Chronic Dry Eye
(Annandale, VA, USA)
“Ow Ow Ow!” I woke up exclaiming on July 2nd. It felt like someone had shot my left eye. It hurt to roll my eyes. It hurt to look at light. I couldn’t even move my right eye because my eyes are attached so if I move one then the other moves.
The word humor derives from a Greek word meaning juice, sap, or flavor. In Greece around 400 BCE, the four humours were identified as black bile, yellow bile, phlegm, and blood. All diseases and disabilities resulted from an excess or deficit of one of these four humours. Well, I had and HAVE two eye diseases that could have resulted from an imbalance of my humours, but I’ll tell you what they are in a moment.
On September 1st, the beginning of my birthday month, I go to the bathroom once I get to work, and my eyes are pink. First I think it was from computer eye strain. I go to my primary care physician, and he says, “I am 99% positive that this is pink eye.”
So now instead of introducing myself with the line “Hi, I’m Amanda,”
it was “Hi, I’m contagious. You don’t want to shake my hand.”
Instead of wearing sunglasses in the summer, I was wearing them in the fall.
I tried everything under the sun (go around the room): carrots, sunglasses, a wet washcloth, a cold compress, computer glasses, a computer screen protector, a computer lifter. Nothing worked.
The next time I got pink eye I called my doctor. The nurse does not take me seriously when I call back for a refill prescription, and tells me to call her at 6PM. Well, the office closes at 5:30PM. Nice!
Other times it happens again after I wore eye makeup the day before. So then I felt good. Whew! I’m not contagious after all. I’m just allergic to mascara. I do some research on the Net and find a thing called allergic conjunctivitis. I self-diagnose myself and buy some antihistamine eyedrops.Then it happened AGAIN!
Has anyone seen Family Guy? Have you seen that episode where Peter Griffith hurts himself and is on the curb making noises? Can you do an impression of Peter for me? That was me.
My parents, and also my ride, happen to be in South Carolina. So I call my aunt. I tell her, “I don’t want to lose my job! I don’t want to live with a glass eye!” She says, “Oh, don’t be overdramatic.”
I go to an optometrist, a step up from a primary care doctor, and tell her, “I tried everything: Erythromycin, Sulfacetamide, Systane eye drops, and Refresh antihistamine eye drops.”
She gives me a vision test. My right eye is 20/20. In my left eye I can only see the line second from the top. She looks at my eye with some machine and says, “Oh yeah, there’s definitely something there.”
She refers me to an ophthalmologist. He gives me a vision test. My right eye is 20/20. My left eye can’t see a thing! He looks at my eye with some machine and says, “Oh yeah, you’re missing a chunk of your eye.”
I about fall out of my seat.
He tells me: “Limit your time near smoke, near things that cause you allergies, with reading a magazine, with watching TV, with being at a computer, and with sleeping.”
So my diagnosis: Recurrent corneal abrasion syndrome, and here’s the kicker: mild-moderate dry eye
syndrome. Mild? Moderate? I would hate to see what severe looks like.
A lot of this all happened within this week, and I’m still here to tell the tale. And so, I am just waiting for the light at the end of the tunnel, when I will finally be able to see the humor (ahem!) humours in all of this.