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The Dangers of Self-Diagnosis

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The Internet can be a wonderful research tool when used correctly. But if you have ever had a health problem and have been tempted to sit at your keyboard instead of seeing a doctor, you may want to reconsider.

I woke up one morning with blurred vision and irritation in my left eye. I was out of town and on a short vacation visiting friends. My vision had been slightly blurred the day before but I had assumed it was due to an old contact lens prescription.

Before leaving for my trip, I had been unable to find one of my contacts. It simply wasn’t in the case. In a rush to pack and get to my flight on time, I figured that I must have dropped it the night before after taking it out.

I looked high up on a shelf and was relieved to find an unopened pair. It was an old prescription but I was thankful that I had a spare set.

I wasn’t thankful for long. By the second day of the trip, my vision was more blurred than the first day and my eye was irritated and beginning to be painful. I started to convince myself that I had a contact lens stuck in my eye.

My friends and I searched online for information for this type of problem. I followed the advice that I read and tried flushing my eye and working the contact out from my upper lid.

As the morning went by, my eye became worse. The pain increased. It began watering profusely and got very red. It started to swell shut.

All that I could think about was how badly I needed to get the contact lens out of my eye. As painful as it was, I kept working and trying.

It made sense to me that I surely had a contact stuck. It felt like there was something foreign, scraping and scratching my eye from the inside.

With my eye nearly swollen shut, I knew I had to seek medical help to remove the contact. I was away from home and it was a Sunday morning. I didn’t know where I could go for my emergency. My friends helped me to find an eyeglass business inside of a mall.

The sunlight seemed to burn my eye, as if there was no lid protecting it. I cried as I shielded my face from the brightness of the sun. The pain had become unbearable. I sat hunched over in my seat with my hands over my face and tears streaming from eyes as my friend drove quickly to the mall.

After explaining my problem, the eyeglass store was reluctant to see me stating “they don’t handle medical eye appointments.” Still, I convinced them to help me since I only needed assistance removing a contact that was obviously very stuck.

I was directed to sit in the exam chair. It took only a few minutes until I was told, “You do not have a contact in your eye. You have a cornea abrasion.”

Oh, this doesn’t sound good.

The Internet can be resourceful but only if you really know what you are suffering from.

Edited by Jody Smith

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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