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Thread: Dry Lips and Dry Eyes

  1. #1
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    Dry Lips and Dry Eyes

    Hi All,
    In addition to having rosacea and blepharitis, I've been addicted to lip balm forever. I can't leave the house without a lip balm in my pocket. My lips always feel dry if I don't use it. I'm wondering if anyone else has this problem and if anyone has heard of a correlation between the dry lips and dry eyes?

  2. #2
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    Don't know if there's a correlation, but with auto-immune conditions like Sjogren's there are dry eyes/mouth/lips, and some other auto-immune conditions like Hashimoto's thyroiditis and collagen-vascular diseases have dry eyes and dry skin as symptoms.

    But the first thing I thought of when I read your post was something I heard quite awhile ago---that the petroleum jelly type lip balms are "addictive" as you say---and more so than the thicker, waxy types. But I could be wrong. Anyway, if you Google "lip balm addiction" you'll find that you're not alone in this! Most sites blame the ingredients in the balms for making lips more dry, not less. And there's the obsessive factor....we've all got our little habits that we can't do without.

    Calli

  3. #3

    dry lips

    I have the same problem; I use vaseline at night on my lips, it stops the burning at the edge of my lips too. I also put vaseline in my nose which has dried out, and for good measure on my heels which look pretty good for winter! My Sjogrens tests were all negative, but it must be something systemic, its not just my eyes.
    Elaine

  4. #4
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    I have Sjogrens and had the dry eyes a lot longer than the dry lips/mouth. I've experimented with lip balms, salves, chapstick etc. As far as becoming addicted to something, well yes, I am addicted to anything that will give my lips some relief. I think Vaseline is as good as anything.

    When I'm in a health food store or the like, I might stock up on several different kinds of lip stuff. I keep one in every coat pocket, car, room in the house etc. I think you could use vaseline til the cows come home and it wouldn't hurt a thing. My eye doctor warned me not to use "whatever the addictive stuff is for lips." He should stick to eye stuff. What feels best for you is probably just fine.
    Lucy
    Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.

    The Dry Eye Queen

  5. #5
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    One more thing

    I actually got some chuckles out from googling this topic:

    A YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B6HVxUEFwpA

    A wacky support group: http://www.kevdo.com/lipbalm/home.html

    In fact, 7,340 hits for "lip balm addiction." Like Lucy said, it's not harmful, but it can be addictive just the same.

    Calli

  6. #6
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    This is a big joke, as Calli notes. I am addicted to ANYTHING that makes my lips feel less dry. Butter would work in a pinch, but I think Vaseline is best all-around.

    There are those who believe diabetics are "addicted' to insulin. Well, they will die without it, so what's the point? Although I won't die without eye drops and lip balm/vaseline, I guess I am addicted for life. I hope no one spends one minute worrying about such nonsense.

    Butter for lips, hmmmm. Well, in my case it would be "can't believe it's not butter." I go for the fake stuff.
    .
    Don't trust any refractive surgeon with YOUR eyes.

    The Dry Eye Queen

  7. #7
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    It's possible to have dry (or chapped) lips and dry eyes or even dry skin without having anything systemically wrong with you. You may just have dry lips and dry eyes that are caused by two different conditions. It's also winter time, and skin and lips are bound to be more dry at this time of the year. My friends and family (and some of those people also have dry eyes) have been using a lot of Chapstick, lip balm, and Blistex this winter. I don't think all those people have an underlying disease causing their dry lips. I think that unless you've got a dry mouth, you probably shouldn't worry about something systemic causing the dry lips and eyes.

    I've noticed a lot of people posting on the bulletin board that are concerned that there must be something systemic going on because they've got two or more dry parts of their body. While it is possible that an underlying systemic condition might be causing dryness, it is also possible that the two areas of dryness are unrelated. I think that many of us are hypersensitive to other areas of dryness since we have dry eyes, and it's easy to think that there's some underlying cause if we have dry eyes and dry lips or some other skin area that is dry.

    I've had chapped lips this winter, and I worked myself up into a panic that there had to be something systemically wrong with me. After having all the bloodwork come back negative for the fourth time, I'm realizing that I need to just relax and stop worrying about systemic causes because I am doing so much better (both physically and mentally) than I was at this time last year. The MGD treatments are helping me. There's no reason to worry about something unless you've actually got something to worry about.

    Just my .02.

    -Julie
    Last edited by Julie1; 23-Dec-2007 at 20:52.

  8. #8
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    OK, not an addiction - I just need the balm!

    Actually, I probably shouldn't have used the word "addicted". I didn't mean it in a negative sense. I've seen those "lip balm addiction" web sites and, although I actually found a lot of what was on them funny, it annoyed me that a number of the medical professionals interviewed seem to think that it's more of a compulsion than a physical issue. I'm sure that is the case for some people. And, without question, some of the lip balms themselves (namely "Blistex") that contain camphor actually create a dependence. I just use an all-natural wax-type balm or Aquaphor. If I don't keep it on my lips, they just get dry. Not necessarily chapped - although they probably would eventually. Just dry...like my eyes. I've had both conditions for many years and only just this morning did it occur to me that there could be a link between the two. This isn't worrisome to me - on the contrary, I was sort of hoping to find out that there is a connection between the two. Because that would mean if I could treat the one condition successfully, I might be able to to fix the other, as well. Since rosacea is a skin condition that can (and does) affect lubrication in the eyes, it seems logical that it may affect lubrication in the lips. I've never heard about that but I never looked for that connection before. Reading this bulletin board has made me start thinking of some new things, which is really great. And that said, I really appreciate the responses here. : )

  9. #9
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    Yes there is a link

    Here's an update.
    I saw Dr. Latkany yesterday and he said, as a matter of fact,
    that virtually all Rosacea sufferers also have dry lips.
    So yes, indeed, there is a link between the dry eyes and the dry lips,
    as I suspected. And the link is rosacea.

  10. #10
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    That's really interesting. I have ocular rosacea and Dr. Latkany's comment would explain my dry lips. My lips are not horribly dry, but the mild chapping does become annoying if I neglect my lips. I've been putting vaseline on my lips before bed, which really helps to make the dry lips feel better during the day.

    Did Dr. Latkany give an explanation as to why virtually all rosacea sufferers have dry lips? My face is extremely oily and has subtle signs of rosacea.

    -Julie

  11. #11
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    No, we were more focused on eyes and didn't get into that. But it's worth investigating some of the rosacea sites to see what we can find. If you have occular rosacea, you can be sure that you have regular rosacea on your face. So it makes sense. Our skin is fragile so it makes sense that our lips would be fragile, too.
    I guess I have all the qualities to have made a good princess. Fragile, delicate, charming....so where's all the money?

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by NYer View Post
    If you have occular rosacea, you can be sure that you have regular rosacea on your face.
    Not sure this is right... seems like many doctors have suggested ocular rosacea can occur without facial rosacea?
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone

  13. #13
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    You're right...Got this from emedicine.com:
    "Rosacea is a dermatologic condition that affects the midfacial region (in the form of telangiectasias, erythema, papules and pustules, and rhinophyma). More than 50% of patients with rosacea have ocular manifestations. Ocular rosacea is most frequently diagnosed when cutaneous signs and symptoms of the condition are also present. However, ocular signs and symptoms may occur prior to cutaneous manifestations in 20% of patients with rosacea. No correlation exists between the severity of ocular disease and the severity of facial rosacea."

    So, yes, it's less common, but you can have ocular rosacea prior to having cutaneous (skin) rosacea. But it's really much more common, though, if you have ocular that you do have skin. (But if you have skin, not necessarily ocular).

  14. #14
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    One can also have subtle signs of facial rosacea, which may be diagnosed only after ocular rosacea is found. Dr. Latkany told me that the severity of ocular rosacea often does not correlate with the severity of facial rosacea symptoms. That seems to be the case for me. I have never sought treatment for my facial rosacea since it is so mild. I just cover the subtle signs with foundation.

    Interestingly, one of my co-workers has severe rosacea and is seeing a dermatologist to treat the rosacea but does not seem to have signs of ocular rosacea. He recently had Lasik surgery this past month and is not experiencing any dryness. During the time that he was considering Lasik, I told him the presence of facial rosacea could possibly increase his risk for eye dryness post-Lasik. It's interesting that someone with such severe facial symptoms is not having problems with his eyes post-Lasik.

  15. #15
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    I just found an informative article on ocular rosacea in a rosacea support group web site:
    http://www.rosacea-research.org/wiki...Eric_Jones,_MD

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julie1 View Post
    Interestingly, one of my co-workers...recently had Lasik surgery this past month and is not experiencing any dryness.
    I don't want to forebode anything bad for your co-worker by any means, but just as an FYI... It is not at all uncommon for dry eye symptoms after LASIK to kick in only after several weeks or even months. With all the initial nerve loss from the flap cut in the cornea, people may not FEEL the dryness, which is one of the reason for the strict schedule of artificial tears doctors usually put them on for the first weeks or month. Some make the mistake of not taking those if they don't feel dry.

    When I first wandered onto the internet forums after my LASIK, in 2001, I remember coming across many people who, like me, had their dry eye symptoms kick in big-time around the 3-month post-op mark.
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone

  17. #17
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    Your explanation makes sense, Rebecca. I don't think it would be helpful at this point to warn my co-worker that dryness might kick in later since he has already had the surgery, but I'll keep an eye out for him so that I can suggest some treatments or this website if he starts experiencing dry eye. He does have absolutely horrible rosacea, so it's strange that his eyes don't seem to be bothering him.

    I also found it very interesting that my company paid $300 (or 10%) towards the surgery as an employee benefit under health and wellness. At least, that's how I understood it when my co-worker was explaining the financial aspect of the surgery.
    Last edited by Julie1; 30-Jan-2008 at 17:38.

  18. #18
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    My company paid $3,000 towards my LASIK. That was back in the days when I was gainfully employed .

    Somehow I don't think The Dry Eye Company will ever offer coverage for refractive surgery as a benefit.
    Rebecca Petris
    The Dry Eye Zone

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