Great Start to a New Year

Last updated: February 2023

I always start January with a brief look back to the year behind me. Next I spend time thinking about goals for the new year. I am the typical yo yo dieter. Most years losing the same 15-20 pounds is top of my list.

A look back

Retinal specialist

At the beginning of 2022, I was struggling to find a treatment plan that would effectively manage my chronic dry eye condition. The plan I had wasn’t working. My goal was to find a dry eye specialist. Like most resolutions, I gave up on that goal quickly. I live in rural Oklahoma and the nearest dry eye specialist is 21/2 hours away.

I have macular degeneration and see a retinal specialist twice each year. At my visit in the spring of 2022 the doctor commented that my eyes looked extremely dry. I told him they felt okay to me. By evening each day they are often miserably painful. He stressed that I needed to use eye drops on a regular schedule, 3 times daily plus bedtime.

I took the doctors words to heart and began using lubricant eye drops at mealtimes. Tying their use to mealtimes helps me remember to use them. My daytime drops are not enough for nighttime. Before I switched to GenTeel gel for severe dry eyes, I would wake up with my eyelids stuck to my eyes. Not only is that miserable but it can cause corneal abrasions over time.

Optometrist

I see my optometrist a few times each year for meibomian gland dysfunction. Because the recommended treatments are so expensive and require travel, he manually expresses the glands 2-3 times each year. It is up to me to keep the glands open by using warm moist heat. I prefer the Bruder microwaveable mask. I had been using it once daily. My doctor told me to use it at least twice daily, preferably more often. I have worked hard to make his recommendation a habit I can stick with.

My optometrist also recommended fish oil supplements.  He stressed high quality supplements. I tried taking the recommended 1200 mg dose. Fish oil supplements have a mild blood thinner effect and I had lots of bruising. I recently switched to a 600 mg dose of fish oil. So far I am tolerating it.

Humidifier for dry eyes

As the days turned cold last fall, I noticed my eyes felt more dry. I attributed it to the central heat with a vent right beside my bed. I purchased a humidifier for the bedroom and my eyes are feeling much better.

By years end I had a treatment plan that was working. I used my drops regularly, took fish oil supplements daily, used the Bruder mask twice daily, and used the humidifier at night.

Looking forward

I have no new goals for 2023. I will take what I learned last year and make sure I am following my treatment plan each day. My takeaway from 2022 was that your treatment plan only works if you follow it consistently.

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