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I am an American student studying in Italy right now and before I left I developed a reoccurring eye problem. Iíve been going to a doctor here but it isnít really helping. My history is pretty long but if anyone has the time/patience to read it I would greatly appreciate any input!

I have been wearing 2 week contact lenses with no problems for over 7 years. I have always had seasonal allergies to pollen but contacts have actually helped alleviate symptoms for me. I take 10mg of zyrtec a day during allergy season and I am mildly allergic to latex. This past April I noticed that my upper eyelids were a little puffy so I went to an eye doctor who told me it was due to allergies and prescribed me Lastacaft. I started using it and my eyes got better.

Early this summer a) I stopped taking Lastacaft because my eyes felt fine and b) I switched from Acuvue Advance contacts to Acuve Oasys because I was told the Advance were being discontinued. Not long after the switch my eyelids became swollen again but this time it was worse, underneath my eyes became red and the whites of my eyes were slightly bloodshot. A doctor diagnosed me with viral conjunctivitis but didnít give me any medication and told me it would go away if I wore glasses for a week and threw out all my old contact stuff and makeup.

It did go away but only to return a couple of weeks later. This time the doctor said that it was bacterial conjunctivitis. She told me to throw away my contact stuff and to wear glasses during treatment and prescribed me Vigamox. This was only a week before I left for Italy and the Vigamox seemed to make my eyes even worse so I was switched to TobraDex 3x a day for a week. My eyes got better and the day after my treatment finished I put in a new pair of contacts. The next day I could already tell that underneath my eyes was beginning to turn red again.

A doctor in Italy prescribed me TobraDex again and said this time to wait an additional 2 days after the treatment finished before putting in a new pair of contacts. I also theorized that maybe my eyes were allergic to something in the Acuvue Oasys that was similar to latex so I ordered a set of my old Acuvue Advance while I was waiting. Like before my eyes cleared up with the Tobradex and two days later I tried wearing the Acuvue Advance lenses but soon after noticed the same old symptoms persisting.

At this point I got myself to an eye specialist who after doing a bunch of standard tests they told me she couldnít tell if I had conjunctivitis still or not and sent me to get some tests done. The tests eventually came back negative for both conjunctivitis and chlamydia.

This process of test taking and waiting took 2 weeks, during which a new bout of swelling/itching/minor clear discharge started without the use of any contact lenses. I figured that since my symptoms reappeared without the use of contacts than the problem probably wasnít the contacts. In this period of waiting I decided to use Tobradex again to alleviate my symptoms since it was hard to continue everyday life with irritated eyes.

After my test results came back I returned to the eye specialist. Her new theory is that I just have dry eyes and need to lubricate them more. She told me to use an unmedicated eye drop (Xiloial) 4x a day for a entire month without any contacts and to use my Lastacaft 3x a day for 10 days and then to stop using it all together. I didnít really understand this plan but have been doing it for 3 days now and noticed last night that my eyelids are beginning to swell, yet again.

Iím seriously worried about my eyes and I really donít know what to do. The only thing that has helped my symptoms has been Tobradex but since it is a steroid and antibiotic I obviously canít use it as a long term solution. I really hate wearing glasses and would be happy to get to a place where I can wear contacts even a little bit of the time but Iím not sure what this next month of no contacts and no medicine is going to do anything good for me. Iím worried my eyes will get worse and that maybe something more serious is wrong with me that no one has noticed.

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