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Eye pain/redness, vision changes

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Old 12-14-2008, 09:04 AM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Vancouver, WA, USA
Posts: 1
kyril HB User
Eye pain/redness, vision changes

I don't have health insurance and can't afford to see an eye doctor at all, but I've had some changes in my vision that have worried me a great deal and I'd like to know if it can wait 2-3 years until I graduate and get a job or if I should be immediately terrified.

About a year ago, I started getting a lot of eye irritation - it felt like there was always "something in my eye" but I could never find anything. Then about six months ago my eyes started getting red over the course of the day - specifically the left eye always reddens in the same pattern, a spiderweb outward from the inside corner terminating in a large red spot right next to the iris. There's little or no redness when I wake up, but by the time I go to bed my left eye is very red and painful and the right is mildly irritated. I assumed it might be allergies - I've never had allergies before, but I know they can crop up in adulthood - so I've tried Claritin, which doesn't seem to do much if anything, and allergy eyedrops which will clear up the redness but not the pain and irritation.

More worrisome, in the last month I've started to notice vision changes - everything is a little bit blurrier than before, and I've had to increase the zoom level on my web browser to be able to read comfortably. I also have barely-noticeable double vision, specifically in the dark when looking at point light sources like stars. Each eye doubles the image independently, although the doubles are in slightly different spots; the double in the left eye is down and to the left, the one in the right eye is up and to the left, and with both eyes open the double image resolves to a location directly to the left of the star/distant light. I also have trouble focusing properly on very distant bright objects like the moon, distant street signs, etc. I've always had 20/20 vision and never had eye problems as a child, and when I was discharged from the military 18 months ago I passed the discharge physical (including eye exam) just fine, so this is definitely new and not normal.

I know that the first reaction everybody will have is that I should see an eye doctor, but I really can't; they won't even look at me without insurance or payment up-front. I don't qualify for the free treatment programs available because I get too much money from the GI Bill, even though it mostly goes to tuition. I'm scared that this might be something serious. The Internet research I've done hasn't really been able to point me to anything conclusive. Does this sound seriously urgent? Can I make it a few more years without going blind? Would an urgent care clinic or ER be able to do anything for me?

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Old 12-14-2008, 04:30 PM   #2
Junior Member
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: California
Posts: 47
mike1961 HB User
Re: Eye pain/redness, vision changes

I would definitely see an eye doctor. If you can't then perhaps you could at the least go to an urgent care center or even somewhere like Costco where they have optometrists that can look in your eye with the scope. Not sure but I think a Costco visit is around $40 or so. It could be an infection and possibly a corneal ulcer or maybe something even more serious like high eye pressure or something else. You might have something more mild like pink eye and/or conjunctivitis which are contagious (explaining why it is in both eyes) and can easily be cleared up with topical antibiotics. But, you should not mess around with your eyes and see someone.

Good luck

Old 12-15-2008, 06:52 AM   #3
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Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 1,002
KeelaC HB User
Re: Eye pain/redness, vision changes

What Mike said.
Optometrists are relatively inexpensive and can tell what's wrong.

Old 01-04-2009, 07:24 PM   #4
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: US
Posts: 2
eyewideshut HB User
Re: Eye pain/redness, vision changes

If you were in the military, you can be seen at a VA hosptial.

Uveitis is inflammation of the uvea, which is the vascular layer of the eye sandwiched between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera). The uvea extends toward the front of the eye and consists of the iris, choroid layer and ciliary body. The most common type of uveitis is an inflammation of the iris called iritis (anterior uveitis).

Uveitis is most common in people ages 20 to 50. It can be serious, leading to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the complications of uveitis.

The signs, symptoms and characteristics of uveitis include:

Eye redness
Eye pain
Light sensitivity
Blurred vision
Dark, floating spots in your field of vision (floaters)
Decreased vision
Sudden appearance and rapid worsening of symptoms
Effects noticeable in one or both eyes
Variable site of inflammation — sometimes only the front of your eye (anterior uveitis, iritis) or the back of your eye (posterior uveitis), and sometimes all three layers of the uvea (panuveitis)


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