An Eye for an Eye

I have worn glasses and/or contacts since I was about 12 years old. As a teenager, I never felt the need to follow the instructions of medical practitioners like the eye doctor (or the orthodontist, but that is another long story), thinking they were just telling me things to make my life more difficult. I got in the habit of sleeping with my contacts in and just taking them out and throwing them away when they started to bother me. I felt this was a good system for several reasons; it was convenient for me and it saved us money because I used my contacts for much longer than the recommended two weeks.

(Nerd Alert)

In the past few years as I've dealt with various medical issues, I have come to better respect medical advice from professionals. However, I hadn't gotten out of the habit of sleeping with my contacts in. I even had one eye doctor tell me I was going to get ulcers on my cornea if I kept it up. Boy, did that give me a good laugh!

Well, now it seems that these years of thinking I am smarter than doctors has really come back to bite me. In May, I got an eye infection (considering my eye care history, you will understand when I say that I get eye infections all the time... and they're usually no big deal). I went to the doctor and got the standard eye drops and was told to use them for 7 days. I was pretty good and used them for 6 days, but then I wanted to wear my contacts on the 7th day, so I thought, "what difference is one day going to make?" Apparently it makes a difference. A few days later, the infection came back.

Not wanting to confess to my doctor that I didn't follow his instructions, I just took my contacts out and used the drops for the next 7 days. The infection cleared up and I was fine. Problem solved, right? Wrong. A few weeks went by and my eye started bothering me again. I took my contacts out and waited for the signs of infection to show up. They didn't. Instead, I just had redness, irritation, and an unusual sensitivity to light.


This lasted a couple of days then went away. I put my contacts back in and went on with life. A couple more weeks passed and it happened again, only a little worse this time. I figured that since it cleared up on its own the last time, it would again. I was right. But the problem kept coming back, each time getting a little more painful. Finally, I decided I had had enough and that I needed to get this checked out. The problem was that these flare-ups usually were happening on weekends, which makes seeing a doctor more complicated. I ended up going to an Urgent Care Clinic.

Enter Dr. Doofus (real name withheld). This doctor really embodies all the reasons why I used to think I was smarter than doctors. In his defense, he is not an eye doctor, and I should have known better than to trust a doctor who works Saturday afternoons at an urgent care clinic. Regardless, I was there and he asked a bunch of questions and looked stuff up on his computer. He decided I was having migraines. He put me on oxygen for 10 minutes and gave me a migraine pill to see if the symptoms would subside while I was in the office.

While we waited for those things to work their magic, I asked if he was going to look at my eye. He put numbing drops in it and took a look with an uncomfortably bright light (considering that I couldn't even stand to have the lights on in our house at this time). He declared that there appeared to be nothing wrong with my eye and asked how I was feeling. I said, "Fine. Do you think it was the numbing drops that did it?" He exclaimed, "CRAP! I ruined our experiment." Yes, those were his actual words. He sent me home with a recommendation that I see an ophthalmologist if it continued to bother me.

And so the saga continued...

This past weekend, on Saturday (of course), my eye started bothering me again. By Saturday night, I couldn't even stand watching The Incredible Hulk because (among other reasons) each flash of light sent pain shooting across my forehead. Sunday was worse. Monday morning, I started calling ophthalmologists. I finally found one who could see me on Tuesday afternoon.

This doctor (let's call him Dr. Deadpan) didn't talk much, but seemed much more knowledgeable than Dr. Doofus. He took a look at the eye and gave me his diagnosis: nummular keratitis. Well, either that or a recovering ulcer. Either would be treated the same way, so he sent me home with some antibiotic/steroid drops and told me to come back on Thursday.

He checked it again this morning and said it is improving, but I have to go back on Monday. When I asked Dr. Deadpan if this problem was going to go away, he replied, "with treatment." Sorry, Dr. Deadpan, but any Doofus could've told me that. Well... maybe not.


Ike said...

I never slept with my contacts, but would wear them way too long and would get eye infections all the time. Then finally in January I got LASIK. Best decision ever.

You probably don't think you can afford it, as we thought the same thing, but honestly I would look into it if I were you.

Ben said...

Ah, eye infections. Even I myself am no stranger to them. I can't count how many times I've gone to the ophthalmologist for eye conditions ranging from corneal lesions (while on my mission in Venezuela, where I was told to put a mixture of eye drops and a broken up tylenol into my eye every hour for three days) to "eye floaters" (where I was told there was no cure), to just plain allergies.

So needless to say, I feel your pain. But screw them if they want me to put a new pair in every two weeks!

Dave said...

Today I am thankful for 20/20 vision and stateside missions.

Jessica said...

Let me know if your migranes go away!!