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JoolzB's story

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  • JoolzB's story

    I'm so glad I have found this site! I realise from reading through the posts that my own symptoms are really quite mild, but to me they're distressing enough! I have felt a bit of a freak because I don't know anybody with dry eyes and it's good to find I'm not alone!

    I had contact lenses from the age of 17 (hard ones at first) and I wore them day in, day out, too vain to wear glasses (I didn't even own a pair!) I had no problems for the first 8-9 years, but then I began developing an allergy to preservatives in my lens solutions and very stupidly I ignored it for six months. Finally forced to seek help, the eye specialist diagnosed toxicity and took my contacts away for six months. After that I was allowed my contacts back but found my tolerance for them had been severely damaged. I had to be content with wearing them for special occasions only - soft ones by this time.

    However, over the past few years my eyes got drier when wearing the contacts. The last time I wore them was Christmas 2003 at a party where somebody said "Ooh aren't your eyes red!" Not surprisingly, that was the last time I wore them.

    To my dismay though, for the past six months or so my eyes have started feeling dry even though contact lenses have been nowhere near them.

    I get hot, dry feeling eyes, most frequently the right eye but also sometimes the left one. On my worst days I have been photophobic. I also get a feeling of foreign body in the eye quite often and I have developed a phobia about people saying anything about my eyes looking sore (I don't know why!) Many days at work (where my eyes are usually worst) I avoid looking at myself in the washroom mirror because I'm afraid of what I might see. I know it's silly because although I do get redness it's not that bad, but I get so anxious I cannot be rational. If I know I'm going to meet someone or go out somewhere special or something, I get so het up about how my eyes look that I'm sure I actually psyhcologically make them start burning.

    To try and help myself I now take vitamin B6, Omega 3 fish oils and flax seed oil. I also try to drink more water and less coffee, and I have had an anti glare filter fitted to my monitor at work. Also at work I now use a moist air humidifier machine to try and keep the humidity up. I don't understand why but some days my eyes will feel fine and on other days one or both will feel awful (usually the right one). Sometimes the symptoms come and go more than once in a single day. I know that fatigue, bright light, prolonged reading and/or computer use and hot atmospheres make them worse, whilst being outside in the fresh air makes them feel better.

    I try not to feel bitter but I wish I'd been told when I got my first contacts that you shouldn't wear them all the time. I wish I'd been told about protein cleaning them. I wish I hadn't been so vain. I am jealous of people whom I know have behaved like me and gotten away with it. But in my saner moments I realise I should be grateful I have sight.

    My optician knows my eyes are dry when I wear lenses but hasn't run any tests on me, although she did tell me my eyes are too dry for laser surgery (and having read about the problems others have encountered with that, it was probably for the best). I did ask to see a specialist about punctal plugs a few years ago, but was told I had too many tears for that. I think my tears have diminished since then. I'm going back to my optician soon and I shall be discussing the problem with her. I was supposed to be going for a contact lens check but have explained that I won't be wearing them for the appointment. This dry eye thing seems so complicated. I wonder what she will advise...

    It feels good to get this off my chest to people who understand.

    Thanks for reading this message.


  • #2
    Hi JoolzB, and welcome to the Zone!!

    Don't beat yourself up too much over the contact lens past. I was pretty naughty with my soft lenses at times, especially in my teens. But I'm not sure how much permanent damage that can cause in terms of dry eye. There are a lot of other factors that can arise just with the passage of time.

    If you have too many tears for plugs, then the discomfort is probably coming more from tear quality problems than quantity (for background information about the difference click here). When you see your doctor next, ask if they see any signs of blepharitis, and also ask them to do a tear break-up test as well as a Schirmer. If they do decide you're dry enough for plugs, ask about temporary collagen plugs as a way to see whether in fact you can benefit.

    Humidifier at work is a good idea. If you're on the computer a lot, put a little sticky note nearby reminding you to BLINK more frequently, because computer use reduces the blink rate dramatically and this on its own will cause dry eye symptoms too.

    Anyway, enough with the unsolicited advice. Welcome aboard & hope you are able to get some increased relief soon.

    Last edited by Rebecca Petris; 10-Apr-2005, 10:49. Reason: broken link
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone


    • #3

      As I read your posting I thought someone had stolen and published my story. A few differences such as I had lasik surgery that made my condition worse. Prior to having lasik i became contact lens intolerant. Eyes would get puffy, red, and uncomfortable after a few hours of wear. Hence the perfect solution, lasik, what a disaster. I have been battling for 4yrs now.

      One of my largest challenges outside of the discomfort, which is bad on some days, ok on others, to none on few days, is my obsession with thinking something is wrong with them. When I talk with people I constantly think they are thinking my eyes are red and puffy. I end up not making great eye contact which I think makes people think even more that there is a problem.

      I have asked some close friends and they say they dont notice anything, but when I look in the mirror, they look awful. Someone on a board made a comment when I expressed that stuck with me...They mentioned how it is possible to focus so much on something that you begin to see things that may not be so noticeable to others...Someone told them their eyes looked good, and she (who always thinks her eyes were awful) said you should look at them from my perspective.

      Problem is I have not been able to get over it. I am a bit compulsive with the way they look now...and if I want to have a decent day avoid mirrors. Especially the flourescent ones at work.....

      This is a good board with very knowledgeable and supportive people. We are all in this together and I am sure that over time everyone will find bits and pieces that improve their situations. Rebecca had some great advice that you should follow. I hope you are feeling better.


      • #4
        bad looking eyes

        I can identify with your statements that you hate to go out in public because your eyes look so bad. Since I had Lasik and don't need glasses, I buy lightly tinted sunglasses. These camouflage my eyes nicely. I got tired of the comments....your eyes are red, do you have a cold, etc? If you need prescription glasses, you might want to consider some darker tinting. For me, they also help with the dryness by blocking air currents.
        I also have received many compliments on my eyewear. People are always asking where I get my glasses. Perhaps I will start comeback on tinted glasses. I remember many, many years ago I wore tinted glasses and they were quite the thing.


        • #5
          another thought

          Joolzb - you might want to check with your medical doctor and get a good checkup, if you haven't already. Dry eyes can be caused by medical conditions also.


          • #6
            Thanks for your messages!

            Thanks so much for all your posts. Being able to share my experience with others and get your comments helps a lot and has given me a bit more strength to deal with it. It is such a relief not to feel all alone with my strange symptoms! I've taken on board all your suggestions and I'm also finding loads of useful information as I browse through the site. I'm already learning loads about dry eye that I had no idea about before! What a fantastic resource this site is.



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