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Ophthalmology & Optometry/Eyes hurt but doctors say no problem?


For about the past year and a half my eyes have been in a near-constant state of redness and scratchy discomfort, getting worse and worse as time goes on. I've seen two different ophthalmologists but they both said they can't find anything wrong except for a little GPC.

One Dr prescribed neo/poly/dex drops for the GPC and the other just told me to use Refresh Plus preservative free drops daily. Neither seems to have helped much and my eyes have become more and more veined and bloodshot. New veins keep appearing but the old ones never go away.

I've tried using compresses in addition to drops but the scratchy stinging feeling always comes back within minutes or hours. I also sometimes wake up in the morning with my eyes so dry and painful that they can't open for a minute or so. I used to wear contacts daily but haven't worn them more than a handful of times after I got a corneal ulcer 5 years ago.

I can't believe two different doctors said my eyes are fine because it definitely feels like something is wrong. Please tell me there's something else I could try or at least ask them to check next time I see a doctor for this.

It sounds like you're developing dry eye syndrome, or k-sicca.  This normally starts with dysfunction in some of the tear glands around the eye (meibomian glands), and progresses from there.  Everything you've described is classic for it.  There are multiple things to do, including diet changes, hot compresses, medications, and even procedures like miboflo or lipiflo, which can make the eyes feel and look much better.  They need to look at your tear chemistry, tear production, gland expression, and put some dyes in your eye to evaluate certain things.
Of course, we would need a good history and a physical exam, to figure it all out.  Make an appointment with another eye doctor - this time try and optometrist. A doctor who deals with contact lenses - they tend to be much more in tune with gland and dry/redness issues.
Good luck!

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John M. Dovie, OD, FAAO


As a residency-trained Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry I am able to answer most questions regarding eye and vision health. Anything is welcome, ranging from dry or allergy eyes, bifocal contact lenses, or thoughts on LASIK surgery. As I am not a surgeon, detail-oriented surgical-related questions may be better answered by an ophthalmologist.


Selected to participate in the PCO residency program in Philadelphia at The Eye Institute, where I worked OD and MD specialists gaining invaluable experience in various clinics including glaucoma, cornea and cataract, oculo-plastics, retinal disease, neuro-ophthalmic disease, primary care, emergency medicine, and special populations. Have practiced and trained in numerous settings including hospital, academic, retail and private practice. I earned my Fellowship in the American Academy of Optometry (FAAO). There are currently only about 3000 active fellows worldwide, and there are only about 70 Fellows in the state of Virginia. I currently own and operate my own optometric practice/clinic.

American Academy of Optometry, American Optometric Association (Contact Lens/Cornea Section member since 2001), Southwest Virginia Optometric Association, Virginia Tech Alumni Association

“Nyctalopia as the Presenting Sign of Vitamin A Deficiency: A Late Complication of Gastric Bypass Surgery.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Denver, Colorado, December 2006, co-authored with Bradley Lane, OD.
“The Importance of Considering Paranasal Sinus Mucocele as a Differential Diagnosis in Diplopia.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry San Diego, California, December 2005, co-authored with Kelly Malloy, OD, FAAO and Cherie Farkash, OD.
“Acute Onset of Halos and Glare: Bilateral Keratitis—An Atypical Presentation of Amiodarone Keratopathy.” Clinical Case Study Poster presented at The American Academy of Optometry Tampa, Florida December 2004. Also Presented to New Jersey Academy of Optometry, Neptune, New Jersey March 2005.
“The Opportunity for an Optometrist to Save a Life.” Clinical Case Study and Grand Rounds Presentation presented at The Pennsylvania College of Optometry, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, September 2004.
“Corneal whorls cause wonder.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 10/15/2006.
“Acute onset of halos and glare: bilateral corneal epithelial edema with cystic eruptions--atypical presentation of amiodarone keratopathy.” Co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO. Published February, 2006, Optometry.
“Pondering the posterior polka-dots.” Clinical Challenges Quiz, co-authored with Andrew Gurwood, OD, FAAO, Review of Optometry. Published 5/15/2005.
Professional Involvement:
“AION: Amiodarone-Induced or Anterior Ischemic Optic Neuropathy?” Participated as a peer-review referee for Expert Review of Ophthalmology (London, UK); refereed 10/2006.

Bachelor of Science, Cum Laude, Virginia Tech. Bachelor of Science, Pennsylvania College of Optometry. Doctorate (OD), Pennsylvania College of Optometry Residency, Pennsylvania College of Optometry Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry

Awards and Honors
Winner, First Place, "Best Beside Manner" by Our Health Magazine: 2012, 2013, 2014 Winner, First Place, "Best Eye Doctor" by The Roanoke Times: 2013, 2014 Recognized as a Fellow of the American Academy of Optometry, December, 2006 Recipient of the Onofrey G. Rybachok Memorial Scholarship, 2000-2001 Member: The Golden Key International Honor Society Member: The National Biological Honor Society Member: The National Honor Society Eagle Scout awarded 1994

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