Happy Sunday. My Buffalo Bills won yesterday. It has been 25 years since they won a playoff game. So exciting! Anyway, one of the reasons I started this blog is because I have had symptoms of Kidney Disease but didn’t know it, until my left kidney completely failed 4 years ago. The doctors have still not given me a reason for my kidney issue, other than it is probably genetic, as I do not have High Blood Pressure or Diabetes. I can tell you lifestyle probably played a big part, as I did not know I had possible Kidney Disease.
I have had dry eyes for as long as I can remember. When I got my first job at 18, as soon as I had vision insurance I went to have my eyes examined. I was told I had Astigmatism and was given glasses that absolutely did not help my vision at all, and I quickly did not wear them. I have also suffered from headaches for most of my life. Either of these symptoms can be a warning sign for Kidney Disease, but was overlooked or even ignored. I have talked before about foamy bubbly urine for many years as well. This was often overlooked as being dehydrated. When you don’t have health insurance getting a diagnosis is difficult, but even with insurance I didn’t get a diagnosis. I am not faulting anyone, the point is only to raise awareness so others can seek information, knowledge and proper treatment for any symptoms they may be experiencing before their kidney fails. It is not just dry, gritty eyes that I experience, but also fluctuating vision where some days it is fine and others it is bad. This has never been explained. I see an eye doctor every other year, and am told I have normal aging eyes with no disease, and btw no Astigmatism either, which to my knowledge does not just go away, so that was probably a misdiagnosis all those years ago. I do wear readers for reading small print, and glasses for night driving. But, that is just normal aging of the eyes. I am tested every year for Diabetes, and I do not have it. So, the weird eye issues continue with no reason for them. I have also been tested for Sjogren’s which was also negative. As I researched for this post, I found a few articles from other countries how dry eyes and other eye symptoms could be a warning sign of Kidney Disease. Now that got my attention. With further reading I found that the eyes will accumulate excess Phosphorus and Calcium which can cause dry, gritty and fluctuating vision in the eyes. Bingo! That explains perfectly what I experience especially the fluctuating vision issue. So, now I have started paying more attention to my Phosphorus intake and how my eyes respond the next day. I am definitely noticing a correlation, that if I consume higher amounts of Phosphorus my vision is definitely fluctuated the next day. I feel like if anyone had even remotely researched the things I told them, even after diagnosis of CKD, this information could have been figured out a long time ago. I don’t find doctors really take the time to try to figure out why something is, but rather just to offer medications which are just bandaids for some issues. I am not knocking medication, I just think figuring out the actual cause, and the actual real fix makes better sense to me. Eye drops do help the dryness, but they do not help the fluctuating vision. Please note I am not suggesting anyone who has dry eyes has Kidney Disease. There are many reasons to have dry eyes, including medication, Diabetes, clogged tear ducts, etc. But, if you can not get a reason for dry eyes, or more importantly fluctuating vision you may need to dig a little further.
So, how have I figured out to treat my dry eyes, and fluctuating vision, the best that suits my needs?
1- I avoid higher phosphorus foods, and if I do eat them, like whole grain bread, I keep a food diary so I knowhow much I am consuming. I have not been advised by my doctor to limit Phosphorus intake, but I do try to stay within the recommended daily requirement of 700 to 900mg per day. Fast food, processed foods, and quick prepare foods have the highest phosphorus levels due to the additives in those foods.
2- I use preservative free eye drops once or twice a day. Be sure they are preservative free. You do not need a prescription for OTC eye drops. My eye doctor did give me some that were supposed to be better, but they were just more expensive, and did not work any better.
3- I do daily eye massage, and eye exercises to get the oils and fluids naturally flowing. You will find videos, and links below to help you learn how to do this. Be sure your hands are clean before touching your eyes. In addition to how the video explains eye massage I also rub the base of my eyelashes all the way across and several times a day I massage my tear ducts for a count of ten times. This helps increase my natural tears.
4- I see my eye doctor every other year, or if I have new concerns. While it is frustrating that I never get complete information and am told I have healthy eyes, it is imperative to keep up with prevention and care of the eyes. When you have Kidney Disease it can cause further damage to the eyes.
If you are experiencing strange eye symptoms that are unexplained, or undiagnosed, please seek the attention of a doctor. Request that a full set of bloodwork be done, and a urinalysis, even if you have to pay for it yourself. I believe most areas have a sliding scale facility somewhere where most people without insurance can access. If you need help with medical issues please reach out to your local public health department to see what may be available to you.
Since undertaking my own eye care routine I have less days of fluctuating vision, and rarely have headaches.
If you would like to learn how to track your Phosphorus better, or how I alter meals for my CKD, check out my new subscription Meals with Melissa. Or, you can inquire about my one on one health coaching service for more in depth coaching. Please use the contact form at the end of this post to message me to discuss one on one coaching.