A person covers their head with their hands as drops of water filled with money fall around them.

Financial Stress of Chronic Dry Eye

Most of us are very familiar with the physical, emotional, and mental anguish that any chronic condition brings. There is another huge impact I feel isn’t very understood, and that is the financial one.

Let’s face it: it takes quite a bit of money to manage chronic dry eye and other health conditions. It takes a huge financial toll. At least, I know it did for me, and it continues to.

When it comes to chronic dry eye, there are so many different things involved in the treatment. This all takes money to manage. When you struggle with symptoms of a condition practically 24/7 and oftentimes can’t work, it makes it even more difficult.

Needing care

I spent 6 years bedridden while going through topical steroid withdrawal. This process caused my chronic dry eye to manifest in the first place. This meant I couldn’t work at all and needed around-the-clock care. Thankfully, I have very supportive parents who have been able to help me along the way, but not everyone is so lucky. Many people still have to work a full-time job to support themselves and their families.

I was already spending ridiculous amounts of money dealing with atopic dermatitis, topical steroid withdrawal, and other health conditions. Being diagnosed with chronic dry eye in the meantime was the cherry on top.

Cost of chronic dry eye

I had no idea how much money it would cost to manage this condition, on top of all the other costs. I have to spend money every month on supplies such as contact solution, eye drops, my Bruder mask, gauze for compresses, and more. This doesn’t even include the cost of my custom scleral lens and contact lenses, in addition to glasses.

Thankfully, Medicaid in my state covers my custom scleral lens and daily contacts. In my case, it's medically necessary, so I suppose I got lucky in that regard. However, I have to pay for glasses (frames and lenses) out of pocket, in addition to all the other supplies mentioned above. It doesn’t seem like a lot of money, but it adds up, especially for someone like me, who can’t work a full-time job. Income is already quite limited as it is.

Financial toll and stress

The financial toll this takes has consistently caused so much stress on me, as well as my entire family. They have had to help support me and take care of me. I cannot even imagine how much money they have spent on everything health-related to help me.

There are so many different things that go into managing any chronic illness. This is something many people don’t understand, unless they are going through it themselves. It’s extremely mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. It often feels like all the money I ever do make just goes to expenses for treating the symptoms of my chronic illnesses. This means I don’t have much room left to do or buy things I want and love, so my life is very “narrow,” so to speak.

Trying to accept it

Unfortunately, I can’t do much to change any of this, and all I can do is accept it and keep flowing with it as best I can. Hopefully one day, there will be more help and resources for those struggling with chronic dry eye and other chronic health conditions. It would be lovely to see this and experience some ease in all areas of life impacted by these conditions.

It all starts with education and awareness, and by sharing our stories and experiences, we empower others to do the same.

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