professionally by naturopathic doctors, osteopathic doctors, medical doctors, acupuncturists, massage therapists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, chiropractors and other trained practitioners.

The goal of CST is to create balance and alignment of the body which is achieved by assisting the tissue to release areas of tightness or restriction. The philosophy of CST is opposite of many forms of bodywork which is to use force to overcome tension. Often the force, during CST, is introduced to the direction of ease, this works with the body instead of against it. CST is similar to chiropractic care when the bones are used as levers to move soft tissue and ligaments, however CST is much gentler than an audible chiropractic adjustment. In fact the manual pressure during CST is equal to approximately 5 grams or the weight of a nickel.

During CST the patient is typically fully clothed and lying down on a treatment table with treatments generally lasting 30-60 minutes. The practitioner will assess the craniosacral pulse and diagnose restrictions in the bones, soft tissue, muscles, organs and nervous system. Light pressure is applied to adjust the areas of restriction. Each adjustment may take several minutes. Patients typically find CST to be quite relaxing and often fall asleep during the treatment. You may notice that you feel very relaxed. It’s even common to feel a bit "spacey," like your "brain finished a yoga class," or notice that joints are popping as they set back into place. Once a CST treatment is completed the body continues to integrate and rebalance the tissue for several days. A typical series may consist of 4-6 treatments that are a week or two apart. Patients often notice immediate improvements that occasionally continue for several days.

CST can be used to treat many common health problems: headaches, migraines, sinus problems, TMJ dysfunction, digestive disorders, acute pain, chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, to name a few. Patients often find that CST offers relief from frustrating health problems without drugs or unwanted side effects. Best of all, when practiced by a licensed health care professional it may be covered by medical insurance.

Naturopathic Physicians frequently practice CST because it aligns with many of our principles. CST is gentle and provides a framework for the first rule in medicine "Do No Harm," allowing us to "Treat The Whole Person." When Dr. John Bastyr was asked what his most important tool as a physician was, he offered "My hands."

There are several skilled Naturopathic Physicians practicing Craniosacral Therapy in Woodinville.

Health Moves PLLC in Woodinville, WA. He can be reached at 425.402.9999

Why every person should meditate

  • Written by Kimberly Palm, C.M.I.
Do you ever have a moment when you wish you could take a vacation or break? Of course you do, probably every day. The crazy world we live in is filled with constant stress. We have cell phones, so people can reach us no matter where we go. We have stressful jobs in order to make ends meet. Some of us are stressed from not having a job. There are computers, Internet, electronic devices of all varieties, constant noise, distractions, catastrophic events, distractions of all kinds, and too many other stresses to list. What if I told you that there is a way to get a break or vacation every day and it will not cost you a dime? Wouldn’t you owe it to your stressful life to find out what that is? Well, I am going to share that little secret with you. The secret is meditation.

At this point you are saying, "Meta what?" Meditation is a vacation for your mind. The basic meaning of meditation is the quieting of your mind and body, while focusing or concentrating on something. The goals of meditation are simply personal transformation, self improvement, healing, spiritual growth and increasing present moment awareness. Some of the things you can focus on during meditation include: sound, an object, visualization, the breath, movement, a word, a Bible verse, and etc. These are just the goals of meditation, however the benefits are incredible. There are over 108 different types of meditation. Hundreds of studies have been conducted by scientists, doctors, leading medical schools, and universities into the effects of meditation on the brain and body. The results of all the studies are astounding. The Internet has thousands of these studies posted, the results of all of them are always positive. Unlike drugs and surgery, meditation has no side effects or bad results, only good ones. You only have to do it a few minutes a day in order to benefit. There are more benefits than we can list in a newspaper article, but I will touch on the most important ones.

The biggest benefit of meditation is stress relief and relaxation. When you meditate daily, you sleep better. I personally fall asleep much faster since I started meditating. Meditation improves focus and concentration, which can benefit you in both on the job and at school. Studies have shown that meditation greatly improves ADD and ADHD symptoms for children and adults who meditate. Meditation lowers blood pressure, which most of us need help with. It strengthens the immune system. Studies show that people who meditate regularly get sick much less and recover quicker from illness. Meditation can help your body to heal from all sorts of illnesses, injuries and diseases. Meditation improves the blood flow to your brain and is helpful both for preventing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as helping people who already have these diseases. Meditation can help you solve problems, get new ideas, and be more creative. I get the best ideas and solutions to problems when I am meditating. Tons of studies show that meditation is helpful for anxiety, panic disorder, mild depression and even anger issues. Meditation helps these things by helping the meditator to manage their feelings and emotions and to remain calm.

Mindfulness Meditation programs are currently being used in two federal penitentiaries that have the highest rate of murders and violence. So far, the results have been excellent. The Mindfulness Meditation has decreased the murder rate by 30 percent or more and the violence has decreased dramatically.

My personal experience with meditation is that I no longer suffer from panic attacks and anxiety. I used to have to take medication and thanks to doing Mindfulness Meditation, I no longer need to. I began meditating seven years ago, because my doctor recommended it for my anxiety, since the anxiety drugs gave me terrible side effects and did not work. I have been freed of the disorder ever since and decided to help other people have the same positive results in their lives.

People who are overweight because of emotional eating benefit greatly from meditation because of its ability to help you manage your emotions. In combination with other weight-loss programs it can give you twice the benefit.

Meditation helps relieve chronic pain due to arthritis and other disorders as well as from injuries. It does this, by reducing the perception of the pain, promoting relaxation of the parts of the body that contain the pain and helping to manage the negative emotions associated with pain.

One of the best benefits of all is improvement of all your relationships. Just think about it! If you are calm and able to manage your emotions, aren’t your relationships going to improve as well? Stressful things are always going to happen to everyone, but meditation helps us all to deal better with the stress, so it cannot harm our bodies or mess up our lives.

Studies show that 80 percent of health problems are caused by your emotions. There are tons of books on the market written by famous doctors and self help gurus that speak about the effects of stress and emotions on your body.

So what are you waiting for? Go out and sign up for a meditation class, or read a book, or look it up on the Internet. If you do, you will transform your mind, body and life. You will also experience the daily vacation you were waiting for.

For more information about meditation and how you can start practicing it, please contact Kimberly Palm, C.M.I. at Body & Mind Healing, LLC (206)484-0312.