2017-11-15 / South Texas Living

Dry-eye symptoms are severe

DEAR DR. ROACH: About a year ago, I began to experience irritation in my left eye. It felt like there was a scratch or eyelash in it all the time. It became very inflamed. The other eye is affected, but to a lesser degree. All types of treatment for dry eye have been unsuccessful. Most recently I have been using a serum made from my blood. My eyes are red and weepy, and my left eye feels sore or achy at the back of the eyeball, if that makes sense. I’m hoping that you might have some suggestion about treatment. -- N.T.

ANSWER: Dry eyes can be caused by many different conditions, and this is very prevalent in the population, especially in older individuals. Because many conditions can cause it, I can’t offer any one specific treatment, and it sounds like you have tried a lot already.

First-line treatment includes artificial tears, one drop four times daily. Preservative-free formulations may be helpful for some people, but they are more expensive. Gels and ointments may be more effective, but since they can blur the vision temporarily, they work best at bedtime.

It sounds like you are getting autologous serum tears, a treatment reserved for severe symptoms, such as in people with Sjogren’s syndrome, which causes the body to destroy its own tear glands. A treatment you may wish to discuss with your ophthalmologist is placement of punctal occlusion, which blocks the drainage of fluid from the eyes to the nose.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I’m a healthy 61-year-old woman. I take no prescription medicine or aspirin. I recently had a flu shot at a health fair, after which blood ran down my arm all the way to the elbow. I then had a tube of blood taken for a cholesterol check, and they had a hard time stopping the bleeding. I started drinking a small glass of red wine in the evening a few weeks ago. Could the red wine be thinning my blood, or is this something I should see my doctor about? -- C.M.

ANSWER: Although large amounts of alcohol can predispose a person to bleeding, a small glass shouldn’t affect bleeding much or at all. You should see your doctor, who probably will check your platelet count and go from there.

DEAR DR. ROACH: I have a question about apple cider vinegar. I have heard that you can use it in small doses as an antacid. It seems to be a contradiction because it is acidic in nature. Is this true or just an old wives’ tale? -- C.V.

ANSWER: Old wives’ tales sometimes contain great wisdom. In this case, however, there is no scientific data to back it up. There are many anecdotal reports of success and many theories why it might work. However, I’m a believer in evidence, not theories, and there just isn’t any. Further, vinegar can damage teeth, so if you try it, be sure to rinse carefully or use a straw. That being said, it’s unlikely to do any other harm, so it may be worth a try.

Dr. Roach regrets that he is unable to answer individual letters, but will incorporate them in the column whenever possible. Readers may email questions to ToYourGoodHealth@med. To view and order health pamphlets, visit, or write to Good Health, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803. © 2017 North America Synd., Inc. All Rights Reserved

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