Hi all : )

I've noticed something peculiar. While my eyes appear to have more lipids on the surface since cautery (of the bottom 2 punctums,) since Wednesday's partial cautery of the upper 2 punctums weird has turned into a kind of painful peculiar--tears as viscous as the La Brea tar pits coating my lashes and surrounding my eyes so greatly that they itch like heck and make me look like I have pink eye (which I don't.) Has anyone else experienced this? How do you treat it at home? (I've just been wetting my eyes down several times/day with a very wet cloth and then carefully cleaning the crystals off, although when I sleep I find myself scratching/scraping, trying to get the crystals off.)

I guess the big thing is, yes, since the cautery my eyes do have more of an oilier "tear" that covers them, reducing redness and the feeling of having sand in my eyes greatly (the choice for cautery over plugs is because I suffer about 10 autoimmune diseases and plugs most likely would've been rejected and would have scarred the canals instead of just the surfaces of the punctums.) I wouldn't really call what I have "relief," per se, it's really more just finding a solution to help cope with a problem that was so severe even before I could get to a good cornea doc. At least once/day my eyes ache so much that I'd like to dig them out with spoons and there's a tight band of pressure rimming my head, but instead of spoons : ) I put in the steroidal, anti-inflammatory drops, close my eyes and wrap my head with medical-grade cloth that gives protection against light (after about an hour like this my headache's gone and my eyes feel better for about an hour.) I wouldn't even give much credence to the headaches if I wasn't already taking medicine for the RA and Lupus pain (in case I haven't mentioned it I have severely photosensitive Lupus along with the severe Sjorgren's. The Sjorgren's, it's hoped, should get somewhat better once the Enbrel kicks in, if it does--the twist to that though is that Enbrel makes all the symptoms of Lupus worse, incl. the photosensitivity. The hope is to knock down the many autoimmunes, then come back for the Lupus.) another plus to the cautery, since having my bottom punctums cauterized, I haven't spent a night clawing and digging at my eyes and ending up with eyes full of lashes and inverted lids...so, that's a plus.

The first cautery didn't completely take, so it succeeded on the second pass. I'd begun to notice some tears, but tears that were at least 5 times more viscous as the normal variety and they crystallized in under a minute of being on my cheek (I've taken pics of this strange phenomenon. Within seconds you can see the rim of the tear, then advancing toward the center crystallizing and drying completely.) My most recent appt. was this last Wed. When I saw the dr. he suggested giving things about 6 months, then seeing where we were then. I haven't had new glasses in 7 1/2 years because my eyesight has been so distorted, so I asked if he was going to cauterize in the future--if things were doing well--if it were possible to do it sooner rather than later and he concurred. Now, the dr. himself is quite gentle and attentive, so when he put in the numbing drops then the swabs with greater anesthetic on them I all was well. Not 30 seconds after the dr. left the room the swab anesthetizing my right eye fell out, so with my left lid still closed I gingerly walked to the door looking for help. I flagged down two girls who were walking the hall, told them what'd happened, and they said, "Oh, don't worry. You're fine." before walking away. I stood at the door a bit longer (I curse myself for not toddling to the front desk instead,) but it almost seemed to stand purposefully empty. Knowing the pain of cautery, I gently slid the swab that'd fallen out from under my lid back under, hoping it might still work. When the dr. came in I explained it all to him. He put a more potent, gel anesthetic on two more swabs then tucked them in (only for about one tenth of the time as the others.) When it came time to cauterize--try though I did to distract myself--it was entirely too painful, so the left eye is mostly cauterized while the right one really isn't at all. I've an appt. to go back this next week, but I haven't enough extra pain medicine to cope with the ensuing flare that the cautery causes as the flare has lasted longer than usual thanks to the anesthetic flub. Truly, what I wouldn't have given to have been able to note the med techs' names who trod by and dismissed my eye so casually! (But it seems all under the auspice of the medical profession--at least around here--are untouchable, even with complaints filed against them and actually, per my insurance, I could register a complaint against the dr., but not his staff, and I've been told more than once that it takes a minimum of 100 complaints before a dr. is investigated, which seems scary enough. And, the thing is, the dr. seems pretty good and this is the only time this has happened, but truly, do you think either of those girls would've be able to sit through having the inside flesh of their eyes cauterized without adequate anesthetic?)

So, long story short : ) ... My "tears" have gotten tons gummier and crystallize like mad, how on earth do I maintain them? Do I apply compresses? I honestly don't know what to do (that's why I haven't been successful today trying to search out a solution here, I'm guessing. The "funny" thing is, I did have cause to cry over a memory the other day and my eyes *can* produce normal reflexive tears, just not protective ones, I guess.)

Thanks so much!

achyeyes