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Here's my story

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  • Here's my story

    Forgive me, this is going to be long.

    I wore contact lenses from age 13 to 30. At 30, they became so uncomfortable I had to discontinue using them. I went to glasses full-time. In Feb09, I had PRK. I love being able to see without glasses/contacts . . . however, I'm having trouble with a slight astigmatism remaining. It is apparent to my Dr (both at the laser place and a new ophthalmologist I'm seeing) that this is due to dry eyes.

    Ok, here's the other part of the story. Ever since I was a teen, I've been bothered by the wrinkles under my eyes. My lower eyelids sit too low, and this makes the skin seem a little loose. My eyes are fairly prominent. The combination of all this makes dark circles under my eyes, but it is impossible to cover these with makeup since the wrinkles are so deep the makeup creases . . . blah blah blah, you get the idea. I HATE how I always look so tired (and people have no problem constantly pointing this out to me). I went to a cosmetic surgeon a couple years ago and he agreed the lids are too low (the lower lid should reach the iris, mine are a couple mm below that). $13K to fix. Fantastic. Obviously, I put off surgery to save the $$$.

    Wait, there's more! So about 3 weeks ago the muscle below my left eye started twitching/vibrating continuously. GREAT! Googled it of course, ruled out the common causes (lack of sleep, too much caffeine, stress). Finally went to this new ophthalmologist, who said it could be due to my dry eyes. He said the irritation could be affecting a nerve in that muscle, causing the twitch. He prescribed a steroid eye drop. After the first dose that night, the twitching stopped. That is, until a couple days ago. (i'm still on the drops). It came back with a vengeance.

    Yes I realize that stress/anxiety can make it worse, but I cannot help it that right now I am FREAKING OUT. Why did the steroids work for a week and now the twitching is back?? And the big question - is this stupid constant twitch going to prevent me from having the surgery?? (The eyelid surgery, by the way, this new ophthalmologist said, would probably be covered by insurance b/c my lower eyelids really are abnormal -just what I wanted to hear about my appearance!!) He said the lower eyelids, because they are TOO low, increase the amount of the eyeball exposed, thereby contributing to the dry eye.

    This is what I've been doing to help the dry eye:
    Restasis for last 3 months
    fish oil supplements
    artificial tears
    I was using warm compresses, but they make the twitch go CRAZY (the heat maybe increasing swelling?)

    I am at the end of my rope. I have another appt with the Dr. in two weeks for follow up.

    I realize you all aren't doctors and can't answer all my questions, but I just needed to share and maybe get some advice.


  • #2
    Eye twitching follow-up

    I made a little discovery yesterday, thanks to this site. I said previously that I couldn't use warm compresses because they made the twitching go out of control.
    Well, I was using warm, wet washcloths after washing my face.
    I read about the rice baggy method here and tried that (no face washing beforehand).
    The baggies felt WONDERFUL. I think they even calmed the twitching. My eyes felt so comfortable for about an hour afterward.
    Anyway, I've realized that it's actually the water/face washing combo that seems to be aggravating the twitch.
    I've switched to a super gentle face wash (Purpose). Maybe that will help. It didn't help last night, but maybe it'll take time.
    Anyway, just wanted to add this note.
    Thanks for listening.


    • #3
      Wary about future surgery


      First off, the surgery you want to have doesn't have any potential to dry your eyes out more, correct? Please be very wary of any kind of surgery in that area!!

      Second, when I started to freak out over the dry eye, my general practitioner did a physical on me to determine if I was healthy (which I am!) but he also put me on a very low dose of Ativan, an anti-anxiety drug. I do feel that this has helped me to put my dry eyes into perspective a bit and be a little less "blameful" on myself. Perhaps this could help you if you're still freaking out?!

      - Rose


      • #4
        Hi Rose!
        Thank you so much for your reply!
        To answer your first question - no. Actually, the fact that my lower eyelids are "too" low is a contributing factor to the dry eye. It increases the exposed surface of the eyeball. Two of the Dr.'s I've consulted with about it think that health insurance would cover it. So I think that the surgery would actually really help the dry eye in addition to improving the cosmetic issue.
        As for the anxiety - funny you should bring that up!! I actually have a psychiatrist who I've been seeing for over a decade (scary, no??). I take an anti-depressant that makes me normal. But I do sometimes still have issues with getting over-anxious about things, so I called him up yesterday and he gave me an prescription for some anti-anxiety meds. I tried one and it promptly put me to sleep for a solid 5 hours. And that was on half a pill of the smallest dose pill available. Oh well. So anyway, you are correct that my state of mind does have a part in this whole thing.
        I'm going back to the ophthalmologist today with a typed up list of all the things I want to talk to him about, such as the dry eye, the twitching, the vision fluctuations, and the eyelid surgery.
        Thanks again! It really helps to get feedback from others.


        • #5
          Recent Article


          I have not had PRK or LASIK, but I do check in with _Ophthalmology Review_ from time to time, and this month there is an article on periocular spasms.

          Best wishes. I hope that you get some answers.



          • #6
            Eyes78 please check your inbox I sent you a p.m.


            • #7

              Have you checked into your meds? The reason I dry eye/mgd became a full-fledged attack four months before my wedding. Because of my high level of stress (how do you plan a DIY wedding and NOT freak out about your painful, red, puffy, awful eyes?!?!), I went to see my doctor to get some meds to help me deal.
              Well, I came away with a lot of info, and no meds. Apparently, most anti-depressants often cause dry eye symptoms in patients! Long story short, although they may not be the main cause of your dry eye problems, it might help to pursue this angle as well.
              Good luck to you!


              • #8
                Hi eyes78,

                I too have dark circles, and most cosmetic concealers crease and make things worse. I have tried liquids, creams, concealer sticks, and mineral powder concealers under the eye, they all crease. I avoid any of the moisturizers that claim to "brighten", they seem to have a reflective mineral in them that makes things worse.

                I have found a couple of things that do help. Try Garnier Fructis Roll-On - it is clear and helps reduce puffiness and creasing.

                Also, try soft pencil concealers such as by Benefit cosmetics (available at Macy's, Ulta, and on-line). After allowing under-eye moisturizer to dry a few minutes, apply the concealer pencil very gently and sparingly and blend with a fingertip.

                I know this doesn't address the underlying problem, but looking better makes me feel better.

                Good luck,