I know many people on this site didnít have dry eye problems till long after college, but I know we suffer from atleast somewhat similar symptoms. I would like some advice for how to deal w/ my problems when I go to college in a few weeks. I think Iím looking for more of psychological advice then general dry-eye advice. This post is pretty long, but I would really appreciate it if yíall could read it and give me some good feedback.
I would be very excited about college except that my dry eye problems have really been bad the past few days, which has really made me realize how hard the next few years might be for me. Iím going to be staying in a dorm w/ central air conditioning/heating and know that my worst dry eye days are yet to come. My eye specialist has ordered some panoptx for me to sleep in if I need to, but the size I need is backordered and it may be a couple more months.
My senior year was really bad for me because of my dry eyes. I had to quit a couple extracurricular activities because I hurt so bad. After school, all I wanted to do was go home and rest my eyes, although I did try to tough it up as much as I could, and did as much as possible. I know in college Iím going to have harder, longer classes, more studying, and a few all-nighters. Iím scared how Iím going to be able to deal w/ it if my eyes are really bad. I'm also afraid I'm not going to be able to do fun stuff late at night w/ others because I'll be hurting too much. Along w/ my dry eye pain getting much worse during my senior year, I had problems w/ increased eye redness, too. Iím very self conscious about this, and honestly, I think Iíd be able to deal w/ the pain better if my problems were unseen. I can also no longer really wear eye makeup, except on rare occasions (because it really irritates my eyes) and it makes me feel very ďnakedĒ compared to other girls my age. The problems I had w/ the increased redness, swelling, etc., REALLY made me see who my real friends were last year. Unfortunately, I learned that many of them were pretty shallow, including my best friend. To make a long story short, I lost some good relationships. I do still have a few great friends who are able to look past my appearance and see me based on whatís on the inside, though. Iím afraid making friends in college might be kind of difficult, since everything does seem to be based on appearances at my age. I used to be confident, but now I'm a lot more self conscious and I'm having to learn confidence all over again. I donít want to seem unapproachable because of my eye problems and I donít want people to look at me and automatically assume that I am just some really unhealthy kid or some druggie. My roommate and I have never met before, and I'm afraid she might not know what to think about my problems w/ dry eye. I don't want to make her uncomfortable by the fact that I have to use drops frequently, use drops that are "unusual" to non-dry eye patients (restasis, serum drops), and that I might have to sleep w/ panoptx. In the past, I've always been able to take drops in the privacy of my home or in a bathroom, so this will be completely new for me.
If y'all were in my shoes, how would y'all approach the upcoming year? Should I just try to ignore the dry eye pain all together and live like a typical college kid? Or do I need to be taking good care of my eyes, even if it means missing out on some stuff that I wouldnít otherwise? I don't want my eye problems to get worse, but I also don't want to miss out on what could be a great year. Should I try to be as outgoing as possible, even if it means hearing some nasty comments from others my age, that don't know the real me yet? Should I try to just ignore their comments or should I be direct to them? I'm really sensitive when people mention the appearance of my eyes, but I don't just want to shut myself out from the world. Do people become more mature and learn to focus on more that just outside appearances as they get older? Anyways, it would be great if I could hear back from a few people of any advice y'all have.