I was up in New Haven, CT a couple of years ago, working and I woke up one morning with some right eye pain. I didn't think much about it and went on about my business of getting ready for work. As I was stepping out of the shower I noticed that my eye was pretty pink. I figured I probably had pink eye and decided to go to the pharmacy before work and get something to treat it over the counter.
My husband was also with me working in CT and we were staying a in a hotel and alternating shifts. I had had pink eye before but I noticed one thing different this time. I seemed to have a lot of tearing. I had to keep a tissue on my face because it just kept running. It wasn't thick or colored drainage, but it was draining...a lot. My husband advised me to take off work which was never a good idea for us, because if we didn't work then we didn't get paid. (We didn't get sick pay at the time).
We looked a doctor up in the phone book and found there was an eye center that was part of Yale University Hospital. So, my husband called them. I thought it would be a week before they could see me since I was a new patient and I thought it was a bit strange when he hung up the phone and said They want to see you today". I figured that since they were a University hospital that they were all students and must be just sitting around twiddling their thumbs just waiting to see patients. Little did I know at the time, this was an emergency and they knew it.
Anyway, off we went to see them and when we got there we didn't wait very long before they called me back to see the doctor. She dilated my right eye and looked in it. She then turn from joking and laughing to a very serious persona. She said, She did not know what was going on yet and would have to run some more tests on my right eye, but she knew it was an infection of some kind and that I could lose my eye. What? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. She also said that even if they could save it I may need a corneal transplant. OH MY GOD, I thought,, This cannot be happening to me. I'm going to lose my eye, I don't want to be blind! She took some pictures of my eye and showed them to me. I was shocked to see a side view of my eye that showed the infection was very aggressive and had almost eaten all the way through my cornea. After doing many tests on me that day she sent me home (or back to the hotel) with two prenoscriptions, one for a pain killer and one for an antibiotic, that had to be custom made for me since it had to be four times the regular strength. I had to put the eye drops in once every ten minutes for the first few hours. It was awful.
I had to go back to the doctor every day to be checked for a week. Yes, every day! and they finally discovered it was a pseudomas infection. Had I have not had the wonderful doctors at Yale University, I probably would have lost that eye. I am forever grateful to them. They were so good to me. They were an excellent team of doctors. Still to this day I have a several scars on my eye and one is right in the center of my vision. But I have an eye and I can see. So I feel incredibly lucky.
I did wonder how I got the pseudomonas infection though and one day, a couple of weeks later I was at work again and I lost a nail...Well, no not a real nail but one of my fake nails that I always wore. I noticed something green on my real nail bed. I looked it up on the computer and found out it was pseudomonas. Well, well, there you have it. It was there all along and I had no idea. When you wear fake nails, moisture can get between the real nail and the fake nail and moisture is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. Pretty disgusting, but more than that, frightening.
The other point here is that if you wear contact lenses, you should be should be extremely diligent about cleaning them every night. Moisture is such a breeding ground for bacteria, so the lacrimal fluid, (the fluid the keeps your eye wet) combined with a contact lens in your eye makes a great crevice for bacteria to grow in between the contact and your eye, Not to mention that your eyes need to be exposed to oxygen from time to time, while wearing contacts or they will dry out and hurt. This is another good reason to take the contacts out at night and clean them.
Also, one of the fist things you think about when your eye hurts is to patch it. This is the worst thing you can do when you don't know what is causing the pain. The reason it's a bad idea is because if it is an infection that is causing the pain and draining then again, you just created a lovely, warm breeding ground for infection to grow. If you have a corneal abrasion or other eye injury, then yes a patch is the way to go. But unless you visit the doctor there is no real way to know.
I do still wear fake nails from time to time. But never for more than a week at a time and I always make sure that I scrub and dry all my nails thoroughly before I apply them. Let this be a lesson to everyone. Please be careful when using fake nails. They look pretty but they can cause you to lose an eye in a mere 24 hours!.
Also, never assume you have pink eye and try to treat it at home. These are your eyes we are talking about and not something to play around with. Go see a doctor!