DEAR DR. GOTT: I’m a 56-year-old female. For the past 11/2 years or so, I have had red streaks in the whites of my eyes. About six months ago, I went to an eye doctor who said the streaks were just “normal aging.” My vision is fine, but no matter how much rest I get, they’ve continued to worsen. My eyes always look as if I’m sick or have been on a bender.
I’ve searched the Internet and can’t find anything that fits this problem. Can you tell me what I have and how to cure it?
DEAR READER: Red eyes occur when small vessels on the surface of the eye become congested and engorged with blood. The condition is commonly related to an oxygen insufficiency. A vitamin B deficiency, specifically B2 and B6, eye strain, sun exposure, overuse of contact lenses, cosmetics, fatigue, improper diet, blood thinners and allergies are a few of the more common causes.
I would feel better if you were to have an ophthalmologist rule out conjunctivitis (pinkeye), uveitis, corneal ulcers, herpes simplex and other medical conditions so you can be assured there is no underlying reason for the streaks.
If you have been unsuccessful in treating your condition, modify your diet to avoid margarine and saturated fats, table and refined salt, hard cheeses and chlorinated water. Add spinach, olive oil, water and fresh fruits, such as blueberries, blackberries and cherries. Use over-the-counter eyedrops for relief. Apply cool or warm compresses several times a day when possible throughout the day and, if appropriate, temporarily discontinue using makeup. Perhaps the dietary and external modifications will improve things.
DEAR DR. GOTT: I would like information concerning molluscum contagiosum.
My 8-year-old daughter started with a spot on her wrist. Her pediatrician told me that it would go away on its own. However, it has been more than a year and it hasn’t disappeared yet. There are also other spots that have shown up on various locations of her body. Now my 10-year-old son has developed it, with patches on his legs. I’ve debated taking both children to a dermatologist because I learned it could be a painful process to take that route. I’ve also heard I could use a silver cream. Have you heard of success with this treatment?
DEAR READER: Molloscum contagiosum is a viral infection of the skin that can affect people of any age; however, it is more prevalent in children. It presents with flesh- to pearl-colored lesions anywhere on the body (except for the palms of the hands and soles of the feet) and can last up to a year in people with a normal immune system. Unfortunately, the systems of children are not completely developed, thus making them more susceptible than adults.
It is common for people in the same family to touch toys and towels, answer the telephone, and turn doorknobs to spread this contagious disorder through direct contact. Hand washing and cleanliness are vital.
Diagnosis is commonly made through visual contact. Should questions arise, scrapings can always be accomplished for examination under a microscope.
In many instances, treatment isn’t necessary. When recommended or preferred, the most common methods include cryotherapy, laser and curettage – all very dramatic for a child to undergo. There are topical creams a pediatrician might recommend, such as podophyllotoxin or trichloroacetic acid or the silver you refer to, that should be more to your liking.