I shared my Story of Hope back in May 2016, and am happy to report that today my eyes are still comfortable. Since then, I’ve learned to avoid the triggers that make my eyes feel worse. I now know what to do each day to keep my eyes comfortable and moist. And I also had another meibomian gland probing.
At home my daily regimen includes cleaning my eye lids, anti-inflammatory and allergy drops, steam, and moisture chamber goggles.
My Daily Regimen
This is regimen I follow daily.
In the morning when I get up I use a solution containing hypochlorous acid — Avenova lid cleanser prescribed by a local ophthalmologist, or Heyedrate — on both eyes. I squirt the solution two or three times on a cotton pad, wipe it on my eye lids, and leave it on.
Then I irrigate my eyes with sterile saline, squirting half a tube in each eye. After irrigating I take a shower and make sure my lids are really clean.
Next, I use a drop of Restasis in each eye, capping the tiny tube for the next use until it’s empty. Ten minutes later I put a Pataday drop in each eye. At noon I use Restasis again.
In the evening I repeat the steps, and add steaming with a facial steamer for three minutes.
After steaming, I clean my lids with the hypochlorous solution, irrigate with sterile saline, and apply Restasis. Plus, I take another shower.
The day ends with moisture chamber goggles. I sleep in them, then wash and dry them carefully each morning.
It may sound like a lot of steps, but it’s completely worth it to me, because my eyes feel just fine practically all the time.
Doctors and Life Style Changes
I’ve changed my diet, avoiding coffee and sugar while eating more fish, vegetables, and organics when possible. Lots of doctors recommend these changes to their patients. To me, it just makes sense to eat healthier.
I see a local eye doctor at least once a year for general eye health. And at least once I year I see the specialist in Florida who first diagnosed and treated all of my Dry Eye conditions.
At my annual visits the specialist administers a variety of tests: Schirmer tests, meibomian gland exams, tear break-up time, eye pressure, and sometimes a meibography to see if my meibomian glands are changing. Then, depending on what he finds, he may adjust my treatment plan.
About once a year I have meibomian gland probing, which keeps the glands open and functioning. By the time the one year period rolls around my eyes are usually a little less comfortable than usual. They might be getting a bit gritty or sometimes have foreign body sensations. After probing these symptoms go away and my eyes feel great. After each probing my glands have stayed open longer and produced more oil. Meibographies have even shown that my glands are getting longer, which I think is remarkable.
To some it may seem like a long way to travel just to see a doctor (I live in Seattle and he’s in Florida), but I feel it’s an important step to make sure my eyes stay comfortable. In time, these visits may become even less frequent, but for now I’m sticking with once a year. Each time I go, my hope and my faith in the process of healing is renewed.
I hope sharing the steps I take to make my eyes comfortable inspires you to learn how to take care of your eyes. And I also hope to see you at the Dry Eye retreat this November 9-11, in Williston, Florida. Registration will be opening soon, but space will be limited so please register early. See you in November!
Executive Director, Not A Dry Eye Foundation
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