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  • Gaye's story

    About a year ago, I started having trouble with my eyes. My vision was constantly blurred and I had a lot of pain and sensitivity to light, dry air, wind, etc., especially in my right eye. I also had a feeling of pressure behind my right eye that especially bothered me at night. My eye doctor couldn't find anything wrong (never bothered to do a tear test) so he sent me back to my family doctor who thought maybe it was all in my head and wanted to prescribe Zoloft or something similiar. I knew this was for real, but couldn't make anyone understand what I was feeling. I felt like I was seeing through water all the time and it was making me feel dizzy and unsteady. I went back to my eye doctor over and over again and then he decided I must have glaucoma. So he prescribed Xylatan for that. That seemed all wrong to me since you can't feel glaucoma. He also sent me to see an opthalmalic neurologist. After checking my eyes, she found nothing, did the tear test and informed me that I was producing no tears of any kind. The reason my right eye felt worse was because 10 years ago, I had had RK surgery and the scarring from that made that eye even more uncomfortable. She sent me back to my eye doctor and told me that he could take it from there, but he should have already figured this out. We started with silicone plugs in both lower tear ducts. That helped a little, but not much. Then we tried Restasis, and that burned so bad I couldn't stand it. The Xylatan burned my eyes enough and that just made it even worse. I was using moisture drops with some relief, but I had to use them every hour or more. Genteal gel at night helped keep my eyes moist overnight. Some mornings I would wake up with my eyelids stuck to my corneas before I started using that. In the meantime, I just felt that the glaucoma diagnosis was wrong, but my eye doctor wouldn't listen to me. So it was time to change doctors. My new eye doctor did more tests and told me that I absolutely did not have glaucoma and to stop using the Xylatan. That helped my eyes some. He also told me to start taking Thera Tears oil capsules and that seems to help some too. But nothing works great. A humidifier in my bedroom also helps. I dread winter, because of the dry air. Summer is the best. The humidity helps so much. I tried the Restasis again, but that burns my eyes so bad all day, that I just can't imagine how it will help any. Right now I have an infection in my right eye where I had the RK surgery done. That eye is so more sensitive. They did this before Lasik, and had no idea what problems would occur down the road. My previous eye doctor who did the surgery never said it could cause problems eventually. I don't know why this all started except that possible the beginning of menopause had something to do with it. I just wish someone somewhere could come up with some better remedies, but I guess since it is not fatal, it is on the bottom of the list.

  • #2
    Hi Gaye,

    Welcome, welcome...

    What an ordeal you've had with this - such a struggle just to get the dry eye diagnosis in the first place. At least that hurdle is behind you.

    Many patients like you are trying to find the right balance of treatments and lifestyle/environment alterations that can get their eyes to a more comfortable state. While there has historically not been a lot of attention to this area of medicine, I think that we're starting to see that tide change. The heavy marketing of Restasis is a testament to the increasing awareness by the pharmaceuticals that we are out here and need solutions.

    As you try different things may I suggest you sometimes use the OSDI survey? It's a very simple questionnaire, just 12 questions and a scoring system. One thing I think we all struggle with is trying to figure out when we are better or worse off and what's doing it, and also trying to communicate our symptoms to our doctors. I think this survey is a good tool for both, especially if completed before and after a new treatment.

    Regards,
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone

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