A week after my eyes were feeling better, I developed an outbreak of hives. I was itching and miserable. Anytime I didn’t feel well, my eyes were affected. But I stayed as positive as I could.
Gradually the itchy welts subsided. The Manuka honey eye drops named Optimel arrived and only a few drops irritated my eyes. I stopped after two days.
At this point, I offered the expensive Manuka drops to anyone interested in trying them in my dry eye support group. I also offered several boxes of artificial tears and eyelid wipes. I shipped them off to two different people and received effusive thank you messages. It felt good to help others by sharing something I wasn’t going to use. I didn’t accept any money for postage.
My eyes were still better doing less. I didn’t miss compresses or eyelid wipes. Sometimes I longed for an artificial tear to wet my eyes. But I knew that it wouldn’t help at all and would make my irritation worse.
The sample bottles with steroids were eventually all used up. The Alrex and Lotemax had little effect, unlike the Durezol. I was on a new path of doing nothing for my eyes. It wasn’t perfect, but far improved.
I was worried that my eye pressure might have increased. The soonest appointment for me to see my ophthalmologist was in 3 months. I decided to go see an optometrist. I’d be able to check my eye prescription and find out my eye pressure at the same time. Another idea I had, was to try soft contact lenses.
The optometrist was friendly and my eye pressure was not any higher. My eye prescription had changed again so I ordered two new pairs of glasses.
Adjusting to soft contact lenses was more challenging than I expected. I had worn hard lenses until my cataract surgery – for almost forty years.
The soft lenses weren’t painful, but putting them in and taking them out was stressful and required a lot of patience. The problem was the prescription didn’t work well for me. I couldn’t seem to adjust to powerful vision in the distance and blurriness up to five feet in front of me. The optometrist gave me many samples to try (I’m still trying.)
Three months later, I finally saw my regular dry eye doctor. I asked her for the one steroid drop that had helped me, Durezol. It was not available through my HMO, so she prescribed something else and said it was almost the same thing, Prednisolone Acetate.
After two days using the Prednisolone, my eyes didn’t feel better at all. I experienced tunnel vision. And then I broke out in a rash like I had three months earlier. Was it possible a steroid eye drop could cause this? It seemed so unlikely, but at the same time it was very coincidental.
I looked into side effects for Prednisolone and didn’t see anything about a rash – it seemed pretty far-fetched, but tunnel vision turned out to be a possible side effect.
And Prednisolone had an irritating preservative in it, one that Durezol didn’t have. I called my doctor and she was willing to prescribe Durezol. I was happy until I was told it would cost $140 for that bottle. I let my doctor know the cost and she said I wouldn’t have to pay that thankfully – my HMO would cover it with an exemption.
I used it sparingly and decided to stop when I made the connection to having the rash. It took a few days for me to realize the coincidence.
It was so frustrating. I was scratching my welts and wishing I could use the Durezol to help my eyes feel better. I didn’t want to use it until the rash was gone. I was also eating too much. It helped me cope in many ways but depressed me even further.
I contacted my regular doctor and asked if he could order blood tests to see if anything was wrong with me. The tests all came back negative; my doctor told me everything was ok.
I sure didn’t feel okay and wondered what to do next.
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