My Christmas Wish List
As a child, half the fun of Christmas was making a Christmas wish list. Making the list involved hours of looking through the Sears Roebuck catalogue.
Fast forward six decades, and my wish list no longer involves toys. Now I wish for more serious things. This year I have made a wish list for chronic dry eye (CDE).
A miracle treatment
I wish for a miracle treatment that would work for all of us. It would have no adverse side effects and it wouldn’t be expensive. Unfortunately there is no single cause for CDE, so a cure isn’t likely in the foreseeable future.
Next up is my wish that all doctors providing care for CDE were both knowledgeable and compassionate. As an advocate, I frequently hear comments about doctors that won’t listen and rush the patients through the visit. Other doctors treat CDE like it isn’t serious, telling patients to just use any eye drops and they will be fine.
Better insurance coverage
I wish that all insurance companies covered the cost of medications and treatments required to treat chronic dry eye. Prescription drops like Restasis and Xiidra are frequently not covered at all or have high copays. I don't think autologous serum eye drops made from the patient's own blood are covered at all.
Procedures to treat meibomian gland dysfunction include LipiFlow, TearCare, and MiBo Thermoflo. These procedures are costly and rarely covered by insurance. Non prescription eyedrops and eye ointments are also expensive. I have spent countless dollars trying various eye drops in my quest for ones that work for me.
I wish that the public was aware that CDE is a serious condition. Until I became a member of the chronic dry eye community (chronicdryeye.net), I did not know how serious this condition is. The use of various OTC drops kept my eyes fairly comfortable throughout the day. Night time was a different story. Though I applied lubricant eyedrops at bedtime, I still awakened in the middle of the night unable to open my eyes. It would take 2 to 3 minutes before I could open my eyes. Often I would see flashes as I struggled to get them open.
It was only after I read a few stories in this community that I realized my eyelids were actually stuck to my eyeball. I now know that this can cause scarring of the cornea.1 I tried various eye ointments but had difficulty getting them in my eyes. I finally found a gel drop that keeps my eyes comfortable throughout the night.
Websites such as chronicdryeye.net are helping raise awareness of CDE and the seriousness of the condition. Our editorial team writes articles covering the basics of the disease. They also share the various treatments and medications used to treat the condition. Community members further raise awareness by sharing their personal stories and participation in the forums.
Each of us can be an agent of change
Wishing won’t bring any of my wishes to pass. But each of us can be an agent of change. We can advocate for our own healthcare. We can speak up when we feel our doctors aren’t listening. If that doesn’t help, we can look for a new doctor.
In many cases we can shop around for insurance that best fits our needs. And finally, each of us can bring awareness to those around us. Speak up to family, friends, and employers to let them know how CDE affects our lives and how serious this condition is.
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