My whole life my eyelashes have driven me nuts. They’re not inflamed or tingly, they don’t exactly itch… I used to say (this is gross) I could feel the bugs in the follicles moving around. My first memory of tugging at my lashes was in school when I was 10 years old. I remember where I was sitting and on which “fancy paper” I was writing ~ it had a horse design and I was using an eraser (which I then called a rubber) shaped like a watermelon slice. I had pulled out an eyelash and was inspecting it when I saw a classmate watching me and got embarrassed. Those of you that know me, will know the annoying eyelash syndrome of which I speak; I won’t go into more detail except to say that my eyes, lids and lashes were never dry, red, crusty, swollen or inflamed, so I never really thought about it much.
When I first had vision insurance in 2011, I got my eyes checked. My vision was still 20/20 and when I mentioned that my eyelashes bugged me a lot, the optometrist said I had dry eye and told me to get Systane dry eye drops. Last year, I had them checked again. It was during one of the Worst Headaches of My Life episodes, which was centered all behind one eye and I thought maybe the optometrist would see something. He didn’t. And my vision was still 20/20. But, he said, You have allergies that I can see in your eye and these dark circles are called “allergic shiners”. I got excited. Why had I never known this? (Although, my sister has the same dark circles and no allergies, so I was slightly skeptical.) He prescribed antihistamine eye drops which I swear made the annoyance worse. The little root mites were more irritated than ever.
Then one day I decided to research it because that has become my new profession: unpaid internet researcher of crazy physical conditions. By the way, did you read that NY Times article about the boy with arthritis? It’s long, but I highly recommend the read ~ especially for those of us trying to conquer diseases with diet and not drugs (plus, he drinks tart cherry juice like I do!). But I digress. I did some reading on eye maladies and my mild affliction didn’t seem to fit any of the descriptions (or look like any of the ABSOLUTELY DISGUSTING google images of eye problems. Ew, internet, I need to steel myself before looking at those sorts of pictures), but the remedy for blepharitis is to wash the eyelid with baby shampoo each day where the eyelashes meet the lid. I’ve been doing it and I think there is a difference. It’s too soon to tell, but I’m excited. I’m too sick to leave the house, but, by god, I won’t be tugging at my eyelashes! Unfortunately, my eyeBALLS have taken on a different life since I’ve been sick. They are not white anymore and they look like I’m a sick person, but this is new in the last year, so I’m not worrying about it. I’m just looking forward to one day wearing mascara again on lovely, full, long, itchless lashes.