My Eyes Have It — FINALLY!

Dearest Readers:

To those who contacted me via e-mail, inquiring about the saga with my eyes and contacts, I’d like to thank you for your concern. I am happy to report when I went to the ophthalmologist in late May, I saw a different doctor. Seems my doctor moved to another practice, so I saw her partner. He checked my eyes thoroughly, looking back into the file to see and read notes. Then, he asked me, “Which eye was it that had a damaged cornea?”

Negative, frightening thoughts entered my mind, for a moment. He shook his head, looking again.

“What’s the matter? I thought my eye was getting better.”

“It is!” He exclaimed. “I don’t see any damage. You have two healthy eyes.”

I sighed! “Can I wear my contact again?”

“Let’s try one.”

Finally! My right eye was healed. No scarring. No damage. The cornea was healthy!

If you have followed my blog about my eyes, you will recall I have fought with an eye virus, an eye infection, a scarred and burned cornea, and an almost complete loss of eye sight since February 2013. For over four months, I could not wear contacts at all. In my right eye, all I could see was a blanket of gray, or a gigantic blur. Watching TV, if I covered my left eye to see out of the right, I could not make out images on the TV — not even the 52-inch in the den. At the doctor’s office, I could not read the eye chart — not even the top chart! Fortunately, my left eye was great, with good vision, but driving — well, let’s just say, I did not drive, except to get to the doctor’s office. All of my weekly errands were rescheduled for weekends, when my husband was home. I hated it. For almost four months I found myself practically homebound. Unable to drive comfortably. I did drive to Weight Watchers, that is — when I went. I did not walk, for fear I would not be able to see the sidewalk well and might fall. My independence was suddenly questionable. I confess, I am not a dependent person, so I remained at home, resting my eye. Hoping and praying that with each new day, I would see improvement. I did not.

The eye doctor had me on several medications. One of the medications resulted in burning my cornea, so she tossed that medication in the trash. During the four months of wishing and hoping and praying that my eye would heal, it did not. The doctor suggested a new course — over the counter Refresh Eye Drops and the prescription drug, Restasis. “Use them twice daily…and no contacts until I say so!”

That was the last time I saw my strict eye doctor in April. When I returned in May, I saw her partner, I believe he is the founder of the practice. When he shared with me that he could not find any damage to my eye, I was ecstatic! Hopefully, I could wear contacts again.

Today, I am pleased to report, I am able to wear a contact in my right eye. i have the thirty-day, soft type, and I am using them daily. I DO NOT SLEEP IN THEM! Although, reportedly, patients can sleep in them, but ‘eye conditions may occur,’ so I am being smart this time, not lazy. A new nightly ritual includes not just washing my face, brushing my teeth, moisturizing my face and body, I have a new ritual after washing my hands. I remove my contact. Place it in fresh solution, and I moisturize my eyes — first with Refresh drops. I wait about five minutes, then I open a Restasis vial and moisturize my right eye. When I awaken in the morning, the same ritual occurs, including moisturizing my eyes with Refresh and Restasis. After 30 minutes, I insert my eye contact.

I will never sleep in contacts again — even IF I am told that I might. While I do not know if sleeping in a contact causes eye problems, I am told that the eye needs to breathe and while sleeping in contacts, the eye might not receive the proper amount of oxygen. I do find it interesting that with all of the problems I had with my eye, all occurred with my right eye — the eye with the sleeping contact.

So, dear readers, to all of you I will say — you be the judge. If you wear contacts, please consider that you do not want to endure the problems I had. Nothing is more frightening than to have your eye sight slowly fading away. I had so many foolish questions dancing inside my mind:

*I am a writer – how can I write when I cannot see?” My mindset was a pity party, I suppose.

There were definitely additional questions I had, but I realized it was time to stop focusing on a pity party and pray that my eye sight would return. I am so blessed that my sight is back to normal now, and I only need to wear one contact. I still have reading glasses placed strategically around the house, and in my handbag. After all, a writer must be prepared.

The new contact is doing well. Perhaps because I am not sleeping in contacts at all, and I use the eye drops for dry eye syndrome twice daily. If you have dry eyes, you might consider printing a coupon from the Refresh website, read carefully how to use the vials and follow the directions 100%. Make certain you wash your hands before doing any eye care!

Lessons learned the hard way for me. I always wash my hands prior to any eye care, but I was negligent by sleeping in a contact. During this illness, my left eye was 100%. Right eye? Almost blind. Lessons learned. Please, follow my advice and NEVER…EVER SLEEP IN CONTACTS. It just isn’t worth an eye infection, eye virus, or conditions within the eye, especially with the cornea!

Let us all make a pledge to have Happy, Healthy Eyes!!!

The Eyes Have It – Contacts, Eye Infections, Losing Sight

Dearest Readers:

It is a late and wet morning for me within the City of Charleston, SC. Originally, my plans for today were to walk the dogs, afterward, I planned to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge. The dampness of such a wet day has dictated that I cannot honor my plans. Deciding it is the perfect day to clean my home, I sprinkle carpet deodorizer on the carpets and relax while eating strawberry Greek yogurt and another cup of coffee. Time to write in my blog, I decide…and so…here we go!

Today, I will discuss an important issue. A frightening experience I recently had, giving me a major scare! In early February, I awoke with a pink eye in my right eye. Strange, I thought, Before when I’ve had pink eye, aka Conjunctivitis, I’ve had pink eyes — in BOTH eyes, not one! I used eye drops. I removed my contact, tossing it in the trash. I rested my eye, covering it with a satan facial mask. I doctored it with ice cold packs. Nothing helped. Two days later, with the right eye a bit swollen, and the inability to look into anything bright, I recognized that my diagnosis of Conjunctivitis needed to be confirmed professionally, especially since now, I could not stand bright light of any type hitting the right eye. The pain was unbearable.

Phil drove me to Nason Medical. Their diagnosis was I might have an infection in the retina. They referred me to an ophthalmologist. Early Monday Phil drove me to Mount Pleasant Ophthalmology. After many tests, the diagnosis was an eye virus. For many weeks, I returned to them twice weekly, using a variety of prescription eye drops. At first, the eye appeared to get worse. Testing my eye with the eye chart, all I saw was a blob — a white, foggy blanket, nothing more. I could not see an image at all! I was horrified. Additional prescription eye drops were prescribed. Now I was taking four eye drops throughout the day — four to five times daily. Reluctantly, I stopped wearing eye makeup.

Due to the condition of my eye, I remained at home, afraid to go outside since the sunshine felt as if it exploded inside my right eye, and I was horrified to drive anywhere simply because I could not see properly. I managed to drive to the eye doctor visits — carefully and slowly.

Depression sat in. During the day I cried, recognizing the tears would only aggravate my eye more. I tried to read, to catch up on a collection of magazines on my desk…how could I read them, when I really could not see the words or images? For the first time in my life, all I did was sit around and rest. No wonder I was depressed…my life was not my life anymore.

Finally, the eye virus cleared up, only to have the cornea irritated from some of the eye drops. Still, I struggled to read the eye charts. Forget the contact, or independence now…I felt my life was that of a wilting vegetable. Cooking was a struggle since I could not see to chop vegetables… On one occasion, I almost burned the pasta. “How is it you burn pasta?” I screamed. Simple. When you cannot see what you are doing, anything can happen!

I confess, I have taken the luxury of eye sight for granted, but not anymore. Every time I saw the doctor I asked her “when can I wear my contact again?” Her reply wasn’t what I wanted to hear, but I decided it was best to follow her advice. On one visit, she mentioned that my cornea looked like sandpaper. This condition sounded a bit too serious. I drove myself home, researched on the Internet, deciding that the information I was reading would only horrify me more. I walked to the bedroom, spoke with my dogs, threw myself on the bed and I cried like a newborn baby. My pups moved closer to comfort me. I prayed, and prayed. Dear God, please don’t let me lose my eye sight. I have so much to do and say. Please God, touch and heal my eye.

On the next eye visit, my doctor removed me from all of the prescriptions, deciding to use natural tears, rest and a lot of TLC. Today, I am happy to report, my eye is much improved. The cornea is ‘healing well now.’ Natural tears are helping so much. My last checkup was on Monday and I’m happy to report I could actually read the eye chart! What a relief. Over the week I tested my eye, covering my left eye to see if the right eye could actually see something besides a blanket of fog. Like a little child, I recognized the beauty of green trees. Even the pollen blowing in the wind looked inviting, until I sneezed! What a relief. I could see again! Trees. Flowers. My dogs. A TV screen. The sky. The beauty of life. My eyes could see! I danced a happy dance…I CAN SEE AGAIN!

I must see the eye doctor in two weeks, and I’m happy with that. As for my contacts? They are still in the package. I haven’t opened my last box for fear that I would weaken and let temptation get the best of me. For now, I have reading glasses on my desk — two pairs are inside my handbag…one pair is in the den. One pair in the kitchen…and one pair by my bed. Yes, I’m vain…I don’t like wearing glasses. I find them uncomfortable and a bit difficult to walk in. The strange thing about this experience with my right eye is this — since the eye is able to focus and see things again, occasionally I can actually read something without glasses, or contacts. Isn’t that strange…maybe the eye exercises I’ve been doing are helping me, along with the eye vitamins and the sheer stubbornness of this modern day feminist who refuses to allow something to knock me down for long. Funny! My Julia Sugarbaker style has returned!!!

Eye health.