A hand pulls the window shades up and down revealing a diamond, then a rock.

The Unpredictability of Chronic Dry Eye: Good Days and Bad

“Some days are diamonds, some days are stone.” Apologies to John Denver, but this is how it is for me with chronic dry eye.

Some days (not many) my eyes are almost twinkling. I have very little trouble with them, and I don’t need to use drops. Although, if I’m being good, and following my doctor’s instructions, I’ll apply the drops anyway. I have them stashed in my handbag and around the house. I wish I could leave some in the car, but it would be much too hot for them. Writing on the bottle the date it was opened is important, otherwise I forget which ones are new and which ones are old.

On these good days I can enjoy a walk outside. With wraparound sunglasses, I can even cope in the wind and sunshine.

Unpredictability with dry eye

Last weekend I made a 3-hour drive to Sydney’s south coast for an overnight visit to friends. I was fully prepared for eye problems along the way but didn’t have to stop once – well not for my eyes anyway, just for coffee!

We even had a swim at the beach. I was quite worried about losing my new sunglasses, as I kept them on in the water. There’d be no finding them if they came off in the surf! I did dunk my head under the water and opened my eyes once. My family’s cure for lots of things when I was young was a good soak in salt water, especially at the beach!

Other days, my eyes do feel like stone, and very dry ones at that. No matter how many times I apply drops and use my face mask, things don’t improve. Nothing seems to work for more than a few minutes. I can’t drive for very long without pulling over and using drops.

I even have to go to bed early. I really can’t see the television with eyes that are blurry, either from being dry or from continually having drops in them.

The strange thing is that I can’t work out why each day is different and unpredictable. I don’t know what I do differently.

Searching for dry eye causes

I try to assess if it has to do with how much sleep I’ve had, or whether I’ve spent too much time on devices without enough breaks. Maybe I’ve spent too long outside, even with my wraparound sunglasses.

Perhaps I haven’t drunk enough water, or maybe I’ve had too many salty foods. It could be the air conditioning or heating that I’ve had on all day.

I really try to determine what has caused my eyes to be bad on any given day so that I can take steps to avoid the problem. But I can’t see any rhyme or reason in how the days pan out.

Sometimes when I’m super prepared, my eyes turn out to be fine.

If I ever go anywhere without my drops, that’ll be the day that turns to stone. Then I’m off to a pharmacist wherever I might be, to add to my growing collection of “little bottles.”

This chronic dry eye disease is very unpredictable for me. So the best I can do is follow my doctor’s instructions whether I feel like it or not. Then I try to get enough rest, drink lots of water and have breaks from my devices.

With a bit of luck and a lot of planning I might just have a few more “diamond” days.

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