What I Would Tell My Former Self About Dry Eyes
Last updated: April 2023
I am now over two years into my dry eye journey. And as I reflect back over the things that I have learned in those two years, I can’t help but think now about what I would have told myself when I was beginning the journey. Something was seriously wrong with my eyes–that’s all that I knew at first.
I thought that laying off of my contact lenses for a week or making a quick trip to my eye doctor would fix the situation. Then, as my symptoms persisted and my eyes got worse, some Google search results about the permanence of this condition really scared me.
So what would I say to my former self, the 41-year-old woman whose eyes seemed to have gone haywire?
Dry eye is chronic
First, this will be a marathon and not a sprint. With our currently available technology, dry eye is not a condition that can be cured, but it can be managed. You can’t take a round of antibiotics or get a steroid shot and make this go away. It will be a long process. You need to realize that this may be something that affects you for the rest of your life. So give yourself some grace and some time in figuring it out.
Go through all of the feelings–be frustrated, mourn, but don’t give up because…
It will get better. And you will try a lot of different treatments. Some will work, and some won’t. But your eyes will improve. And you need other people on your team to help you improve. Find people who have been through the same thing. Find a doctor who knows what he’s doing–and fast.
The quicker you find someone who specializes in dry eye, the quicker you will be on your road to healing. And you’ll minimize the damage done to your eyes. You may feel like you are barely hanging on right now, but with the help of experienced people and with your strong, persistent spirit, you will get better.
Learn about eye health
Next, you will learn a lot. Dry eyes will inspire a love of learning in you about what it takes to be healthy. You’ll learn about eating healthy foods and managing stress. You’ll learn about choosing healthy products for your home and for your body.
Your focus on your eye health will also lead to improved overall health.
Finally, you will mature as a person through this trial. You will become stronger than you thought you were, and you will see people who are hurting like you never have before. Dry eyes will strip you down and make you savor what’s important and let go of what’s not.
You will form relationships with other people who are hurting, and you will depend on them for support and encouragement. And you will realize that the things that are good and beautiful in life are wrapped up with the difficult. Pain and heartache walk hand-in-hand with the concern and affection of other people.
You’ll learn that this difficulty is not the end of the road but rather another path to becoming who you will ultimately be.
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