‘Dry Eye’ Has Ruined People’s Lives — And Stumped The Medical Community


Seldom do I create a post around a photo.

In this case, I loved the picture above before I was intrigued by the article.

I hope you’ll enjoy both!

Screaming, howling, red-hot-poker-in-the-eye pain. The impulse to gouge your own eyes out or overdose on sleeping pills — anything to make the pain go away.

Blinking can be so excruciating that some people have had their eyelids partially sewn shut. One patient said the pain felt like shards of glass were jutting from her eyes. “Imagine a knife in your eye. Forever,” wrote another.

Most causes of eye pain — a stray eyelash, a chemical burn, a dirty contact lens — are obvious and short-lived. But what happens if the source isn’t immediately apparent and the agony doesn’t stop? Ophthalmologists have made surprisingly little headway understanding the origins of severe and lasting eye pain. Many doctors, in fact, are outright dismissive of intense eye discomfort, deeming it of secondary importance to vision. Patients are often written off as being hyperbolic, narcissistic or even psychiatric.

At 82, Boston ophthalmologist Perry Rosenthal hears regularly from people who are desperate for answers. Although he no longer sees patients himself, he has become the nerve centre of a small but growing network of researchers and clinicians who are defying conventional wisdom and seeking out new explanations for the often jarring disconnect between brutal symptoms and a lack of clear signs.

Rosenthal’s nearly singular focus on resolving the mystery has frayed professional relationships, forced him to leave his own charity and nearly shut him out of a field in which he was once hailed as a hero. A recent burst of research, however, is prompting a new question about his unorthodox ideas: what if he’s right?

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