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My left eye is burning and feels scratchy, as though there

is something inside. I wear...
My left eye is burning and feels scratchy, as though there is something inside. I wear my contact lenses for approximately 15 hours per day. About three weeks ago, my left eye appeared slightly red, but this went away within a day, and I assumed that I just got an irritant in there. However, since then, my eye has been extremely sensitive (to wind, to light, etc) and feels like it's stinging. It is not red, and there is no discharge. Tonight, I noticed after using some artificial tears, a halo around streetlights. I have an appointment at the eye doctor on Friday, but I'm extremely concerned. Is this a case of dry eye or something more serious?
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Answered in 5 minutes by:
9/1/2011
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,659
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Verified
Dr. Rick :

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

Customer:

I've never had any problems with my eyes before, and I'm completely terrified at this point that something is very wrong...

Customer:

Does this just sound like a case of dry eye to you?

Dr. Rick :

I am glad that you are going to be seen by your ophthalmologist on Friday. Until you can get in to see her, do you have glasses you can wear instead of your contacts?

Customer:

Yes, I do.

Dr. Rick :

Dry eye usually doesn't cause light sensitivity. Tell me, when you look at the light is your eye really painful, as in deep pain or just sorta uncomfortable?

Dr. Rick :

I'd stay out of the contacts for now then.....

Dr. Rick :

About the halo's. Did it go away after a few moments when you used the tears?

Customer:

It's just sort of uncomfortable. Honestly, I can't so much tell if it's the sunlight or being outdoors that makes my eye so uncomfortable. It's only really gotten bad in the last day or two. It just feels very sensitive.

Customer:

It actually started after I used the tears. I've never had that happen before so severely. My right eye was perfectly fine, but from my left, all I saw were halos.

Dr. Rick :

By sensitive do you mean that you are more aware of your eye or that it is uncomfortable or painful?

Dr. Rick :

Have the halo's resolved?

Customer:

no, the halos haven't improved. My eye just feels very blurry now.

Dr. Rick :

how old are you? Male or female?

Customer:

27, female

Dr. Rick :

There are a number of things that can cause the halo's you are talking about. One of them is increased pressure inside your eye, cataract etc. Do you have any nausea?

Customer:

not at all

Dr. Rick :

And otherwise healthy, I'd expect?

Dr. Rick :

ok. Good.

Customer:

it's odd. It actually feels WORSE when I take my contacts out then when they're in.

Customer:

yep, no health problems

Dr. Rick :

It is possible that you have dry eyes, although you are kinda young for that. Other causes could be allergies (It's that time of year :) and blepharitis.

Dr. Rick :

Given what you have told me I don't think it is anything that could be thought of as an emergency.

Customer:

I think I'm just sort of terrified that something is very wrong. Nothing like this has ever happened before with my eyesight.

Dr. Rick :

I'd recommend you stay out of your contacts for now, and bring them to your eye doc so she can look at them in the office during your exam.

Customer:

what is blepharitis?

Dr. Rick :

I can understand that you are worried....we only have two eyes and they have to last a lifetime.

Dr. Rick :

It is an inflammation/infection of the eyelids that messes up your tear film.

Dr. Rick :

Here's a link:

Dr. Rick :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blepharitis

Dr. Rick :

What should you do until Friday?

Customer:

Is it common for individuals who basically live in their contacts to get dry eye?

Dr. Rick :

It doesn't, however, sound like you are suffering from a corneal ulcer :)

Dr. Rick :

I think these simple treatments, along with taking some time off from wearing your contacts, will go a long way toward making you feel better.

Dr. Rick :

I am also very happy that you will have a complete eye exam in a few days.....wish I could get my daughter to to that lol!

Dr. Rick :

Does this make sense to you?

Customer:

Yes, it absolutely does. I'm just extremely concerned. You don't think it's anything more serious?

Customer:

I'm also concerned that my eyes actually hurt more after my contacts are out....what would cause that?

Dr. Rick :

No. Not from what you are telling me.

Customer:

I was just extremely concerned about the halos...what typically causes that to happen?

Dr. Rick :

That is a very good point. It could be that your are having edema of your cornea from your long periods of contact lens wear. The swelling could cause the skin on your cornea (epithelium) to get "looseish" (that is a complex medial word ;) and cause discomfort.

Dr. Rick :

Corneal edema could cause the halo's, as could serious thing like angle closure glaucoma attack (don't think you are having that), corneal warping from the contacts, cataract, inflammation etc. The list is long but, once again, I think you will be OK, especially since you are just few days away from seeing your eye MD

Customer:

corneal warping sounds slightly terrifying.

Dr. Rick :

Actually, it is not that big of a deal as your cornea is very, very good at unwarping itself without any residual effects.

Customer:

As long as what's going on sounds like something fixable and that it's not going to result in me losing my eyesight, I'll feel better.

Dr. Rick :

I think it is very safe to say that you will not loose your eyesight over this.....Darn! Now what are you gonna do with that cute puppy, eh?

Dr. Rick :

Did that make you smile? Hope so :o) Now. Try not to worry. You are already doing the right thing by consulting with us experts here on Just Answer and, more importantly, going in to see your ophthalmologist.

Customer:

This might sound like a ridiculous question....but how did you know that I had a dog?

Dr. Rick :

I didn't....but I have 3 of them and all nice people have dogs and you seem like a nice person. Q.E.D.

Dr. Rick :

And the reference was kinda supposed to be toward the seeing eye dog thing......

Customer:

Ahh, ok. Well, thank you for your help. I feel (slightly) less concerned.

Customer:

Ahhh, of course! God, my sense of humor is better than that.

Customer:

I'm too worried about my eye falling out of my head to get a good joke.

Dr. Rick :

I'm glad I could be of help......Take care and have a great evening.

Dr. Rick :

I can understand how eye pain could put a dent in your joke detector :)

Dr. Rick :

And, now, the obligatory word from our sponsors: :o)

I hope that this information was helpful for you. Please, allow me get credit for my time and effort in assisting you and press the ACCEPT button for this assist. I will be glad to answer additional questions until you are satisfied. Thank you very much.

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Customer:

Thank you again. I appreciate the help. Have a nice evening (with your three dogs). My non-seeing eye dog thanks you as well.

Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,659
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
Verified
Dr. Rick and 87 other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11,659
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Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest

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