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I have come across a new, well not really new, but a reoccurring eye condition that is totally preventable. Visineitis, is that escalating irritated, red, sometimes itchy eye that results from using Visine or other “artificial tears” that either contain an agent that constricts blood vessels or high amounts of inexpensive preservatives. Recently, I saw a patient who had one very unhappy eye and the other look just fine. His comment was, “I do not understand why my left eye is so red, it is the one I keep putting the drops in?” This is an otherwise intelligent patient do what he thinks is correct, putting a drop in that is marketed as get the red out and all it does is put the red in!
This year’s allergy season has been worse than most and I have treated plenty of patients for red itchy eyes with the appropriate prescription eye drops. Artificial tears are a great first line of defense for irritated eyes. These drops can dilute or flush away irritating allergens and make the eyes look and feel better. Unfortunately, when you get to the drug store there are too many choices that all look the same. It is reasonable, when products all appear the same to pick the least expensive. Well they are not all the same. I could go down the list of preservatives or ingredients to avoid, but those names are long and the print too small to be useful to you. Instead the following products do a great job and are safe for your eyes. Blink® Tears, ReFresh® Tears, Optive® Tears and Gen Teal® Tears are all products I have experience with and do not contain any of the “Bad” stuff. They also come in preservative free preparations. If your eyes continue to be itchy see your eye doctor and get a prescription for an effective treatment.
I just finished reading an amazing book, The Last Season by Eric Blehm. It is the story of a backcountry ranger in the Sierra Nevada mountains, specifically in Kings Canyon. It is an adventure/survival book in the vein of Into Thin Air by Jon Krakaur, filled with the same type of excitement and suspense. Knowing nothing about backcountry rangers I was impressed with the skill and fitness that is essential in this thankless job. Furthermore, this is a story about the elite, the Michael Jordan of this unique profession.
Just as interesting, is how became aware of this great read. I have a friend Paul Huddle who is top trainer of endurance athletes (www.multisport.com) and a co-host of a radio program called The Competitors. A few months back he posted on his Facebook how he had just interviewed a local author Eric Blehm (www.ericblehm.com) who has written a new book The Only Thing Worth Dying For. While the Facebook post peaked my interest, it got lost in the shuffle of a wife, 3 kids, 2 dogs and a guinea pig.
As I mentioned, Paul also co-hosts a radio show with Bob Babbit. This show features their unique humor in interviewing top endurance sport athletes. I save the podcasts of these shows, and I have found them nice to listen to on trips. They have interviewed everyone from Lance Armstrong to Chrissie Wellington and they make the interviews very interesting. For all you cyclists, their interview of Chris Carmichael is worth a listen
On my most recent trip I listened to the interview with Cardiff resident, Eric Blehm and was fascinated with both his personal story, the background for the book The Last Season, and his “adventures” in writing The Only Thing Worth Dying For. These books were no longer on the back burner and I was able to download The Last Season onto my Kindle during a layover. Technology can be so cool.
As I sit back and think about it; it is amazing how the technology of Facebook, podcasts, and a Kindle, turned me on to an amazing book about the back country when none of that exists. I guess it is important to know when to go fast and when to go slow.