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anyone with ANY experience of eye infections - at the end of my tether here!!

(26 Posts)
emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:04:23

I've had an eye infection for probably about 4 or 5 weeks now but didn't realise (and so didn't take my contact lenses out) for the first couple of weeks. My eyes are not that red but they are gunky overnight, occasionally weepy during the day, and feel a bit gritty. I've gone contact-lens free (apart from one day in the middle of this period when I thought it was better) for about 2-2.5 weeks now.

I did saline washes as directed by my optician at first - no better after 5 days.

I then did over-the-counter chloramphenicol eye drops for infected eyes for another 5 days - still no better.

Then I went to my GP who sent me off to the eye hospital - sounds very dramatic but he simply thought it was worth getting it looked at and sorted as he couldn't explain why the drops wouldn't have worked. The consultant there said it was most likely a viral infection - the only treatment he suggested was steroid drops to help with the gritty feeling, and leaving my lenses out for another 3 to 4 weeks, by which time apparently most viral infections will clear up.

I've done the steroid drops as directed, just finished my final (5th) day of them y'day and this morning my eyelids were both really quite puffed-up. This is new. I don't know if this is a symptom that the infection is getting worse or if it is just a reaction to the steroid drops.

In addition, it doesn't feel like the infection itself is improving that fast, my eyes are a little less red and don't feel gritty as much but they are still gunky first thing in the mornings and feel occasionally 'weepy' during the day.

I don't want to bother my GP again if the puffy eyelids is just a side-effect of the drops, but I'm getting concerned that the infection isn't getting better. I know it sounds vain but I have 2 very big family/friend parties coming up in about 3 weeks time and am desperate to be able to wear my contacts and maybe (shock horror!) even some eye makeup. But I am worried that if I just carry on 'waiting' for it to clear up on its own I will reach 3 weeks of waiting as suggested and find that it is no better.

Anyone know anything about viral eye infections - it would be fantastic to get any advice, or whether it sounds worth bugging my GP again, or just leaving it and hoping it improves. As I say, it's been around 4-5 weeks now, though some of that time I did keep my lenses in so am sure that made it worse.

Thanks anyone and everyone!!!

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NightLark Thu 10-Feb-11 14:10:52

has anyone said blepharitis to you? My mum had this, it just sounds familiar, with the gritty feeling and the red eyes. I think it needs antibiotic ointment mostly on the eyelids... Might be worth asking about it specifically?

emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:12:16

Oooh, no, nobody has mentioned blepharitis... very exotic name!!

I'll keep that in mind - do you know how your mum caught it?

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NightLark Thu 10-Feb-11 14:22:18

Not a clue, I'm afraid. I know she had it for quite a while (months, not weeks), but it did clear up in the end. I just related to the 'gritty eyes' and not being able to wear eye makeup, and just the long-term-ness of what you're describing.

There's quite a good Wiki entry on it en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blepharitis - any of that sound familiar?

NorbertDentressangle Thu 10-Feb-11 14:27:30

Is it painful at all? Especially in bright light?

I had something called iritis which causes similar symptoms to conjunctivitis and is treated with steroid drops (initially every hour and then reduced over a period of time). I'm wondering if this is what they were treating you for at the eye hospital?

Mine was diagnosed at the eye dept. of the hospital after the GP referred me.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:27:30

NightLark thank you! I've had a quick read of wikipedia (what did we do before wiki??) but though I definitely have the gritty eye feeling I don't know if it's quite a serious as this... I think if my eyelids stay puffy it would fit more with the blepharitis symptoms but I'm just crossing my fingers and toes that the puffy eyelids are a side effect and not a symptom...

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emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:30:44

Norbert - I can't tell you how much I love your name! I'm obsessed by Norbert lorries (well, not obsessed, but DH and I are cheered by sight of them on motorway drives!!)

Nobody mentioned iritis - I don't have sensitivity to light (at least not at the mo...) Hmmm - I wonder if you can have this without sensitivity to light/pain. May investigate...

Did you get any puffiness from the steroid drops at all...?

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NorbertDentressangle Thu 10-Feb-11 14:42:38

It is a cool name isn't it?! I always admired it so when we had an Eddie Stobart thread on here a couple of years ago I changed to this.

Re: eyes - I can't specifically remember puffiness TBH. Mainly grittiness, redness and pain. When I first had it the GP thought it was conjunctivitis (as did I) and it was only when it didn't respond to treatment for that that he referred me to the Ophthalmology Dept.
I'm pretty sure though that as you've been seem by them they would have picked this up in their tests.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:44:33

Thanks norbert - yes I assume they would have mentioned this at the hospital - that siad, they didn't actually do any tests!! Just looked in eyes with the big machine thing... I wonder if they should have done a bit more! The doctor was one of those annoying ones who's a little bit unimpressed you've shown up with something minor, so I did feel pretty pushed away by him... hmm

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NorbertDentressangle Thu 10-Feb-11 14:50:41

Oh god, that sounds really crap sad.

IIRC I had rest my chin on some contraption whilst they used a machine to look into my eye, to actually touch the eye (Yuk!) and also they put a bright yellow dye in the eye too.

Iritis is an inflammation of the iris so they were looking for this.

emeraldgirl1 Thu 10-Feb-11 14:52:45

Ah ok, norbert - thanks

the doctor did do a horrid peel-back-the upper-eyelid test which felt ucky - to be fair to him maybe that was enough of a test for anything more compliacted than an annoying viral infection...

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RamblingRosa Thu 10-Feb-11 14:53:02

I just wanted to say I went through exactly what you described over the last few months. And my mum had it too.

I've had lots of conjunctivitis before but this was different. REally sore. Wouldn't go away with antibiotic drops. Had to stop wearing contact lenses and make up for several months (still not wearing contacts but have started wearing make up again).

Went to the GP and she said she thought it was viral conjunctivitis and that there was nothing to do other than wait for it to clear up.

It didn't clear up so I called her back and she advised me to go to the eye hospital too. I just didn't have time because of work and it was just before Christmas. She also advised using lots of hypomellose (just plain eyedrops)/viscotears to ease the dryness. She thought that the viral infection had triggered a dry eye syndrome type thing. Anyway, I used the viscotears constantly over the Christmas holidays and it did eventually clear up (although I would say they're still quite sensitive and don't seem to tolerate contacts well). I found that the break from the computer screen over xmas helped too.

RamblingRosa Thu 10-Feb-11 14:54:04

PS. FWIW, GP said I might need steroid drops but she was reluctant to prescribe them because of the side effects. She didn't say what the side effects were but maybe the irritated eyelid thing is relevant?

atthecarwash Thu 10-Feb-11 16:15:04

Hi
I had sore eyes and conjunctivitis for a few months....it was quite scary as nothing seemed to work. All of a sudden oe day I noticed something was stuck on my eye....quickly went to the mirror and it was actually half a contact lens that I had lost 12 months before.

I had been to A&E when I lost it,where they had a very good look with eye dye etc. I have no idea where this lens was hiding but it was causing all the infections...I've been fine since....could you have a 'lost' contact lens?

heksie Thu 10-Feb-11 16:25:24

Hi I totally sympathise, I have just had one lasting about 4 weeks. I tried the Clormphenical drops from the chemist on suggestion of the doctor, that didn't work.

To be honest, it was probably viral ( all the same symptoms as you have), leave out the contacts, actually throw away any old lenses, lense solution and containers. Chuck mascara and any eyeshadow too that might have got the bug on them (I know an expensive exercise!) But mine has now gone away with 4 weeks of glasses wearing.

One trick I used after giving up on the eyedrops was to make up a 'rinse' of 1 teaspoon salt and boiled water in a dish and then I dipped an earbud into it (when cooled) and cleaned around each eye with a new section of earbud three times a day.

Another good trick is to clean your towels on a hot wash, sterilise all lightswitches and doorknobs with Dettol spray so you don't re-infect your eyes. Oh and also change your pillow case each day.

Sorry to sound so over the top, but I sympathise as I was desperate to get rid of it. Just be patient, good luck!

RamblingRosa Fri 11-Feb-11 12:38:31

Oh yes, good advice re. cleaning all towels and pillowcases and chucking out eye make up. I did the same.

DP has just started complaining of the same symptoms. There does seem to be an awful lot of this around at the moment.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 11-Feb-11 13:08:15

Oh, this is all so helpful thank you everyone!!

I have done the (painful!) chucking out of all my eye makeup - I have a special 'do' this evening and have bought a cheap new eyeliner for one-off use only as I am desperate to wear a bit of eyeliner (I look piggy without it) - anyone have any opinion on whether I should do this or not? It would be on for about 3 hours...

I had wondered whether a new pillowcase each day could help - will do that, I don't even care about the hassle, I just want this infection to go!

And great advice too about sterilising doorhandles etc...

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NormanTheForeman Fri 11-Feb-11 13:14:40

I don't know if this is any help, but whwnever I have had an eye infection, I have asked for the chloramphenicol ointment, rather than the drops. The drops never seem to work on me, but the ointment does. I don't know whether it's worth a try.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 11-Feb-11 13:25:16

Hi Norman!

Actually a chemist did say to me when I was using the drops that the drops are useless (very helpful!) and that the ointment was better... I did try it but got in a total mess and none of it ended up in my eye at all... could be worth re-trying I guess, but if it is viral infection do antibiotics have any effect?

Thanks for your post and I love your name...

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NormanTheForeman Fri 11-Feb-11 13:30:48

If it is viral, then antibiotics won't help. But is it possible that it is bacterial, but not helped by drops? I have found the best way to apply the ointment is to pull out the lower eyelid a bit, by putting pressure just under it with your fingers and pulling down. Then with the other hand squeeze the tube while drawing it across the eyelid.

I'm normally SoMuchToBits, but have temporarily namechanged in the interests of teacup emoticon campaigning!

Norman the Foreman is really ds's Playmobil builders' foreman, who doesn't do much work but drinks a lot of tea....

emeraldgirl1 Fri 11-Feb-11 13:35:37

Oh yes, norman, you could be right... certainly I think it could be worth trying the eye ointment, it is a bit of a hassle but worth it if it gets rid of this thing!!

Do you have any idea whether or not it is ok to wear (a brand new, never to be used again) eyeliner as a one-off for a couple of hours this evening?

I like the sound of your son's Playmobil tea-drinker...!

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RamblingRosa Fri 11-Feb-11 14:28:55

I agree re. ointment. If it's viral and therefore not responding to antibiotics, I would get some viscotears which just lubricate the eye and make it more confortable. It's kind a gel consistency and seems to work better than eye drops.

I too found it really hard being without any eye make up so I often applied a tiny bit of mineral eyeshadow using a clean cotton bud or a tiny bit of eyeliner making sure to sharpen it before and after (so it's a fresh surface each time IYSWIM). My eyes definitely felt less comfortable with the make up on so I wouldn't recommend it every day but for a one off I don't think it's the end of teh world.

emeraldgirl1 Fri 11-Feb-11 14:53:13

Thanks RamblingRosa, you've given me the answer I was looking for wink

I agree with you that just for a few hours it can't harm that much, it is a brand new eye pencil and it was such a cheapy, just a couple of quid, that I think I may even just throw it away right afterwards, for peace of mind... I've spent such a fortune on eye baths, saline, drops etc over the past few weeks that a couple of quid on an eye pencil for one-time use doesn't even seem that ridiculous to me anymore!!!

I'll have a look for viscotears, luckily my eyes don't feel too dry (at least not at the moment) so I might just keep that at the back of my mind as it were.

Glad I'm not the only one who finds it hard to go eye makeup-free!! I don't think I've gone a day without eyeliner since I was 19, I just look weird without it!! Made worse too by the fact that my glasses are such a strong prescription that my eyes look even piggier and smaller behind them...

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Karoleann Fri 11-Feb-11 14:54:18

Is the eyelid puffiness better today?
I'd recommend viscotears too. Viral conjunctivitis can take ages to clear - I've seen anything up to three months, most 2 weeks - 1 month. It can cause your eyes to be very dry afterwards for a few months.
I really wouldn't put your lenses in until its completely clear - maybe a new pair of glasses until its clear?

emeraldgirl1 Fri 11-Feb-11 15:22:25

Hi Karoleann! Thanks for your post - the puffiness is a bit better today - it is quite hard to tell because the more you stare at your eyes the puffier they look! But I do think the eyelids seems less puffy.
Can it really take up to 3 months??? Oh no

TBH it probably isn't worth me getting new glasses, I pretty much hate myself in ALL glasses!! The ones I have are OK - the nicest I've ever had, probably - but I still feel weird and not at all myself in them. I know it's the world's most minor thing but I feel my whole personality changes when I wear glasses - I was bullied at school for the way I looked and it only stopped when I started wearing contacts, so it's one of those things I just can't seem to shake off!

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