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Ow, My Eye

February 17, 2011

Warning: If thinking about eyes grosses you out, you should skip this post.  We’ll get back to Chloe-stuff soon.

Back in July I was officially diagnosed with dry eye syndrome.  It is especially bad in my right eye. 

Throughout the summer and fall it was annoying, but not insurmountable.  Just as the new year began however, my dry eye decided to “kick it up a notch,” as it were.  It has been an incredibly painful, frustrating and humbling experience.

Painful because, well, duh, my eyes hurt!  I wake up in the morning feeling like I fell asleep in old-school-do-NOT-sleep-in-these contacts.  Like my eye is a tongue and my eyelid a frozen lamppost.  You get the jist.  Bright lights hurt.  Being inside my hot dry office hurts.  Staying up late hurts.

Frustrating because I never really know when a super-bad eye day will occur.  In addition to the pain my vision is affected.  By the end of the day my right eye is very blurry.  Which means that I can’t do some of the things I love.  Like blogging. Or reading.  Or cross stitch. 

Humbling.  One thing the eye doctor told me is that I have a lot of makeup debris in my eye, which can cause further irritation.  He suggested that I stop wearing it.  Um, what?  I’m not a Tammy Faye kind of girl, but I do wear make up every day.  In fact, several friends have commented on how nicely I apply eye makeup and have even asked me for tips!  (Here’s the tip: Go to the MAC counter.  Ask them to do your eyes.  Copy exactly.)  So for about a month now I’ve been wearing no makeup.  And let’s not forget that my right eye is bloodshot and sometimes the lid swells up.  Humbling indeed my friends.  Middle age sure is a kick in the pants.

I’ve tried lots of  treatments: every OTC eye-moisture drop / gel / ointment on the market; prescription steriod drops; punctal plugs (ouch); sleep masks; hot compresses; fish oil capsules.  I started Restasis a couple of weeks ago and I’m seeing limited improvement.  The efficacy of Restasis is supposed to increase over time, so I remain hopeful.  I wash my face with Johnson’s No More Tears (so it won’t irritate my eyes).    I found cream-based makeup that doesn’t seem to irritate my eye (praise God!).  I take more naps.  I schedule less stuff at night.  I try to limit “screen-time” (another reason for my blogging slackerdom).  I have artificial tears stashed everywhere!  It’s been rather consuming.

I had lunch the other day with a friend who also turns 40 this year.  Turns out she had Bell’s palsy recently.  It’s like our bodies hit 39 and decided to give us a sneak peak at middle age.  Fun times!

There are good things to come out of this.  For starters I’m probably more compassionate.   And I’m very grateful for the good days.  More superficially, I’m finally washing my face each night before bed.  It’s been a semi-recurring New Year’s resolution of mine as I have a bad habit of falling asleep wearing makeup.  Nothing like pain to motivate you!  

I know God promises that all things work together for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28).  I’m trusting that there is good to come of this as well.  In the meantime I’m going to praise Him for the gift of sight, the ability to get modern medical help and the luxury of being able to nap.

10 Comments leave one →
  1. debby permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:13 pm

    Oh my goodness, Juice. Nothing hurts as bad as an eye.

    I can relate only a little. I’ve had that thing where my eyelid stuck to my eye and then ‘tore’ the surface of my eye when I woke up. I thought it was because Sophie stuck her tail in my eye while I was sleeping. But the eye doctor said it was the previous reason. He never said I had dry eye syndrome.

    I used to be quite the make-up queen. And yes, I did love to do my eyes. Then, ahem, now that I think about it, it was probably in my early forties, makeup started to bother me. Like give me headaches. And my eyes would hurt so bad I just wanted to close them. I tried so many different kinds of makeup. And finally decided to ‘accept’ the face that God gave me. Except for cream blush, lipstick, and almay mascara. And I probably only wear the mascara 2 days a week now.

    Well, more than you wanted to know about my eye history. Be thankful that you are a very beautiful woman. And get comfortable with that ‘no makeup’ look. Hey, it saves a LOT of time and a LOT of money! (I wanted to put LOL but resisted)

  2. Duffylou permalink
    February 17, 2011 10:20 pm

    I empathize completely! Did your opthamologist discuss tear duct plugs with you? I’m not sure of their official medical name.

    I have the same exact problem you described. Exactly. Two years ago my opthamologist put plugs in my tear ducts. It only takes a minute, is relatively painless and solves most of the problem.

    I’ve had two pairs since then and next week I am getting my next pair. They fall out by themselves. One pair lasted 9 months the other over a year. I still use artificial tears occasionally, but not like I used to.

    I use my eyes a lot. Painting, drawing and I’m on the computer half the day. These plugs have saved me from rubbing my eyes raw.

  3. Juice permalink*
    February 17, 2011 10:39 pm

    Duffylou – I tried the plugs and they actually caused more pain. My eye must be shaped weirdly because everytime I looked left my right eye hurt like nobody’s business! Glad they work for you though. What a genius solution.

  4. Juice permalink*
    February 17, 2011 10:40 pm

    Oops – ingenious solution…

  5. Duffylou permalink
    February 18, 2011 1:41 am

    They do come in sizes. The first time I got them, they were two big and hit my eye. He put in small ones in instead and I couldn’t feel them.

    I’m sorry they didn’t work for you. They were just the answer for me.

  6. February 18, 2011 10:46 am

    Ugh!! What a nightmare!! I scratched my cornea a few weeks ago and was a total baby for the 3 days it took to heal. I can’t imagine dealing with painful eye issues all the time. I hope the Restasis continues to work for you. 🙂

  7. Zoe's Mom permalink
    February 18, 2011 11:20 am

    Oh, Juice! This is just terrible! I cannot even imagine your pain and suffering! A big hug to you.

  8. Brooklyn_Friend permalink
    February 18, 2011 5:42 pm

    Owww Juice – I’m sorry to hear about this! 😦

    I too have noticed my eyes becoming drier as I’ve uh, gotten older. 😡

    Btw, how is that Johnson’s baby shampoo working out as a face wash? Personally, I’m a fan of Cetaphil. 🙂

  9. Julie permalink
    February 19, 2011 12:34 pm

    Wow, that sounds really bad… and I work in this field so I have heard it all.

    Nothing seems to have worked for you 😦

    Everything I could think of has been mentionned in your post so just keep on the Restasis ( don’t know how well it works as it’s only been available in Canada for a short time).
    I do believe in plugs to a certain extent, they should never hurt so maybe you had the wrong size in.
    Best of luck and keep washing off that makeup before bed 😉

  10. Juice permalink*
    February 20, 2011 3:36 pm

    Thanks for all the support. Duffylou I’m going to check and see about smaller plugs… Brooklyn, the Johnson’s actually is working great. Another friend also mentoned the Cetaphil wash, so I’ll have to try that. I actually switched to Cetaphil for my facial moisturizer and so far that seems to be going well.

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