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Dr. Tom
Dr. Tom, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 264
Experience:  30 years experience treating patients with eye problems
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I have been dealing with a moderate cold for the past couple

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I have been dealing with a moderate cold for the past couple of days. All of a sudden, last night, (I am already feeling better since yesterday) I fell asleep only to awake with an incredibly stuffy nose, pressure in my sinuses. I could not breath through my nose at all. Then I tried to open my eyes and could not. This never happens to me. I pried my eyes open gently, and then saw that there was a lot of small little eye boogers (or lack of a better word). They looked a bit like the color of my mucous. My eye lids were very swollen, but mostly at the edges, and more in one eye than the other. My skin around my eyes was not red, my eyes were bloodshot, and they did not itch. There was some blurred vision. i did not feel like there was something in my eye, but tears would leak out. Not too much. After running cold water through my eyes and and putting a cold washcloth on my eyes the swelling went down a lot. I put drops in my eyes, they feel better, but I am worried this is goingto happen again since I have a very important social event to attend tomorrow night.

Dr. Tom-Eye :

Hi, I'm online now and would be happy to help you with your question. Just reply and we'll get started. Dr. Tom

Customer:

Hi Dr. Tom!

Dr. Tom-Eye :

It sounds like we've got to get you straightened out in a hurry. Give me a second and I'll type out some thoughts for you.

Dr. Tom-Eye :

In reviewing your posting it sounds very much like you have a typical upper respiratory system infection. Most of these are viral, which means they are self-limiting. The problem is, we don't want to see a secondary bacterial component go untreated. The mucus that you described does not necessarily have to be bacterial. When our eyes are inflamed, or when there is a viral infection, the amount of mucus that our eyes produce increases. This often gives us the feelings that our eyes are stuck together. It increases the thickness of the tear film making our eyes feel a little bit sticky or oily. There is a little bit of concern about the increased swelling of your eyelids and the bloodshot nature of your conjunctiva. So there is the possibility that this could be a viral or a bacterial conjunctivitis. There are some signs that your ophthalmologist can see on his slit lamp microscopic examination that point in one direction or another, but it doesn't sound like you have time to do that before your big event tomorrow. When I am treating patients with similar presentations, we often recommend over-the-counter lubricating artificial tears such as Systane or TheraTears, used three or four times a day in conjunction with moist warm compresses. Does this make sense to you so far and what other questions come to mind.

Customer:

I definitely felt like my eyes were oily, it is the strangest sensation

Dr. Tom-Eye :

Yes the oiliness comes from several of the normal components of the tear film that are being kicked into overdrive in order to bring your immune system and other germ fighting components to a higher level.

Customer:

The only other question I have is the following: sometimes out of nowhere ( I do know of any allergies I may have) my eyelids will swell up but itch and not get so red. I was worried maybe the cold caused that to flare up.

Customer:

i do not* know of any allergies I meant

Dr. Tom-Eye :

In reading your question I was not sure whether you meant to say that your eyelids itched or did not itch when your eyelids would swell. Is there ever any itching at all?

Customer:

I have no idea why that occurs, and I wash my eyes carefully since I wear makeup. and it will itch. Usually benadryl takes it away.

Customer:

today they did not itch at all

Dr. Tom-Eye :

Will yes I think your cold could well be a factor. And quite often people do have allergic conjunctivitis, commonly associated seasonal factors. Let me give you a little more information that might be useful set you ask for a high degree of detail

Customer:

You know, doctor, the weird part is that on some of the other occasions this has occured, I have been entirely indoors for one or two days.

Dr. Tom-Eye :

. A couple of things that you should keep in mind. If the mucus that your tear film produces takes on a greenish color and becomes quite thick and causes your eyelashes to crust that often indicates a bacterial conjunctivitis which requires antibiotic medications prescribed by your ophthalmologist............. on the other hand if the eyes produce more of a watery sticky tear it could be either viral or allergic conjunctivitis. For the allergic component there are good over-the-counter antihistamine eyedrops. An example is Zaditor, used to a three times a day as needed. As far as viral conjunctivitis, only that caused by the herpes simplex virus is treatable by antiviral medications. The remainder of the viral conjunctivitis entities, are self-limiting and our autoimmune system kicks in to resolve the problem. Remember they are all contagious with the exception of the allergic form. Please let me know if you have any other questions as I am here until you're completely satisfied with the level of information that you requested.

Customer:

I get cold sores. Does that have to do with anything? I did not actually get one this time, but I usually get one once a year or every two yrs

Dr. Tom-Eye :

Well, in the scenario you have presented today there is nothing that you have said which would lead to much concern about the cold sores. We all have the viruses that cause cold sores lurking around somewhere. It's our autoimmune system that keeps these viruses in check. And when they do break through as a cold sore, it's our autoimmune system that brings them under control........ it's been a pleasure chatting with you. I hope you have received the information you were looking for. I will be here until you're completely satisfied, so is there anything else on your mind at this point

Customer:

No, thank you.

Dr. Tom-Eye :

You're very welcome. Best wishes. I will switch over to the Q&A format now so that you can rate our conversation.

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