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My experience w/ "dry eyes" Please read!

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  • My experience w/ "dry eyes" Please read!

    Reading through these forums I feel obligated to share my story. Mind you, I am not cured. I still have persistent problems and consider myself on the road to recovery, but at least at this point I feel as though I am recovering rather than purely suffering with my condition.
    Around seven years ago my eyes became extremely red overnight. I tried the usual get the red out drops but nothing worked. I went to an ophthalmologist and was diagnosed with dry eyes. I was prescribed the usual artificial tears. I was also told to change my habits and take fish oil, but I knew something else was up. After weeks of following directions my eyes just kept getting worse. I went back to the ophthalmologist, this time more desperate, only to be prescribed prednisolone corticosteroid drops to see if they would clear things up. It helped temporarily but the redness was persistent. After seeing numerous doctors and searching for other opinions with no avail I gave up, accepted the fact I had red irritated eyes, maybe for life, and somehow kept plugging away and immersed myself in school and distractions for years.
    During this time I was extremely depressed, I hated going out in public, and I dealt with constant paranoia about my eyes that seriously affected my life. I used steroid drops every once in awhile, but for the most part stayed away from them under doctor’s orders, and since they weren’t going to cure me I figured what’s the point?
    I started seeing naturopaths and doctors again after I graduated, as the problem hadn’t gotten any better. I told all of them, “my eyes feel inflamed”, and that I knew there was something going on beyond just dry eye, but somehow none of these specialists could help me. Well, everything changed very shortly after this.
    I woke up in the middle of the night with a pain in my eyes like I had never felt. It was like a screwdriver was poking at me from the back of my head. I looked in the mirror and my eyes were DARK red. I went to the nearest eye doctor right away. They took one look at me and said, “You have Scleritis”. How had I never heard of this I thought? To this day I still can’t answer that question and I am still bitter and upset that so many eye doctors did not see this very obvious problem.
    Scleritis is inflammation of the Sclera; basically your eyes are inflamed from the inside out, just as I had told my doctors. Courses of Ibuprofen, prednisone, and prednisolone drops eventually made my inflammation dissipate and made life more bearable.
    More than three years later I still haven’t had any flares as bad as my big episode, but I can’t help but think, if somebody had caught it sooner maybe my eyes wouldn’t be as bad as they are today. I knew exactly what was going on, I just couldn’t put a name to it and did not know how to treat it.
    Prednisone and prednisolone drops are heavy corticosteroids and are nasty toxic immunosuppressant’s. With long-term use they will cause cataracts and glaucoma, among many other possible complications. I hope to never take systemic prednisone again and am getting by on just the drops. For now, they’ve helped to make my life livable again.
    I strongly encourage anybody who is experiencing chronic dry eye to ask their doctors if there is inflammation present in their Sclera, Episclera, Uvea, Iris etc.. Apparently all too often these days, even though autoimmune disorders are becoming more and more prevalent, these chronic diseases go undiagnosed or are misdiagnosed as dry eye. It’s a good idea to have blood work done because any presentation of inflammation of this kind can indicate serious underlying disease, but half of the cases don’t and are idiopathic like mine.
    The most useful tool for me is Ibuprofen. If your eyes are inflamed you may be able to self diagnose if you see improvement even with mild use of ibuprofen. Just guard your stomach, possibly with an antacid, and be sure that when you take NSAID’s to consume food and lots of water so they don’t cause an ulcer. I have also found that hot compresses of black tea are very helpful, as well as the use of antihistamines when needed as many “dry eye” cases could really be attributed to severe allergies, even if nothing shows up on a scratch test.
    Today, between the use of NSAID’s, natural remedies, compresses, antihistamines when needed, and corticosteroid drops only when absolutely necessary, my life is now livable again. The dark cloud of paranoia and constant mental and physical pain has been lifted. Even though my life has been severely affected in a negative way, and I’m not completely cured, I am thankful I have tools to help make my condition manageable. I must have contacted more than five previous ophthalmologists to let them all know that they misdiagnosed me for years. I hope they never make that same mistake again. Chronic inflammation in itself can cause loss of vision and cataracts.
    Many doctors seem to get stuck in their ways and refuse to consider other possibilities or think outside the box. Since dry eyes are so common, I think many ophthalmologists unfortunately assume that all red eyes are just dry eyes, and as is proven by my case, that is certainly not the fact. I encourage anyone with chronic dry or red eyes to have blood-work done and to consider the possibility of underlying inflammation as the cause. I hope that by sharing my experience with this chronic condition others can catch it earlier than I did and save themselves years of depression and/or loss of vision. I still have my vision, and now I have my sanity back and a great deal of peace of mind with it as well. Hope this helps!

  • #2
    trooper,

    Thank you for posting this.

    I am really happy for you that you have finally found your answer.

    Many doctors seem to get stuck in their ways and refuse to consider other possibilities or think outside the box. Since dry eyes are so common, I think many ophthalmologists unfortunately assume that all red eyes are just dry eyes, and as is proven by my case, that is certainly not the fact. I encourage anyone with chronic dry or red eyes to have blood-work done and to consider the possibility of underlying inflammation as the cause.
    Yes. Ditto.

    Scout

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