Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Not to brag or anything

Just made three boring taking-care-of-business phone calls in a row and it took less than 10 minutes and I am pumped with myself. When you work full time it's annoyingly difficult to make personal calls when the people you need to contact are also only in the office from 9 - 5.

What I haven't done - uploaded any recent photos to share with you, planned any real meals (side benefit - eating scrambled eggs for dinner three nights every week really frees up your food budget) or done anything remotely useful with my life except research and order a vast variety of products claiming to help with dry eyes (90% sure my eyes are trying to slowly kill me) and then watching Sons of Anarchy every weeknight while trying to convince Circe that getting her ears washed is secretly awesome or at least better than another $200 vet bill. None of this is as depressing as it sounds and actually, with the exception of the getting-to-be-too-routine visits to the ophthalmologist and the vet, it's pretty pleasant around here.

I have also been eating a lot of Fudgesicles. And thinking about making fancy homemade ones but then just buying another box.

So basically, you aren't missing out on much.

Goals for the weekend: move photos from camera to computer to interwebs. Potentially make fancy popsicles.

26 comments:

  1. Oh man, I have had the worst dry eyes since March... any success in your research?

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    1. Oh, I feel you! I'm not sure if I'm making any progress, which is depressing. I decided to attack it on all fronts (very unscientific, but I wanted relief as quickly as possible).
      I am:
      Using a humidifier in my overly air conditioned office
      Taking nutritional supplements (tons of Omega 3s)
      Using a cold gel compress on my eyes twice a day
      Using sterile, preservative free eye drops throughout the day and gel eyedrops at night
      Holding a warm wet washcloth over my eyes for a few minutes twice a day

      I also had temporary (3 month) punctal plugs put in to block my tear ducts and prevent my tears from draining too quickly. I think they help a bit so at my next appointment I'll probably bite the bullet and go for the permanent ones.

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  2. Brag away!

    I don't think I've ever commented on a blog post before but when I saw this I thought "YES!"

    I am slowly working through a bunch of emails/calls/etc that have been just rotting away on my to-do list while I'm at work...when I saw this I chuckled and felt a bit more hopeful! And if it makes you feel better I've eaten frozen waffles and grapes for two meals today. Thanks for the laugh, love your blog!

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    1. Mmmm ... waffles! That could be a nice change from eggs ...

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  3. Excellent post.

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  4. I have terrible dry eyes and have tried almost everything. One thing only has worked for me. Try the Artelac eye drops by Bausch & Lomb (I use the single dose preservative free ones). Here in Australia I got a prescription for them from my ophthalmologist, but it looks like they're also available in other countries. Now I just use one or two drops in the morning and my eyes are fine throughout the day. With other drops I was using them constantly without much relief at all. Dry eyes are terrible. I hope they work for you!

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    1. Thank you for the rec! I'm starting to search for them, but I think they might be called something different here. I'll make a note of the ingredient list and see if I can track them down.
      I have tried SO MANY eye drops at this point! It's hard to find one that really works.

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  5. This post just made my day.

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  6. Per my eye doctor who I saw last year when I had the same problem: Don't use anything that says "get the red out" because that will just make it worse. I still haven't found a good product, but these remedies work, too:

    1. Place a warm washcloth over your eye area and massage just above your eyelids for 30 seconds-a few minutes each day or every morning and evening (I do this and call it my "moment of zen" at 6 a.m.)
    2. Eat lots of healthy fats, 1-2 tablespoons with each meal: olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, nuts and seeds
    3. Stop looking at your iPhone so much (at least this was the one I was most guilty of)

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    1. Yes! I'm now only using sterile, preservative free drops to make sure I don't irritate my eyes further. I need to be better about the warm washcloth. I do it briefly when I wash my face morning and night, but I'm definitely more annoyed than zen about it.

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  7. I laughed while reading this post - this sounds like my life at the moment...minus scratchy eyes, you poor thing! Hope it gets better and I'll pop back soon (what do I say, I check your blog every day!)

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  8. Ack, dry eyes are the worst. After several years (and doctors), I've finally gotten a regimen from my ophthalmologist that works (Restais, eye ointment at night, eye drops for inflammation if there is a major flare up), but it's still a struggle. A few things that have helped a lot:
    -Switching out to preservative free eye drops--if they are already irritated, the preservatives make it worse every time you use them
    -Warm washcloth/eye massages twice a day, especially if there is pressure that accompanies the dryness
    -Schedule frequent breaks if you are doing a lot of computer work
    -If your eyes are already irritated, make sure that there aren't a lot of fragrances around (candles, household cleaners, etc.) as that can make things worse
    Sending you wishes for eyes that feel better, and in the meantime: more Fudgesicles.

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    1. Oh, I think I'll be trying out Restasis at my next appointment. Are you happy with it? I've heard mixed things and rejected it at my last appointment and then felt like an idiot. I'm on the preservative free drops, which is great (and I can get decent ones at Costco that are so much cheaper than anywhere else).
      I need to be better about the computer breaks. It's so hard when I'm at the computer all day for work. I've been trying to limit my at home computer time, which partly explains my absence here. : (

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    2. So...science says that restasis works GREAT for 10% of people, and does nothing or mildly irritates the eyes of the rest of people. It's worth a try.

      Grad school (and time in a lab) has made my eyes worse and worse over time...I used to wear contacts every day, but I switched to exclusively glasses my second year, and have gone from regular eye drops to the crazy ones to the preservative-free systane. It's awful.

      If you spend a lot of time at the computer, one of the helpful things is to set a time for every five minutes and then for 30 seconds to look 20 feet away and focus on something else. It kills whatever groove you've got going on in reading or work (sucks) but it's a good reset if things are especially bad. If people at work are giving you trouble, the other thing you could consider is going to the OSHA/occupational health person so you get a "doctor's note" for the strange behavior that sometimes results from dry eyes.

      The other thing to do with the warm washcloth is listen to a podcast while you're doing it - something to look forward to in the morning or evening.

      Makeup can also make things worse; powdery eyeshadows or line can be brutal on your eyes.

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    3. Restasis is a mixed bag... The first few weeks it stung quite a bit, and I honestly don't think it would have worked as well if I hadn't had the eye drops for inflammation to go along with it (+ a humidifier for our crazy dry house, preservative free tears, etc.). However, I have had a 10+ year history of cornea erosion, and I've gone 10 months without one--the longest I ever have--since starting Restasis. I still haven't been able to go back to eye makeup, but since I wear glasses all the time anyway, I've embraced taking less time on my routine (lipstick in the car is more my style anyway).

      I'm equally bad about the computer breaks... Grad school for creative writing as done a number on me (reading, typing, oh my). Until your eyes start making you sad, you really don't realize how much you need them to get anything done. I've found it really helpful to incorporate taking a computer break with stretch breaks--that way, you are benefiting your eyes, limbs, and mind (and I'm not as tempted to look at "just one more thing."). I miss seeing you around here, but completely understand--sending all the good luck pixie dust to you. Let us know what works, maybe we'll eventually come up with a collective best formula.

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  9. Ha! this post made me laugh. If I were to do a general update on my life, it would probably sound similarly mundane. As for dry eyes, funnily enough, they seemed to clear up once I ditched the eyedrops & started using saline. Do you wear contacts? I don't remember. Anyway, the saline I buy is by Unisol. It's very gentle.

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    1. I do wear contacts. Despite my opthamologist telling me they were causing my dry eyes. I know, I know. But I went months without contacts and it honestly doesn't seem to make a difference! I have good days and bad days whether I'm wearing glasses or contacts. Maybe I'm just being stubborn. Ugh.

      Is the saline in little vials or just the bottle you would use for contacts? I'd feel terrible if it turned out that my eyedrops were making things worse. Especially given how much money I've been dropping on them.

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  10. I echo your 9-5 sentiments. Seriously, how am I supposed to call the doc to get a refill of my prescription? Luckily my workplace isn't too strict, so a personal call would be acceptable. But I'm always busy doing my job and forget!

    Speaking of doctors, hope your eyes feel better. Eye pain is an underestimated pain, in my opinion.

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  11. Sons of Anarchy.. The most underrated show on television.. So good!!

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  12. Goals for the weekend: chillaaaaaaaaaax

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  13. Do you wear contacts? Someone told me to switch just just saline to store the contacts in, or at least rinse them with it before putting them in, and it made it a million times better. So rinse your contacts with some plain saline. hope it helps

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    1. I do! I'll have to look into plain saline. Someone else mentioned it above as well. Is it preservative free? But in that case, do you have to buy it in tiny bottles? I'm going to check with my optometrist next time I'm in there!

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  14. Hello! Just saw this post and am wondering how your dry eye battle is going? I'm in my last year of optometry school and see many patients that are also struggling with dryness. I definitely agree with many of the previous comments, although I also encourage you discuss treatments with your eye doctor as there are multiple causes of dry eye and they should be able to guide you to solutions that target your specific problem.

    That being said, almost everyone can benefit from some basic 'ocular hygiene', and it sounds like you're doing most of what we'd initially recommend:
    -Follow the 20/20/20 rule: for every 20 minutes of near/computer work, look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. This gives your eye muscles a little break, since they are relaxed for distance viewing and have to work hard to make near images clear.
    -Use artificial tears 3-4x/day or more as needed: make sure they say 'lubricating drop' or 'artificial tear' and steer clear of anything that claims to get the red out. Also, this is the one time that you should not buy generic brands as they often contain harsh and outdated preservatives. Although it sounds like you're already using preservative-free, which is great! The brands that we often recommend are Systane and Refresh.
    -Use a thicker gel tear at night: these will make your vision blurry so use them immediately before bed. These are more viscous and will stay in the eye longer which is especially beneficial for patients who sleep with their eyes slightly open or those with chronic corneal erosions. Again, Systane and Refresh make 'PM' versions that work well or there is Lacrilube and Celluvisc.
    -Eat or supplement with omega-3's and other good fats
    -Lid scrubs: lid scrubs are especially beneficial for patients with blepharitis (your doctor will be able to tell you if you have this), and involve gently massaging your eyelids with a warm washcloth twice a day to remove any excess bacteria that likes to build-up on your lids and cause irritation. Most ladies don't have as big of a problem with this because we scrub our makeup off each day!
    -Warm compresses: most beneficial for patients with meibomian gland dysfunction as they open up the oil-producing glands in your eyelids. I always think of it like a honey bottle: the oil in your eyelids has plugged up the glands just as honey sometimes gets stuck at the tip of the bottle. If you heat up that honey for a bit then it will flow out more freely. Exact same concept! These compresses are most effective when there is concentrated heat applied to they eyelids. I don't think that washcloths work that well, as they lose the heat too quickly, so I would suggest using something like a rice/bean-filled heating bag or even just a small potato that you can microwave. If you want something fancier than food-turned-medical-device you can try the Thermalon Eye Compress (it's less than $10 and shaped like an eye mask but does the exact same thing).

    Annnnd Restasis, I believe it has a much better efficacy than only 10%. I think of it as a dry eye game changer, but it's often saved as a last resort because it's used long-term and is relatively expensive (about $1/day). But, if it takes care of your dry eye then it's probably worth it! Keep in mind that it takes a while to kick in, though, and you'll have to wait about 8 weeks to see any real improvement. So in the meantime you may want to invest in those more permanent punctal plugs.

    As for your contacts, be careful using plain saline. Contact lens solution is formulated to kill bacteria and remove protein - both things that can cause irritated eyes if left to accumulate! You may want to ask your doctor if a hydrogen peroxide formula would help (something like Clear Care) or if there is an alternative brand of lenses that may have more oxygen permeability (more oxygen = better feeling eyes).

    Sorry for the uber long comment! Hopefully you're able to find the solution that works for you. Keep us posted!

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