Although I did not think it was possible, my eyes have actually gotten drier. I guess we’ve moved from a regional desert to the Sahara.
Now, my eye history is long and complicated. My symptoms are made worse due to a previous corneal infection and subsequent scarring, which my doctors attribute to Sjogren's. I also have had uveitits, another serious eye condition which needs to be kept under control or can lead to vision loss. I also have seriously dry eyes, related to my Sjogren’s as well.
Last week, my eyes started to really bother me in a way I have come to associate with serious flares. I became extremely sensitive to light (again!, but it had been a while) and developed constant eye pain, to the point that putting in my usual preservative free drops in my eyes was quite painful. My right eye became so uncomfortable that I had to use an eye patch just to watch TV. Looking at a computer screen was out of the question.
Generally, when I have a flare up, I put extra drops in my eyes. This time that made my eye hurt more, so I immediately became particularly concerned.
Early Sunday morning my husband I bundled up and trundled off to the emergency eye clinic, where my doctor wants me to go if anything out of the ordinary happens to my eyes.
The good news is that there was nothing requiring emergency care like a flare of my uveitis or an infection. However, the doctor did notice that my eyes particularly the right eye was extremely dry to the extent that the layer that covers the front of the cornea or corneal epithelium had been effected. This extreme dryness she explained was why I could not put drops in my eye without pain; dryness this severe can feel like a corneal abrasion. Ouch!
Of course, my blepharitis and ocular rosacea were also simultaneously in full force, which also contributes to eye discomfort.
The doctor suggested using my nighttime eye ointment (my preference is Refresh P.M. Sensitive but there are a number available) frequently during the day to improve the lubrication, more warm eye soaks, and re-starting steroid eye drops. It was a bit of a surprise to me that my eyes could still be so dry given how much time and how many steps I take each day trying to keep them moist. I guess that is what happens with Sjogren's.
I thought I would share my daily growing eye care routine for my dry eyes and blepharitis.
What do you do everyday to help combat your dry eyes?
~ Preservative free drops about 8 to 9 times a day.
~ Restasis 4 times a day as prescribed by my doctor
~ Steroid eye drops as prescribed by my doctor
~ Warm eye soaks 2 times a day.
~ Ocusoft lid cleanser
~ Preservative free nighttime eye ointment
~ Humidification every night for dryness