Mote in my eye!
October 17, 2012 11:48 AM   Subscribe

About 3 weeks ago I started having an annoying issue with my eye/eyelashes. It has not diminished at all and is driving me bonkers.

Do you recognize the sensation that you get when you have a foreign object stuck in your eyelashes? The initial sensation was just like that. I thought I had a piece of fuzz or a hair that needed to be banished. I was at work and couldn't see anything in the bathroom mirror so I just pulled on my eyelashes hoping to remove the offending object. Nope. For three weeks now I have had a constant and infuriating sensation on a very specific area of my eyelid right near my lashes. I am constantly tugging on it to make it go away.

Things that I have looked for or tried: There is no pokey or crooked lash. I have tried no mascarra and different/new mascarra. There is no redness or bump. I have looked under my eyelid and nothing looks different. It is not the same sensation of the twitchy stress eyelid. I am not stressed. I thought maybe it might be caused by the mites that naturally inhabit our eyelashes but I don't know. I have looked in a 10x magnifying mirror multiple time and can see nothing. I know that I can't see mites at that magnification I was just hoping for some sign off irritation.

As I said, this is driving me bonkers. BONKERS! I have also gone days without fussing with that area hoping that it would just go away.

I know that this is a longshot question but I thought I would try.
posted by futz to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I've been having the same sensation for the last few weeks as well, but I have chalked it up to having a cold/my allergies acting up. Do you have any other symptoms of cold or allergies?
posted by joan_holloway at 11:52 AM on October 17, 2012

That's exactly what my scratched cornea felt like for days before it got it became unbearably painful to blink. Nothing was visibly wrong either although I was certain there was something in my eye. Go see your eye professional.
posted by halogen at 11:56 AM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

Posterior vitreous detachment? If it is, get it checked right away. In itself it is not harmful and will generally go away but can, in very few cases, lead to retinal damage.
posted by TheRaven at 11:57 AM on October 17, 2012

Do you wear contacts?
posted by punchtothehead at 11:57 AM on October 17, 2012

Go get checked for a scratched cornea.
posted by griphus at 11:59 AM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: Never have had allergies and I am not sick now. Have never worn contacts but do wear cheap readers.

Wouldn't I have had to have an injury to have a scratched cornea? Also, I have had no change in vision so I doubt that is a detachment.

posted by futz at 12:06 PM on October 17, 2012

I got a scrubby piece from a facial scrub stuck under my eyelid once and it was horrifically painful. The eye doctor just flipped my eyelid inside out and removed it, but it resulted in a scratched cornea. Maybe you have an eyelash stuck under there and that's what's causing the feeling. I'd get an eye doctor to check it out, or flip your eyelid inside out if you can stomach it.
posted by jabes at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2012

You can get a scratched cornea from rubbing your eyes too hard, or by getting a tiny fleck of whatever trapped in between the lid and the eyeball. The whatever will get dislodged, but the scratch will remain.
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on October 17, 2012

Wouldn't I have had to have an injury to have a scratched cornea?

You could have poked yourself in the eye while sleeping?

Also, kind of an out-there suggestion, but have you done any super low-budget international travel recently? A friend of mine stayed in a grotendous hostel in Thailand and got body lice from the pillowcases, and the first sign of this was super itchy irritated eyelids, because there were tiny cooties in her eyelashes.

(sorry for creeping everyone out, don't touch your eyes)
posted by elizardbits at 12:14 PM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks guys. Maybe it is my eyeball and not eyelid. No pain though. Just Googled:

Symptoms of Corneal Abrasion

Once you've had a corneal abrasion, you're not likely to forget the unrelenting pain and discomfort it can cause. Symptoms of corneal abrasion may include:

Feeling like you have sand or grit in your eye
Eye pain, especially when opening or closing your eye
Tearing and redness
Sensitivity to light
Blurred vision or loss of vision

I have none of these. If I pull my lashes away from my eye the sensation goes away. I have also tried an eye wash and eye drops. It is so annoying that I want to punch myself in the eye just to have an explanation.
posted by futz at 12:24 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

None of us will be able to give you a positive explanation over the internet. There are many options for what this could be, still including cornea scratches. They can result in blindness. You really, really, really should see an optomologist to rule it out. Don't mess around with your vision, you really don't want to risk going blind in one eye. Seriously, eye pain and irritation for 3 weeks is no casual matter.
posted by internet!Hannah at 12:32 PM on October 17, 2012 [4 favorites]

It could be a stye. Mine often start with a twitchy-itchy-must-yanky feeling and then progress from there. Not every stye has a redness or an easy to see bump. The most maddening stye of all was the teeny tiny one that came up between two eyelashes.

2nd to internet!Hannah - go see a doctor (and stop the eye washes and drops for now; depending on what's wrong, that might not be the best thing to do)
posted by jaimystery at 12:35 PM on October 17, 2012

A super-fine hair? I get them sometimes on the ridge between the eyelashes and the inside of my eyelid. My optometrist usually ends up removing it. 3rding seeing the doctor.
posted by theBigRedKittyPurrs at 12:37 PM on October 17, 2012

Try warm (not hot) washcloth compresses, pressed gently to your closed eye for several minutes at a time. Don't rub, just let it sit there. (What I do is put a clean, damp washcloth in a bowl and microwave it for 20-30 seconds, then use it until it cools, then repeat.)

These warm compresses seem to help my eye irritation when I have eyelid issues (I have had everything from seasonal dry eye to foreign body sensation to hives INSIDE my eyelids, over the years.)

Lubricating eyedrops are also soothing and can't hurt.
posted by MrHalfwit at 12:38 PM on October 17, 2012

Ingrown eyelashes can be maddening, especially if you have light hair and can't see them under your skin.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 12:41 PM on October 17, 2012

I'm thinking ingrown lash as well. They are maddening.
posted by ShutterBun at 12:49 PM on October 17, 2012

I think you might have been on the right track in blaming those mites.

Tea Tree oil does seem to kill them, and there are some pretty potent Tea Tree oil shampoos out there you could try, such as one made by Nature's Gate (the other one I've seen, by Hugo, is nowhere near strong enough).

If you do, though, keep your eyes shut tight and rinse thoroughly.
posted by jamjam at 1:00 PM on October 17, 2012

Could it be ocular rosacea?
posted by elsietheeel at 1:08 PM on October 17, 2012

I've had a number of eye issues over the years, many of which started this way. There are quite a number of things this could be, injury, infection, ingrown hair or something else. Go see an ophthalmologist as soon as you can. It's likely not serious, but you don't want things getting worse.

I would avoid putting stuff into my eyes between now and then.
posted by bonehead at 1:19 PM on October 17, 2012

Response by poster: I have very dark eyelashes. I see no evidence of an ingrown eyelash but that was one of my first thoughts. Possible explanation.

No travelling. No rosacea. No pain. No health insurance...YAY.

Thanks all.
posted by futz at 1:20 PM on October 17, 2012

I had an eye infection that felt exactly like something caught in my eye that I couldn't get out. I spent a couple of hours one night trying to get it out, even flushing it out with water. As that didn't do it, I was convinced, then, that I had scratched my eye in the process.

A quick trip to the doctor confirmed it was indeed an eye infection and not either of the other two things, and some antibiotic drops cleared it up right quick. The only thing different about your situation is that it's gone for so long, and mine escalated very quickly.

I'm not a doctor, but when I called the nurse hotline to tell them what was going on, they told me that I should get in that day to urgent care to get it checked out, even when I thought it was only something caught in there. Their reasoning was that it's your eye, man, and you don't mess with that. They even make these visits a higher priority for scheduling appointments.
posted by SpacemanStix at 3:16 PM on October 17, 2012

You're talking about your eye. As a person with one functional eye left I must say, what the heck are you doing asking us? A cheap eye exam will either tell you what the problem is or refer you up the eye care chain. Seriously. Drop $40 on getting a professional to help you.
posted by PorcineWithMe at 3:38 PM on October 17, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm another person with a single functional eye who would like to urge you to go to the doctor as soon as you can. Really, two eyes are much better than one.

I had a cut cornea as the result of a scissor accident as a very young child and the maddening, unrelenting scratchy sensation (and having to be restrained for the fluorescein eye exam) is my probably my earliest memory. Lest you freak out too much, I will say that my corneal abrasion and the loss of function of my eye were unrelated.

You could probably even go to one of those eyeglasses places in the mall and get a cheap exam.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 4:28 PM on October 17, 2012

You need to see a doctor. I bet a place like Lenscrafters would be able to help you. They have optometrists on duty.
posted by radioamy at 7:57 PM on October 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

It does sound like a sty developing. It's a vague weirdness and slight tenderness upon poking and feels like it must be at the base of THAT lash but argh pulling it out didn't help at all?

Yes to warm compresses, as a free experiment. And drop the $40 on a LensCrafters exam, eyes are valuable!
posted by BigJen at 6:19 AM on October 18, 2012

Sounds like a stye. I get this sensation if I wear eyeshadow or other makeup in the eye area for more than 3 days a week
posted by WeekendJen at 9:24 AM on October 18, 2012

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