#44 MY HEALING AND NEW FOCUS – PART 1

I shared my regimen with my on-line support group. One woman tried it and wrote: “I’ve been doing what Judy has been doing; it helps quite a bit.”

I faithfully continued my coconut oil regimen that was given to me by a naturopathic doctor. (#41 A NATURAL PATH-PART 2)

I wanted to give it time before jumping to any conclusions about it being the reason my eyes felt better.

I had done that before when I assumed a steroid eye drop (Durezol) was helping me when it was actually the discontinuation of eyelid wipes and artificial tears that improved my eyes. Months later when my eyes back-slid and I used Durezol, it didn’t help me.

I sought out the naturopathic doctor because I knew I had an allergy, but my insurance plan had no help for me. All the blood tests for allergies came out negative. My corneal specialist told me my corneas were fine and suggested I just use the steroid drop indefinitely, despite the risks.

I was determined to help my eyes improve and ready to expend the money and energy.

After a month of soaking my eyes with coconut oil every night, I could honestly say my eyes were better than they had been in the four years since my problem began. I was almost pain-free every day.

The process itself was actually very soothing. The oil felt really good as I stared through it. My skin around my eyes felt wonderful, too and in the morning was soft from the night before. This was unlike many things I tried. Optimel (Manuka honey eye drops), testosterone cream, Azasite and Cliradex wipes had burned my eyes like crazy. Even serum tears on two occasions had caused my eyes to swell and torment me.

There were three times when I neglected to do the nighttime regimen. Each time, my eyes were sore and irritated on the following day. This just confirmed that my regimen was working for me. What was interesting was that it wasn’t simple to fix. Soaking my eyes with coconut oil during the day left my vision blurry and my eyes remained irritated.

I shared my regimen with my on-line support group. One woman tried it and wrote: “I’ve been doing what Judy has been doing; it helps quite a bit.”

I wished more people had tried it and found relief. I understood that it was unconventional. But it was actually the first regimen that didn’t hurt my eyes.

When I discovered I did much better without artificial tears, I felt badly because some people shared that when they stopped using artificial tears, they had corneal abrasions.

This was a reminder to me. Dry eyes have many causes. Everyone must search for his or her own “cure;” there wasn’t one cure for everyone.

My own personal search was expensive, arduous and discouraging. There were times when I felt hopeless and my pain was disabling.

Even though I tried so many things that were dismal failures, giving up just wasn’t an option for me.

eyecup-closeup

 

© Judy Unger and http://dryeyediaries@wordpress.com 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#41 A NATURAL PATH – PART 2

I filled the eye cups with coconut oil, and positioned them over my eyes. It was very strange – almost like looking underwater. In the morning, I was amazed at how much better my eyes felt.

I often think that dealing with dry eyes is a journey that requires resting and sprinting. Sometimes I just succumb to discouragement and try hard to accept the dismal condition that can easily rule my life. But I’ve realized that those periods are a time of gathering strength to keep trying to find a solution to my pain.

Two months ago, I felt like I was ready to try some new things to help my eyes feel better. I saw a highly recommended optometrist. She agreed with an ophthalmologist I had seen earlier in the year; my inflamed eyelids indicated that I suffered from an allergy. I had undergone allergy testing and nothing showed up. I replaced my pillow and mattress covers with expensive dust mite protective ones. What was I allergic to?

She suggested I try allergy drops again. I told her they hadn’t worked, but then she told me perhaps it was because of the preservatives. She said I could order a preservative-free allergy eye drop made by Similson.

I was determined and wanted to give this regimen a fair chance. Before the vials arrived, I tried my prescription allergy eye drops again for a few days. Within a day of doing that, my eyes were hurting. The Similson vials didn’t make a difference and I spiraled into a cycle of pain.

I decided to see the optometrist again so she could check me. She saw the irritation on my eyelids and told me to stop the drops immediately. Her recommendation was to go back on steroid eye drops twice a day.

My ophthalmologist assumed that was what I was doing. But I just was afraid to keep using them – the worst part was they didn’t seem to help me anymore. I left the appointment and went home in a fog of pain. I used the steroid drops that evening and had no relief at all.

The very familiar hopeless feeling began to set it and it was hard for me to stay positive. I had such a collection of remedies and wondered what was left to help me. A few months ago I ordered Manuka Honey drops from Australia. Before that, it was Castor Oil. Neither one helped at all.

I had another remedy to try that was given to me by a naturopathic doctor; it involved using coconut oil. I had waited on it because I didn’t want to try two things at once.

I really didn’t pin my hopes on it because I had tried using coconut oil on my eyelids a year earlier and it hadn’t helped. But I did love the smell of coconut oil; it was actually one of the best things for my hives and I kept some next to my bed.

The new regimen was a little different because I wouldn’t be putting oil in my eyes with an eye dropper. I would use eyecups; my eyes would be immersed in oil and I would do eye movements at the same time.

Now that I had stopped the allergy eye drops, it was time to give this a try.

This is from my treatment plan (Full version on Part 1).
This is from my treatment plan (Full version on Part 1).

Eye cups

LINK TO PURCHASE THE EYE CUPS ABOVE:  https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013WD3YCW/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

First, I needed to order eye cups, preferably glass, but I decided I’d get the plastic ones first because they would arrive sooner and I could be sure if this remedy was helpful or not. The first night, I simply used an eye dropper and put the coconut oil in my eyes before bed.

I woke up and noticed an improvement – the irritation seemed to be gone.

I didn’t want to get overly excited until I was sure. The next day, the eye cups arrived. Before I went to bed, I carefully filled them with the oil. Then I bent over and lifted my head so the oil covered my eyes. I put a towel on my chest because a little oil seeped out.

Putting eyecups on

It was so strange – almost like looking underwater. But it was very cool and my eyes were relaxed. I could see all of my floaters literally floating by. I rotated my eyes in every direction ten times and then bent over to remove the cups.

I wiped my face with a towel and went to bed.

The next morning I was amazed. My eyes were so much better! What a difference it made for me when I didn’t have pain. I could function with so much more energy and hopefulness. I still had a lot of floaters and fog from PVD, but I could deal with that.

Eyecup close up 2

It has only been a week since I’ve been using the eye cups and coconut oil every night. My eyes continue to improve. Before, I used to dread the nighttime regimens. Hot compresses, Restasis and eyelid wiping – I hated them for causing my eyes to feel worse.

But now I’m actually looked forward to my new bedtime regimen. It’s soothing and I know it’s helping me!

It seems like the changes I’m making are making a difference. I look forward to getting healthier now and am so grateful that I’ve moved forward on my dry eye journey to try something that has actually helped me.

A friend shared this Internet clip with me.

A friend shared this Internet clip with me.

IMG_2369
These are brands of coconut oil that I’ve used.

© Judy Unger and http://dryeyediaries@wordpress.com 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

#40 A NATURAL PATH – PART 1

I made an appointment with a highly recommended naturopathic doctor, If my eyelid irritation was an allergy – certainly it seemed possible that it might be a food allergy. I was ready to give it a try.

My vocal coach, Hannah Anders, recommended the naturopathic doctor that I saw. I share an audio clip below of me discussing my experience with her.

Dry Eye Diaries Blog Excerpt with Hannah 7-28-16

Two years ago, there was a woman in my dry eye support group who had a lot of success after seeing a naturopathic doctor; she called it a “functional MD.” I had no idea where to find a functional MD in my area that I could trust, but instead I decided to follow her regimen of a paleo diet. It didn’t help my eyes, so after three months I discontinued it.

But I did keep some of the dietary changes. I stopped using artificial sweeteners and seldom drank coffee anymore.

When I made an appointment with a highly recommended naturopathic doctor, I was certain the first thing I’d need to do was change my diet again. Two eye doctors had now told me that my eyelid irritation was an allergy, so it certainly seemed possible that it could be a food allergy.

My first appointment went differently than I expected.

I arrived at the naturopathic doctor’s office; the room was comforting and had a lovely aroma. Dr. Wang warmly squeezed my hand and ushered me into her office. She sat across from me and we began discussing my health concerns. I had a list of ailments. My dry eyes were my biggest issue, followed by itchy hive outbreaks, frequent painful leg cramps and persistent heartburn. After pestering my doctor for these problems and following his recommendations, I was still tormented.

I was surprised that she didn’t examine me; there was no weighing or blood pressure check. It was basically a ninety-minute discussion.

Dr. Wang quizzed me about my eye pain and wanted to know if my eyes felt better after I cried. I told her that crying made my eyes feel significantly worse. Her conclusion was that “drainage” was my issue.

I wasn’t sure exactly what drainage referred to, but it seemed that I had the same issue with digestion. I was taking a lot of antacid to squelch my heartburn. She explained that doing that had slowed my digestion and if my food weren’t fully digested, toxins would be excreted through my skin – possibly that was the cause of my hives. And cramps were a result of vitamins not being absorbed.

I found it fascinating and it did make sense. My rash outbreaks and cramps seemed to coincide with my increasing use of antacid medications.

At the end of our appointment, she gave me a detailed treatment plan. Some of it was more than I could wrap my head around at the moment. But I was willing to try.

First, I needed to purge my life of all plastic items. I went shopping to purchase stainless steel water bottles and cookware, as well as glass storage containers. Dr. Wang explained that Teflon and anodized steel cookware wasn’t healthy – even birds died when they were exposed to it. I was so used to using plastic storage items and wasn’t sure where to begin, but I began making the switch.

My new cup
My new 32 oz. drinking cup

The hardest thing was when she asked me to stop swimming in a chlorinated pool. Swimming was exercise that calmed me and it would be tough to give up. Even though I explained that I wore goggles, she told me that skin absorption of chlorine was the problem. Her recommendation was that I walk every day for 30 minutes and include wrist or ankle weights.

Although I hated to give up swimming, I told myself it was temporary. I needed to try everything she recommended in order to help my eyes.

I purchased several supplements from her list before leaving that appointment. There were digestive enzyme caplets to take with meals, a probiotic and a Glutagenics powder added to water to soothe my heartburn.

The supplements were expensive, but within a few days I noticed I didn’t have any more itchy welts or intense leg cramps like I had before that appointment. That first week, it was challenging not to pop a Tums for heartburn, but gradually it became easier.

I was instructed to drink a lot of water and also to purchase distilled aloe vera liquid. I bought a gallon jug and was relieved that it was tasteless and easy to drink.

She was concerned that I had esophageal damage from the heartburn and recommended I ask my regular doctor for a scope test of it. My HMO doctor ordered it for me and I was also fortunate also that the lab tests she wanted would also be covered by my HMO. In three weeks we would meet again to discuss the results.

There was an eye regimen she listed that involved ghee (clarified butter) or coconut oil.

I decided to wait on that regimen because I wanted to first give another regimen using preservative-free allergy eye drops a try. I let her know and she agreed that it was best to do one thing at a time.

I was grateful my other issues were diminishing – but at the same time my eyes were terrible because the allergy drops were worsening my condition. I was having a lot of trouble doing things because my vision and emotional state were affected.

Dr. Wang's Treatment Plan

© Judy Unger and http://dryeyediaries@wordpress.com 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.