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Doctor My Eyes

April 23, 2010
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have seen no tears.  They are dry, itchy, swollen, and testy.  I went to an urgent care facility a week ago yesterday because the inside corner of my left eye had been extremely itchy for the entire day.  I at first attributed it to a bug bite, but by 5 pm I couldn’t stand it anymore.  On the surface, both my eyes looked fine to me.  The PA who examined me could not find anything but deduced I had conjunctivitis (commonly referred to as pink eye) and prescribed an antibiotic eye drop and an antihistamine eye drop.  The antihistamine made my eyes very dry, so I went back to the pharmacy to get an eye lubricant.  The extreme itchiness continued and I subsequently saw an opthalmologist this past Tuesday who diagnosed staph blepharitis in both eyes.  She could see the little pockets of staph “bubbles” along my eyelids, plain as day to her.  I actually felt relief with this diagnosis because it is not contagious and it meant I could lift my self-imposed exile and leave the house.

I was sent home with a new prescription for an antibiotic salve to place along the rims of my upper and lower eyelids and a regiment for warm eye soaks and eye scrubs with diluted baby shampoo.  I was told to completely stop using the non-prescription drops.  The next day the itchiness persisted to an almost unbearable point, so I was back on the phone with the pharmacist to see if there was a contraindication to using both the bacrtrim and antihistamine drops.  There wasn’t, so I put a couple of drops in my left eye and drove off to the gym.  On the way there, I started to feel a bit light-headed, kind of out of it, and wondered if I should be driving on the expressway.  I shut off my cruise control.  I attributed my feeling to a bit of anxiety.  After I arrived at the gym, I looked in the mirror of the women’s locker room and saw that my left eye was drooping.  I otherwise felt okay.  I warmed up on the bike and did a quick leg workout.

I went directly home from there and called the ophthalmologist’s office with the new symptom and mentioned what the pharmacist had told me about using the drops.  I was asked if the left corner of my mouth was also dropping; I thought the concern was that I might be having a stroke, so I said oh no, I’m fine – I can smile, talk, I was fine – I was interrupted and asked again if the left side of my mouth was drooping.  The concern was that I had developed Bells’ Palsy.  No, the left side of my mouth was not drooping.  I’m like, why don’t you understand that I am worried about my eyes!  I was told I could go ahead and use both the antihistamine and lubricant drops but not right after I put the salve along my eyelids.  I was assured the exam the doctor gave me was enough to show there was no ocular condition to be concerned about.  In addition to doing the warm eye soaks but now just once a day, I am to add cold eye compresses for the swelling.

By yesterday, I had gone through 4 rounds of complete treatment: eye soaks, eye scrubs, and applications of the salve plus additional palliative care of cold packs and eye drops for itchiness and dry eyes.  I left the house to return the crappy made in China cold/hot packs I had purchased and experienced light sensitivity while driving there and back.  By the time I arrived home at around 3, my eyes were a mess.  Bloodshot, swollen, asymetrical, and the left eye itching.  I called the doctor’s office again and when someone got back to me, I was offered a new antibiotic eye drop in a gel form.  It was called in to my pharmacy but the pharmacy called me later to tell me they didn’t have it in stock but should be able to get it by tomorrow.

I had already decided by then that I wanted a second opinion and to see someone whose specialty is closer to the eye condition I am afraid I may have developed.  I have slight psoriasis and my rosacea has really flared up these past several weeks, very likely caused by stress.  Both may affect the eyes, particularly the rosacea.  I called my optometrist’s office, and he called me back within an hour (how long has it been since you’ve had a doctor call you back, period).  I asked about an exam he had given me where he had to ask me to hold up my eye lids because they were drooping enough to interfere with one of the visual tests he was giving me.  I told him what I was going through and about my concerns, and he highly recommend an ophthalmologist he knows who specializes in the anterior segment of the eye.  I also called my primary care doctor to get a referral to a dermatologist I found on the Internet who deals with rosacea. 

I called that office just before 5 on Friday and already have an appointment for next Tuesday.  My eyes were still red, itchy, and swollen.  I decided to just do the eye soak and a very gentle scrub, and then I used a cold compress for a few minutes.  I went to bed with the TV set to the timer and slept soundly until 3:30.  I got back to sleep and woke up around 5 with an extremely crusty right eye (which is a hallmark of blepharitis and conjunctivitis) and a slightly crusty left eye.  Both eyes are somewhat bloodshot and the itchiness is there but now also on the outside corners of my lids.  I did the routine of scrubbing but without the baby shampoo and did a brief warm soak.  At this moment both eyes feel ok, maybe even better than they did yesterday.  But they look terrible compared to how they looked last week, so I have to wonder what the heck is going on.

This is a lesson in prevention.  If you have been diagnosed with blepharitis, you need to maintain a regiment of eye care basically forever.  In the first weeks after diagnosis the regiment is twice a day soaks and scrubs.  If it is under control, you can slack off a bit but still must maintain a routine.  If you have psoriasis or rosacea, see a dermatologist and an ophthamologist on an annual basis or more often if you are symptomatic.    

Doctor my eyes, tell me what you see . . .

Doctor my eyes, tell me what is wrong . . .


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Gardening shoes by the door

April 21, 2010
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March 31, 2010 (not posted until April 21)

I just came in from doing some trimming on dead stalks and leaves.  Not too much to do at this early date as removing mulch jeopardizes perennials in the event of a frost. 

My gardening shoes are close to the front door where they will stay now that I am leaving my post as treasure of my organization.  This is a good place for them to be and for me to be too.  They will serve as a reminder that I need to step into them rather than other shoes that don’t fit me.

About author

These days, I am mostly happy. Not wildly happy. Happy as in feeling very content with my life. Happy with my darling husband and wonderful family. Happy I have a pooch to keep me company. Happy that I pretty much get to choose and do whatever I want. That kind of happy.