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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3164
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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I was awakened yesterday morning about 4 30 am with sever pain

Resolved Question:

I was awakened yesterday morning about 4:30 am with sever pain in my left eye. I could not open the eye, but managed to get a washrag, put it into extremely hot tap water and press it to my eye. As soon as it started to cool off I repeated the process. I stayed in bed until 10:30 am using the hot washrag and heavy pressure on the eye, the heavier the better. After that time I was able to pry the corner of the eye open and managed to dribble in some Visine eye drops. I was finally able to open my eye all the way by noon, but it continued to tear all day and the pain, while not nearly as severe was still there. This has happened to me before, but has always been in the right eye. It is never at the same time of year and I can go anywhere from 8-10 months to over a year before anything like this happens. What could possibly cause something like this? It is most unpleasant and always costs me a day out of my life, never anything over a day!
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 3 years ago.

Doctor DanB :

Hello and thanks for your question. Are you available to chat?

Doctor DanB :

Have you ever had any incidental eye trauma such as a paper scratch across the front of the eye, a fingernail scratch to the eye, been hit in the eye with even a small twig or something along those lines?

Customer:

No, I have never had any eye problems or injuries.

Doctor DanB :

Do you wear contact lenses or have you had surgery to either eye (I assume not if you've not had problems with the eyes before)?

Customer:

No, surgeries, no contacts

Doctor DanB :

Your symptoms can be from a handful of different causes. Sometimes people wake up with a stabbing pain that almost feels as though someone ripped the skin right off their eyeball. If this sounds familiar than this maybe a corneal abrasion or scratch. For people who describe waking up to this type of phenomenon, they often have a history of an incidental trauma such as a twig glancing across the front of their eye, or a paper scratch or child's fingernail scratch to the eyeball. This incidental trauma can set off a reaction in the epithelium (superficial most layer of the cornea) that causes that portion of the epithelium to no longer adhere its underlying stromal (substance) tissue of the cornea, predisposing to corneal abrasions, or scratches, that often present like this. The kicker about this is, though, even when the patient makes it into the eye doctor's office within a few hours of the onset of the pain, the scratch is often times completely healed or almost totally healed so that there is very little to no evidence of this. In this respect, the patient's historical encounter goes a long way towards the diagnosis, which is called recurrent abrasion or recurrent erosion syndrome. There are certainly many, though, that have this recurrent erosion syndrome with no history of antecedent incidental eye trauma.

Even if you don't have that characteristic sensation of having the front of your eyeball ripped off upon first wakening, this may still be a corneal abrasion or scratch, even if it is not related to a recurrent abrasion syndrome. Just rubbing the eye, or having gotten something in the eye can cause an abrasion which may lead to this sharp, stabbing pain; in many instances this can feel like a foreign-body is in the eye as well.

In the absence of a corneal abrasion, this could also be related to just a dry, irritated eye. Dry eyes often times provide this stabbing pain in the eye which can last for several hours to days.

My first treatment advice for all of these problems would be to start using artificial tears 4-5x/day in both eyes on a consistent, daily basis. You can also use some lubricating ophthalmic ointment, although the use of that will certainly blur the vision, so you may choose to use that only before you go to bed, or after work at the very least. You can buy both of these over-the-counter at the drug store; generics work just fine, just don't buy any artificial tears that say get-the-red-out or redness reliever.

Alternatively, you could also try using Muro 128 ointment in your eyes at night, before you go to bed. You can buy this over-the-counter in most drug stores. This can help with this recurrent abrasion syndrome which you may have.

My money is on you having a recurrent abrasion syndrome.

Customer:

Why would it change eyes? This is the first time it has happened in the left eye and it actually feels like someone stuck a hot knife in the corner of my eye.

Doctor DanB :

One reason why it may have "changed eyes" is that this may be related to an underlying deficiency that you have in both eyes with regards XXXXX XXXXX skin of the cornea anchoring down to the underlying stromal substance of the cornea. Some people just have this innate deficiency in the top layer of the cornea staying anchored to the rest of the cornea and it can manifest just like someone who has this recurrent erosion syndrome from an incidental trauma.

Customer:

Thank you for your help.

Doctor DanB :

You're welcome. Do you have any further questions about this topic that I can help you with?

Customer:

No, that will do it!

Doctor DanB :

I am happy to be able to help you today. I will also be happy to answer any other questions until you have the information you need.


 


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Any positive feedback and/or bonus you may feel prompted to provide would be welcomed and is appreciated. Thanks for your inquiry!


 


My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must see an eye doctor.

Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3164
Experience: Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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