Discussions By Condition: Eye conditions

Dry eyes, lipid breakdown and tree branches

Posted In: Eye conditions 10 Replies
  • Posted By: crazydaisylu
  • February 28, 2007
  • 03:08 PM

I figured my ophthalmologist would think I was nuts when I said that at 36, I was seeing hazy white tree branches floating across my field of vision. Instead he explained that it was a form of dry eye where the lipids (fats) break down and separate in the tear layer too quickly after you blink. What I was seeing in that pattern was the lipids actually clumping and separating. Nifty. So I have non-Rx eye drops which I'll probably have to use forever to some extent, no problem, other than this seems to be affecting my vision. Truth be told, it's hard to see through the haze although the drops help, and with that I have two questions.

1) Has anyone else had this particualr issue and if so, what sort of eye drops (Rx or non Rx) provided relief?

2) Is this lipid breakdown by any chance an indicator of any other lipid/fatty breakdowns in the body. Sometimes things are seen concurrently so I figure it's a good time to check in on everyone's experience and knowledge.

Thanks, be well.

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10 Replies:

  • it would be unusual for you to be actually able to "see" the lipid breakdown based on the optics of the eye. you would probably be only aware of this as "blurry" vision rather than the more defined images you note. the "branches" sound more like floaters. anyway, to answer your questions:1. you can test the above with a variety of different tears - they come in different viscosities and do not all cause blurred vision. if your "branches" go away with a tear drop (or blinking) then the problem is the ocular surface. if not, it's a floater almost assuredly.2. the lipid breakdown is a localized phenomenon to the eye, but be seen in conjunction with Rosacea and other skin/hormonal disorders.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you for the input. I thought it was odd to be seeing something that was so close as to actually be on the surface (branch pattern/lipid degradation) of the eye but strange things happen. I've had floaters for years but they have been small, dark and defined - opposite of this. The drops seem to help and I'm sure I'll need to try various types. I'm still seeing these hazy, semi-defined whitish branches, like netting. The info about the skin/hormonal conditions was great because at the moment I've got something else going on (it all came at once) and I'm just trying to find a connection (if there is one). In this case, there may not be but that helps me nonetheless. I appreciate your time, be well.
    crazydaisylu 23 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi Daisylu, I also have dry eyes and films and use eye drops . but this little thing is not just a nusiance as many docs treat it. I have Sjogren's Syndrome. I had many little nusiance symptoms over many years and while each one by itself was not life threatening things were happening in my body insidiously. MY eyes were dry my mouth was dry.. I had frequent mouthsores ,cavities, fatigue,joint pain, tinnitus, irritable bowels, swollen painful parotids(oh yes they told me that was from grinding my teeth at nite.....NOT) Then the peripheral neuopathies started, carpal tunnel ,ulnar nerve entrapment, history of miscarriges, deep vein thombosis, migraines and oh yes the Icing of the Sjogren's Cake.....premature arteriosclerosis. A heart attack at 50 with low blood pressure, low cholesterol, nonsmoker,normal wt at 5'8" and 150lbs..biker (pedal type)and very active (Full time Nurse) Had to search internet to find sjogren's and it hit me when I read it....Wow... that sounds like me Went to my GP after Having the heart attack and stenting...had him test me for Sjogren's. Tests came back + + + + + + + ! Now I am on a low fat diet because all the antibodies in my blood bounce around like bumper cars in my blood vessels and cause little nicks and damage which causes the lipids and platlets to stick to the rough areas. I take Immunosuppressants, pain meds , blood thinners and meds to relieve the dryness....sjogren's pts do not have all the components of normal tears.
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hokey, Wow, thank you for the information. There are some aspects of your own story that are familiar to me. At one point something made me think of Sjogrens but I think it was a couple of years ago when I was having eye problems (dryness). Several autoimmune disorders run in my family and it made me wonder. About a year or two ago I went to the dentist and found I had a number of cavities. Two ended in root canals. This was a new dentist and she said the patterns were weird and even directed me to a moisture enhancing mouthwash. It's not for lack of drinking water as I drink almost a gallon every day. Looking back at a few things, I realize that I had another problem start around the time of the initial eye dryness - peripheral neuropathy. But that didn't get officially diagnosed until about two months ago, when I went to a neurologist for twitching/involuntary muscle contractions. Nothing has been determined with that so far either. Interestingly, the way you describe all of these smaller conditions, that alone may not be of great significance, but when viewed together become a great diagnostic tool - makes me think of all these things I have going on now. It sounds like you had many years of uncertainty before your diagnosis. I'm definitely going to take the time and research this and see if there may be a connection. I had even been wondering if the breakdown in the lipids in tears was somehow connected to a breakdown in the myelin sheath lipid layer which could have been causing these contractions/twitches. Like you I've had numerous unexplained symptoms that either get treated individually or ignored as they all appear to be idiopathic. Thank you so much for taking the time to write your comment. I wish you health and happiness ~
    crazydaisylu 23 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi daisylu, Sorry to hear that you are suffering from similar health issues. You should ask your MD to refer you to a rhumatologist as they are more familiar with all the autoimmune disease testing and their interpretations. My peripheral neuropathies are worse of late and I will see eye and rhumie next week. Sjogrens can mimic multiple sclerosis with all of the central nervous system involvement. I too get muscle twitching, numbness,weakness and pain in all my extremities. I just have to pace myself as I do the things that I need to do. Good luck to you in your search for relief. Hokey
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hokey, I do have an appointment with a new neurologist on Thursday - less than a week. I figure it's a starting point as the last neuro was next to useless. Nice, but useless. The symptoms seem to morph now and again and aren't always able to be put into a certain mold. All I know is that what is going on isn't normal, and certainly not for a 36 year old. Maybe a rheumatologist will be the next step. I'm compiling all my symptoms and time frames now to take to the doc. It may help. Otherwise, I may just have to wait until it gets bad enough; that seems to be the way some of these things go. I certainly hope your appointments go well and that perhaps you can find some relief. Pacing yourself seems to be a good idea. That's what I've started doing, even with my limited symptoms, and it helps me stay on more of an even keel. Wishing you the best with your doc appts - I'll be sending out good vibes.
    crazydaisylu 23 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi Daisylu, Sorry I took so long to reply. Thanks for the good wishes, ditto to you. saw the rhumie two days ago , he took twelve tubes for blood work and sent me for some xrays of the spine. Trying to narrow down some new leg pain and numbness in feet. I was thinking after reading your last post that you should ask your MD to test you for sjogren's. He should do an ANA titer,Ssa,Ssb and an Rf to start. If those are tests that they have done already and were negative, it probably is not sjogren's but sometimes you can still have sjogren's or some other Autoimmune antibodies. I have to go back in three weeks to rhumie, after I see neurologist, pulmonologist and ENT. I'll be busy. HOKEY
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hokey, Twelve tubes?! Is that a new record? ;) I certainly hope all that testing yields some results you can use. No one wants to know that something is wrong but if it helps right things, then I guess it's worth it, right? Have they found anything out about the numbness? As far as testing, they did and ANA and RF and both came back alright, but I know nothing is foolproof. Just had an MRI (brain) done and an EEG. Hopefully that will give me something to go on. Tomorrow I go to the ophthalmologist because the Restasis isn't working. The cloudiness and tree branch pattern is still going at about 70%. Thursday is the ortho because I've learned there's cartilage missing (two 'holes') in my knee. Seems that we are keeping these docs on heavy rotation. As always, good thoughts going out to you - let me know if you find anything out. Wish you the best.
    crazydaisylu 23 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hi Daisylu, Will see rhumie tomorrow and pulmonologist. Just in time too,been sick with upper respiratory thing for over a week now and have a horrid cough. The twelve tubes did not reveal anything we didn't already know..He always draws a ton of blood every six months to check for other things mainly new antibodies and inflammation but also for kidney and liver involvement and xrays to check for lymphoma. So no new news is good news. Hope this post finds you feeling better these days. Hokey
    Anonymous 42,789 Replies Flag this Response
  • Hokey, I really hope that you are feeling better from the URI and that things went well with the rheum/pulmos. No one wants to get more 'news', but if you are like me, if you have to get it, then just get it diagnosed and over with. That's the only way to treat it. You get that many tubes drawn every 6 months? Wow. Blood draws don't bother me but I wonder, does drawing that amount make you feel tired or sluggish at all? You know, I have a million questions I could ask you relating to what you've experienced. But above all I hope you are doing well. This end, I've learned that I'm going for another round of tx with the Restasis for a month. If that doesn't work not sure what will, so let's just hope it does. ;) My MRI was normal but the EEG had abnormalities. That got me referred to a sleep clinic to do an extensive sleep study/EEG so hopefully I'll know something by Tuesday or Wednesday. The neuro tried to make sense of the orig EEG, talking about spikes in some certain waves and slowing in another in the temporal and well, I can't recall the other lobe. But it wasn't occipital. But it wasn't enough, hence the other test. For my grand finale, I'm going for knee surgery on Tuesday. Apparently I'm lacking cartilage and he's not sure what this'll entail. And through it all, I've been twitching like a maniac, with the exception of the sleep study... so exhausted I barely twitched. Isn't that always the way. Well, take care and I hope things are looking up.
    crazydaisylu 23 Replies Flag this Response
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