6 Things That Helped Relieve My Fibromyalgia-Related Dry Eye
Editor’s note: The following is based on an individual’s experience and shouldn’t be taken as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before going on or off medication.
Recently, I haven’t been experiencing too much physical pain from fibromyalgia. I am very thankful and wish that many other fibro fighters out there are experiencing a pain hiatus too. I’ve been taking advantage of my low-to-no pain days to exercise a bit more (including housework). I forgot how much cleaning is a stress reliever. Nothing seems to take my mind off my problems quite like scrubbing a toilet with some salsa blasting on Pandora in the background. I’ve also been adding supplements to my diet, like omega-3 fish oil. I actually started taking them last month, when I got my first bout of dry eye.
Dry eye, if you didn’t know, is yet another pain-in-the-butt symptom of fibromyalgia. My sister, a fellow fibro fighter, told me to expect dry eye at some point in my life. I began noticing this gritty, sandy, itching feeling in my right eye shortly after getting new glasses. At first, I thought my eyes were just trying to adjust to a new pair of glasses. In hindsight, that didn’t make sense because 1) they were new frames but not new lenses, so the prescription hadn’t changed and 2) how could only one eye need adjusting when the other was just fine?
A few days later, my eye wasn’t feeling any better. I found myself icing it constantly and rubbing it like crazy. It felt sticky, yet there wasn’t any discharge. It constantly felt like there was “something” in there, like maybe a twig or an eyelash. Worse of all, lights became my enemy. I could not tolerate daylight, the glare from a TV or computer screen and especially fluorescent lights. For days, I wore my sunglasses pretty much everywhere just to avoid rubbing my eye to death.
After reading up on dry eye, I decided to try a few remedies. Here’s what I found worked best for me:
1. Gel eye drops. The brand I bought was Refresh. It’s sister-recommended! I found gel drops to work way better than artificial tears. Since it’s much thicker, it really coats the eyeball and relieves the dryness for a longer period of time.
2. Ice packs. I tried hot packs too but found they didn’t quite offer the same relief.
3. Water. Do not underestimate the power of hydration. It seems every time a part of my body hurts, chances are I’m not drinking enough water.
4. Blinking exercises. I read this one article that said to do the two-two-two exercise. Slowly shut your eyes for two seconds, then squeeze your eyes shut for two seconds then slowly open them back up for two seconds. I also made a conscience effort to just blink more in general.
5. Eye mask. When my eyes hurt too much, I would take off my glasses, slip on my trusty eye mask and let my eyes rest. The darkness was really soothing.
6. Fish oil supplements. I read how the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil have anti-inflammatory properties and can promote good eye health. Once I started taking them, my dry eye cleared up within a week.
These, as I said, were the things that personally helped me. If you ever experience dry eye, I hope whatever you try brings you relief too.
Fibromyalgia is such a challenging and frustrating condition. There are so many symptoms that present at different times that sometimes it’s hard to figure out if what you’re experiencing is related to fibromyalgia or just a stand-alone symptom. That’s why it’s so important to talk to people, connect with others who may be experiencing what you’re going through. Although chronic health conditions are in no way pleasant, they do give us a unique perspective. They allow us to relate to others in ways that people who do not share our circumstances can. We can offer support, even if all that means is listening with empathy. That’s why we share our stores on The Mighty, so we don’t have to endure alone.
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Thinkstock photo via Dirima.