Why I Hate That Eye Drop Commercial
*WARNING* Today I’m on a rant. You see, there’s a commercial out there in TV land that drives me nuts. I absolutely hate it. It’s supposed to make you aware of a medical problem you may have and, of course, what the perfect medication to solve it is. Why would I have a problem with that? I’ll tell you…
In our technology stuffed world, we are at risk to overuse our eyes. When we stare at computer screens and smartphones all day, we literally forget to blink. (There’s actual research out there on this but for now you’ll have to take my word for it.) Since our society has ‘evolved’ so much technologically, we no longer blink enough. When we don’t blink, our eyes dry out. You see, blinking, to the eyes, is basically the same as applying lip gloss to the lips.
Enter the use of artificial tears. They’re readily available over the counter and extremely safe. They come with or without preservatives, in single serve vials, larger size bottles, or as extra moisturizing gel drops. All meant to aid in keeping our eyeballs healthy while we work, text, and surf the web. That’s their sole purpose. To moisturize our eyes. So how did a totally new disease hit the airwaves creating the need for a new and expensive medication, and why am I wrung out about it?
First, I’ll say I have no problem with the medication itself. It has it’s purpose. It’s how it’s being marketed. Basically, they’ve created a whole new ‘disease’ based on the phenomenon described above. Chronic Dry Eye Disease. Seriously? And adults can’t figure out how to deal with this? Yes, my snarkiness setting is way past stun right now. But I still haven’t explained why my reaction to all of this is so personal.
It’s because I have Sjogren’s. Plain and simple. Sjogren’s is why I’m totally off kilter about Chronic Dry Eye ‘Disease’.
You see, Sjogren’s is truly a disease of dryness. Our bodies attack water producing glands. We don’t utilize water appropriately. The most affected part of our bodies is our eyes. So hearing that there is suddenly something called ‘Chronic Dry Eye Disease’ out there is a little like being slapped.
In one respect, I feel that way because if there is that much of a problem that you are seeking medical help for your eyes, you either are not taking proper care of them with OTC products or your issue could be much worse-like Sjogren’s. But a pharmaceutical company has just produced a product that will reduce your need for other moisture drops. This eliminates the likelihood of further testing and makes them a lot of money for awhile. Because if you do have a disease like Sjogren’s, it WILL progress. Their eyedrop won’t stop it. It just lessens one symptom for awhile.
Creating a new disease like ‘Chronic Dry Eye’ also gives the impression that that issue is comparable to the dry eyes we deal with as Sjogren’s patients. It’s not. Yes, most of us understand the gritty feeling of dry eyes, feeling like there’s a piece of sand somewhere up under our eyelid, even the hot swollen feeling dry eyes can produce. But our eyes are under attack. Many of us have had glands in our eyelids swell to the size of shooter marbles. We routinely have silicone plugs implanted in the large holes most people associate with crying in an effort to keep moisture on our eyeballs. (I have had to have my plugs surgically removed.) We run the constant risk of our eyes themselves swelling up. Drops help, but there is no cure. In fact, the primary med to treat our disease can actually blind us.
So forgive me if this rant sounds particularly harsh. But living day in and day out as I do, and so many others with chronic diseases that are constantly attacking our bodies and our spirits, I simply have had my fill of the ‘Oh yeah! I get that too!’ mentality. No, not getting sleep last night does not equate to you understanding my fatigue. Your tennis elbow gives you no insight into my body wide joint pain. And your computer induced dry eyes are nothing compared to a pair of Sjogren’s attacked dry eyes.
But go ahead and cry for me. Because I can no longer cry at all.