I Cried Because I Had No Shoes…

Till I met a man that who no feet–Wally Lamb

I was lying in bed the other morning feeling sorry for myself because I suffer from corneal edema in my left eye. When I wake in the morning the vision in my left eye is blurred. What began several years ago as a minor annoyance, over the years  has gotten progressively worse to the point that it adversely affects my ability to drive and do other things especially before noon. But as I was lying there, it suddenly struck me that there are many people who would give anything to be able to see what I see out of that eye. I may not be able to read anything or see anything clearly, I can still make out my loved ones’ faces and can see to navigate safely (well, mostly) through my house. My neighbor watched her mother-in-law gradually go blind in both eyes. This woman, at eighty years, had to learn how to live all over again. So when I am feeling sorry for myself I remind myself that that are many, many people dealing with worse problems.

I wake in the morning and the vision in my left eye is as though I were looking through murky water (which is sorta what it really is). With corneal edema, the natural absorption of moisture in the cornea which occurs during sleep does not dissipate rapidly as it should. This causes the blurriness and as the day progresses, the blurriness diminishes. Some people even use a hair dryer to blow air onto the cornea to help the moisture evaporation. I’ve been dealing with Ophthalmologists for this problem for several years now and with each doctor I see, I get another treatment, another round of drops, another opinion. I’ve heard words like Fuchs Dystrophy, guttata, corneal edema, etc., most of which words I had to Google to find the definition. It’s funny, though, by the time I finally decided to see a doctor about my left eye blurriness, the internet had helped me self-diagnose my problem as corneal edema and I had been using over the counter medication for it. (I know doctors hate it when you tell them what you read on the internet)

Red EyeAs I said, I’ve been dealing with this problem for about five years now and unfortunately, it is getting continually worse. Now, to add to that problem, about a month ago, the whites of both my eyes turned beet red and I have developed large swollen bags under my eyes. I was diagnosed as having severe “dry eyes” (it’s a disease, that’s serious; just listen to the Restasis commercials). I have never used any type of artificial tears or lubricants that is until I saw the doctor about two months ago. At that time he put me on a regimen of four different eye drops and fish oil. And, of course, one of those eye drops was Restasis. I have a hard time using a medication that touts “You can tell it’s working when you don’t have to use eye lubricants as much”. So how do I tell its working if I never used lubricants before?

When I saw the eye doctor yesterday, he used three different color drops in my eyes yellow, red (that made me believe my eyes were bleeding–yuk!) and lastly blue. He said the blue dye in my eye indicated that damage done to my eye due to my dry eyes. One of his suggestions was tear duct plugs. Tear duct plugs are exactly what they sound like. Little plugs that are placed into the tear ducts in the corner of the eye to block the drainage of tears to the sinus cavities with the hope that more tears will stay in the eye. He did tell me ahead of time that I might experience “some” leakage from my eyes (after all, where do the tears–which I supposedly don’t have–go, if they can’t go down the tear ducts?) He put them in and I do feel them and have to remind myself not to scratch the offending little buggers out of the corner of my eye. As is often the case when you listen to disclaimers on television medication ads, it seems as if each treatment comes with an additional problem. The “some” leakage he told me I might experience–is basically a continual leakage so I am constantly wiping my eyes. I had a court deposition yesterday and having to continually wipe my eyes during this deposition, made me think they probably thought I was crying (and I certainly don’t care enough about a three and a half year old criminal case from my previous life to cry over it). The doctor also suggested the use of a dry eye ointment several times a day. The problem with treatment is that unless it is nap time, I can’t see after I put the ointment in my eye.

I won’t even go into the side effects from the fish oil he prescribed.

So I am trying to be patient and am hoping for the best and I keep reminding myself, “I cried because I had no shoes, until I met a man who had no feet.”



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