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Mom with mild dementia 92. Won't stop touching eyes. Always blood shot. Says they are itchy but I think just bad habit. Tried drops and cold comprsses. I tell her she will get infections if she keeps it up. She already has severe macular degeneration. Any advice?

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I have a couple of eye issues so, I'm very sensitive about them. It can really make you miserable when your eyes are acting up. I'd have her examined by the most experienced ophthamologist that you can arrange and have them check for anything that can cause the redness or discomfort. I didn't know for a long time that I had dry eye. It can really cause a lot of pain. Scratches on the cornea can also be painful. I don't know much about macular degeneration. I would inquire from the doctor the best ways to help with discomfort and promote better eye health. My doctors recommended warm compresses, which have really helped. Also, I use gel drops in the day (multiple times) and sterile lubricating ointment at night. The doctor can determine if she would benefit from prescribed drops, either for infection or irritation. Vitamin D has helped me a lot too. My heart goes out to her as when your eyes are bothering you, it's so very stressful. I hope you can find her something that helps.
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cherokeegrrl54 Sep 2, 2019
My mom has severe dry eye also. Some days her eyes are so bloodshot. She had a relatively new procedure done about 4 months ago called iluxe. My moms meibomian glands were totally blocked. It helps to remove the debris and for 3 months her eyes were much better. She also uses Restasis and OTC lubricant drops throughout the day. Hope your mom finds some help...
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Hi Cindy-
I have noticed a lot of patients with macular do tend to have red or bloodshot eyes.(I was an Optician prior to entering that damn phone booth and becoming Super Caregiver for mom). Different factors of the disease can cause redness. And while your mom’s constant touching her eyes most likely is a big factor in the redness, itching may not exactly be the culprit instead it may be the only reason she feels is acceptable when it could be her trying to ‘focus’ or ‘adjust’ her vision. I have observed various actions of patients at various stages of macular, and many of them rubbed touched etc their eyes. You’re doing best with the compresses and also continue to ensure her patties (hands) are as clean as possible using soap and water and nail brush if needed but NOT hand sanitizers- can cause further irritation. Hope this helps and have a great day!
xoxoxo
susan
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jacobsonbob Sep 3, 2019
"I was an Optician prior to entering that damn phone booth and becoming Super Caregiver for mom." LOL; isn't this the truth? Thanks; reading this made my day!
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You should contact her eye doctor rather than trying to figure it out on your own. My 85 yo mom's eye specialist doesn't recommend OTC eye drops because she says the ones that claim to get rid of redness or itching can actually cause more harm than good.
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Dry eye can be a problem with ARMD, she may need a good ocular lubricant. There are several available over the counter, my mom liked these:

https://www.refreshbrand.com/Products/refresh-celluvisc

but do talk to her optometrist about this.
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Cindyn12345: try warm compresses rather than cold. I went though a bout with dry, red eyes/ eyelids (diagnosis of possible eye rosacea) and warm compresses along with washing lids with baby wash (no tears formula of course!) water per eye doctor, helped a great deal.
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A good item to keep the hands busy is a twiddle muff. Look up instructions for making a crocheted, knitted, or sewn twiddle muff. There are items inside and outside the muff: curly Qs, buttons, silk flowers, etc. to fiddle with; anything securely attached. Busy boards (items sewn onto fabric, then mounted on a small piece of wood or suitable sturdy board) may be made by sewing zippers, a place to "lace" up shoestrings, buttons and buttonholes, a piece of furry cloth, latch locks, slide locks, and many other imaginative items to keep the hands occupied.
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Cindyn12345 Sep 4, 2019
Wow!! What a great idea. Thank you!
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My mom has MD too, along with her AD. She takes 3 different drops, two of which are twice a day. Several months ago her eyes seemed very red and irritated. She rubbed at them a little and sometimes indicated they were bothering her. Her eye doc suggested taking her off one of the 3 drops, which helped. Supposedly it was the one that wouldn't affect her pressures and cause her pain. We're noticing that her eyes are red again so I'll call the eye doc when we get home. (We're currently hunkering down across the state waiting for Hurricane Dorian to pass.)Luckily, she doesn't fuss over her eyes too much, and we're not sure how much she really sees anymore. She seems to look "past" us, or to the side now. I don't know if this is the AD or the MD. She's not a reliable reporter when it comes to pain so we're always trying to read the signs as best we can. As for your mom fidgeting with her eyes, I guess I would consult with her eye doctor and try to keep her hands busy with some gadget to keep them out of her eyes. My mom holds a robotic puppy dog much of the day. It soothes her and she "pills" the fur. Poor little puppy. :)
Good luck to you, I hope you find peace on this journey.
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Reply to TeamNancy
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Check out eye drops that are gel based.  I was having dry eye issues and using regular eye drops but they were not helping much and my ophthalmologist suggested trying drops for severe dry eye gel drops.  Not endorsing any of the brands, but I purchased GenTeal Tears Lubricate Eye Gel for severe dry eye and these worked so much better.
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Jnwitt Sep 3, 2019
I really like the Genteal gel also, but i can't always find it. Wal-Mart is the only place I've found that carries it, and it's often out of stock. Frustrating!!
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Just on the off chance that this is allergy related, is she able to have maybe half a Benadryl? I, myself, had to take one last week due to itchy eyes! It helped.
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Yogamermaid Sep 3, 2019
Be careful with the benedryl. It can possibly have paradoxical side effects on dementia patients. Benedryl can cause drowsiness typically, but the opposite effect is agitation and restlessness....not good. Please ask a physician first before trying any OTC meds.
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If you use OTC eyedrops, use the ones that DO NOT have redness reliever but just address dryness. Those with government best. The redness relievers cause rebound redness. A warm compress on the eyes a couple of times a day helps stimulate the oil glands in the eyelids. These glands dry up as we get older and make dryness and itching worse. My eye doc likes Soothe XP.
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