The goggles do nothing.
January 18, 2008 1:45 PM   Subscribe

I think I seriously screwed up my eyeballs.

A few days ago I was at the eye doctor and they put in those numbing eyedrops to do the pressure test. The doctor told me I could wear contacts afterwards but that it would destroy those contacts for future use, so he gave me a pair to use that day and then throw away. I took my old contacts home in a different case.

Somehow, I don't know how, but possibly because I am a giant moron, I must have screwed up the two sets of contacts and thrown away the wrong pair. A few minutes after I put my lenses in this morning (for the first time since the test) they started to burn, and it got worse and worse- like putting disinfectant or peroxide in your eye- and I took the contacts out. They were in my eyes for only about 15 minutes. My eyes burned badly but bearably for a few hours, and now it's 7 hours later and the burning has stopped but now they feel kind of numb and tingly, like they did when the drops were first put in.

The doctor didn't say that those lenses would hurt my eyes, he just said they'd be destroyed. I'm not sure how I'd be able to wear them while the drops were still IN my eyes, but not take them out and put them back in again, but that does seem to be the case.

So the question is- how much damage did I just stupidly do? Can I expect the numb/weird feeling to wear off, and is there anything I can do, other than just dousing them with saline, to make it wear off faster?
posted by Dormant Gorilla to Health & Fitness (11 answers total)
Contacts soak up solution put in them, thats why they make special eyedrops for contact wearers. You basically got another dose of whatever the eyedoc gave you. Toss them and put in new ones.
posted by sanka at 1:48 PM on January 18, 2008

Call your doctor. He knows the answer.
posted by nebulawindphone at 1:49 PM on January 18, 2008

Response by poster: Oh, I should have mentioned- I'd never been to this doctor before and A) he was kind of an abrupt jerk and B) he didn't really speak English. So that's why I didn't call him first. I guess I could call around to random eye doctors, but before doing that I wanted to find out if this is just temporary pain/annoyance that'll go away, rather than something with the possibility of actual damage.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 1:55 PM on January 18, 2008

No permanent damage - you'll just get decreasing dosages of the (temporary) meds every time you put those contacts in.
posted by unixrat at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2008

It does sound as though the contacts that you put in just gave your eyes another does of the numbing solution, which stings like mad (at least it does for me). It should wear off in a few hours, if that's the case. I'm not an eye doctor, though, and I recommend talking to one that you trust.
posted by bassjump at 2:11 PM on January 18, 2008

IANAD, but it sounds to me like two things have happened: as sanka said, the lenses had absorbed the numbing drops, which had semi dehydrated/deteriorated and was therefore concentrated/more likely to sting, AND, because the drops cause the lens material to degrade, the surface of the lens had possibly become rough and scratched your eyes. I doubt you've done any serious injury to your eyes -- in your shoes I would wait until morning, and if they still feel odd, seek medical advice.
posted by Gamel at 2:19 PM on January 18, 2008

This happened to me when I was traveling in Japan. Apparently, my ability to figure out pictures in Japanese is very bad even though the picture was of an eyeball, a contact and liquid squirting, but I digress.

When my eye started to burn, I did what you did and took the contacts out. My tears were flushing out my eyes, but I found a bathroom and flushed my eyes out with water anyway. I was fine within a few hours.
posted by spec80 at 2:31 PM on January 18, 2008

Best answer: You'll be fine. Everything involved here was *designed* to go into your eye. It might hurt, it might not be a good idea (ie, medicine that stings which you don't need) but it won't do any real damage (if it did, you'd have a great opportunity to pay for your seeing eye dog with the proceeds of your massive lawsuit settlement)
posted by TeatimeGrommit at 3:11 PM on January 18, 2008

IANAD, but a contact wearer for >10 years... and I have NEVER had a doctor advise that I wear contacts after numbing drops. Just like you shouldn't eat Captain Crunch when you have Novocaine in your mouth (unless you like bloody gums) it stands to reason that you wouldn't put your finger and/or contacts in your eye when it was numb-- what's to prevent you from trapping dirt or sand between the lens and your cornea, or scratching your eye with your fingernail?

Rather than assume you mixed up the lenses, I would worry that your eyes were being irritated most of the day of the test but you couldn't feel it. As always, if your contacts hurt, take them out. See your doctor, or perhaps another one... don't risk something as precious as your eyes on a doctor with a cavalier attitude.
posted by bdizzy at 3:28 PM on January 18, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Bit late now- sorry, my internets went out all weekend. Thanks for all the answers though, very reassuring! They hurt like hell till the next morning and now they're fine.
posted by Dormant Gorilla at 6:38 AM on January 22, 2008

If they were the dye-tinted numbing drops, there is a chance the contact lenses would become stained by the yellow dye. That's the "destroys them for future use" that he was describing. The newer methods of checking for glaucoma (where they bounce the pen-shaped device off your eyeball) are clear numbing drops. The older test involved a purple or UV lit cylinder being touched to your eye through the device they use for viewing the cornea.

I am not a doctor. I've just had a lot of eye issues over the years.
posted by jeversol at 12:02 PM on January 23, 2008

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