I have asked many of my severe dry eye patients if they would prefer to have chronic chest pain, need hospital dialysis or continue to have their dry eye discomfort and pain. All of them said they would prefer one of the other options. While this is not a scientific study by any means, and these patients have not had chronic angina or need dialysis to which to compare their pain, the below study sheds light into the debilitating, chronic, miserable pain, dry eyes can cause in one’s life.
These severe dry eye patients feel their eyes more than 50% of their life (at least a 5/10 pain score). Many of them wake up at night time from the dry eyes they feel. Many of them really have a hard time going into stores or even going to work because of increased discomfort from the light and even perfumes that irritate the eyes. Sometimes they do not even want to socialize as it hurts their eyes to talk too much or they are tired of being asked by they blink so much or close their eyes so much
What I do not understand is why insurance companies do not cover dry eye care enough. It is outrageous that they do not cover even proven treatments, such as the Lipiflow, IPL, or Meibomian Gland Probing, when we know not having such treatments can lead to future meibomian gland loss, worsening dry eyes, and debilitating pain.
It is important for insurance and families and especially parents of children who give their children a cell phone, computer or video game (which is really “ignorance leading to long term misery and pain for your child”: see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7R265A4IsNk. A colleague recently told me that giving a child an electronic device was really child abuse. I said that was too strong a statement, but I know what he means. When we see these kids being sent to us for a Corneal Transplant evaluation, we are horrified to hear they were given their own cell phone or ipad when they were 4 or 5 or 6 or that they play video games 2-3 hours a day. We can only imagine how the electronic devices have entranced these kids to alter blinking rates and ignore their eye’s screaming out, “Look away! Blink! I am dying!”
I know parents, loved ones, friends, and teachers do not mean to hurt their children and only want to help their kids succeed in this world, but giving a young child an electronic device unsupervised is worse than crack cocaine in my opinion as crack is rare and hard to get and rarely causes chronic daily severe pain. Electronics are all around us, are incredibly addictive, and have devastating, life altering risks.
Sandra Lora Cremers, MD, FACS