My eyeball has a soft spot.
August 25, 2010 9:44 AM   Subscribe

I noticed my eyes were bloodshot the other day, particularly the right side of my right eye. Last night, i touched the red area with my finger out of curiosity, and it sort of... wrinkled. It's squishy in a way that my other eye is not. Should I be worried?

I don't even know the proper terminology to describe this phenomenon. I will probably ignore it until it goes away or gets (much) worse... unless this is a symptom of something serious that I would need to take care of immediately.

You Are Not A Physician/My Physician.
posted by brenton to Health & Fitness (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Close your left eye, and see if the vision in your right eye is worse than it used to be. If it is, see an opthalmologist immediately. If not, then I would guess that you can afford to ignore it until it goes away or gets worse, as you already plan to do.
posted by grizzled at 9:50 AM on August 25, 2010

If my eyeball wrinkled at being touched I would head to the ER immediately. That's not normal.
posted by dfriedman at 9:56 AM on August 25, 2010 [4 favorites]

I think you should see a doctor immediately. If the eye loses integrity (in blunt terms, if the fluid inside leaks out), you are at a high risk of losing the eye permanently. I don't know how likely that is in your case, but if my eye were anything less than smooth and firm to the touch I would see a doctor as soon as possible.
posted by jedicus at 9:58 AM on August 25, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yes, be worried, go to a doctor immediately.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:00 AM on August 25, 2010

Dude! Yes! Are you kidding me? It is your eye and your sight we are talking about here.
posted by rlef98 at 10:04 AM on August 25, 2010


Look, as someone who has a somewhat serious medical condition I spend most of the time shrugging off because, you know, I just don't want to hang out in the ER that much, that ! is the sound of my screeching tires as I haul ass to the ER.
posted by adipocere at 10:08 AM on August 25, 2010

Oh my gracious god: GET TO THE ER OR URGENT CARE RIGHT NOW. IANAD, but there are a whole lot o' eye issues which are fine when caught early, but which can result in major, permanent ill effects if let go. You can't just pop a new retina in when the old one goes - when it's gone, it's GONE, and so is your vision.
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:15 AM on August 25, 2010

FWIW and IANAD, when I have an allergic reaction, for example to cat hair, the white of my eye often goes ... jellyish ... Isuppose is the only way to put it. I don't tend to touch my actual eyeball, but pressing through my lower lid makes it kinda, squish up a little, but thinking back on it my iris isn't affected, the squidge sort of gets an edge there.

Again, I have no medical background or knowledge, but the situation I have described has happened a couple of times a year for the past 15 years or so anyhow, and I have no vision issues.
posted by Iteki at 10:17 AM on August 25, 2010

I've had this happen when I have an allergic reaction to something, usually cats or pollen.It clears up within a day or two. BUT I'd see a doctor if your loosing sight, or your in any pain. You don't want to mess around when it comes to your eyes.
posted by ljesse at 10:23 AM on August 25, 2010

This random blog from a google search for jellyish eyeball describes what I mean.
Conjunctival inflammation or something is probably a better search than jellyish eyeball.
posted by Iteki at 10:25 AM on August 25, 2010

Jeez people are panicky. Disclaimer, IANAD, IANYD, and my experience may not be what you have going on so to be safe I'd suggest seeing a PA at one of those quicky "urgent care" clinics in Walgreens or wherever. Anyway, this happens to me pretty frequently. It's just an inflammation of the conjunctiva, the clear membrane over your eyeball, aka conjuncitivitis. Bacterial or viral causes for this inflammation are known as pinkeye... that yucky bug that gets passed along in schools or office buildings by touching tainted surfaces then rubbing your eyes. It's treated by medicated eyedrops. If it's not bacterial or viral then it could also be caused by something that irritated your eye... in my case about 2 weeks ago I had a really irritating, itchy round of this in my right eye, complete with the wierd clear wrinkly membrane looking thing in the corner that sounds just like what you're describing. It was caused by sawdust particles in the air from a bag of woodstove pellets I had just opened. Lasted a couple of days and went away on its own. I've also had it happen from seasonal allergies (itchy red eye, wierd membrane thingy sliding around). I've seen docs for it, none of them have been concerned and the way it was explained to me was that because I had Lasik eye surgery a few years ago, I have drier eyes than most people which means less tears to cleanse out environmental contaminants from the eye, then ta-da! more irritations & infections. If you have this happen a lot you could have dry eyes. Of course, ymmv. See a pro to be safe.
posted by cuddles.mcsnuggy at 10:30 AM on August 25, 2010

cuddles.mcsnuggy: I don't think people are being panicky so much as prudent. "My eyeball is squishy" could very easily be an allergic reaction... it could also be ocular hypertony, which, like the Wu Tang Clan, ain't nothin' to fuck with. I think the severity of peoples' reactions is because it's the OP's eyeball, of which we only get two. :-)
posted by julthumbscrew at 10:49 AM on August 25, 2010 [3 favorites]

Do you have a doctor? Call them. Part of having a primary care physician is the ability to get phone support. They can tell you if you need to come in to have it looked at, go to the ER, or if it can be safely ignored. They are more likely to give you a medically sound answer, than I am, but if my eye was being weird, I'd be taking action.
posted by theora55 at 11:28 AM on August 25, 2010

most likely an allergic reaction but i would check it out nonetheless for the reasons mentioned above.

i completely freaked when it looked like my daughter had a blister on her eyeball and it was allergies. Take some benadryl and see if that helps. I still took her to optometrist even though they reassured me it was probably ok over the phone because i wasn't willing to risk a 10 year olds eyeball.
posted by domino at 12:45 PM on August 25, 2010

You should definitely go to the doctor, BUT if you're lucky like me, you'll find out that you have dry eyes (the redness) and sun damage (discolored "squishyness" that wrinkles when touched). It can be cosmetically removed, but for a small fortune. I've been using non-drying eye drops for the last year and that's helped.

But definitely go to a doctor immediately. I used to work for an ophthalmics/ophthalmology pharmaceutical company, designing their ocular symptom & disease training guides...the things that can happen to your eyes can happen fast and most horrifically.
posted by iamkimiam at 1:26 PM on August 25, 2010

I am echoing the comments that you should see a doctor. On the chance that this is some kind of allergic reaction, just wanted to recommend Zaditor eye drops. I had allergies crop up suddenly about five years ago, in the form of bright red eyes. Lovely. Over the years I've tried all combinations of oral allergy meds and drops, and until I found Zaditor (there is a much cheaper generic, at Walgreen's anyway), I could never get complete relief. I think mine is a grass or pollen allergy, by the way.

Anyway, go to an eye doctor just to be safe.
posted by JenMarie at 6:13 PM on August 25, 2010

The nonspecific term for swelling of the eye, such as that which would cause squishiness, is chemosis.

I've gotten it from allergies. I've gotten it from rubbing my eye too much. I have used allergy drops and saline, which make it marginally more comfortable. It always goes away, although I've never punctured it, which I imagine could cause more problems.
posted by opossumnus at 6:37 PM on August 25, 2010

Pretty sure this is just your conjunctiva getting a bit swollen. I poke my eyes all the time (bad allergies) and mine get red, swollen, puffy, and a wee bit wrinkly, pretty much every day. Rinse with cool water, put ice cubes on your closed lids, or use natural tear eyedrops (the ones just for lubricating the eye, not the ones for removing redness) to make it feel better. I mean, it is your eye, so if it feels awful or gets worse get thee to the ER, but in my life what you describe is really normal and I have eyes like a hawk. I bet it'll get better within 15 minutes of a cool-water rinse.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 9:40 PM on August 25, 2010

If you're balking at the cost, there's some perfectly legitimate eye doctors out there in the eye glasses business. In my experience, they're fairly reasonably priced for a walk-in-check-my-eye-please visit. A lot of them work without appointments, and an inquiry by phone or in person at the front desk will sort out price & qualifications pretty quickly.
posted by Ys at 6:50 PM on August 26, 2010

Thanks all, it seems it's gone away for now. I probably would have gone to the doctor if there was ever any pain, but I'm basically convinced it was just inflamed for whatever reason. It was just super spooky to see it move like that when I was expecting it to be firm like normal.
posted by brenton at 1:25 AM on August 28, 2010

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