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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 10608
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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my left eye is always irritated. red/dry near lashes, watering

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my left eye is always irritated. red/dry near lashes, watering a lot, swollen a bit, very crusty when i wake up, almost glued shut. i have tried conjuctivitis meds twice- didnt help. ???What do I do?

Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

It sounds like you have a couple of things going on. First is allergies, second dry eyes and third blepharitis.

When it comes to allergies it is almost impossible to pin down the offending agent(s) and, therefore, treatment needs to focus on controlling the symptoms. Dry eyes is very common, especially after the onset of menopause, and can be improved by a stepwise series of therapies. First, the use of natural tears 4-6+ times/day to augment your natural tear production, then temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then surgical ( non-reversable) closure of the puncta.

Blepharitis is a condition where glands in the eyelids are not functioning normally. They become plugged and instead of putting out their normal clear, oily secretions, they put out thick, toothpaste like gunk.

The best treatment for this condition daily lid scrubs combined with warm compresses. I like to use baby shampoo for lid scrubs. In the shower, place the shampoo on your index fingers, close your eyes, raise your eyebrows (to stretch the skin on you eyelids) and scrub back and forth along your eyelashes for 3 to 5 minutes. The hot water in the shower helps to soften the plugged oils in the glands while the mechanical scrubbing with your soapy fingers removes the oils.

Baby shampoo lid scrubs will also help to wash away allergens and stimulate tear production, thereby addressing all three of your issues. Remember, this is not an instant fix. While you are waiting for the lid scrubs to have effect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or zyrtec.

When your eyes are "dry" and irritated they make more tears....this is the "something is in my eye" mode of tear production, not the "my eye feels fine and I'm making tears to keep things moist" mode. The use of natural tears will help your eye turn off the flood of "something in my eye" tears that comes from your eyes being dry. Does this make sense?

Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in a week or so you should have an complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist.

Is there anything else you would like to discuss at this point or have all your questions been answered to your satisfaction?

I hope this information was helpful for you. But I do work for tips so I want to make sure you are happy with me before rating me. If you have another question on this or a related issue feel free to fire away. And please let me know if the rating system gives you any troubles.

Thanks in advance,

Dr. Rick MD FACS

And, yes, this can cause symptoms in only one eye at a time :)
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