My problems started in October 2010, and after much thinking and exploration I thought this was a case of RSI. But this turned out to be an incorrect diagnosis – detailed here.
Later an eye-specialist was able to successfully diagnose this as an inflammatory problem but his recommended solution DID NOT WORK. Details here.
Then the breakthrough!
On 19 May 2011 I was basically going crazy. My head was swollen (not from outside, just felt like it) with pain. Eyes were burning. No amount of anti-inflammatory drops worked.
I came home pretty desperate. Suddenly my mind went to aloe vera, which had been very useful in a particular case earlier. I explored google and found that yes, there was some evidence that it might work (here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here Here's how to get it as eye-drops [Naveh vision]).
I immediately decided to give it a try. Also I remembered that honey had some useful properties. A general search on honey and dry eyes led to useful google results. Here, The person says, "I am still using my handmade honey drops and feel even better than two days ago. I am off the artificial tears". Well, I had better smear some honey on my eyes. This person says, "When I get to much honey it can sting a bit at first but other than that the results where surprising! It improved my eyes gradually and kept them moisturized much longer than other products." And listen to this patient. (also this). Listen to this.
Therefore I initiated a two-pronged remedy instantly: aloe vera AND manuka honey.
I wrote this on a website on 20 May 2011: "I was desperate with pain yesterday. Came back home in severe pain. In desperation I thought of two things: (a) aloe vera and (b) honey – two things I know have useful properties, and searched google. I found sufficient evidence that these might work. I had Manuka honey at home, and also a robust aloe vera plant. I applied honey on eyelids and margins of the eyelids (near eyelashes), allowing some honey to get into the eyes. It stung but very briefly. Then after 10 minutes washed it off and applied a sliced aloe vera leaf. Allowed that aloe vera to continue through the night (didn't wash off), then applied castor oil as usual. Next day (today) applied both these in a matter of just minutes and washed off. Back today from work, and the pain levels are 10 times lower. Almost normal (after months!). As I speak I've liberally applied honey on my eyes (near lashes). I'll leave it on for a very long time today. Looks like honey and aloe vera are the two secret ingredients to destroy dry eye pain. Fingers crossed. I'm reporting on this at http://eyestrain.sabhlokcity.com/ should you be interested in updates. Sanjeev Sabhlok 20 May 2011"
So my experiment was as follows:
a) 19 May evening: 10 minutes of honey, overnight use of aloe vera (along with usual castor oil).
b) 20 May morning: A very quick splash of honey for a few minutes, washed off, then aloe vera – before going to work. Evening: a longish treatment of both these.
c) 21 May morning: I've decided that honey does most of the work. Aloe vera is not necessary. Just applied a LITTLE honey, dabbed in water with my finger, into the eyelid/eyelashes. Kept it on the whole morning. Brilliant. Eyes are back almost to normal.
In other words, this IS the solution to the problem of inflammation of the eyes.
ARCHIVE OF THINGS THAT I USED BUT WHICH DID NOT WORK WELL
The cure is now almost final
Last updated 19 May 2011
Note: I've not been cured yet!
Let me note that I HAVE NOT YET BEEN CURED and so the title is more aspirational than a full cure. I regret I don't have a SURE CURE TO OFFER YET. I actually thought I had found the cure when I started this website, but unfortunately, despite promising initial starts, the problem is still there, and on some days can become almost as bad as it ever was.
So why this page? Well, I'm using this as a place to document what seems to be working better than other methods. In other words, while this is NOT the cure (yet), it might be useful to someone undergoing my type of symptoms. I'll keep incrementally advancing this page till one day I can remove this qualifier entirely.
The following regimen has given me some (not entire) relief.
1) When the headache and burning becomes unbearable
My "head" (basically eyes and areas around it and inside it) used to throb with burning pain. At that stage Metsal (hot rub) – composed of methyl salicylate (oil of wintergreen or wintergreen oil) – seemed to help make life livable (not bearable) again. Else I was simply going crazy.
Use this hot rub on the top eyelid just near the eyebrow (avoid the eyeball!). Watch out for contra-indications (listed at the bottom of this page), and don't do it in excess. I found that I needed to use it for a few weeks ALONG WITH OTHER THINGS (GIVEN BELOW). You can stop using it whenever you achieve a tolerable level of pain, I suppose.
I'm currently experimenting with: Aloe Vera
I've had some excellent results in the past (in relation to another problem) with Aloe Vera. Upon investigating this today I find that there is some promising evidence that aloe vera might help. I have started rubbing raw aloe vera "juice" from the aloe vera plant on my eyelids. I propose to do this twice a day for a few days and see whether it helps.
I should also start trying honey
On an off chance I researched the use of honey for dry eyes and hit paydirt. Here, The person says, "I am still using my handmade honey drops and feel even better than two days ago. I am off the artificial tears". Well, I had better smear some honey on my eyes. This person says, "When I get to much honey it can sting a bit at first but other than that the results where surprising! It improved my eyes gradually and kept them moisturized much longer than other products." And listen to this patient. (also this)
Luckily I have some Manuka honey at home. I'm now going to experiment.
And now, Rose water.
Listen to this.
2) Keeping this problem under control
I have found the following package to be useful – although it has not yet cured the problem permanently.
i) 50% of the cure: Anti-inflammatory eye drops and artificial tears (and lots of blinking)
Anti-inflammatory eye drops that I'm taking: Zaditen, Albalon A, Antistine Privine, and Visine. I use them liberally throughout the day.
Artificial tears: See my eyedrop analysis here. The best one so far is SYSTANE ULTRA. I'm continuing to try out many others. However, none of these seems to truly 'fix' the problem. The use of anti-inflammatories seems to be absolutely necessary.
Note: I was given Flarex (steroidal) eyedrops for a week and the problem was significantly reduced, but the specialist cannot recommend it for long term use. Hence I'm struggling with less effective options. Better than nothing, but not really a cure. I'll need to try Restasis if this problem continues even with anti-inflammatory eyedrops. Drugs in the pipeline are listed here.
ii) 10% of the cure: Castor oil
This has proved to be very useful. I use it almost every night. Very soothing; lets me go to sleep without pain. Watch this:
iii) 30% of the cure: Hot wet towel
It feels to me that applying a hot wet towel over my eyes seems to help When I can, I try doing this twice a day.
(I tried cold – basically ice, and after five minutes my eyes got blurry:- could not see anything in sharp focus. Don't use cold!)
iv) 10% of the cure: Eye exercise, massage
Eye stretches have helped me a bit: looking in the distance and then closely, and rotating the eyball. I've also increased the head stand yoga posture to increase blood flow. Massage of the eyelid and surrounding muscles has been useful. I tried harsh massage in the beginning, but believe that might be counter-productive. Techniques learnt from yoga include: tighten all facial muscles and relax them. Press the connecting tendons.
Also trying these:
The computer monitor should be positioned so that the eyes are looking down at it slightly. This will ensure the eyelids are in a slightly more closed position which reduces the area for evaporation. Looking up at a monitor would be the worst position for evaporation of tears.
More Omega-3 is recommended on many websites. I have increased intake but not much effect yet. Also Astaxanthin 4mg. (I've purchased from Puritans Pride – two bottles of 60 tabs each for $47 AUD (including shipping).
One of my doctors recommended I should clean my eyelid (Lidcare). I've tried. Didn't seem help. (Mayo advice).
Potassium is apparently very low in patients with dry eye, according to Dr. Marc Grossman, who was quoted in an article on LiveStrong.com. The best food sources of potassium include kelp, dulse, wheat germ, almonds, pecans, bananas, raisins, dates, figs and avocados.
Zinc is a factor in the metabolic function of several enzymes in the vascular coating of the eye, according to "Prescription for Nutritional Healing." A few good food sources of zinc include brewer's yeast, fish, kelp, legumes, liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and whole grains.
Not yet tried intense pulsed light surgery (here) nor Restasis.
Current advice from an eye-specialist friend
1. Since you have stated that anti-inflammatory drops did have some beneficial effect – you can use a nonsteroidal antiinflammatory which have minimal side effects if any like bromfenac eye drops. This you can use as an when necessary unlike the Flarex which is a soft steroid . Steroids in topical form cause glaucoma (which will be evident within a week to ten days) and cataract (when used for a long term).
2. You can start restasis and also use a tear substitute together with it .
3. Check whether your eyes are exposed unknowingly to any direct wind flow e.g. the A/C vent in your car or room .
4. Do not disturb your eyes by sprinkling water frequently .
5. Check for any systemic disorders ( with your physician ) which leads to dry eyes