It started a week ago when I noticed that my eyes seemed to be watering more than normal, particularly my left one. Since I sometimes get little ingrown eyelashes, I didn’t think much of it. As a matter of fact, I used my magnifying mirror to see if I could find the culprit, but my eye wouldn’t stop running long enough.
Tuesday I had a hair appointment and it seemed to be a little worse. Other people at the salon said they’d been having troubles with their eyes, too, and attributed it to allergies. Although I’ve never been diagnosed with allergies, this seemed a reasonable explanation, and I started trying to “wash” my eye out with the artificial tear type of eye drops. They’d provide momentary relief, but didn’t seem to solve the problem.
Wednesday I had breakfast with my friend, Babs, and told her that my left eye was really starting to give me problems. She said she’d been having similar problems and that made me go back to the allergy idea once again. By this time, my eyelids and the corners of my eyes were becoming very sore from wiping the moisture away. But, still, I thought it was just a temporary thing.
By Thursday, it was becoming really, really annoying. It was hard to read or watch TV without wiping my eye, and I spent much of the day using the artificial tears and then a commercial eyewash. A couple of times in the evening, it became so frustrating that I ended up in tears.
Friday morning dawned with the answer. When I woke up, my left eye was glued shut! This provided me with an immediate “flash from the past.” I remember, as a very young little girl, maybe five or six, waking up frightened because I couldn’t open my eyes. I’d start crying and my mother would come in with a warm washcloth and gently wipe away the crust from around my eyes. So that was it. My old friend Pink Eye. I had errands to run Friday before the predicted snow, but suddenly my number one priority became getting my eye taken care of. I knew that bacterial pink eye required antibiotic eye drops or ointment. But, what to do? Fortunately, I remembered reading about CVS’s “Minute Clinics.” No appointment required. I looked up the closest one on my computer and set out. It took courage because, believe me, by now I looked like some crazed witch with an evil eye! And the damned thing kept leaking! Try driving while your eye drips infectious liquid! And worse, sometimes the “gunk” would float across my field of vision. (Eye doctors call it “discharge.” Oh, good, my eye is “discharging!”)
Anyway, I walked into CVS, signed in at the Minute Clinic, and was seen within fifteen minutes. Turns out my diagnosis was right on track and I was prescribed antibiotic eye drops that I have to use every four hours for five to seven days. I was very impressed with the level of service and the fact that I didn’t have to call someone for an appointment and then wait three months to be seen. They even electronically transmitted my prescription to my grocery store pharmacy so that I could kill two birds with one stone! Great job, Minute Clinic!
That day I only had three doses of the eye drops and didn’t notice a radical difference, other than the “leaking” let up a bit. But on Saturday I was able to dose myself five times, and I could really see the difference. It was truly like putting a magic potion into my eye! Now my eye is back to normal and I don’t have to worry about scaring children anymore!
In the course of all this, I made myself somewhat of an expert on pink eye. Bacteria, viruses or allergies can all cause it, but bacterial is the only kind that can be cured with antibiotics. Both bacterial and viral are highly contagious, so by wiping one eye and touching the other, you can infect yourself. It’s often contracted by simply touching a surface that was touched by someone who has it, then touching your eye. (Hello, grocery carts and door handles!) If you think you may have pink eye, use a tissue, rather than your fingers to wipe away the wetness. (That’s easier said than done, I know!) The four main symptoms, all of which I experienced, are: 1) redness, 2) a gritty feeling like you have something in your eye that you just can’t remove. (I had this one big time!) 3) a watery discharge (viral) or pus-like discharge (bacterial) and 4) constant tearing. If you experience all these, you might want to be a little smarter than I was and get treatment as soon as possible. When I think of all those days I was suffering but just kept thinking it would pass, I could just kick myself!
You know, pink used to be my favorite color… and it probably will be again.
But right now? Not so much!