Today I am very grateful for the internet.
During the weekend, I woke up one morning to find that my left eye was red and exquisitely painful and constantly tearing. It teared up so much that I filled up a small trash can with wads of tissues from wiping it. It cried so much that my flatmates jokingly asked me if I was heartbroken and referred to the eye as my “emo eye.”
So I went to a GP doctor who said I had sore eyes, even though I tried to explain what I suspected the problem was – an old eye injury that I inflicted on myself when my arm slid off my headstand and I ended up punching and scratching my eye. I didn’t believe him because I know what sore eyes should feel like.
So I did my own research and found an article that mentioned that sometimes, corneal abrasions are subject to recurrence. Normally the epithelium sticks down to the layer underneath firmly. Tiny pegs underneath the cells that make up the epithelium keep the cells stuck on to the basement membrane. However, these pegs may take 6-12 months to reform properly after the original injury. During this time the epithelium may be prone to slipping and sliding, and this slipping and sliding causes this condition.
Armed with this information, I went to another GP, the same one who had treated my original injury 2 months ago. He immediately knew that it wasn’t sore eyes, and when I showed him my research, he decided to refer me to an eye specialist in CGH.
I know it’s easy to be dismissive when you think you’re the subject matter expert, but here’s the reality – despite that, you do NOT know everything.
I know patients sometimes jump to the wrong conclusions, too, but from what I learned from watching years of Doctor House, it is important to listen to the patient, because not all cases are the same. Maybe his final conclusions are wrong, but maybe one piece of info he does give you is the key to finding the right diagnosis.
This is not just applicable to doctors, of course, but to everyone. To me. To you.
Be open-minded. You do not know everything even if you think you do.
Sure enough, when the eye doctor finally had a chance to look at my eye through his eye telescope thingie (pretty sure this is not what it’s supposed to be called but I hope you know what I’m talking about), he told me exactly the same thing that I had found in my research, even though I didn’t show it to him. So I was on the right path after all.
I was given eyedrops to dilate my eyes which blurred my short sight, removing my ability to read. It was a frustrating 4 or so hours when I couldn’t chat, do social media, or read articles and could only listen to Les Mis for entertainment.
I realized that I had taken my vision and ability to read for granted. So that’s my second realization for the day. What an EYE opening experience! 😁
I was given 3 days sick leave and meds to help my problem. It seems like my eyes get too dry, so that while I sleep, my eyelid sticks to the epithelium and pulls it off before the pegs have firmly fixed it in position. The ‘sticking’ of the eyelid to the epithelium, which occurs when I wake up in the morning, can be stopped by using an eye gel before I sleep.
I hope it works, but he says there is still a possibility that this will happen again in the future. 😐 Oh well, at least my research said it will just be about a year and that each recurrence is supposed to be shorter and less painful.