stringy white stuff in eyes
by ATBK, Jul 30, 2007
Since April I have had the same symptoms off and on.  It always starts in the evening.  I get very itchy eyes and they start to feel very gritty.  I can flip my upper eyelid over and see white stringy material in them.  I use q-tips to clean it out. They get very red and watery.  My lids also tend to swell quite a bit, but I believe it is because of the aggravation I am causing them by flipping them up.  I have tried washing my eyes out with water, artificial tears, and over the counter allergy eye drops. This did nothing to help.  I have seen my family doctor, an Optometrist, and an Opthamologist.  I was on Vigamox, Patanol, and Tobradex ointment for close to 4 weeks.  The symptoms improved.  Then they came back.  The next Dr. put me back on the Tobradex ointment along with Tobradex drops.  I can no longer take these medications as it was discovered that I am steroid sensitive.  These improved the my condition as well, but it was only temporary.  It is back again.  I cannot figure out what is causing this.  What is this stringy stuff?  Sometimes it is very dry and thick and other times very wet.  It will be terrible one night and the next I am fine.  One night my right eye is worse than the left and then it will be the opposite the next night.  After a bad night I wake up with my eyes stuck shut.  My eyes are always red to some degree, but VERY red when when the symptoms start up.  Any clue what this could be?  I believed it to be allergies, but then the Patanol did not help.  I am at my wits end.  It is not painful at all, just extremely uncomfortable and itchy.  
If you wear contact lens the problem is probably related to the contacts and most likely GPC (giant papillary conjunctivitis). If you do not wear contact lens you may have a chronic conjunctivitis. There are several different types and you will need to work with an ophthalmologist to determine which type you have. The whitish material can be mucous, can be inflammaroy products. A dry eye could also underlie your symptoms.

I would suggest you see an ophthalmologist that specializes in cornea and external disease. If you do not know one you can ask the ophthalmologist you saw for a referral or you can go the Academy website www.aao.org and use the "Find an Eye MD" feature to find a nearby subspecialist.

JCH III MD Fellow American Academy of Ophthalmology.

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