Dry Eye: Causes, Symptoms & Treatments

DRYEYE_WEBWe Coloradans love to boast about our weather; 300 plus days of sunshine and a pleasant dry climate. However, these conditions can also wreak havoc on our eyes.

Dry eye is one of the leading conditions ophthalmologists treat in Colorado. Among other risk factors, our arid climate, intense sun, high altitude and metro smog contribute to the high percentage of Coloradans who suffer from dry eye. 

As we age, the risk of dry eye increases due to decreased tear production. By age 65, we produce 60 percent less lubricating tears than we do at age18. Blocked glands in the eye, known as Meibomian glands, can reduce the ability of the eye to produce natural lipids (oils) needed for healthy tear film. Women are more vulnerable than men because of their associated hormonal changes. Common medications, such as diuretics, hormone replacement therapy, some antidepressants, blood pressure medications, antihistamines, and various other medications may also contribute to the condition. Those with diabetes, arthritis, connective tissue and autoimmune diseases, skin conditions (ex. Rosacea), herpes zoster, and having received radiation therapy may all put you at increased risk for dry eye as well. The list goes on. Having LASIK, not getting enough Omega3 fatty acids, or working in front of a computer also increases your risk for dry eye. 

Given the above, it is likely that you or someone you know has dry eye syndrome whether they know it or not. Symptoms can range from simple eye fatigue, blurred vision, scratchiness, stinging, burning, redness, mucus production and even tearing. 

Dry eye syndrome is extremely common. Fortunately a routine visit to your eye doctor can determine whether you are suffering from dry eye. Simple treatments may include over the counter and/or prescription medications or even diet modification. He or she can also help determine if an in-office procedure such as punctual occlusion or LipiFlow should be considered. LipiFlow is a relatively new treatment option, which is specifically designed to treat blocked Meibomian glands in the eye with excellent results.

There is no need to suffer unnecessarily from dry eye syndrome. Exploring different treatment options will have you back out in the Colorado sunshine in no time!

Jennifer Grin, MD is a board certified ophthalmologist at Parker Adventist Hospital. 

Restaurant Review: Johnny’s Asian Bistro

REST_REVIEW_JOHNNYS_WEBParker has many locally owned restaurants that offer a wide variety of cuisine. Over the years I have had the privilege of visiting most of them. Weather it is taking a client to lunch or having a family dinner out, there are many choices.

One of my oldest clients in Parker frequently asks to meet at Johnny’s Asian Bistro. The location is convenient, right off of Parker Road, and easy for both of us to get to. Recently, we met for lunch at Johnny’s and I decided to share our experience with you.

One of my favorite things about locally owned restaurants is the personalized attention. I always enjoy being greeted by the owner and Johnny’s is no exception. With big smiles and warm greetings my client and I were shown to our table to start our meeting and enjoy lunch.

We always start off with an appetizer of Crab Cheese Wontons made fresh. These are a guilty pleasure that we enjoy and are some of the best I’ve ever had. We placed our order for lunch and began talking business. It was not long before our lunch arrived.

I rarely go outside of my “normal” box and when my Mongolian Beef arrived I was glad I didn’t. Perfect portion size and fresh ingredients made it as tasty as always. Although, the Noodle Bowl my client ordered looked amazing and I think I may have to try it next time.

Johnny’s Asian Bistro is truly one of Parker’s best kept secrets. With a quaint size dining room, very friendly staff and amazing food you won’t be disappointed. Not only are they open for lunch and dinner, but they also deliver. So grab a friend or your family and head over to Johnny’s Asian Bistro for your next meal out.

Johnny’s Asian Bistro
10471 South Parker Rd. #3C | 
Parker, CO 80134 | 303-841-8877
Monday – Saturday: 11am – 9pm (Closed Sunday)

Recycling: How Can We Do it Better?

RECYCLE_WEBby Christine Losciale-Thoemmes 

You know that saying, “You don’t know what you don’t know?” Well, that’s kind of what this article is about, only in regards to recycling. I sometimes find myself unsure if I am recycling certain items correctly. I also have people asking me, “Is this recyclable?”, or “How do I recycle this?” And the truth is, sometimes I am just not sure. So, what I decided to do was to ask these questions to two of our local trash/recycling companies, “Haulaway” and “Waste Management”. I explained my dilemma, and I told them that I believed that if we knew the mistakes we were making many of us would certainly make an effort to correct them. They were more than happy to oblige, and answered all of my recycling questions. I even got to take a tour of Waste Management’s recycling facility in Denver. Now I get to share everything I learned with you so that we can all be better “recyclers” together.

First of all I have to say, touring the recycling plant was an incredible experience. I knew there were machines, but what I didn’t know was how much work is still done by hand- helping to sort through and pull out unwanted items. Of these unwanted items the one that seemed to rank high on the list was PLASTIC BAGS. People recycle their newspapers without removing the plastic bags they got delivered in, and place their recyclables in plastic bags, and some people just think plastic bags can be recycled this way. After all plastic bags can be recycled, right? Yes, but not through your residential recycling pick up. Plastic bags must be taken to a local grocery or retail stores where plastic bag recycling is offered. When plastic bags do get mixed in with your other recyclables they can cause big problems for the recycling/sorting machines. It turns out these plastic bags can get caught around the spinning shafts causing damage to the machines. If you keep your recyclable trash in a plastic bag, just empty the items out into your residential recycling can for pick up.

Another common item residents try to recycle through home pick up is SHREDDED PAPER. This too is not to be recycled through your residential pick up. Again, you might ask, “Why, isn’t paper recyclable?” Yes it is! However, much like the plastic bags the shredded paper causes damage to their machines, it clogs the machine’s wheels of operations. Shredded paper CAN be recycled through other companies like: Iron Mountain and Shred it.

Here is a list of a few other items that come into the facility that cannot be recycled there:

• Extensions cords (not recyclable and get caught in the machines)

• Garden hoses

• Christmas lights/ light bulbs

• Medical waste/syringes

• Styrofoam

• Batteries and electronics.

Check with your town government to find out when the next chemical round up or electronic recycling even will be.

And finally, things we can do to be more helpful: Take the caps off of plastic and glass bottles/jugs/jars etc. This not only helps to flatten the plastic items, but sometimes the caps are made from different material then the rest of the item. This also helps to ensure the item will be empty as well. To be helpful at the curbside: Be sure your trash cans are clearly labeled as a recycling cans, especially if it’s one you purchased yourself; put some space between the regular (landfill) trash and the recyclable trash- on separate sides of the driveway if possible. In the end, “If we all do a little it will mean a lot”. For more helpful ideas go to one of Waste Management’s sites: www.ThinkGreenFromHome.com

(The information provided is specific to Waste Management’s recycling facility and program. Please check with your trash provider for more details).

For more information on “Going Green With Mrs. Christine, email Christine Losciale-Thoemmes at GoingGreenwithMissChristine@comcast.net.

Declutter for a Cause

ELECTRONICS_RECYCLE_WEBWith springtime come those freakish spring snowstorms, bulbs peeking through the semi-frozen ground and the inevitable task of Spring Cleaning. Most of us have that one drawer with the old phones, cords and other electronics that are outdated and just taking up space. This year, you can clear out all that electronic clutter in one clean sweep!

Say goodbye to all the old electronics that are collecting dust in your junk drawer! On Saturday, April 26th the Douglas Elbert REALTOR® Association (DERA) along with Rocky Mountain E-Waste is hosting an Electronics Drop Off from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm at two locations. Bring your unwanted items to one of the following locations:

The DERA, located at 840 Kinner Street in Castle Rock


Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, located at 18801 E. Mainstreet in Parker.

Not only can you safely recycle your dead and unwanted electronics, but EVERTHING you recycle will help to support the Wounded Warriors Impacting Neighbors. The WWIN is a non-profit organization that helps injured, post 9/11 veterans of the U.S. Military transition to civilian life in four key areas; maintaining dignity, strengthening their family, educating the community and businesses and finding sustainable and meaningful purpose in their personal and professional lives.

Most items are free to recycle; however there is a $5 charge to destroy data on hard drives. If you are planning on getting rid of TV’s and/or monitors; the cost is as follows: $10 for TVs and monitors up to 19”), $20 for 20”-32”, $30 for 33”-40” and $40 for over 40”.

If you have large appliances you’d like to recycle, please contact DERA at 303-688-0941 for more information.

Spring Eggstravaganza! Hop into Spring with a Twist!

springeggV22_website-headerJoin the Wildlife Experience as they celebrate the coming of springtime with their annual Spring Eggstravaganza Event on Saturday, April 19th beginning at 9:00 am.

Held every year the Saturday before Easter, the Spring Eggstravaganza ushers in the season with “eggciting” activities and surprises that are tied into the important themes of conservation, rejuvenation and rebirth.

There will be a variety of workshops, games, crafts and activities for guests of all ages.  Find out some great tips for composting, gardening and water conservation for your home garden, because “planting time” will be here before you know it.

See live animal demonstrations by Perry Conway from Aerie Nature Series, Inc. from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm; don’t miss your chance to see the Golden Eagle, alligator, Gila Monsters and snakes (safely) up close and personal!

Mix 100 radio will be live onsite from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and of course, the celebration wouldn’t be complete without a chance to get your picture taken with the star of the weekend – the Easter Bunny!

The Spring Eggstravagazna is free for Wildlife Experience Members and the cost for non-members is included in the price of admission.  Be sure to join them for all the fun and festivities on Saturday, April 19th from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

For more information on this and other events visit www.thewildlifeexperience.org

Wildlife Experience, 10035 Peoria Street, Parker, CO 80134

The Wildlife Experience is conveniently located about ten miles south of downtown Denver and one mile east of I-25, at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Peoria Street.

Arbor Day Celebration: April 26, 2014

ARBORDAY_WEBThe Town of Parker invites you to help plant 60 trees of various species including: elms, bur oak, white fir, pear and a few evergreen trees. No need to sign-up, just bring your own gloves and shovels and the Town will provide breakfast refreshments!

Arbor Day is a fun educational event for the whole family and is an important piece to keeping Parker named as a “Tree City USA.” The Tree City USA® program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the USDA Forest Service and the National Association of State Foresters. Parker has been named as a Tree City USA for 19 years!  In order to keep this title the Town must keep a commitment to enhancing the public’s awareness for trees within the community through events and educational opportunities such as the annual Arbor Day celebration. The Town must also spend at least two dollars per resident on tree care such as planting and pruning.

After the tree planting, be sure to stop by the Arborist table and meet the Town’s Park and Forestry team. They can help answer questions about tree planting, pruning and tree selection. Learn how to take care of your trees and make them last!

Please remember that the Town will not be providing shovels or gloves at Arbor Day. Tree planting, refreshments and give-a-ways will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Parking is limited; parking in near-by lots is advised. For questions regarding Parker’s celebration, please call 303.841.0353 or communications@parkeronline.org.

The Unlikely Candidates with Viretta: Friday, April 25, 2014 7:30 pm @ PACE Center

UNLIKELYCANDIDATES_WEBAll proceeds benefit Parker’s Creative District at Old Town of Parker 

On the heels of their appearance at SXSW, The Unlikely Candidates bring a refined indie sensibility to the raw energy of rock music. The band’s first offering Follow My Feet, is an intensely infectious single that’s already won them major airplay on alternative radio.

Kyle Morris and Cole Male forged a musical partnership in the most improbable of places and soon they found themselves in a collaboration rooted in their mutual love of gritty garage rock and the guitar-fueled pop of British Invasion bands. Now, ten years later, Morris and Male serve as lead vocalist and guitarist for The Unlikely Candidates, a Fort Worth-based five-piece band that brings a refined indie sensibility to the raw energy of rock music. Rounded out by guitarist Brenton Carney, bassist Jared Hornbeek, and drummer Kevin Goddard, The Unlikely Candidates have infused that formula into songs that reveal both their frenetic spirit and breezy sophistication in crafting lyrics and melody. The band has enjoyed major airplay with its sky-high melodies, driving rhythms, lush guitar lines, and lyrics that gracefully twist hope into despair.

“With our music we’re paying homage to a lineage of rock-and-roll that’s larger than life, and at the same time pushing new sounds and lyrics that have a few different layers of meaning going on.“

The Unlikely Candidates took to the road, and after a tour including stops at legendary venues such as L.A.s Troubadour and Viper Room, landed at SXSW in 2013.  The band’s energetic live show, a key element of The Unlikely Candidates experience, caught the attention of Atlantic Records and led to their signing.

Opening for The Unlikely Candidates is Viretta, a four piece alternative rock band from Parker. With twin brothers Michael and Robert Moroni on guitars and vocals, drummer Michael Bokenkamp, bassist Caden Marchese, and with influences like Queens of the Stone Age, Nirvana, Radiohead, and Circa Survive, Viretta is growing more and more in Denver’s music scene.

Parker’s Creative District at Old Town Parker is proud to present The Unlikely Candidates and Viretta at the PACE Center in Parker, Colorado.

Tickets are available online at www.PaceCenterOnline.org

Bookends: The Last Runaway

BOOKENDS_RUNAWAY_WEBIn 1850 Honor Bright travels to America with her sister, Grace. The journey is difficult and Grace dies before she reaches her fiance, Adam Cox in Faithwell, Ohio. With no other option Honor continues to Adam’s home that he currently shares with his brother’s widow, Abigail. Honor is not expected, but the Quaker family moves Honor into the house but not into their hearts. Honor’s only friend is Belle, a milliner from a town she spent some time in before reaching Faithwell. Honor misses her former home in England but tries to embrace all the differences in America. She is lonely and struggles to find her place in this harsh landscape that is so different from England. Yet, these emotions are nothing compared to her desire to help runaway slaves that travel through Faithwell. Honor is torn between what the law and her new family expect of her, and what her heart desires. 

BECKY: This book was a quick read for me at only 252 pages. The length was not something that I considered when it was recommended at a book store. In hindsight I would have questioned how a book with a difficult topic like slavery could have been completed in a story with this many pages. Did you find the length to be adequate?

PAM:  Actually, I did feel that the story wrapped up quite quickly and I felt that I was still looking for more at the end.  On the flipside, I had a bit of trouble getting caught up in the story at the very beginning.  Did you find this, Becky? Or were you captured by the story from the beginning?

BECKY: I wouldn’t say that I was captured by the story but the writing had an easy flow so I easily started turning the pages. The beginning of the book talks in detail about quilting and Honor is an expert with the needle. As the story progressed, I expected to see something about messages in the quilts that would inform runaway slaves that were traveling the Underground Railroad. However, this topic was never approached and I think the author missed a great opportunity to include this in the story. With the amount of discussion throughout the story regarding the art of quilting were you also surprised that this wasn’t part of the story?

PAM:  Becky, that is a great question! The author does describe Honor’s quilting ability and the connections this art created between family, friends, and community members.  Messages in the quilts would have been a great detail and an opportunity for the subject of quilting to be more deeply imbedded in the story.  I love quilting and enjoyed the descriptions of color and pattern used in the quilts, as well as the differences in English versus American quilts that Honor discovered.  Honor’s sewing ability moved her to a higher status among the women in the community, as they frequently came together to quilt on projects for members of the community. However, did you feel that this actually created animosity between some of the women and Honor?

BECKY: Her talent and English quilting style did cause some conflict for her in the community which surprised me. I don’t quilt but if I did,  a new style or the opportunity to learn from an expert would have drawn me towards a friendship with Honor. However, that did not happen in this story and Honor was never embraced by the locals. There was someone that had great interest in her and that was Donovan, the local slave hunter. The attraction between these two characters was the most interesting part of the story to me. What is your opinion of this antagonist?

PAM: It was an interesting twist to the story that this man, certainly a villain, found himself attracted to Honor.  Although, her first meeting with Donovan included him stopping the man that was giving her a ride to her new home to search for a runaway slave, Honor found herself drawn to Donovan.  She found herself thinking of him and asking for his assistance, although she opposed his occupation and beliefs.  There were many interesting twists about Donovan, his horrible trade, and his connection to Honor.  Although his character was not as developed as I would have liked, he did create much interest, disgust, as well as sympathy in this story.  I won’t go into detail so I don’t ruin the end of the story, but were you surprised with Donovan’s ultimate decision at the end?

BECKY: I was a little surprised and enjoyed the author’s choice with the ending. As you mentioned any further discussion would give too much information so let’s change direction. During this tale we are given a glimpse of the runaway slaves’ perspective. Do you feel like this story paints an accurate picture of their situation?

PAM: I think it paints an abbreviated accurate picture.  The author does not delve too deeply into this area of the story.  Therefore, I felt that I got a glimpse of the runaway slaves’ situation, just not an entire picture.  Would you recommend this book, Becky?

BECKY: It would not be on my top ten list but it was an enjoyable story and has great reviews. The writing was fluid and the characters had some interesting qualities so I would recommend it for a light read. If you are looking to sink your teeth into a deep story or want to learn more about that time in history, then this is not the book for you. What do you have planned for our pick next month?

PAM: Next month we will be discussing Sandra Dallas’ newest book, Fallen Women.

Local Author Spotlight: Stories Gathered at the Kitchen Table, A Collection of Women’s Memoirs

LOCAL_AUTHOR0_414_WEB“Raw and unfiltered, meaningful writing from the heart.” 

Bold women share stories that influenced their confidence to become business women, leaders, mothers, healers, politicians, artists, pilots and trendsetters. In the safe haven of Kitchen Table Writing, creators from the 1950s to Columbine write life stories that resonate with women across generations.

Read stories by Former Colorado State Representative Alice Borodkin, Kitchen Table Writing Founder Anne Randolph, Cover Designer Megan E. Evans, Esther Acosta, Cynthia Aschenbrenner, Taryn Browne, Valerie Brinkworth, Jean Caggiano, Katherine Carol, Noel Congdon, Peggy Dillon-Jackson, Shirley Ann Dormish, Carolyn Fineran, Melody Barnes Jones, Krista Hanley, Ruth Krebs, Marie Picasso, Jennifer Ross, Terri Ann Van Landschoot, Susan Weinstock, and Susan Morrison Williams.

Has anyone said that you should write your life story? Everyone has a story to tell. The courageous women in this collection have done just that. Once a week, these women, for more than a year, some more than four, have written, shared, laughed, cried, and created a community of respect, appreciation, and support. They gather at Kitchen Table Writing to “Write Your Life Story” and have changed their world and themselves.

Stories Gathered at the Kitchen Table is available online at Amazon.com.

Recurrent Ear Infections? Ear Tubes May be the Answer

EAR_INFECTIONS_WEBThere are few things more frustrating for a parent than to be up all night with a fussy, uncomfortable child with an ear infection. Ear infections are very common during childhood and nearly 40 percent of children will experience three or more infections by age three.

An ear infection occurs due to a collection of fluid behind the ear drum that allows harmful bacteria to grow. That fluid is normally drained by the body’s own drainage tube called the Eustachian tube. After an ear infection, it is normal to retain some non-infected fluid behind the ear drum that may linger for a short period of time.  As long as the fluid drains normally between infections, the child may only require antibiotics as a treatment.

If the fluid doesn’t drain normally between infections, surgical ear tube placement may be the best treatment option. This procedure has become a popular way to treat recurrent ear infections in children and is one of the most common surgeries performed in the United States. Prior to a child undergoing a surgical treatment for recurrent ear infections, he or she should have clear cut indications based on recommendations from the American Academy of Otolaryngology (AAO). The AAO recently released updated guidelines for this procedure. Although every case is different, these guidelines provide a scientifically based approach for deciding if a child should undergo ear tube placement.

In addition to the lack of proper drainage, it is also important to assess the effect that the infections and fluid may have on speech and hearing. Children with speech or hearing problems are often candidates for tube placement earlier on as this surgical treatment option may improve their development in these areas.

If your child suffers from recurrent ear infections, it is important to determine if they have persistent fluid behind their ear drum between infections. It is also important to confirm if they have normal speech development and normal hearing.  If you have concerns regarding your child’s recurrent ear infections, it may be time to consult an ENT specialist who is familiar with the most recent guidelines for ear tube placement.

James Jaskunas, MD is a board certified otolaryngologist (ENT) who specializes in pediatric ENT cases. He is with Colorado ENT Specialists at Parker Adventist Hospital, 9399 Crown Crest Blvd. , Suite 401, Parker, CO 80138. Office Phone: 720-274-2544