Well, I've been on this forum for exactly a year now. It has been a very useful resource for me in dealing with seborrheic blepharitis and MGD. There have been plenty of ups and downs with my eyes in that time. I've got an NHS appointment with an ophthamologist on Friday (been waiting since October!) and a private appointment with a dermatologist next Tuesday. Hoping that after that, things will be clearer for me and that I can continue to improve. On average, things are better than they were a few months ago but not as good as I'd like them to be. Thought I'd pass on some general tips that I've found over this time.
- Stating the obvious, make sure you have the best care you can receive. I don't think I went to the right care facilities when my problems first started - wish I had known that those providers weren't the best for my problems at the time. I went to A&E first then came back twice during the next week (they told me to), then started going to Specsavers a few weeks later (now I know that they are pretty useless).
- For those who have seborrheic blepharitis, blephagel seems to be quite useful at keeping the eyelashes clean. I apply after the warm compress before bed, using a cotton bud. Then leave overnight and wash off in the shower in the morning.
- For my warm compresses, eyebags are much better than flannels soaked in hot water.
- For those with an eyelid condition, I have found a magnifying mirror (mine is 10x magnification) very useful to do eyelid hygiene. Particularly if you have any sort of visual problem. I have a squint in my right eye from when I was young so my vision in that eye isn't very good at all. I believe this is now why my left eye feels worse than my right now (the problem started in my right eye, then moved to my left eye a few days later). Before I got the mirror, I just couldn't see what I was doing when doing eyelid hygiene for my left eye (when my left eye was shut). Now I still can't see perfectly what I'm doing, but it's much better than it was.
- From my experiences / observations so far, I'm pretty sure that dry eye conditions / mental state / stress / sleep quality is all related somehow. I saw a post on here about how meditation has helped them - I've never tried meditation but I can believe that it helps some people. I just wanted to pass on knowledge about a book that I have read called the Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle. I came across if a few years ago, before my eye problems started. I think it is a life-changing book and one that I would recommend to anyone. The first 50-100 pages are so good, I tend to read them every month or so as a refresher. To explain what the book is about, I can't do it justice here so you just need to go away and read it. I have a hard copy but I have been able to find a free copy of the pdf version of the book on the internet. As an example, you may have repetitive thoughts / regrets about things that didn't go the way you wanted them to in the past (could be how you got your eye problems / things that made them worse). Or your repetitive thoughts may be on your future and projecting how your life will be in x years time with your eye condition. I'm sure that anyone in either of these situations would benefit from the book. The book deals alot with the voice inside your head - the voice that can be your own worst enemy.
- I have found an 'eye diary' very useful. I've been doing it for about 6 months now. I keep a spreadsheet going, with one row for each day. In the columns of the spreadsheet, I have these columns:
Day of week. Day. Month. Short description of how I felt that day. What type of shampoo I used. What I did that day (eg what social activities I did). How many pints of beer I drank (+ any other alcohol). Any unusual eye related things for that day. What made me feel better that day. What made me feel worse that day.
Now to explain some of these columns:
- I think it is useful to put the activities done that day, as a reminder, otherwise days blend in together. Sometimes you can get a flashback to how your eyes felt that day if you keep a record like this (god, that day when I did xxxx was horrible etc).
- I've also been using it to keep a record of how much alcohol I drink, with a view to reducing the amount I drink and cutting out binge drinking as far as possible. It has been very useful for this purpose.
- 'Any unusual eye related things for that day': this could be symptoms that appeared at a certain time of day, if I changed anything with my daily routine etc.
- The 'what made me feel better / worse' columns: these are educated guesses. Sometimes I can be fairly certain about these, other times it is just a guess (so I put a ? after to indicate this). My theory is that guesses may add up over time.
It is hard to keep it going every day, but it is definitely worth it if you can do it. There are some days where I've completed it a few days late and I've not been able to put as good information in - always regret this later! Over time, you will forget all the details of what has gone on before, so this sort of record is useful. It is a great resource to look back over and try to figure out what has helped / what hasn't helped. Keeping it in a spreadsheet like this helps when comparing over time. It is also a good motivator: when I get demoralised with the current situation, I can look back and know that it is better than it used to be.