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Ask Dr. Dan B. Your Own Question
Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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About 7 weeks ago my eyes, especially my left, suddenly

Customer Question


About 7 weeks ago my eyes, especially my left, suddenly started getting red and a bit sore with a bit of itchiness. I also had a small kind of painful red bump on my left eyelid - and then my right(sty maybe?). I took my contacts out immediately and put them back in after a couple of days and my eyes would continue to get very red especially at night. I've tried two different brands of contacts and they still continued to get red at night. So I haven't worn contacts for about 2.5 weeks now and my eyes are still red when I wake up and towards the night. They are still sore from time to time and mild itching happens frequently. I've been to two optometrists but they seem more keen to sell me glasses than tell me whats wrong! But dry eye has been ruled out and a small scar is on my left eye that was not there previously (not on the cornea but the white part of the eye). Neither of them seems to know if it is still active yet as well. Could this cause redness in both eyes? If its relevant, I also caught a nasty flu about 2-3 weeks after this all started.I don't have any allergies and my eyes have never done this before. The redness seems to be concentrated on the parts of my eyes not covered by my eye lids if that makes sense? and my eyelids do itch quite a bit. Any ideas what this could be? Because this has been driving me crazy for nearly two months now!

p.s. there hasnt really been any discharges. Small white, pus like balls come out of my tear ducts every couple of hours though. But they are small.

Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thanks for your question. Your story sounds quite classic for inflammation in your eyelids and consequently your cornea which is caused by bacteria in your tear film and exacerbated by your contact lens use. To have inflammation in the eyelids and bacteria in your tear film is very common. Some people can get the type of inflammation that it sounds like you have without using contact lenses at all, but wearing the contact lenses just exacerbates the situation.

The contact lens keeps oxygen from getting to the cornea and the cornea then starts to have inflammation and possibly even an infection. If you are wearing the same type of contact lens for many years, it is likely that you have a contact lens that doesn't have a very high oxygen permeability to it (unlike some of the newer contact lenses on the market). If there is no infection, and only inflammation related to contact lens use, then staying out of the contacts for several days, combined with the use of a combination antibiotic/steroid drop use would be a reasonable treatment regimen. If this inflammation is from a relative lack of oxygen from your current, but older brand of contact lenses, then you would probably do well to get an updated prescription for one of the newer contact lenses that let more oxygen in. That would allow you to stay in your contact lenses as you currently do with less chance of inflammation.

There are a good many optometrists who would catch this, but there are just as many who would not because they routinely deal less with the medical diseases of the eye than an ophthalmologist does. I would recommend going to see an ophthalmologist who can diagnose the particular type of inflammation occurring in your eyes; I would not return to an optometrist for this.

Does this information help address your concerns? Does this make sense? Do you have any other concerns that I haven't addressed?

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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.

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I have Acuvue Oasys for about 2 - 2.5 years I'm not sure if those are well on the oxygen. Also should this problem still be going on 2.5 weeks on without contacts? The redness just never seems to go, mild in the morning, goes down during the day, then comes back for more at night.
Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Also both opticians said they could not tell if the scar/ulcer was still active, could that be the source of the bacteria (if there is any).
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Yes, this can still be going on after 2.5 weeks not in contacts. This inflammation can last for weeks to months if not treated correctly. Also, unless it was a fulminant, active infectious ulcer (which even most optometrists should be able to distinguish), it would not be an ongoing source of bacteria. The problem is the body's response to bacteria--this is what causes the symptoms and it's difficult to control that response, sometimes, unless steroids are used and bacteria is killed.

Acuvue Oasys generally is pretty good as far as oxygen permeability but it may be that it's not permeable enough for you. I would recommend considering changing to a newer brand that has an even higher oxygen permeability. Also, in case you are not following this contact lens hygiene, I will tell you that you shouldn't sleep in contact lenses, ever, even though some labels on the lenses tell you that you can. Lastly, it may also be that your eyes cannot tolerate the # of hours per day that you are using contact lenses, and you may need to cut down on the # of hours per day you wear them. I would start with the visit to the ophthalmologist's office to get the right treatment, then go to the new kind of contact lenses and if that doesn't work you should consider cutting down how much you wear the lenses.

Does that make sense?