This is a brief synopsis of my situation and my questions are these:
1. Is it normal to feel some more discomfort/pain while getting used to the plugs?
Yes, it can be. It is not good for the plugs or the tips to be touching your eye, so make sure your dr checks this out. Not everyone has discomfort and you'll have to be your own judge on this, contacting the dr if you're hurting.
2. How long until you know they are working for sure?
Believe it or not, this can take a couple of weeks or more. I know this from first hand experience. It is also possible to feel "better" right away and a few days later, have a letdown. It's best to judge after a month or so how you're doing. Factors including environment, your hormonal activity come into the equation...so it takes a while to judge progress.
3. Has anyone used steriod drops to help with inflammation?
Yes, but you cannot take steroid drops for long and make sure your doc is monitoring. The continued use of steroid drops can cause cataracts. It's not a thing you can use whenever your eyes are hollering for a fix.
4. Can this become more managable?
Yes, and Dryeyezone is full of information. I suggest you take an hour or more and look at subjects that interest you. There is more info here than probably anywhere about dry eyes. More importantly, it's by people with dry eye, not just some doctor giving a lecture. It's what we've tried and used.
5. Help for sleep?
Tranquileyes. It's a mask available on DryEyeZone. It is wonderful at keeping your eyes moist and closed during the night. Check it out.
6. Also do some people find gel drops to be more irritating than helpful? I had been using the gel because I thought it would be more lubricating, but I am not sure that is the case. I purchased regular Theratears in the vials yesterday and will see how that works. It seems strange that being in an extremely humid space like a shower is more comforting that using eye drops.
Actually, the shower is where most people feel the least discomfort! It's the favorite place when you're just plain of ideas. TheraTears should help you.
I can't take more time, because that's what the board is for so we don't have to type this over and over again. All your questions are answered by many people over and over, with their own experiences. Good luck.
Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.
The Dry Eye Queen