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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11310
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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My eyes are red and swollen. It started with the right eye

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My eyes are red and swollen. It started with the right eye and now the left. I have suffered from dry eye in the past, now my eyes are watery most of the time. My right eye lid was not closing all the way and I would awaken in the morning with my eyes sore and eyelids crusty and swollen. The inside of the eyelids are red and swollen as well . The fluid from the eyes seem to actually burn the skin around the eyes. This all started after I went swimming in the neighborhood pool about a month ago. What could I be dealing with.
Dr. Rick :

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

Dr. Rick :

Has this been going on non stop for a month?

Do you wear contact lenses?

Dr. Rick :

How long after it was in the right eye did the left eye become affected?

Dr. Rick :

I see that you are offline. I'll switch over to the Q&A system. This system works a lot like 'text messaging' but an email is sent to each of us anytime something is posted to this thread. We can continue to work on your question there..... :)

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We have been experiencing technical difficulties with the chat system. Please allow me to retype my chat here for your review:
Dr. Rick : Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.
Dr. Rick : Has this been going on non stop for a month?
Do you wear contact lenses?
Dr. Rick : How long after it was in the right eye did the left eye become affected?
Dr. Rick :
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

The problem occurred in the right eye first, lasted for about a week before the left eye became irritated.

No, I do not wear contacts.

My internist thought that I may have pink eye at first so she gave me a prescription for an anitbiotic for that. Later when the eyes had not cleared up, sh thought that I may have had swimmers eye. so she gave me another prescription for the ears only. They now seem to be ok, but my eyes are still very sore. Foe the last week. I have been using Refresh Tears Lubricant for dry eyes inside my ees and have beenoccassionally putting "Equate' nighttime lubricnt eye ointment on the eyelids. Eyes are still sore and the left one is jumping a little.

Ok. The jumping is called myokymia and it is most likely from all the irritation you have had lately. It is nothing to worry about and should go away on its own.
You may have had pink eye at first like your internist thought. The only problem is that antibiotic drops are not indicated as this if from a virus and not a bacteria. The antibiotic drops and the viral infection may have irritated your conjunctiva but, at this point I think you are dealing with a combination of problems.
It sounds like you are suffering from an anterior segment/tear film issue. Many times, for all sorts of reasons, the anterior surface of the eye starts to have difficulties. What can cause this? Well, there are a number of conditions but the most common are dry eyes, allergies and blepharitis....many times all three conditions act together to make you miserable. In order to solve your problem you need to address all of these issues at the same time.
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 are very common 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, if this doesn’t work then you can try temporary punctal occlusion of the lower puncta, then, if needed, temporary occlusion of all 4 puncta then, if indicated, surgical ( non-reversible) closure of the puncta. The openings to your tear drainage system are called puncta and you have one opening on each lid, near your nose.
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. You may not be able to see this “gunk” yourself, unless it is really bad, but it shows up clearly on slit lamp examination.
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 your 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 affect you can use over the counter allergy pills such as Travist, dimetapp or Zyrtec.
Should your symptoms get worse, your vision become significantly affected or things just not get better in 3 weeks or so you should have a complete eye examination by your local ophthalmologist to look for other, less common, causes of your symptoms.
Does this make sense to you?
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