I wondered .. does anyone else have dry eyes?

Before I found out that I was a coeliac, I began to have problems with my eyes. I already had various things which now appear to be linked to coeliac disease such as headaches, blisters, ulcers, tummy troubles but I hadn't been diagnosed at that time.

I developed something quite out of the blue, which I was told was blepharitis - it is reportedly caused through a germ that attacks where the lids meet the eyes as well as the eyelids and sometimes up to the eyebrows. It took me nearly 12 months before I even went to the doctor then after following instructions from both my optician and doctor, I was eventually sent to hospital. They were lovely and I was informed my eyes were very dry which made them itchy - I was prescribed drops which eased the itching inside the eye. The blepharitis cleared up and then after a while I found myself with eczema ... and here I am!

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  • No dry eyes currently, just watched the last episode of Dancing on Ice :D

    I suffered from blepharitis too and even had a lump which grew on my eyelid as a result of an infected hair follicle. Had to go to the eye hospital where a very, very nice doctor turned my eyelid inside out and lanced it. Sounds horrible but she stroked my head and told me how brave I had been (I did not get a lolly though - I was 36 at the time :-) )

    Cure for this is very simple, wash your (closed) eyes daily with baby shampoo, rubbing gently along the line of the eyelid and rinse. Never had a problem since.

    However... there is such a thing as Sjoregren's Syndrome which is an automimmune disease that causes dry eyes and mouth.....

  • The opticians advice was bicarbonate of soda disolved in boiling water and applied with a cotton bud along the edges of the eye twice each day for thirty days. This was then followed by the hospitals advice of the baby shampoo disolved in warm water and applied twice each day for thirty days. Finally, I was advised to be careful from using the baby shampoo as it contained preservative so to use plain cold tap water and with a sterile cloth rather than a cotton bud.

    I was prescribed drops for dry eyes, which I still have to use but was advised that it was quite commonplace for eyes to go dry over a period of years .. so I am not sure whether or not this is or isn't related to coeliac disease. At the moment they feel like they have small grains of dust in them.

    I have been taking antihistamine tablets because of the eczema around my eyes but just looked up how to spell it and came across this page on the NHS .. nhs.uk/Conditions/Antihista...

  • I started on the cotton bud - must admit last couple of years I have worked on the basis of whilst in the shower getting a dollop of baby shampoo worked into a lather in my hands and then gently rub along the (closed) eyelid, rinse off in the shower.

    Works a treat and not had blepheritis since.

  • Perhaps I should try this every day and it might well clear up my eyes for good too! The first specialist at the hospital recommended baby shampoo as it apparently makes it difficult for germs to survive .. something to do with the ph level rather than antiseptic property, I believe.

  • Yep, think you are right. Also the eye specialist I saw said that a common cause of infection is build up of solids from the substances dissolved in tears which tend to precipitate out around hair follicles in eyelids. If these get blocked with "gunge", infection can form which can trigger blepheritis and/or give rise to styes or the lumps in your eyelids that I had.

    This gunge hardens up over time, which is where problems occur esp. if it is in a blocked follicle.

    These in turn create a greater risk of infection spreading into the eye.

    So using baby shampoo, as well as creating an environment which is tricky for bacteria to develop in, also keeps the areas where gunge forms clear and the gungle becomes less solid so less likely to block follicles.

  • Thank you for spending time for adding this extra piece of knowledge. I wasn't given this as a cause for blepharitis and I must admit when I was told it was caused through germs .. putting it bluntly I felt both guilty and dirty. I am a constant hand washer and rarely touch my eyes and couldn't understand how this had happened to me. So it's lovely, in a daft sort of way, to think at least it may not be my fault. :)

  • My pleasure and I am not dirty either :) No, some people are more pre-disposed to it than others and the advice I was given was that if you get it once you will most likely get it again and again.

    Your skin is naturally covered in bacteria and whilst of course someone who is dirty is more likely to get it, it can equally happen to someone who has normal hygiene.

    I started doing the daily shower eye wash routine about 3-4 years ago and not had an infection since (I have occasionally skipped a day by accident and its not a problem as the "gunge" is softer and so more easily removed).

  • Well, this shouldn't prove to be too much of a problem as I use baby shampoo for my hair anyway.

    Do you just mix it with any amount of water .. in other words do you use it diluted or quite neat? Hope you don't mind me asking ... thanks. :)

  • Just use it as I would regular shampoo - pea-sized blob in the hand and bit of water, lather it up a bit (not too thick) and do my stuff.... :)

  • Dumpy,

    It's possible that the drops you are using are not thick enough,I saw my optician a month ago and he said I needed a thicker one.I was using Hypromellose single dose and am now using Viscotears Singledose units 2.0mg/g Eye Gel.Certainly made a difference to me.I did not know there were different thicknesses but there is another one even thicker than the one I am using but I afraid I cannot remember the name.

    Hope you get it sorted before I used the new one I could not open my eyes in the morning because they hurt so much.

    Best of luck.

  • My eyes are very sensitive and cigarette smoke makes them smart and go really bloodshot.

    I had a sore eye for a few months and eventually went to the Dr's and they said that I had done all the right things but too often by bathing my eye in Optrex. Because when we use Optrex for a while when we stop our eyes become dry as they aren't producing enough fluid, which makes sense.

    I think that I am much more sensitive to many things than most folks and think that other coeliac are too.

    The tip about baby shampoo sounds excellent and I shall remember that. So an interesting thread.

  • Optrex is OK in small doses but it has witch hazel in it which is an astringent - long term use can cause redness and soreness. Usual advice is to use a saline eyedrop longer term if you have dry eyes.

  • Follow the treatment for BLEPHARITIS Get your GP to give you Hypromellose 0.3% eye drops- these you can use all day - there is no upper limit as to how much you use.

    the Specialist I saw adivised the mild solution of bab shampoo and also the use of small (home made) rice bags warmed in the microwave for about 30 secs this warms the oil in the glands which run under the eye lids (apparently in the "olden days" people used to warm their wooden spoons in warm water!)

  • Lynxcat - it's a rather obvious question but do you spend a lot of time at a pc screen? Are you taking any meds that list this symptom as a side effect?

    I've had dry eyes for several years now and was told by my gp it was due to not blinking properly at the screen. I was advised to use artificial tears. These helped in the short term but didn't resolve the problem.

    I then experienced a very sore eye, and developed the 'chalazion' cyst which Meanioni mentions above. These are blockages in the oil glands which run under the surface of the eye lid and keep the lid moving. When blocked they become infected and very painful.

    Later on I stopped working full time in front of a screen and waited for the dry eyes to improve. No such luck. My dentist then thought I had a dry mouth and mentioned Sjogren's syndrome autoimmune disease, which involves dry eyes and dry mouth. My bloods were checked and I had a test which involves tucking some absorbent paper strips inside your lower eyelids and measuring the amount of moisture. Good news was this result was normal, bad new I'm no nearer resolving the dry eyes.

    GP then diagnosed blepharitis and gave me a factsheet from the eye hospital explaining the baby shampoo routine. I gave it a try but then returned to using plain boiled water with a small amount of salt added. I use this with a cotton bud first thing to clear any salty deposits and then use some non medicated drops which lubcricate and cool the eyes very well when they feel hot and prickly.

    When I went for an eye test I asked the optician to have a good look at my eyes and she said their was slight evidence of mild blepharitis. She poo pooed the shampoo and suggested specific lotion and pre impregnated pads that are specifically designed for this condition and which they happen to sell.

  • Hi Irene,

    The reason I mentioned the dry eyes is because the specialist at the hospital diagnosed this after first contracting blepharitis. This was all prior to being diagnosed as a coeliac. I wondered whether most coeliacs eventually end up with dry eyes. The specialist said that I would most likely require drops for the rest of my life. I occasionally try leaving them off but eventually they become so uncomfortable, dry and itchy and sore that before the end of the day I am back using the drops again. I have done a little reading up on dry eyes and it is advised to always use eye drops as it may lead to corneal ulcers and eventually blindness. I know that there are tablets or probably capsules (in the form of eyebright) that can help but I haven't as yet tried these out.

    livestrong.com/article/2723...

    homeremediesweb.com/eyebrig...

    I was also told about the impregnated pads that are available by my optician but he said that it would probably be best to use bicarbonate of soda - 1 teaspoon dissolved in half-a-pint of boiling water and allowed to cool before gently wiping the edges of the lids with a cotton bud dipped in the liquid. One bud per eyelid. This I did try but didn't have any luck with it. The baby shampoo got rid of most of the condition and the remainder went with tap water. I am left now though with a bout of eczema which has attacked the inside corners of the eye so I'm taking Oolong tea and trying all and sundry topically.

    I share the PC so not too much time spent in front of it.

  • I would recommend visiting an ophthalmologist that specializes in dry eye. There are so many causes of dry eye, it is important to understand the cause of your dry eye. It could be due to typical blepharitis treatment.

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