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PART 2: MY REGIMEN
My regimen to manage my Meibomian Gland Dysfunction, and to keep the chalazia at bay, is made up of these things:
- daily fish oil supplements
- a weekly doxycycline pill
- a weekly hot compress "Eye Routine"
- regular visits to see my Dry Eye doc
I take one supplement and one medicine for my condition: fish oil, daily. And doxycycline, weekly (roughly). The fish oil I take with lunch and dinner, and if you total up how much I take, it is 3000 mg per day. (Each pill is 300mg EPA, and 200mg DHA, for 500mg total. I take 3 pills at lunch, and 3 pills at dinner.) The doxy I take roughly 1x/week, and the dose is 100mg. I usually take the doxy the same day I do my "Eye Routine".
MY EYE ROUTINE
Here is my weekly hot compress "Eye Routine". I heat a rice sock up in a microwave. (The rice sock is homemade. It takes about 90 seconds to heat up.) I make it very hot, but not hot enough to injure me. I often enlist my wife to help heat a second rice sock up, and she has commented on how hot it is. (With her worrying it might be too hot!) I lie on my back in bed, listening to a podcast, or meditating (if I am stressed), and put the rice sock over my closed eyes. At the 5 minute mark, I get my wife to microwave a 2nd rice sock, or do it myself if she is tied up. The two combined socks, one after another, gives me 11-12 minutes of serious, uninterrupted heat.
Next, I run hot water in the bathroom faucet, and wet a small washcloth. I hold this to my eyes, pressing down firmly. I do not wipe, I just apply firm pressure, for about 30 seconds. I feel like this "wet" heat somehow helps, too. (At a minimum it likely cleans away some of the oil that starts flowing when you do the hot compress.)
Finally, I gently rub both eyelids with "I-LID 'N LASH PLUS" pre-soaked wipes. The kind I use, made by I-MED Pharma, contain 5% tea tree oil. I use the same wipe for both eyes, but I use one side of the wipe for the left eye, then flip to the other side for the right. This makes one container of 60 wipes last twice as long. (On the container, it advises to use a fresh wipe for each eye, but I don't buy into that; I am too much of a cheapskate.)
This whole routine takes me about 15 minutes. Believe me, this is not much of an investment to avoid the dreaded chalazia that used to plague me. On occassion, I can feel a slight twinge on an eyelid that tells me something is brewing. Over the years, I have become pretty in tune with my eye situation. This twinge will usually happen I am stressed about something, or if I have missed a week or two of my regimen for some reason. These twinges call for me to ramp things up with my "Emergency Eye Routine".
MY EMERGENCY EYE ROUTINE
It is the same as my usual Eye Routine, but done more frequently yet more gently. I do the routine 3-5 times a day, but with less "eye wiping". (That is, I do the hot compress and wet washcloth bit 3-5 times, but do not follow it up with the "I-LID 'N LASH PLUS" pre-soaked wipes each time. I may only to that once or twice. This is because the wipes can be harsh on my eyes, and I don't want to agitate things with too much attention. The tea tree oil, combined with the wipes themselves, which require a circular wiping motion, can get my eye-area irritated from all of the extra attention.)
During an Emergency episode, I likely take 200 mg of doxy (one pill in the morning, one in the evening), 2 or even 3 days in a row. If I am really doing battle, I will visit Dr. Patel, and may even do a longer cycle of doxy, but never more than 200mg a day. The fish oil intake stays the same.
Usually, my normal Eye Routine, coupled with an Emergency Eye Routine session here and there, keeps the chalazia at bay. Plus regular visits to see Dr. Ritesh Patel, every 6-9 months. These visits are similar to what happens when you go to see a dentist. But instead of getting a teeth checkup, and a teeth cleaning, I get an eyelid checkup, and "eyelid margin debridement". His debridement skill, and the tools he uses to do the debridement, is what separates Dr. Patel from all of the other eye doctors I have seen. He is willing and able to get his hands dirty. I firmly believe the regular debridement I receive from him plays a huge role in me avoiding most chalazia recurrence since I started seeing him. (I just wish it was covered by my wife's insurance or OHIP, because I need this treatment. Sadly, it is not.)
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
I am going to end off by sharing the tools I use, in one place here:
- Fish Oil - The fish oil I use is Swanson Vitamin's "Super EPA", which I order bulk from the U.S.
- Doxycycline - The doxycycline is by prescription, from my family doctor.
- Eye wipes - The "I-LID 'N LASH PLUS" pre-soaked wipes I get from Dr. Ritesh Patel's clinic.
- Rice sock - this I made myself (see How To Make a Rice Sock"). I have two of them.
- Wash cloth - any small towel will do.
If this helps even one person out there, it was worth my time writing this up. (You can repay me by writing a comment below!)
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