The Perfect Storm: Dry Eye, Infection, and COVID
This past month, I’ve spent most of my time in bed. I’ve been extremely uncomfortable and in pain, with my eyes closed, unable to see much. Naturally, when we can’t really see, we can’t do much either.
The perfect storm
I started having a TSW and eczema flare up several months ago. I had a lot of other additional stress going on as well. During that time, I ended up getting COVID as well. Thankfully, the COVID itself wasn’t too severe for me. However, due to my autoimmune conditions, it caused a worse skin and eye flare than I’ve had in years.
As soon as the COVID symptoms started to go away, my skin and eyes spiraled downwards. I ended up seeing a doctor virtually as I was getting worried about my eye. He diagnosed me with conjunctivitis and prescribed a 7-day treatment with antibiotic eye drops.
Dealing with everything at once
For weeks, I had open, raw wounds on my skin below my eye as well as on my eyelid. Every morning was a long arduous process to slowly open my eyes after they get crusted over at night. Therefore, I hadn’t been able to wear my lenses, even my scleral lens, and without that I’m nearly legally blind in one eye even with glasses. On top of that, my skin and eye being irritated all over have made it hard to see at all. I was mostly house-bound due to this flare being so severe. I’ve been lying in bed, with my eyes closed or an eye patch on, unable to do anything.
Naturally this would make anyone frustrated and depressed. No one likes having to depend on others for even the basic of tasks. It makes me feel like a burden to my family, and just causes more mental and emotional anguish. But unfortunately, that’s been my reality for the past few months, as of my writing this. I haven’t been able to do much on my own. My parents have had to help me a lot again, which causes so much guilt.
Support from a good physician
My eye doctor spoke to me on the phone briefly to check in. I was instructed to use lubricant eye drops every 2 hours, use cold compresses, and a nighttime lubricant ointment on my eyes as well. This was all to keep the eye protected from all the skin irritation around it. I’m truly grateful to have the kind of doctor I do, who truly cares for my well-being.
This has been an extremely challenging few months. I don’t even have the words to describe how weird and uncomfortable it is to go through life unable to see much of anything or be able to do anything. It’s incredibly depressing and leaves one unable to function at all.
This all truly caught me by surprise. I never expected it to be this bad again, but here we are. Now all I can do is continue my dry eye treatment and wait for this skin and eye flare to settle down, so I can finally see again. One day at a time.
Have you tested your dry eye knowledge?