Doctor my eyes have seen the tears
November 22, 2013 2:29 PM   Subscribe

The past few days, my eyes, especially my right eye, have been watering a lot. Like, people keep thinking I'm crying a perfect single tear. But there has been no redness, no swelling, no anything, other than tears running down my cheek or waking up with salty crust on my eyes. Last night and today, however, are a different story. Snowflakiness inside.

My eyes watered all night long (or I should say all morning, because it seemed to start around 3 or 4). Then when I got up, they were so swollen I looked like I had an epicanthic fold (I have big, round blue eyes). I've washed my face and around my eyes, put my favorite eye cream on them which cooled them a bit, but they're still mildly swollen and I'm still getting tears in them. They're also a little red, though not bad.

I've done nothing different at all recently. The same soaps and detergents, the same sheets and fabrics, the same makeup, etc. The only thing that's changed recently is my eye makeup remover, but I've used it before without this happening. I swapped out my mascara today with a fresh tube, although I often don't wear makeup, and haven't this week when this started -- but I did yesterday, and used the makeup remover and the mascara.

I am not allergic to anything that I know of (except a recently discovered allergy to some penicillin drugs, maybe); I have mild bad reactions to grass, mostly sneezing and coughing. My cat sleeps at the top of my bed near my head, but I've never been allergic to pets. She is an incredibly fastidious groomer (in fact, just last night I was begging her to stop with the licking and the snorfling). God, I hope this doesn't have anything to do with pets.

Can people develop sudden allergies? And is this what allergies are like (there's no sneezing or wheezing or otherwise indicators of one)? Could there be something on the sheets, or the cat? I'm washing everything right now. How would you go about isloating the cause? I know YANAD, but I'm just flummoxed by this, and it's very challenging to get to the doctor because of financial issues. I searched on AskMeFi but couldn't find anything quite like this, but if you know of a thread, I'd be interested to read it.
posted by emcat8 to Health & Fitness (16 answers total)
My eyes have been watering like crazy lately because it's been chilly and windy and sometimes that's all that needs to happen to set my eyes off for the next few hours. Seriously, my train rides home after work this whole week have been mega dripfests. Looks like I'm bawling, but very stoically.

Wearing sunglasses helps because it protects against the wind, but it gets dark here at like 4pm now so that's not super practical for me.
posted by phunniemee at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2013

Is it cold where you are?
posted by ocherdraco at 2:34 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You might have viral pinkeye.
posted by brujita at 2:35 PM on November 22, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: People can definitely develop sudden allergies, but the morning crust and swelling make it sound a whole lot more like pinkeye (conjunctivitis). Could be viral or bacterial, but either way super contagious. Visit a quick clinic or urgent care today or tomorrow if you can't get in with your regular doctor. If it's pinkeye, you'll get some drops and be done with it in a few days.
posted by dayintoday at 2:37 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can get allergies pretty quickly. Mine came on basically over a summer and are terrible.

However, this sounds like you have might have something stuck down inside the eyelid, or an infection of some sort. When I had cats, I would get fine little cat hairs inside my eyes (how!, I don't know) that would really exacerbate my allergies all the time. I could remove them and all would be better until the next one found its way in.

If you can carefully poke around in your eye, you might find something caught up in there that is causing the irritation. If you do that and are unable to find something lodged in there, then you really should go to the doctor. You really don't want to screw around with your eyes.

Also - Before touching your eyes, wash and rinse your hands throughly. Keep things that have been near one eye away from the other. It is very easy to move infections from one eye to the other and you should take pains to avoid that.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 2:42 PM on November 22, 2013

Are you post menopausal? There is a direct link of watery eye onset.
posted by Kruger5 at 2:57 PM on November 22, 2013

Best answer: Another vote for viral pinkeye, which, in my experience, is way more watery and much less pink and crusty than bacterial pinkeye. It is very contagious. See your doctor or an ophthalmologist - there's a rapid diagnosis in-office test that is available to test for viral pinkeye.
posted by quince at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2013

yeah, that too. My optho told me to take flaxseed oil, use eyedrops and clean my lids regularly ( she suggested baby shampoo, but I'm leery of that and am using the wipes sold in the eye section of the pharmacy).
posted by brujita at 3:02 PM on November 22, 2013

This was a response to Kruger5.
posted by brujita at 3:03 PM on November 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions so far. (I have a deepseated phobia about anything that could cause me to lose my vision, so I'm trying not to freak out.) I guess I may have to go to urgent care, which the only one in my area is horrible, horrible. Bleh.

- I am in menopause right now (I wish I were post, but I think I'm stuck here for a while)

- It is suddenly very cold and dry; I got my humidifier out today

- No one's asked here yet, but other people have, if my cat is outdoors, and she does go outdoors.
posted by emcat8 at 3:58 PM on November 22, 2013

Try an eye doctor first, you might be able to get in a lot faster and they can prescribe drops if it is an eye infection. I had one last year and the symptoms sound similar. Was WAY faster than waiting for many many hours in the emergency room and my work plan covered the price of my eye drops.
posted by photoexplorer at 4:21 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

You can get allergic reactions to stuff you weren't previously allergic to. I developed a reaction to allergy eye drops (that I had been taking to combat eye allergies!) that developed two months after I had been taking them every day with no problems.
posted by leahwrenn at 4:24 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

Could you have acid reflux? I've had my stomach acids move up into my larynx and sinus cavities and make my nose run and eyes water. I eventually got it under control, but I was taking Sudafed for the nose/eyes for a while.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:56 PM on November 22, 2013

Have you tried any over the counter eye drops like Visene? Generally speaking, if your eyes are watering its because they're trying to flush out an irritant of some sort. Could be an allergy, could be dirt or some other particulate, but your eyes are trying to wash it out. So before heading to urgent care I'd try some gentle eye drops for a bit and see if that helps.

One other possibility might be blocked tear ducts--a friend had this and the symptom was just teary eyes with no other swelling, itching, etc. Again, I don't think gentle eye drops would hurt, and they could help.
posted by msbubbaclees at 5:08 PM on November 22, 2013

If you have pinkeye, the antibiotic eye drops are now sold over-the-counter. When our kids were small, that was something we kept in stock in the first aid kit.
posted by raisingsand at 6:12 PM on November 22, 2013

Response by poster: Ding! Ding! Ding! And we have a's pinkeye. Honestly, I never even considered that. I feel so stupid. I've never had it, never seen it before in real life (I mean, I've known people who had it, but I've never seen them with it), and had no idea that it involved things like watery eyes or feeling feverish and headachey (which started after I posted my question). Thanks to everyone -- I learned some good things on this!
posted by emcat8 at 11:19 PM on November 22, 2013 [1 favorite]

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