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Thread: What is wrong with my eyes?

  1. #1
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    What is wrong with my eyes?

    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.
    Last edited by Bored; 22-Apr-2010 at 15:44.

  2. #2
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    hi there

    Your eyes look like mine red veiny wise...and I also have dark circles. I guess some people dont get red eyes when they have dry eyes...hard to comprehend for those who do.

    I was finally diagnosed with occular rosacea...didnt have facial. Or at least for a few years and then I got a little bit of redness that didnt go away around my nose. So they put me on doxiclillan an antibiotic. Been on it for one month..they say wait 8 weeks to evaluate. It has gotten a little bit better but not much.

    But look up occular rosacea and see if that fits you hon. It sure looks the same as mine. keep trying...it takes years to figure out what wrong and then a plan of what is best for you!
    sincerely regina

  3. #3
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    I don't see anything red and veiny - they actually look healthy.

  4. #4
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    sorry

    I quickly read what you wrote then you put the link to pictures of your eyes. at first I thought oh god I don't really wanna look, cause if they looked bad it would sort of bring me down. Well If you want my honest oppinion. I think your eyes look really ok infact and im not a nutcase or wierdo or anything They look like they could be a a fashion magazine. I think those darker rims you have are really ok many people have that and it really really looks ok (and I#m not just saying that, also I hav edry eye and my eyes are not so bad as some thers, so I'm not saying it in comparrison with some one wih really really red eyes) I know if you are down about something some times its hard to believe others. So my advice would be to go out and live and meet people and feel good about your lovelly looking eyes!!

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored View Post
    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.
    Hi

    It may not be of any comfort to you but I must say that your eyes look OK to me.

    Like Dave, I was steeling myself for something quite distressing!

    I'm a good few years older than you so perhaps it's not a reasonable comparison but I always think that my eyes look really droopy and tired. I've learnt that it's not what other people see and they are often surprised when I spell out to them what is wrong. People that know me can tell when I'm tired but that goes for many of us.

    Now if I had one wish, it would be to get rid of the constant misery and discomfort. (Do you have much pain? Are you able to read OK? )

    Eat healthily and go out and enjoy yourself - play sport - study. (Have you thrown out the Visine?)

    I'm not being flippant - your remark about no-one hiring you because of `horrible eyes' is far from the truth. Here in the UK, employers seek a range of personal attributes which are important to working with team members & customers. Key attributes are positive self-esteem, confidence and enthusiasm. Work on these and nurture them as well as your eyes

  6. #6
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    Hi guys, thank you for your supportive comments, but I really hope you guys aren't assuming that I'm complaining about picture number 3 from 2005. That was a "before" picture showing what the eye did look like and that I was fine with that. It is the first 2 pictures that I was referring to - and as I said the pictures aren't really doing justice to what they look like in real. I will try to take a picture in a more lighted areas rather than in the dark so that it is a bit more clear what I'm talking about.

    regina, thank you for your comment. However, I highly doubt I have rosacea, let alone ocular rosacea. As far as I know, rosacea has some very distinct symptoms that I don't think I have - like crusty, flaking skin on the eyelids. And if I had it, isn't it visibly possible for the ophthalmologist to determine it in the check up that I had?

    And irish eyes thanks. But yes I do have almost constant itchiness (and redness) - and that is the only form of pain that I have, nothing more serious than that. Though that it self is bothersome on its own especially when it is something occurring all the time. But my vision seems to be perfect. However at times, when I'm on the computer a lot I do get a blurry vision which corrects it self on its own. And yes, I've thrown out the Visine! I put all the blame on those drops and my naivety in using them so regularly for causing all these problems!

    And by the way, if anyone's thinking I'm kinda' still exaggerating the eye redness, I think getting comments such as "are you high", "have you been smoking", "you look drugged", are usually proof enough that the eyes look red enough for others to pass comments. Too bad not everyone understands what the issue is, but I usually just laugh and play it down.
    Last edited by Bored; 22-Apr-2010 at 15:43.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored View Post
    And irish eyes thanks. But yes I do have almost constant itchiness (and redness) - and that is the only form of pain that I have, nothing more serious than that. Though that it self is bothersome on its own especially when it is something occurring all the time. But my vision seems to be perfect. However at times, when I'm on the computer a lot I do get a blurry vision which corrects it self on its own. And yes, I've thrown out the Visine! I put all the blame on those drops and my naivety in using them so regularly for causing all these problems!
    Hi there

    You obviously had a reason for using Visine in the first place so I can fully understand why these things happen.

    The itching can drive you nuts though and I do sympathise - honestly. It sounds like allergies and of course this poses a huge diagnostic challenge. Doctors always ruled out allergies in my case but agreed that my eyes seemed to be hyper sensitive and this didn't help with the problems that came with dry eyes.

    You said that punctal plugs didn't help and you were considering permanent plugs. Why do you think permanent plugs would make a difference?


    PS - On the subject of Visine, I read about people putting drops in drinks to help them sleep - and use the bathroom a lot! Not a good idea at all.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish eyes View Post
    You said that punctal plugs didn't help and you were considering permanent plugs. Why do you think permanent plugs would make a difference?
    I really don't know - I'm just hoping that perhaps 1 month with temporary plugs only in the bottom ducts, that just dissolved on their own wasn't a long enough time to figure out if plugs will work. But permanent plugs both in the lower and upper tear ducts with a combination of using Restasis might do some good? Even with the temporary plugs - I was told that since they block the ducts, my eyes will start to overflow with tears, but I have had no such experience. That is leading me to believe that my eyes just aren't producing enough tears in the first place. Which is why I'm thinking of using Restasis. I mean what else is there to do? It really is the next step isn't it?

  9. #9
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    Plugs haven't helped me. I started out with 2 at the bottom and a few years later, the doctors thought it would be a good idea to plug the top as well.

    Disaster! A form of muddy slush in the eyes that couldn't escape anywhere. Result - huge cysts on both top and bottom lids because the debris just settled. It was clear to the doctors that this wasn't a good idea but they advised me to give it time. I almost lived at the outpatients and the poor nurses must have despaired when they saw me time after time because the plugs were causing so much trouble.

    In the end, one plug fell out and the doctor thought she may as well remove the other one - so now I'm back to 2. I didn't produce enough good quality tears in the first place so it's pointless trying to salvage any. Whenever plugs are mentioned now, I refuse to consider them.

    I can't comment on whether Restasis is the next thing because it's unclear what is actually wrong. Certainly raise it with your doctor though.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish eyes View Post
    Disaster! A form of muddy slush in the eyes that couldn't escape anywhere. Result - huge cysts on both top and bottom lids because the debris just settled.
    Man, this is what makes this whole issue so much more complicated. What works for one person, becomes a total disaster for another. And you can never tell unless you try it out yourself. I never knew plugs could cause so many problems too, and I know Restasis has caused a lot of damage to some people as well. That's why I get so confused as to what to do. I just can't believe how fast my eyes deteriorated in less than a year. It has still only been about 7 or 8 months since my eyes became like this - not even a full year yet! Even though I had the redness occurring due to heat or whatever, they would still return to being completely white sooner or later.

    Aren't there any eye doctors that are higher than your local ophthalmologist? Someone who can do even greater eye check ups and really point out what the issue is? I've noticed from a lot of individual and even perhaps from my own experience that the ophthalmologists pass the issue off as trivial and don't understand the extent of physical and emotional pain that comes with it. I mean if dealing with the physical aspect of it wasn't bad enough - it isn't exactly aesthetically pleasant either.

    As far as your experience with the plugs, it seems that you were fine with the two permanent plugs in the bottom ducts for a few years right? And things only got worse when you got the top two ducts plugged as well?

  11. #11
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    I had all four drains cauterized shut and I dont have excess tears. but i have sjorgrens with occular rosacea I think...its all a crap shot anyway it seems. But we all seems to complain about the same crap! I dont know if the cauterization helped or not...it didnt hurt it and when I do get moisture...it has to stay at least for a little while.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bored View Post
    Aren't there any eye doctors that are higher than your local ophthalmologist? Someone who can do even greater eye check ups and really point out what the issue is? I've noticed from a lot of individual and even perhaps from my own experience that the ophthalmologists pass the issue off as trivial and don't understand the extent of physical and emotional pain that comes with it. I mean if dealing with the physical aspect of it wasn't bad enough - it isn't exactly aesthetically pleasant either.

    As far as your experience with the plugs, it seems that you were fine with the two permanent plugs in the bottom ducts for a few years right? And things only got worse when you got the top two ducts plugged as well?
    Over the years, I've seen very experienced people at my local NHS hospital - which incidentally is a large teaching hospital. I have also spent lots of cash on seeing specialists privately. Whilst some might have been dismissive of it initially, I must say that they are far more sympathetic now. They admit that this is one of the most frustrating and depressing conditions they see in clinic.

    Plug `history'

    I had 2 at the bottom for a few years and then they put in 2 at the top to see if that might improve things. The top plugs were excruciatingly painful from the start and the lids became florid and swollen. Problems followed (as already described). A plug at the bottom fell out so then the doctor removed the one in the other eye rather than replacing the lost one.

    I understand that having plugs in the top can retain 30% moisture (eg that you can lose whilst sleeping) and that plugs in the bottom can retain up to 70%. The skin around top plugs still get inflammed from time to time but otherwise are OK - so I may as well stick with them. I might notice a difference if they were removed and I try to avoid hassle where possible.

    So, should I have stuck with 2 plugs? With hindsight, maybe so but I had no idea that I was going to have that kind of experience. My eyes (at the time) were particularly bad so the doctor thought that plugging the other 2 was going to help. It was all well intended and I was happy to go through with it at the time because I was so desperate. Sorry if I'm sounding a tad dramatic.
    Last edited by irish eyes; 24-Apr-2010 at 03:55. Reason: Additional info.

  13. #13
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    Just my experience

    Hi there. I was diagnosed with ocular rosacea and I never had dry flaking or crusty skin on my eyelids. So it might present differently in various people. I was shown some visible veins on my upper eyelid similar to your picture though.

    My main symptom is red, veiny eyes. When the inflammation is increased, I also have a burning sensation.

    My eyes get considerably more red with sun exposure as that seems to be one of my triggers.

    As a side note on the plugs, I was told by one doctor that you should decrease inflammation before putting in plugs.(his opinion) Although I may need them down the road, right now I am just using cold packs to bring down the inflammation, which also decreases the redness. (in my particular case)

    I hope you can find out what is happening. Believe me, I know how frustating red eyes can be. I always had people asking me what was wrong with my eyes.

  14. #14
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    So I went in for another follow up appointment yesterday. I told him the plugs were useless and didn't do anything.

    He checked my eyes again and said that the eyes don't seem that dry anymore - even though they were just as red and with prominent veins as well. I told him I have been taking Omega 3 supplements, so maybe it is because of that. He said perhaps the preservatives in the Systane might be causing an allergic reaction. So now he has me on some drops called Bion and has also told me to use Alrex for 2 weeks.

    3 times a day for 1 week, and 2 times a day for 1 week. I have only used Alrex (0.2%) 5 times so far [almost 2 days now], but I have a very bad feeling about it. He told me to come back in 2 weeks, but after reading up a bit on it online, it seems that it can increase eye pressure and make things even more worse. I am going to call the hospital on Monday and see if I can get a follow-up appointment ASAP to get my eye pressure monitored. The last thing I want is to get Glaucoma or something!

    With my 5th time putting in the drops, I think I have feeling some of the side effects of it [a very slight headache] and eyes feel a bit weird and I definitely get that weird taste in the back of my throat. My eyes right now are white in general, but as I said I have some very permanent veins caused by rebound hyperemia which are still there.

    I am wondering if anyone has any experience with Alrex? Is 14 days too much of a time to use it without getting your eyes checked in the middle? Most online sites say that if you are using it for more than 10 days make sure to get them checked. Some even say 3 days. I am kind of worried - should I continue to use it or just stop? If I stop, there won't be too much point of the next follow up, because the doc will say I have nothing to assess.

    Anyways, if someone can help me out on that, that would be helpful. And oh, he also ruled out ocular rosacea.

    I came across the whole Scleral Lense phenomena, and I have booked an appointment with a doctor in Toronto at the Yorkville Eye Clinic that does them [http://www.yorkvilleeyeclinic.ca/]. I am thinking of getting scleral lenses and hopefully they can get custom ones made with white sclera area, so at least my eyes look white! Not to mention it can also help with dry eye because it creates a gap for the tears.

  15. #15
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    Hi Bored,


    I don't know how you are currently doing and whether you have resolved your queries about Alrex. But this is my take on the issue. I don't think you have to worry unduly about Alrex. The concentration of Loteprednol in Alrex is just 0.2%. It has a relatively safe usage profile. If you look at page 9 of the pdf file i attached, the 2nd last slide states Alrex has anti-inflammatory property of a steroid while avoiding the side effects of glaucoma and cataracts typically associated with them. The pdf file is about treatments for allergic conjunctivitis. If you read through it, there is a lot of information about Alrex inside it.

    However, Alrex is still a steroid after all, no matter how mild it is. My recommendation is that you should follow the instruction provided on the Bausch and Lomb website and get your intraocular pressure checked if used for 10 days or more. Use with caution if you have a prior history of being a steroid responder.

    Couldn't upload file here's the link
    http://www.eastwesteye.org/images/sp...%20Disease.pdf
    Last edited by rooneyandfergie; 03-Jun-2010 at 04:21.
    If only I had known, I would have taken better care of my eyes....... I want to turn back the hands of time

  16. #16
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    Update?

    Hi Bored,
    What has been happening to you lately? I am new to this site, but have had dry eyes for 10 years. Actually... ONE dry eye. I didn't have permanent red veins at first, but I do now. HOWEVER, I've been taking a supplement called Lactoferrin (actually Apolactoferrin), and I have noticed a huge improvement in my red veins as well as an increase in tears! I'm totally stoked. I take 2 capsules a day which is expensive, but honestly not as expensive as Restasis. I tried Restasis twice. The 2nd time I found that my red veins were only getting worse, and the dry eye "bad days" increased. After reading that the active ingredient is a carcinogen, I decided to stop using the drops. I also tried plugs... no help. And I personally believe that the medicine that caused the dry eye to begin with was a corticosteroid similar to what you were taking. At least, I feel, it caused a dark circle under my one dry eye. Steroids thin the skin; they are a tissue de-fatter. As we age, the skin under our eyes becomes thinner anyway, so we don't need any help!

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