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Don't put n e thing in your eyes

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  • Don't put n e thing in your eyes

    Hey everybody,

    I became "dependent" on eye drops when I was 18 and a senior in highschool. I'm now 23 and finishing up my final semester of college. My senior year of HS was the best year of my life, then everyday life became a constant struggle a few years later. In the winter of my senior year I smoked weed with my friends on occasion and like a lot of people, my eyes would get really red, plus I'm pretty sure I had dry eye to begin with. So to avoid suspicion from parents and whatnot, I got me some eye drops. My eyes rebounded pretty bad so I began putting them in some mornings. After school got out I didn't use em much. My freshman year of college I was smoking pot alot and began to use them every morning and then later in the afternoon. I had no idea the damage I was doing. That summer I worked golf course maintenance. I developed bad allergies and my uncle who's an optometrist recommended Naphcon-A. They burned going in but they made my eyes super white and relieved the itch. I'd wake up at 5am for work with terribly bloodshot eyes. This is when I knew this stuff can't be too good for your eyes. But without them I was afraid my boss would fire me for being high or something. Not to mention I've alwayssss been very self-conscious.
    My second year of college, the pot smoking continued and so did the eye drop use. To be honest, I would have put them in regardless of if I smoked. I lost a girl I was falling in love with because of my dependence to them and her thinking I was messed up. I HATED people asking me if I was stoned or tired. I couldn't look people in the eyes. In the fall I started doing research. I started taking Bilberry and flax seed oil. At this point I had been using eye drops everyday multiple times a day for about 1 year. I stopped using them everyday. I talked to my optometrist (waste of time). I actually thought that if I stopped using em' my eyes would return to normal. The redness lessened but my eyes were still very red. This is when I got worried. I got a pair of glasses to hide behind. I still wear glasses although my vision isn't too bad. They help my social anxiety that developed because of the redness. This problem killed my GPA. I skipped a lot of class because of my eyes being ridiculously red on bad days. I became really depressed but managed to get my way through school.
    I would shed the glasses and put in eye drops on the weekends. I would actually have fun for a change. I had some dead end relationships that were torn apart either by my insecurity or the girl not liking the red eyes and glasses. Sooo hard to deal with. I hated life. I turned my back on God. Life revolved around my eyes. If I didn't get a solid 8 hours of sleep, super bloodshot eyes = skip class. I'm going to graduate college with a bachelors in biomedical science. I wanted to go to med school. I laugh at that notion now considering it took me 5 years to finish and I will graduate with around a 2.8 despite being a 3.8 student in high school.
    I didn't quit cold turkey until after another bad break-up around 15 months ago. But my usage had decreased substantially at that point. Trust me folks, there's days I want to put them in. DON'T DO IT! Be strong.
    What I've learned over the passed 5 years: 1) Don't put anything in your eyes. Not even natural tears cuz our eyes are pretty good at keeping themselves healthy and drops have chemicals and preservatives. Natural tears would make my eyes red too 2) Healthy diet helps and drink lots of water. I take fish oil and multivitamin everyday fish oil is good for mucous membranes. Flax seed is okay too but from studying physiology, too much of anything - even vitamins - can be bad for your health. I felt this way about bilberry. The vitamin A in there was like 2000% of your daily intake. A little overboard. 3) Exercise - I struggled with depression and lifting weights helped build my self image. I just started running. Plus I think exercising will strengthen the smooth muscle in your blood vessels, even the ones in the vessels in your eyes. After working out they get a little red but then settle down nicely. 4) Try not to dwell on it. Don't go and stare in the mirror and sulk about it. If you don't look in a mirror you won't even know how they look that day. 5) QUIT COLD TURKEY. Your eyes secretly hate you everytime you put those chemicals in your eyes. Don't relapse into use again. Your eyes WILL GET BETTER. If you go a month without using them and then administer them, u will lose a lot progress. 6) If you used them for 1-2 + years, your eyes will never be as white as the were before, so get used to having semi-bloodshot eyes. I know its a tough pill to swallow. 7) Limit time reading or sitting at a computer. I forget to blink and my eyes dry out and get red. If you can, tell yourself to blink every few seconds. 8) Pray to God for strength and courage. He beared his cross. Unfortnately, we have our own heavy cross to bear. It's very hard. I still struggle but have recently tried to re-awaken my faith. It's okay to ask for his help. 9) If someone asks if your stoned or tired, just tell them you have dry eye and shrug it off. If your as self-conscious as I am, wear your glasses. My eyes aren't super big so glasses helped hide it a little. 10) There is a procedure called Cosmetic Eye Whitening that is being offered for $3500 an eye. I hope to get this procedure. I'm thinking about going to Chiropractic school so I'm gonna have a giant student loan anyway, why not fix the problem if you can cuz who wants a stoner looking Chiropractor. Plus I'm so young and eyes get more red with age. I don't want to be self-conscious forever.
    This past August, I broke my C-7 vertebrae in a car accident, I Could have been paralyzed. I had to wear around a neck brace for 3 months. I hated all the stares on campus, on the bus, and in class but I said to myself, "Who gives a ****. Never seen a guy in a neck brace before?" I got 4 B's that semester. I'm now less self-conscious and am the happiest I've been since the fall of 2008. I sulked away the best years of my life, let it bring me down in school, and developed bad habits. I don't want the same thing to happen to you. Also, it shouldn't take a broken neck and a brush with death to realize how precious life is. Love life and be grateful for being alive. Life is a gift. Yes, I have inhibitions and insecurities now, but I have benefited from this whole debacle. I'm working out, I eat healthy, I love life, and have suffered as much as I possibly could in my life, right? It only gets better from here. I could possibly be 6 feet under or in a wheelchair. At my lowest low, I said I would rather be dead then have to deal with this affliction. Holy smokes was I wrong.

  • #2
    Thanks for your post. I agree - we have to put things in perspective- there are worse problems than having red eyes. I, too, have suffered from overusing eyedrops, and I still have social phobia over my red eyes. I know my life would have been different if I'd been able to have the confidence other people have who don't have this problem, but I, like you, have managed to earn my degree and get on with my life. I have good days and bad days, but as you say, there are worse problems to have than dry, red eyes. I'm glad you've found a new lease on life. Attitude means a lot!


    • #3
      I've been putting in ridiculous amounts of eye drops since August 2011 when I had LASIK surgery. Cutting back on them now since I found out a couple of weeks ago that too many eye drops can be bad for your eyes. Though if you have really dry eyes as I often do then you HAVE to at times use eye drops.

      As for the eye whitening procedure I think you really need to think hard about that, any elective surgery on your eyes is a risk and that's what eye whitening is - an elective surgery. Do you want to risk the health of your eyes just to make them look less bloodshot?


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