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Why do I always look high at work?

Nurses   (860 Views 17 Comments)
by Ella2598 Ella2598 (New Member) New Member

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Hello! So I've been having this issue basically since I started nursing school, and I'm looking for advice. Whenever I go to clinical or have a 12 hr shift at work, my eyes are SO red. They feel a little strained, but it's more of the redness that is bothering me.

I just started a new CNA job at an amazing hospital, and I feel like people think I'm high at work... It's that bad. I don't wear contacts. I visited an ophthalmologist last year, but he said everything looked normal and gave me eyedrops (which didn't end up helping).

I'm thinking maybe I'm allergic to something in hospitals, or the harsh lighting is hurting my eyes. I know I'm tired during a 12 hr shift, but I feel like my eyes shouldn't be bloodshot everyday at work! My ophthalmologist told me it's not a big deal as long as they don't hurt/affect my vision. But every time I go to the bathroom during my shift and I see them in the mirror, I get so embarrassed. I look tired AF and honestly like I'm drunk or high. 

I've tried lots of eyedrops, but I'm still open to suggestions. I've heard the "red eye" eye drops aren't the best for your eyes, and the "dry eyes" drops aren't doing it for me. 

Anyone else struggling with this?? Advice would be greatly appreciated!!

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Rose_Queen is a BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in OR, education.

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You could always seek a second opinion from another ophthalmologist. 

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Here.I.Stand has 16 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in SICU, trauma, neuro.

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Or an allergist if you think you may be reacting to the environment 

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JadedCPN has 13 years experience as a BSN, RN and specializes in Pediatrics, Pediatric Float, PICU, NICU.

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I second the idea of going to an allergist. I will say that every hospital I have worked in has had a super dry environment which has irritated my eyes. Not to the point that they are red like you are describing, but I am sure that is not helping your situation.

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21 hours ago, Ella2598 said:

My ophthalmologist told me it's not a big deal as long as they don't hurt/affect my vision.

I think you should revisit it with the ophthalmologist (and/or allergist, etc.); I think s/he should know that you are concerned about the appearance of it, not just whether or not you're going blind. I don't think your concern is unreasonable given our times of people being way too concerned about the imagined faults of others.

Secondly I would make sure your problem/concern are well-documented at the visit, if possible. Next I would consider having a frank discussion with your manager about it. *This would be a personal choice that I would never officially advise without knowing the players.* If you get wind of any murmurings about it, the appeal of discussing it frankly with the manager would go up (for me personally).

Good luck getting it sorted out. In the meantime, if there are any other factors that could be exacerbating it at all, try to control these. (Get good sleep/go to work well-rested, etc.)

Edited by JKL33

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17 minutes ago, JKL33 said:

Secondly I would make sure your problem/concern are well-documented at the visit, if possible. Next I would consider having a frank discussion with your manager about it. *This would be a personal choice that I would never officially advise without knowing the players.* If you get wind of any murmurings about it, the appeal of discussing it frankly with the manager would go up (for me personally).

Ticks me off that I even have to write this but I totally second what she said. People are a-holes and will talk. I'd look at talking to your manager pronto as a preemptive strike.  All it takes is one person making a phone call and life could get very difficult for you. 

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mmc51264 has 7 years experience as a ADN, BSN, MSN, RN and specializes in orthopedic; Informatics, diabetes.

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I have terrible dry eyes that are worse in the hospital (it is very dry-I get chapped lips after 2 shifts).  

I wear a contact in one eye because of the dryness. I have been seeing eye specialists for 10 years and have finally found a team that gives me relief. 

No real advice, but I can sympathize and I hope you can get relief. If they don't hurt, or bother you, other than the way they look, try not to worry

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You can't help how you look or a medical condition you may have. Embarrassed for what? Some nurses are actually high, and not just "looking" high. If anyone has a problem tell them you're a nursing student that also works fulltime 12 hours a day, I'm sure their eyes looked the same way during their schooling and working to maintain

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Pixie.RN has 11 years experience as a MSN, RN, EMT-P and specializes in EMS, ED, Trauma, CNE, CEN, CPEN, TCRN.

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I had a condition related to poorly fitted contact lenses when I was in high school. My eyes were always red and yes, it was embarrassing because all my teachers wanted to pull me aside and discuss my (nonexistent) weed habit. 🙄

OP, I would definitely get another opinion as it is clearly bothering you. Good luck! 

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jena5111 has 4 years experience as a ADN, ASN, RN and specializes in Tele, Interventional Pain Management, OR.

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I agree with the recommendation to see another eye doctor.

In the meantime, have you tried Lumify eyedrops? They are a bit pricey (around $20 for 2 mL) but pretty widely available and, for me, quite effective at knocking out redness.

Good luck!

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I have worn contacts for 40 years, and I have had neovascularization for a long time.

I am an NP and my eyes are very red, and will be until the day I die.

As a CNA, or a nursing student, you will be scrutinized.

I personally wouldn't notice red eyes. I would notice someone not doing their job, and especially being more interested in their phone than their job.

And I see this all the time. All the time.

Your phone should never, ever be visible when you are at work.

And I also wonder why you are paranoid.

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When I went back to working an early shift (6a-6p) it was an adjustment. One thing I remember was that for the first few weeks my eyes were red. I figured it was the bright lights, dry air, lack of sleep... 

Good thing is I can say it somehow just resolved itself. No longer have red eyes at all..

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