Dry Eye: Not As Simple As It Sounds
Last updated: January 2023
Outside of routine eye checkups, the average person doesn’t have to think about their eyes or eyesight much. On the contrary, chronic dry eye, while so “simple” sounding, affects so much of daily life for those of us who have it.
I feel the words dry eye make it sound like an extremely simple condition. It sounds more like a mild annoyance, rather than a health condition. Yet, it tends to affect most aspects of our lives, in one way or another. I certainly know it does for me.
Time management and productivity
Getting work done and being able to concentrate on anything is extremely difficult when your vision is blurry. Not only is it blurry much of the time, but you feel like there is something stuck in your eye, or just feel a gritty, burning sensation. It’s certainly quite uncomfortable and can get extremely frustrating at times.
I have to pause my work a lot of the time to put in my lubricant eye drops or fix my scleral lens. This means I get behind on my work quite often, especially when going through a particularly rough flare up of any of the health conditions I deal with.
In my case, it is somewhat similar to, as well as connected to, my journey with eczema. Eczema was always considered (at least while I was growing up), as “just dry skin.” The further couldn’t be from the truth. It is so much more than “just” dry skin and affects all parts of my life. Same goes for dry eye.
Always having to be prepared and think ahead
I always have to be prepared with my scleral lens supplies and eye drops. In addition, I have to keep up with my daily treatments, such as using my Bruder mask twice a day and applying gel eye drops and ointment at nighttime. Needless to say, that takes up some time out of my day too.
When my eye dry gets really bad and my scleral lens solution dries out, I literally can’t think about anything else. My eye gets completely blurry; it feels like there’s something scratching and poking it. Sometimes it feels like my scleral lens will just pop out – like there’s no moisture to hold it in place on my eye. I have unfortunately even broken a lens on accident this way, from my eyes being too dry when I was taking it out. Definitely not something you want to happen, as one lens is over $500!
On a really bad day, I have to use my eye drops throughout the day. This not only gets frustrating and annoying on top of the discomfort, but it’s also quite costly. Lubricant eye drops, contact solution, my scleral lens and regular daily contacts, Bruder mask, gel drops, ointment, etc. are all an investment I have to make towards this.
Of course, I have no choice, as I have to have it to function. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Insurance doesn’t cover most of this for me, as I can’t use prescription eye drops. That means I have to pay for it out of pocket. And for someone who deals with multiple health conditions and can’t work a “regular” full-time job, it can be pretty difficult.
There’s so much to dealing with and treating dry eye. I wish more people understood the toll it can take on a person’s life: physically, mentally, emotionally, and even spiritually. After all, we are an entire system and multi-dimensional beings. When one thing (whether in our body or life) is affected, the rest is as well. So, it’s not so “simple” after all!
Has having dry eye helped you better advocate for yourself?