Hi guys, I've been browsing this forum a while cuz' it's like the only place where I can find some comfort knowing that I'm not the only one who is struggling. Even though when I look around my daily life, it DOES look like I'm the only one struggling! Where are all you guys hiding lol! Anyways, please read my case and let me know if you guys can figure something out and provide any assistance with my issue. I am 21 now [turned 4 months ago].
My eyes have always been white like any average person walking on this planet. I lived in the Middle East until I was 10 and moved to Canada afterwards. Everything was fine then as well, until some years later - I won't be able to pin point when exactly, but basically what used to happen was that when ever I would engage in sports or just stay out in the sun for a while - after a few hours my eyes would start becoming red and start burning. This was the case for many years. I would play sports and my eyes would literally feel like as if they have been burnt. Pitch red, and at times they would be burnt and remain red overnight on to the next night. That's how bad it would become.
Some time then, perhaps I would say 2003/04 I came across Visine. I started using it from time to time whenever my eyes would get red in the sun. A lot of the times, once they would get burnt red a lot, Visine would not do anything. Anyways, I used Visine for the next couple of years. Around 2006 September onwards, I started to develop very faint dark circles underneath my eyes. Almost unnoticeable, but I could notice them. My skin is fair, but since no one had ever seemed to have commented about them, I felt as if they really aren't as visible as I may think they are. I was still a teenager back then and related the cause to lack of sleep [I was staying up late nights on the computers, I can't deny that] till morning and what not. But my eyes themselves were still fairly normal and stable. The redness would still only happen in case of engaging in rigorous activity in the sun or heat, or being out in the sun for too long.
From 2006 to 2008 the dark circles just kept becoming worse and worse. I even traveled in 2007 December and 2008 Summer to South Asia and Middle East and though my eyes would remain clear white, and only became red when I would go in the sun - by now I was using Visine many times a day non stop.
After I came back from my 2008 Summer trip, everything was still fairly fine until the 2009 Summer. During that time, the dark circles did become worse, but that 2009 Summer I took a 3 day trip to Dearborn. I remember stepping out of the car for a few hours and my eyes became red and burnt. I used Visine non stop those 3 days and little did I know that Visine would only make them worse. I had done no research on any thing back then. Those 3 days, my eyes did not become white even for a day. However just randomly they became white again once I drove back to Toronto.
After that trip to Dearborn, just a few weeks later I went to a Summer Camp trip. But before that, finally getting fed up with my eyes, I went to a normal walk-in clinic and told the doctor my case and she prescribed Patanol. I went to that Summer camp and used Patanol and ended up finishing the small bottle in 2 weeks or so. At camp the same thing, eyes would turn red in the sun. Overall - would remain white. My eyes however in general, had started to feel tiring at all times, it would look like I'm almost always kinda' sleepy.
But by now, I started noticing that my upper eyelids also had veins if I closed my eyes or if I pulled my eyebrows up - as if I had upper and under eye dark circles. My whole eye-patch area started to look reddish and inflamed and when the skin is pulled you can see many veins. After that camp trip, I was fed up with Patanol as well and finally went to an optometrist. Took some money and did some check ups, couldn't find a real reason. He just said they are allergies and gave me Opticrom and Systane Ultra. Told me to use those. Please realize that this is 2009 end of Summer [end of August, starting of September] and my eyes were still in the same state where they would be white, but only turn red when they are out exposed in the sun for too long. After this appointment, the doctor had explicitly told me for the first time all the downsides of Visine and ever since then I have not even touched Visine. However I realized by then that prolong use of Visine can cause dry eye as well as rebound hyperemia.
The school year started, and since then I used the two drops for a while, but just a few months into school and my eyes were becoming red all the time for no reason. I used the drops as he prescribed, but as I saw things were getting worse, I went to him again and paid again for another checkup and he had nothing to say but the same thing. I felt my money was wasted, but I figured that all of these drops are just causing more problems. I stopped using any drops, since perhaps 2009 November or so.
But, it is then when my upper-&-under eye circles just got worse and now I started to have red eyes all the time. I noticed carefully they weren't the kind of red how they get when my eyes would get burnt, rather I would see veins now. And that's how they are now, on the inside corners of both the eyes there is also a bit of a yellow area. I haven't really gone out in the sun to play anything since the end of 2009 summer so I don't know what will happen when I do go out in the sun and stuff, but I do know that my eyes haven't gotten any better. I have some permanent veins and then I get the usual redness when I step out of the house. Also with the whole eye-patch looking reddish, I look horrible.
I can also say that my eyes are always tired looking, as if I have just woken up, puffy as well, and when I shut them I get this burning sensation and also there is this mild itchiness all the time where I feel the need to blink and keep them shut for an extra second or so each time I blink - especially by evening time this is what happens and they get even more tired by night.
Considering I'm a student - I went through my last year [have my last exam tomorrow], I have no idea how I went through it! It was the worse experience ever, and I'm a Marketing major and I have to do so many presentations and the thought that I look horrible each time I present. Anyways, that's done with now - off to the work field now, that's if anyone hires me with my horrible eyes!
At the start of April I went to another Ophthalmologist and told him pretty much the same story I just told you guys and he said clearly that I have dry eye. Just 2 weeks ago, I got temporary punctal plugs and he said start using Systane again as well. So I'm doing that, but obviously no difference at all. I have another appointment with him on first week of May. I'm thinking of asking him to put permanent plugs in regardless and maybe also perhaps if he can get me a prescription for Restasis? What I don't understand is that, why do I have veins in my eyelids upper and lower. I have a high certainty that they must be related to the actual eyes as well. If one problem wasn't horrible enough to deal with, but now I have a whole eye patch that looks reddish/darkish from a distance.
Anyways, I'm so depressed even though I may not sound like it. I don't know how I went through with this last year at university, but the thought that I have to live like this forever!? I've been browsing a lot of forums and stuff, and it just keeps reinforcing that most people haven't found any cure!
I am linking some pictures here, please note that the pictures really do not do justice to what the eyes really look like. The lighting in the room was a bit weird so you can't even notice any dark circles or so.
The 1st picture is my upper eyelid for one of the eyes, and you can see the veins. You can see them all around the eye skin area for both eyes.
The 2nd picture, I have pulled my under eye skin a bit as well and you can see the veins that look like dark circles when not pulled, and also the red veins in the eyes [again, the picture does not do justice to how bad they actually look].
The 3rd picture is what my eye used to look like in 2005 - the good days, when the eye was fine.
Any help will be appreciated. It is extremely hard to accept the fact that I may have to live like this forever? Do you guys have any previous experiences with such a case? I've seen a lot of people with permanent veins, but their eyes don't have dryness or they don't have skin around their eye which looks messed up. And then I've seen people with such bad dry eyes, but they still don't look bad.
Picture 1: http://yfrog.com/9f42169461j
Picture 2: http://yfrog.com/2r40364948j
Picture 3 from 2005: http://yfrog.com/jy47238203j *Sigh - I want my eyes back*
PS - I have also been taking Omega 3 Fish Oil supplements.