Dry eye discomfort can be a nagging source of distraction. It’s certainly not the kind of agony you experience with classic migraines, root canals, kidney stones or fractured ribs, but ocular surface disease (OCD) can make an eight-hour work day seem like twelve on the chain gang. And, interestingly, dry eye management has similarities to the treatment of both pain and Type II diabetes.
What are the similarities?
Just as with pain, dry eyes are either treated it or not treated – not kinda treated. When treating pain, you stay on top of it. It’s the same with dry eyes. Lackadaisically treating dry eyes is like halfheartedly tending a distraught marriage. It never works. Unfortunately saying the words “dry eye” conjures the menial image of hangnails, shaving nicks, or paper cuts. A little cold water, a piece of tissue or a band-aid – it’ll be fine. If you use dry eye medicines minimally and only when you think of it – you’re wasting your money and the doctor’s time.
I’m not of the current trend which says every healthcare problem needs an expert. If you fall down and scrape your knee, use a band-aid. If you find over-the-counter lubricants a few times per day makes you perfectly comfortable, go on about life and don’t declare dry eyes as “problematic” on your entering history form. But, if after thirty minutes of computer work, you can’t decide which is more uncomfortable, closing or opening your eyes, you begin to relate your boss’s voice to a dripping kitchen faucet, and you can no longer stand the sound of your hair growing – you likely have problematic OCD.
There are now curative managements for OCD. They come at considerable effort, time, and cash outlay, and unlike paper cuts, OCD will not heal in the next three days.
Once you get ocular surface disease under control, much like Type II diabetes, if you return to the same habits your disease will continue to plague you.
Photo credit: By Psychonaught (Own work)