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My Journey With Extreme Dry Eye

by Levin Rutherford |

I waited years to write this blog because I wanted to have a hopeful solution to dry eye syndrome which so many people struggle with. And I've finally found one. I'd worn glasses my whole life. At 38, I decided to get Lasik eye surgery. My doctor recommended PRK, a more sustainable approach to Lasik. It's where they melt off the outer cornea and zap you with a laser. Your eyeball grows back completely new and there is no risk of ever tearing or wrinkling the corneal lense. He ran many tests at the Mayo Clinic on me and decided I was a good candidate for it. The day came for the surgery and my body went into panic. They had to give me a sedative to calm me down. 

The procedure only lasted a few minutes and we were out the door. As soon as we got into the car, the numbing drops wore off. I was in screaming agony! It felt like two hot pokers were burning into my eyes. Light was painful. I was hiding under my jacket in the car and crying as we drove to our hot spring destination for the night. That night I didn't sleep. I cried all night long. The pain was inescapable and unbearable. The worst part was it was right on the soul of my eyes. They swelled shut to the point I couldn't open them. I had nothing but pain pills which did nothing to ease the pain. The next morning I looked in the mirror and it looked like I had been in a fight with Mike Tyson. Both eyes were swollen shut from the surgery. I trusted my doctor but what had I done?!

My vision was blurry and there were no glasses to correct it. For months I couldn't drive. I had to wait for my eyes to heal. Within 1 year I had crispy perfect 20/20 vision. It was truly a miracle and so freeing! But then it started...the extreme dry eye. Fortunately it only happened at night when I would go to sleep. I would wake in the night with what came to be known as corneal abrasion or ocular erosions. It's where the cells of the cornea dislodge in the night and if you blink or flench, they stick to the inside of your eyelid and rip off of your cornea. It's excruciating. Each time it happened I would wake up screaming in agony. It felt like the surgery was happening all over again. Then my vision would be blurry the next day from the damage to my cornea. No amount of eyedrops, eye gel, ointment, goggles, eyemasks, steam treatments would help. I saw multiple doctors. one could help me. 

I felt lost. Hopeless...was this something I was going to have to live with for the rest of my life? I blamed myself and the doctor for my new condition and I regretted ever getting the surgery. I researched for hours on dry eye conditions and no one had an answer. I gave up caffeine and alcohol completely knowing those things made my dry eye even worse. Meanwhile I was having the ocular erosions 1 to 3 times a week...sometimes more. The only time the erosions didn't happen was when I was pregnant oddly enough. Was it all the fruit I was eating? Was it the lack of caffeine...such a mystery. Between my eyes and my baby boy, I was barely sleeping. How much more could I take?

After years of searching for a doctor who could help me I finally found one here in Seattle. He prescribed me what he called "bandage lenses." They are larger and thinner than normal contact lenses. You wear them at night and they prevent the tearing. In the morning you throw them away and start your day. These have been a game changer for me. I still wear a silk eye mask at night and put in Refresh Celluvisc eye drops to keep my eyes from drying out and saline solution if they get sticky, but I have not had an ocular erosion since I started wearing them. I also use IVIZIA eye drops to keep my eyes moist during the daytime and I love them. 

The other thing that has really helped to heal my dry eye is eating lots and lots of melon. Watermelon, cantaloupe, honeydew, any melon is super hydrating for your eyes. I finally figured this out after being on the Medical Medium diet for 3 months. Anthony William encourages us to eat a melon a day. The reason I didn't have dry eye when I was pregnant was because I was eating a ton of watermelon lol. The other thing I am doing is drinking 32oz of fresh celery juice every morning followed by a heavy metal detox smoothie to rid my body of viruses and toxic heavy metals that could be causing dry eye symptoms. You can find all of this information in the link to his website above. 

My goal is to eventually not even have to wear the bandage lenses. And I am 99% sure that I can make it there within one year. The results have already been miraculous. My eyes don't start to get dry at night anymore and I can nap during the day without any tearing. I have SO much sympathy and empathy for anyone who has undergone PRK eye surgery or is dealing with extreme dry eye. I hope this information reaches you and helps you to get your sleep back. There's nothing worse than going to bed with the fear of waking up in horrible eye pain. That's not really resting and without rest we can't function in our daily lives. My heart and story goes out to you whoever you are. Please know that there is hope and I believe you can heal.