Hello all, this is my first post here and I was curious if anyone else had similar experiences to mine. I've poked around and it seems like dry eyes has a wide variety of symptoms and causes.
I used to not be able to sleep without a ceiling fan on full blast. I lived for 30+ years with lots of air flow while I slept because it felt good. Then in the span of a couple days my eyes decided to dry out. I started waking up with intense pain in one eye or the other. I kept trying to get whatever was in my eye out, but it never came out.
After a month of nighttime dry eyes, I went to a doctor and she diagnosed me with recurrent corneal abrasion. She told me to use drops during the day, and ointment at night. So for the last three years, I've been putting ointment in my eyes at night. It helps, but my eyes still dry out while I sleep.
The thing that strikes me as weird about all this is that my eyes are fine during the day. Around 10pm every night, however, my eyes dry out. If I stay up for a couple more hours they stop feeling dry but they still dry out as soon as I get to sleep. Even with the ointment, my eyes dry out to the point where they stick to my eyelids, and my eyelids get stuck as well. What the ointment does do is if I massage my lower lids and skin around my eyes a little and roll my eyes down, the ointment is still there and it recoats my eye. Without the ointment, the same procedure seems to eventually wet my eye with watery tears that dissipate very quickly. Every 1-2 months I will have an episode where I wake up suddenly opening my eyelids and then the act of closing my eyelid seems to scrape across my eye. I did have one time where I managed to scratch my eye without even opening my lids, just moving my eyeball under the lid. These episodes happen in either eye with no discernible bias.
I can deal with a daily routine, and I can even deal with the occasional pain in the eye. What I'd like to avoid is going blind. I am typically a light sleeper and find it very hard to sleep with goggle or masks on. I sleep on my side, which means anything protruding over my eyes will get pushed sideways by the pillow. I have a humidifier, which doesn't seem to help much (my house is already at 45% humidity most of the time.) At night, putting drops in my eyes seems futile. They dry out almost immediately and it seems that most of the liquid either drains away or gets pushed right out of the inside corner of my eyes when I blink. Gel drops work a little better, but they dry out very quickly as well. Ointment is the only thing that half stays put, but even a good amount of that ends up under my lower lid instead of in it after a few minutes.
Anyway, just thought I'd throw this all out here since I didn't get much help from the two eye doctors I've seen. I would post in the ask the doctor section, but I can't compress all that into 100 words.