Emotionally distressed woman sits on the edge of a bed with head in hands while her partner looks on.

Intimacy and Dry Eye

Last updated: September 2022

How do you get in the mood for intimacy when you are plagued with dry eye and living in severe discomfort? That’s a great question. I wish there was a simple blanket answer for this. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all solution for this debacle.

My husband and I have been through it for the last 2 years, and I hope that I can help in some way. I have read through a lot of articles pertaining to dry eye, and you just don't see much advice or open discussion relating to intimacy while having dry eye.

We have needs

For the most part in our married lives, intimacy happens in the bedroom, in the evening after the kids have gone to bed and all of the days’ work is complete(ish).

Well, after a day of fighting with the kids, all of the house work, and nursing my eyes, I just want to crawl in bed with my heat mask on and fall asleep.

We are human. We have needs. We can get grumpy with no sex. Dry eyes can make the jolliest of people a complete grump. Sexual frustration can do the very same. Chronic pain affects so many aspects of your life, even intimacy.

Setting time aside for sex

So, what is the solution? I’m sure that on your wedding day, filling out a sex calendar was not in the cards. I hate to sound old and lame, but this may help.

"Next Tuesday I’m going to take it easy. No laundry, no cleaning, no unnecessary errands. It’s time to make some love."

It sounds terrible, I know, but it works. It can be so easy to get caught up in life and everything we "need" to get done. Also, the chronic pain that dry eye causes is exhausting in itself. Take a day off, care for yourself, and let those fireworks fly in the bedroom.

Need to put in drops prior to this activity? Do it! The sweating and motion necessitate those moisture goggles? Wear them! What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, and your spouse knows this by now.

The importance of communication

Communicating how you are feeling has also been a huge help to me in this area of dry eye.

Also, please don't be afraid to seek professional help such as the help of a mental health counselor or other professional that can help. Dry eye can take a huge toll on your relationships and marriage.

I have found it crucial to have a mental health counselor not only help me manage chronic pain, but also help in this area of intimacy. Honestly, mine was struggling, and I knew I needed to seek help before this condition completely overtook my whole life. It is possible even if it seems hopeless.

Intimacy and dry eye isn't talked about much

I know this isn’t something that is talked about much, but I know that this topic is very important because we all need intimacy of some sort. Don't be scared to seek professional help, to get ideas on how to manage the psychological effects this can have, or to even develop creative ideas of how to cultivate intimacy within your relationship. From personal experience, this has been the biggest help.

I hope this helps you feel more confident about how to establish intimacy with dry eye.

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