Heal thyself, kinda

My eyes started to itch/ be uncomfortable about a month ago, just occasionally at first, but with spates of real discomfort. I am a qualified but not practicing optometrist, and it is different being the one with the symptoms, but not being able to look at my eyes with the instruments I used to have to examine other people.

So I just bought some Allergan ‘intensive drops for dry eye’ from Boots and they did sort of work, but the effects were short lived. Then I lost those and after another attack I bought some other ones ( Boots own ) They didn’t help AT ALL. I thought that it was quite possible that the mild excema that I get in my eyebrows was spreading to my eye lashes, so I used the special medicated shampoo daily. That did seem to work… but only for about 2 days.

It was getting a bit confusing, and getting worse. I also bought eye wipes that had impregnated tea tree oil in them, and that worked too…but only for 3 days.

I was already taking oral antihistamines btw, so that wasn’t the cure either.

Then I saw my friend Jo, who’s a hospital optom, and she said to buy an Eye Bag for dry eye. Dry eye is chronic and to do with your eyelid margins. It doesn’t ever really go away so I thought I might be stuck with this problem for ever. So I did buy one and it came in the post the next day. You heat that up, put it over your eyes and then massage your lids.

Guess what? Good for 3 days… then suddenly a LOT worse, as in completely distracting and stopping me from thinking about anything else. I started to get large amounts of white discharge, bad but actually for me very useful as a diagnostic clue. It wasn’t pus, it was mucous- that was obvious to me, cos I know this sh**… Mucous is an important tear component, but ought be dissolved in the tear film. When it’s visible it’s because there is overproduction of it. That was the clue as to my problem. There’s an eye drop called Opticrom, which I’ve been recommending for decades to patients who overwear their soft lenses. Those people then became allergic to the build up of their own secretions on their own lenses, was the theory, and the insides of their upper eyelids became quite lumpy, with a consequent over production of mucous by the mast cells in the eyelid tissue. Stopping lens wear and using Opticrom was the fix. The thing is that I don’t wear lenses and it’s not the season really for seasonal allergies yet, and certainly not a month ago, so why did I have an allergic condition? I’ve no idea, but even 2 hours after instilling Opticrom and it was feeling massively better. 24 hours later and I now have no symptoms at all.

I imagine it’s a little used eye drop overall, but Jeez was it effective. Obviously I’m not advising peeps to self diagnose all eye irritations, but this drug is available over the counter for the treatment of eye allergy, and the hay fever season is approaching…

Remember where you heard it first. …

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