What May Be Causing My Eye Photosensitivity, Eye Pain, Headaches, And Ear Aches?

Question

Asked by cdaesq

What May Be Causing My Eye Photosensitivity, Eye Pain, Headaches, And Ear Aches?

One morning a few years ago I woke up after a night out and experienced severe photosensitivity. My eye stung and burned, and it hurt when I looked around. The opthamologist gave me an antibiotic and told me it was caused by contact lens overuse. However, a year later, my eyes still throb all day. I haven't worn contacts since I was diagnosed. The doctor said I should be fine by now, but I'm not. I also have stabbing pain that comes and goes in my head, cheekbones, and up my neck. The opthalmologist didn't seem to help much, so should I see an ENT or a neurologist instead? Thanks so much!

Answer

Persistant headache and photosensitivity after using Vicodin is a good example why people should not mix alcoholic drinks with pain pills. Lesson learned. Enough said.

The immediate reaction, the morning after, was probably caused by a massive histamine release caused by the combination of alcohol and opioid. Opioids are well known to cause a histamine release which leads to common side effects like itchiness, headaches and nausea. I would bet that if you would have used an anti-histamine like OTC Benadryl the morning after, you would have felt better.

The persistance of your symptoms is a bit puzzling. Did the medication reaction cause a chronic sinusitis? That's possible. Many of your symptoms are similar to a those caused by sinusitis (irritation of the sinuses that lie underneath you forehead and jaw bones). Sinuses are certainly sensitive to histamine. A sinus CT would be helpful and maybe a consultation with a ENT specialist. Maybe the event sensitized the nervous system and is causing a Trigeminal nerve irritation? A neurologist might be helpful to look into that possiblity. Some of the medications used to treat nerve pain like Neurontin might be helpful if this is a type of nerve pain.

I don't think an Opthomologist would be helpful at this point. This problem goes beyond the eyes.

Keep us up to date on your progress with this interesting problem.

Dr. Christina Lasich, MD

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Answered by Christina Lasich, MD