If you have severe Dry Eye and tell someone that you have it, they will probably ask if you have tried eye drops or suggest that you try RESTASIS®. They’ll probably ask about your vision, and might even say that your eyes look just fine.
Keep in mind that most people don’t know that you have been asked these questions countless times, and that you are tired of answering the same question over and over again. The best way to cope is to look at these times as opportunities to raise awareness about the disease. Take the time to explain, in as much detail as you can, what you know about your condition, and what you might have learned from this website.
You may choose to share this website with your friends and family, or anyone who asks, or gives advice, about your condition. They will probably learn a lot, and may even appreciate more what you are going through.
If your vision has never been affected, say so. You can explain that Dry Eye Syndrome is not a disease that affects your vision, that is an “external disease” that has an enormous impact on your tear film. Tell them about meibomian glands and lacrimal glands, how they are part of an ocular system that moistens and lubricates the eye and surrounding tissue. Ask them to imagine what it might feel like if their eyes were bone dry, if every time they blinked it felt like sandpaper scratching the eye, or if it felt like they had soap or acid in their eyes all the time.
If your vision has been affected, say so too.
You can even explain to the person that you either have an excellent doctor who you trust implicitly (if, in fact, you do) or that you have seen countless doctors, but are still looking for the one who may be able to help you.
If you are frustrated with the care you have been receiving thus far, if your doctors have said something like, “At least you don’t have cancer,” share that story. It’s not that you are looking for pity, but their empathy might help.
Tell the person that there are millions of people in the United States alone, and countless others around the world, who suffer from Dry Eye, and that for all but a lucky few (we at Not A Dry Eye Foundation consider ourselves among the very fortunate ones because we all have found excellent care), the standard of Dry Eye care is woefully inadequate.
Remember, most people do not understand what we, the dry eye patients, go through just to get through the day.
If the person asking you about eye drops is really interested, they may follow up with your suggestion to check out our website.
If all else fails, you might try telling them about the 125-foot orange.
And if you would like to share how you cope when someone offers you their advice, please tell us. We’d love to hear from you, and we may even post your coping techiniques on our website or blog. Just fill out the form below.