Research Tips for Chronic Dry Eye
OK, so you’ve just received a diagnosis off chronic dry eyes (CDE). Maybe you didn’t even know there was such a thing. Suddenly you need to learn all you can about it. But where do you start? I found it was up to me to educate myself about CDE.
Where to look for answers
I think the first source should be your doctor. As a registered nurse, I learned the value of looking to a doctor and support staff for information. Questions to ask include: what is the cause(s) of my dry eye condition? What are my treatment options? Is the recommended treatment and/or medications covered by insurance?
Don’t overlook the nurse or techs working with your doctor. Nurses are trained to provide accurate information about your condition as well as medications. They may not be as rushed as the doctor and have more time to answer questions.
Looking for information can be a daunting task, especially as it relates to the internet. A simple Google search for “chronic dry eye” returned 172,000,000 hits. You want to be sure you can trust your source for information. Using “Dr. Google” for health information indiscriminately may result in false or misleading information.
As a grant writer for the Choctaw Health Authority, I learned how to use the internet for research. When I was diagnosed with chronic dry eye, I used my training to learn everything I could. I wanted to know if my lifestyle played a role. Since the onset was after cataract surgery, did surgery cause it? Were any of my medications making it worse?
If you are like most people, you will find yourself looking for answers on the internet. I put together this list of trusted websites. There are many others, but these are the ones I find helpful.
- National Eye Institute
- Mayo Clinic: I especially like the Mayo Clinic for the simple language they use. If you aren’t a health care provider, medical terminology isn’t easily understood.
- American Academy of Ophthalmology: there is a section for patients that covers all eye diseases or conditions.
- ChronicDryEye.net: I saved my personal favorite website for last. When I was first diagnosed, I found out about the website from my affiliation with MacularDegeneration.net. I think the CDE website provides easy-to-understand information. I like the Story section where people share their experience with chronic dry eye, and the forum section where you can search a topic of interest to you or start a forum topic of your choice.
Seek answers from people you know and trust
Your friends or family members that have CDE may recommend a doctor they have found helpful. Sharing your symptoms and treatments with them may result in helpful tips. It is best to ask your doctor if a treatment or medication is right for you.
Join the mailing list of organizations dedicated to your condition. One I find helpful is the Dry Eye Foundation. You can participate in Zoom calls specific to your age group or specific symptoms.
If you have found other helpful resources, please add them in the comment section below.
Have you tested your dry eye knowledge?