It's Not What You Think!: Using Eye Drops While Working

The problem I’m going to tell you about is made worse because I’m mostly working purely from home and have many Zoom meetings. I don’t know about you, but I turn my camera off while I put drops in my eyes, which usually happens at least once in each meeting! And then I turn the camera back on and realize I have watery eyes, maybe a tear (not a tear, a drop! …but only I know that) running down my cheek… and I’m wiping my eyes.

Taking medication in public

I still haven’t found the best way to deal with this. Of course I could just type “Sorry, need to put drops in my eyes, back in a sec.” in the chat box, but I mean… it seems inappropriate and a bit ridiculous. I don’t usually say why I’m stepping away, be it to grab a snack or take meds, why would I announce to all in attendance that I’m putting drops in my eyes? So I just don’t say anything.

But I also wouldn’t want people to have a splendid view of my nostrils, which is the main reason I turn the camera off! I mean… eww! I was also raised thinking that you don’t take medication in public (which I haven’t been able to avoid and is now quite normalized anyways; is hiding to take meds still a thing?) To me, putting drops in my eyes is a similar thing. I don’t care at all if others do it, mind you. But I just… prefer not to myself. Mostly it’s the nostrils, though!

Dry eye misconceptions

But I know this means sometimes people think I’m crying (and that this is the reason I turned my camera off). Which I know because it happened on a few occasions that someone asked me in the private chat if I was OK.

Not as much an issue over Zoom as it’s harder to see, but very much so in person, is that, usually, this all starts because of dry, achy eyes… which means red eyes! And in general, that can mean someone was just crying, or, maybe, smoked cannabis! Did you know that “frequent use of eye drops to hide redness” is a sign of drug use according to some serious websites, like provincial public health? So even just using the drops… *sigh*

I know I should just not care about what the people in the meeting with me are thinking. And although I’d rather not be accused of taking drugs while I work, there definitely isn’t anything wrong with being sad or crying. I think if it happened that I actually cried, I might close my camera while I regain some composure, but I probably wouldn’t try to hide it, really. What bothers me the most is simply… it would be a misconception!

If someone asked me how my dry eyes bother me, this wouldn’t have been the first thing that comes to mind, but it definitely is bothering me!

Have you had to explain at work why you are using eye drops? Share with us in the comments below.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The ChronicDryEye.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.

Community Poll

Does chronic dry eye prevent you from enjoying time outdoors?