Parenting and Chronic Dry Eye
How do you manage being a parent, and dealing with dry eye, at the same time?
Being a mom is fun, exciting, stressful and spontaneity all rolled into one. Whether you are a parent to kids (young, teenage or even adult) or a parent to an animal, this is true! Dealing with a chronic condition such as chronic dry eye disease and blepharitis that just never seems to want to fully clear can really put a damper on family life.
Kids, pets, and chronic conditions
Being a single parent is an added twist, because I feel the responsibility to manage the home and feed my children's desire for adventure! Also, I have cats and a dog to take care of as well.
My kids love to adventure, and because of my chronic conditions we tend to keep our adventures on the shorter side. Our dog loves her walks, and those can be challenging. With pets as well, I find managing not only my dry eye symptoms, but managing the allergy symptoms that accompany having pets is vital. This helps reduce extra symptoms and helps me feel better so that I can be more flexible and enjoy our walks and adventures.
Chronic conditions require time to manage. Much of my routine revolves around prevention and management. Here are a few ways I manage.
How I manage
Prescribed eye drops
Keeping up with my eye drop prescription routine is an important part of my eye health. My doctor and I feel these eye drops are helpful, and making sure I take them daily and on schedule helps me do what is best for my eye health. I have also been given samples of other eye drops that I can use PRN, and these are important because if my eyes start to have more symptoms, then taking care of them sooner rather than waiting is important.
Scrubbing my eyelids
An important part of my routine is scrubbing my eyelids. I tend to fold it into my eye drop routine since both need to be done twice a day. This helps keep me on track. Because it seems I just can’t scrub well enough, I finally decided to get a device to help to see if it can make a difference. The NuLids device is available OTC, and I hope it can help me be more successful and manage better.
Eye self care
I have found a few things to help me. I have a warming eye mask that lasts about 15 minutes. Flax seed oil eye drops before, during, or after an activity to keep my eyes moisturized and less sensitive helps especially for a longer drive or even in taking walks or watching a movie.
One of my most bothersome symptoms of chronic dry eye disease is photophobia, aka light sensitivity. So I have several pairs of sunglasses. I have FL-41 sunglasses, as well as indoor versions. For outdoors with windy weather or when my eyes are extra sensitive, I have regular sunglasses with foam on the interior to really protect all air from getting into my eyes. I’d love to find a pair that are FL-41 with foam, but I haven’t found them yet.
A little bit of planning can go a long way to help. I have a go pack that includes my flax seed oil eye drops, eyelid scrub single pack, and my sunglasses with foam on the inside.
The preparation is worth it
Managing a chronic disease is hard, and being flexible and adventurous as a parent can be challenging. However, I want you to know you can do it. It may take extra planning and preparation, but it’s worth it so that you can enjoy it and know you are prepared with all your essentials.
What is a family adventure like for you? How do you prepare?
Have you taken the 2023 Chronic Dry Eye In America survey?