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Ruth's Eye Adventure

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  • Ruth's Eye Adventure

    I want to start out by saying that this forum has been a huge help to me. Contact with other people with eye problems helps, and the wealth of ideas here is wonderful. Life is better now. That said:

    In 1995, at age 40, I developed sudden very high blood pressure, which seems to be a family thing. My mom had a stroke at the same age. I was put on a calcium channel blocker called Procardia, and my eyes have been a problem ever since. First the itching, then the burning, then the blurring, then, ack!, I woke up to corneal erosions. My optometrist explained what was happening to me, that it probably had to do with the meds, and suggested strongly I switch to something less drying. My internist strongly disagreed (eye dryness is a "minor" side effect!) Switched internists, eventually moved to Zestril, and while I was left with periodic erosion problems, the dryness was better and became a relatively minor issue.

    Then I moved to the Middle East to go to school for a year 2001-2. Dry eye was aggravated, maybe by climate, maybe by stress, maybe by the fact that I'd gone to rabbinical school and spend all day looking at teeny tiny Hebrew print. Maybe all three.

    About 2002, in school in L.A., eyes no better, and began having more problems with the erosions, I traveled back to Oakland to see Dr. Rivera (my optometrist.) He looked for a long time and said, "map dot dystrophy" -- keep using drops, suggested Refresh, that helped a little. I'm limping along with it, occasionally spending a day "out" nursing an unhappy cornea. Gradually dealing with erosions became routine.

    Then in spring of 2006, disaster struck. Instead of eventually healing, the erosion on my left eye got worse and worse. After a couple of days I could not tolerate ANY light at all in either eye and the pain was unbelievable. I have a high tolerance for pain, but this was just ghastly. A dear friend came to town to look after me, and she took me to a local opthalmologist. His main claim to fame was that he'd take me on a walk-in THAT DAY. I was half crazy with the pain and was terrified.

    He explained it was a very bad erosion, prescribed some night ointment and Muro 128 drops for daytime. He said that it was my fault, I was not taking good care of myself, and reading too many books with small print. The drops and ointment seemed to help, but when I went back for the followup appointment, he was so nasty that I vowed never to go back there. Turned out he had a bit of an agenda: he didn't think women should be going to rabbinical school, so of course my eyes were some sort of punishment for trying to do so.

    A few weeks later, it happened again, even worse. This time I went to the USC university clinic (who had been extremely unhelpful over the phone before) and this time was able to convince the nurse practitioner who saw me that I was frantic with pain. He arranged for me to see an opthalmologist, Dr. Jonathan Song, at the USC/Doherty Eye Institute that afternoon. Dr. Song took a look, said yup, it's an erosion, a very bad one, and put on a corneal bandage, drops, I forget what all (it's all blurry now) and has been great to work with, up to a point. He put me on Systane Gel Free which I used until it was recalled. He also explained to me what was happening and how to help my eye heal. I've had a practice of auto-hypnosis most of my adult life, so now when I have an erosion, I lie face-down on the bed, drop into a trance, and keep the eye dark and STILL until the little cells have a chance to knit.

    This is not a great solution. I've lost way too many days to dealing with these messes, and I never know when I'm going to wake up to a bad day.

    I panicked when the recall of Systane Gel Free happened, and got cranking on the Internet, which is how I found this place. Now I use Dwelle and Dakrina, and Tranquileyes every night, and the problems are MUCH less. I have a pair of sunglasses that fit my face pretty closely over my eyeglasses, and they keep my eyes from drying out when I'm driving.

    All I can say is Bless you, Rebecca -- I was seriously wondering if there was any hope of my continuing to ordination a year from May. I do not kid myself that my problems are "solved" but I think I have the tools to care for myself. I'm 51, still defiantly reading my textbooks, but giving my eyes a nice warm soak at night.

    And that's my story.

  • #2
    Ruth, a very interesting story! Most of us do not have quite a colorful tale getting to Dry Eye Zone. I'm well aware of Muro 128, though, and corneal erosions, along with the corneal dystrophy.

    You'll find so much information on this board that is very helpful, it's amazing what we as a group have dropped on these pages. I'm very happy you are able to continue your reading and like Dwelle, Dakrina and Tranquileyes. They are a part of many of our lives.
    Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.

    The Dry Eye Queen