A portrait of Stacy.

My Chronic Dry Eye Journey: Stacy

Last updated: December 2021

About 10 years ago, I was diagnosed with open angle glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy. I thought that maybe was the reason why my eyes felt so disgusting at times. I would go for days with itchy, painful teary eyes.

Having panic attacks

It became very frustrating, and I started having panic attacks and was very confused on why my eyes always felt like something was in them. One day, I was fed up and made an emergency visit to my eye doctor. He checked my eyes out, and being that I also have diabetic retinopathy, he was concerned.

After doing a few exams, he finally gave me a diagnosis of chronic dry eye that was severe. Before leaving the office, he gave me samples of a very expensive eye drop. That was when my dry eye journey started.

Feeling like an outcast

I felt like an outcast because everything that could happen to me did. One doctor told me I was considered a walking textbook, because of all the health issues I experience on a daily basis. The chronic dry eye, I feel, is the worst of everything I have going on.

The most difficult part for me living with chronic dry eye is the long flare-ups that show up so unexpectedly. They truly catch me off guard. When I have dry eye episodes, I go into panic mode. I start having panic attacks because the feeling is so overwhelming and extremely uncomfortable.

Trying to treat my symptoms

Some things I do to treat or alleviate my symptoms is use eye drops and just cry because of the annoying feeling of something in my eyes. Often times, the drops don’t help, and I’ll just close my eyes and go to sleep.

Trying to figure out what triggers the episodes make it even harder, because if I could do something to lessen or avoid the episodes, I would.

What I wish others knew

Talking to others about my dry eye condition seems so daunting because they really don’t understand. They constantly ask me what’s wrong, because my eyes constantly water and are red from scratching them so much.

I wish they knew just how difficult it is to live with something you have no control over. I wish they knew just how frustrating this disease is. I wish they could just walk a mile in my shoes and maybe, just maybe, they will understand and have more sympathy. I wish they knew of ways to fix it all.

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