I’ve been trying out new contacts. They are soft contacts and I’ve had just as a difficult time adjusting to them as I have the gas permeable contacts I have lived with for the last five or six years.
All day on Tuesday, my left eye was feeling goopy and itchy. I used the allergy drops a couple of times, but it didn’t help. I know I’m not supposed to use the allergy drops when I’m wearing contacts, but I did anyway. I’m random that way. You never know what kind of crazy stuff I’m going to do. Tomorrow I just might wash the lights with the darks. You never know.
Anyway, my eye was bothering me so much that I just took out the contacts. When I did, I got a bad surprise. My left eye was massively dilated. This is a picture of it hours later when it was BETTER.
After much panic and Googling, we ruled out stroke and brain tumor. Turns out the allergy drops can dilate your eyes. Neither of us had ever noticed that side effect because we usually use it in both eyes.
Michael is the best Google Doctor ever!
Update 12-13-2011: I received this email today:
On Dec 13, 2011, at 8:43 AM, Janice VanCleave wrote:
Sent via the form at lauramoncur.org
I write science books for kids and have a science website. Will you give me permission to use your picture showing one eye dilated on my website?
Also, are the allergy drops generic? I am wondering if the drops cause the eye to dilate without the contacts. Does the medication affect the contacts? I am trying to figure out why wearing the contacts is a factor. Doesn’t the eye fluid constantly flow under the contact?
You are welcome to use this photo for your books as long as you include this caption:
Photo via Laura Moncur at http://laura.moncur.org/archives/2007/06/21/one-eye-dilated/
The caption must be by the picture, not buried in a photo index or acknowledgements. As long as your publisher can accommodate that, you can use the photo for free. If you wish to use it online, you must include the same caption AND link to my site. I make my living writing on the Internet, so links and proper acknowledgement are the only way I get paid.
The drops that I used were Opcon-A (Naphazoline and Pheniramine). Here is the link for the WebMD site:
I’m not a doctor, so I don’t know about WHY it causes dilation, but the precautions list blurred vision, so I suspect it affects people who use it without contacts as well.
Best of luck,