On Monday afternoon I went to my eye doctor for my yearly checkup. As I was driving there, I was thinking about how good my eyes have been doing lately, and that maybe seeing the doctor every year wasn’t really necessary. Still, knowing all the eye issues many of my EEC friends face, I figure it’s best to be proactive and see if I can’t stave off future eye problems before they start.
I see a corneal specialist, because several years ago I went to a regular eye doctor and she was horrified at the state of my poor eyes. At the time I was in my mid-20’s and I was suffering immensely from dry, painful eyes. Plus, I’d had several injuries to my right eye, which had left me with scarring. It got so bad that I’d be driving to school in the mornings (eastbound, of course) and the sun shining in my eyes felt like daggers. I would have tears running down my face and my sunglasses would be getting fogged up from all the heat and moisture. It’s amazing I didn’t have an accident. At night, I would wake up and my eyes felt like they were glued shut, or like the inside of my eyelids were sheets of sand paper. So, long story just a little bit longer, (as my high school chemistry teacher would say), I saw the corneal specialist and he prescribed me with antibiotic ointment to help heal my eyes, plus a strict regimen of moisturizing eye drops and lubricants.
Fast forward about 10 years, and here I am today. The doctor said that my eyes are stable and that there has been no change since last year. I still have corneal fibrosis (scarring) and chronic keratopathy (inflammation), but it is being kept under control by the eye care routine I follow. He said he doesn’t need to see me again for two years, unless I have a problem in the meantime.
Excuse me while I do the dance of joy. Not that I mind going to see him, but just that, hey, at least I don’t have to worry so much about my eyes for now!
I realize I’m one of the lucky ones. A lot of my EEC friends have a much worse time with their eyes. It’s a very frustrating and disheartening feeling to not be able to see normally, or to constantly suffer from eye pain.
I wanted to share my eye routine in case it might help anyone else.
1. Every night as I get I ready for bed, I put Soothe Nighttime ointment in my eyes. That’s right. IN the eyes. I pull open my lower lid and use a q-tip to put about 1/8″ of goop in there.
2. When I wake up in the morning, my eyes are often really sore, so I will splash warm water on my face, or sometimes use a warm washcloth. It helps get the blood flowing, I think. (I don’t really know – it just makes everything feel better.) Then I put in my first dose of eye drops. (I really like the TheraTears Liquid Gel, but the Soothe drops pictured above also work.)
3. TheraTears SteriLid is a foaming cleanser which I use every morning in the shower. You just squirt a little on your fingertips and rub it on your closed eyes, around the lashes and such. It has tea-tree oil in it, which gives it a nice little zip (and kills germs.) I sometimes use this cleanser at night, especially if I feel an eye flare-up coming on.
4.The Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo is also a nice, mild eyelid cleanser. I wear eye makeup to work, so I find the baby shampoo helpful in removing it.
5. Not pictured – Vaseline. I used Vaseline on my eyelids for nearly my whole life, until I found out about the nighttime eye lubricants. I still use Vaseline to remove eye makeup, but that’s about it.
6. Eyedrops are used multiple times throughout the day. First thing upon waking, then again after breakfast, and once more before I leave for work. Ideally I would use them once or twice a day during work, but often times I don’t. I put in another dose when I get home from work, and then again after dinner. So that’s about 4-6 times a day. When my eyes were worse, I would do it more often.
A note on the eye drops. Make sure to use preservative-free, lubricating drops. The preservatives are what make other eye drops (like Visine) sting and will not help heal your eyes.
And that’s that. I’m totally late for work now. But I hope the eye info is useful to you!