My Personal Hell: The Never Ending Eye Infection

I was living in Thailand and I got an eye infection randomly. Honestly, I’ve only EVER gotten eye infections in Thailand. Same with styes and other weird eye ailments. Only in Thailand – UGH.

It happened after a nice weekend in Bangkok. I went to Bangkok in the first place because I was  talking with this very cute girl I meet on Thai Friendly. She lived in Bangkok, but I lived in Ratchaburi at the time where I was working at a university. Ratchaburi for all intents and purposes is a cool little town, but there is not much in the way of dating.

It’s either young girls in high school or girls who have a job and a boyfriend. Why? Because it’s a medium sized town. Once you’re 19 you’re off to university. So to actually meet attractive girls who are single and come from a good family you got to go to Bangkok.

Anyways, we had a great time together and a great night 😉 but the next day I woke up and my eye started to bother me.

During our lunch she made a comment about how my eye was reddish.

A few days later my right eye swelled up. I’ve had styes before, black eyes from sports and any sort of issue like this always seems to clear up in 1-2 weeks.

But this swelling was different. It was bad. No problem I thought, I just needed to take it easy and let this one heal on it’s own as they’ve done in the past.

Except it didn’t.

It got a bit better for a few days, only to come back with a vengeance. My whole eye swelled up AGAIN, both my upper and lower eyelids for my right eye. Making them loopy looking and VERY uncomfortable.

I gave it a week to heal from this new state, since that was the normal amount of time in the past that these sort of things went away on their own.

It did not get better.

Seeing a Thai Doctor at Bangkok Hospital in Ratchaburi Thailand

So I went to see a Thai doctor in Ratchaburi Thailand. He took a 1 minute look at my eye, no consultation, no telling me what I should be doing to take care of my eye. I had to rely on Google and countless forum posts from idiots for answers. Also, my searches keep refering me to pages for infants and 1 year olds. Eye infection for 2 months = pages for 2 month old babies. I was really on my own here!

To get to the chase he simply prescribe me over priced medication.

What he prescribed specifically was Vigamox and an anti bacterial eye ointment and told me that I’m a foreigner and that I’m not used to Thailand. I Told him I worked at a university here and have been in Thailand for almost 4 years (at least 6 months a year in Thailand – the last 2 years full time because of a job).

My faith in this doctor being able to help me was totally lost and I used Vigamox for a few days then quit foolishly (I should have used it 4 times a day for a week straight, but stopped after 3 days).

I simply quit in that I did not trust this doctor for obvious reasons. He did not seem to know or care about my eye problem; and simply telling me that I’m not Thai and that’s why I got an eye infection so severe made me skeptical (obviously). He scheduled a follow up for me 10 days later, I actually went.

With ZERO improvement in my eye condition, he simply prescribe me more and different expensive medication without even giving me an eye exam and tried to charge me for his time.

Now I’m annoyed. I complained to the  hospital staff and told them that I’m not paying any more money as I’m not an ATM. I don’t just come here to spend money pointlessly while not getting any actual help or improvement.

I already paid a lot for Vigamox and the 1 minute “consultation” previously.  It did not help, I came back here expecting more help and it’s the same story. Takes a 1 minute look at my eye, tells me nothing of what to do, and simply tries to charge me a lot of money for more medication.

Just because I’m not Thai does not mean I’m stupid or that I have all this money to spend on pointless eye medication.

The hospital staff relented and said I did not have to pay but asked me how to improve their service. Which I happily explained to them.

The 2nd Doctor in Ratchaburi

By this time the swelling had gone away BUT I was left with these bumps in my eyelid.

Bangkok hostpital is an expensive private hospital, so I thought they would have decent staff. Boy was I wrong! So I asked my Thai friends and former collegeues from the university I worked at previously who they would suggest. They recommended me a 2nd doctor in the town who was 100% better.

He actually gave me a proper eye exam and prescribe me anti-biotics and told me that I had chalazions in my eye lid and that they would go away on their own. I just needed to be patient.

I trusted this doctor a lot more because he told me it was stupid to prescribe me Vigamox and that sort of medication was over-kill. He also examined my eye in depth and told me what was wrong. In retrospect, while he was much better than the first doctor, he should have told me how to take care of my eye on a day to day basis to promote healing. Not simply tell me it will go away someday.

He also said the chalazions were also too small to remove and I just had to wait on that front as well.

I was not happy about that. I make YouTube videos. I really needed my eye to be normal again. At this point it had been 3 months, with my eyelid bumpy and bubbly looking from the chalazions.

It was annoying being constantly asked “hey what’s wrong with you eye?” Also, I have nice eyes too and it effects my appearance in the worst possible way. Making me look weird and worst of all, if effects my online work directly. I can’t create videos or courses. Maybe a few voice over videos but it’s important to get in front of the camera.

But wait I did.

I gave it a month, things got better slightly. Upon returning to the eye doctor he directly asked me “why are you here again.” Gee, my eye had been messed up for 4 months now. I’m pretty sure that that’s not normal.

So I left and started giving up. I’m just going to have to wait until I go home in June (it was December at this time) to see a proper American eye doctor since I seem to have a never ending eye infection.

Rutnin Eye Hospital Bangkok

Since the time for me to go to the United States was so far into the future, I decided to at least checkout Bangkok to see if there were any places worth going to. As an American, I’m always skeptical of medical care in countries like Vietnam or Thailand, but I can say without a doubt that Rutnin is an excellent place to go if you ever have any eye issue and are in Thailand.

The only issue with this hospital is the wait times because it’s the place anyone with cash goes to. The eye doctor here told me the same story, that I had 3 chalazions in my eye. Only this time, she instructed me how to properly take care of my eye and told me that one of the chalazions was large enough that it could be removed through an incision if I wanted.

“Oh yea, can’t wait to do that” I thought. I almost declined, but then I told myself NO, I came here to get a final opinion from the best hospital in this country and it’s been months with my eye being loopy and swollen.

I was past my breaking point and frustrated beyond imagination. It’s one of those “why me” type of problem I’m sure you’ve had too.

I went ahead with the procedure and it really worked. My eye looked 80% better in a week and I’ve been using natural treatments for the other two chalazions.

Chalazion Surgery – What it’s Like, When Should You Have it Done?

So as I mentioned, I under went a chalazion surgery removal procedure

I’ll outline what it’s like if you’re in the situation of considering having a chalazion surgery to help clear up your eye. It’s not fun, but not nearly as bad as you think. Most eye doctors are going to tell you that having an incision to drain a chalazion is a last resort, I agree but it’s been half a year already and I want my eye to be back to normal.

The chalazion surgery procedure

The first step was to thoroughly clean my eyelids . The staff spent a good 10 minutes cleaning my eyelids with specialized soap and q-tips to get the dirt and grim from the skin right under my eye where my eye lashes were. They noted how dirty my eyelids were. But I have big eyes and my eyes do produce a lot of oil.

Apply Jelly

After that was to apply a jelly to numb your skin to make the actual injection of novocaine painless. Yes, novocaine. Like the dentist uses. You lie back and they apply the jelly. It takes about 30 minutes for the jelly to fully soak into your skin so it’s numb. So for 30 minutes you get to relax and reflect on your life decisions and think “why me” as you lay on the table :).

Novocaine

Then, they give you an injection of novocaine to completely numb your eyelid and surrounding eye area. Only your eyelid is affected and it really works because you won’t feel much of anything in the next step.

The next step after that is that they peal back your eyelid with a clamp so your eyelid is turned inside out. Then they position a cover over your eye so you’re staring a dark piece of cloth as your eyelid is not puled back and you won’t be able to blink.

Then begins the actual chalazion surgery. Depending on the size of the chalazion will determine what tool is used to drain the chalazion. It could be a scaple, needle or laser. Ask your doctor before you undergo the procedure how they will go about performing the operation.

Once done, you’ll be given a cloth bandage that they will put over your eye for good measure and you’re done. Wait 2 hours minimum before you remove the bandage.

How long does a chalazion surgery take?

All in all, the actual incision part with your eyelid exposed takes 10 minutes. But if you factor in all the prep time it’s a 45 minute out patient procedure.

What is the recovery time for chalazion surgery?

Again, it really depends on the tool they used. My eye was loopy and weird looking for the next 5 hours. After which it returned to normal and I could go out and enjoy the day without anyone noticing. The actual chalazion was totally removed, but I’m unlucky and I actually had 3 chalazions and only one was big enough to remove. But in terms of recovery time, I would say it takes about a full week to really let your body heal.

What about a steroid injection?

My doctor said she prefers to do an incision as it has less complications than a steroid injection and removal is instant. I’m not a doctor so the only option I had was to have the surgery or to try my had at natural treatments.

Are you happy with the results

Yes. I’m happy I had the procedure done. It removed the biggest chalazion on my eyelid which instantly improved my appearance. I still have two more smaller ones I’m currently dealing with using natural treatments.

Natural Chalazion Treatment Explained and Explored

There are various natural treatments for Chalazions

They range from natural to surgical. You should consult an eye doctor obviously on how you should proceed in taking care of your individual case because perhaps your chalazion is a result of a condition you may not even be aware of. A malfunctioning meibomian gland for instance, poor eyelid hygiene or in my case, the after effects of a bacterial eye infection.

To begin the treatment of your chalazion it’s really helpful to know the root cause so you can prevent chalazions and styes from occuring in the future.

Alright, with that out of the way, you have a chalazion, maybe even two or three. How should you go about taking care of it?

Natural Treatments For Chalazions

Let’s first review some natural treatments for your chalazion. You should follow through with these natural treatments for a solid month before even considering surgery. Also, these are the treatments that worked for me and others. Yea you can can find “27 natural treatments for chalazions” on other sites but that’s because they just want those clicks and views. There are not 27 different ways to cure your chalazion! There are only a handful and these are the ones that have worked for most people.

Hot compress + eyelid scrub

This is the standard treatment for any chalazion or stye. Styes actually do go away on their own with this treatment in a week or two. Chalazions are much more difficult and you’ll need to do apply a hot compress every morning day in and day out multiple times a day for at least 10 minutes per application of the compress FOR A MONTH.

Who has time for that? Well you do now since you have an unsightly bump on your eyelid. This is what I did for months and months.

It’s also helpful you buy a proper warm compress (instead of using a towel or some complicated setup like rice in a sock). A warm compress will simply get warm and stay warm for a long time once you heat it up. This is nice as you won’t have to constantly heat and reheat a warm compress.

Next, after the application of a hot compress YOU NEED to use an eyelid scrub. Why? Because the hot compress opens up your pores so the specialized soap is more effective when applied to your eyelid.

Again, I can’t stress how important it is to do both if you’re trying to treat a chalazion.

Apply apple cider vinegar applied 1 or 2  times a day

Apple cider vinegar worked very well at reducing the size of my chalazion, though it did not make it go away. For that I needed surgery as mentioned. None the less it still worked surprisingly well and it’s worth buying a bottle of apple cider vinegar simply because it’s good for your health.

So, go buy a bottle of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar (yes emphasis on the raw unfiltered part). Not only is it beneficial for your health as a drink it can be applied to your chalazion to make it go away.

The way you should go about applying the apple cider vinegar is to pour a little bit into the cap, then dip a Q-tip into the cap and gently tap the chalazion on your eyelid. DO NOT rub apple cider vinegar over your eyelid. Do not dilute the vinegar in hot water and then rub it over your eye as this will simply irritate your eyelid as apple cider vinegar is highly acidic.

I did this because I read it on other eye care websites and it’s terrible advice. Apple cider vinegar burns obviously as apple cider vinegar is highly acidic.

If you want to rub the apple cider vinegar over your eye you’ll need to dilute it first: 8 oz of water + one table spoon. But I suggest using the Q-tip method combined with the warm compress routine.

The reason this works at reducing chalazions is that the vinegar helps beak up the blockage cause by your clogged oil gland in your eyelid. You should be combining this with a daily warm compress.

Also, use apple cider vinegar twice a day MAX. Too much and it will irritate your skin. Lastly, don’t over do it though as your eyelids are very thin. Apply once or twice a day for a few days, no more. Maybe a week at most then stop.

Chamomile Teabags

Make some chamomile tea. Don’t throw the tea bag away. Let it cool down to a temperature where you can touch it. Then apply it to your eye. This has been known to help reduce swelling and redness.

Saline Solution Eye Drops

Get some sterile eye drops and use them daily. They help prevent dry eyes and contain ingredients that can help clean out your eye. Eye drops are helpful because it directly effects the underneath part of your eyelid.

Fish Oil/Krill Oil

While overlooked, it’s helpful to start supplementing your diet with krill oil or fish oil. The fatty acids are helpful at reducing inflammation in your body and promote skin health. Getting your diet in order is always helpful for promoting skin, eye and hair health.

6 Week Eye Care Treatment Plan

1- Apply a warm compress every morning for 10-15 minutes non-stop. Then after, use an over the counter, medicated eyelid scrub.

2 – Then apply apple cider vinegar once a day in the evening by using a Q-tip and tapping the chalazion with the Q-tip. Don’t rub the apple cider vinegar on your eyes. That’s crazy. It will simply irritate your eyelid. Simply dip the Q-tip and either tap the chalazion or hold the Q-tip on the chalazion for a few minutes if your feeling ambitions.

3 – Apply sterile eye drops as needed. I normally use eye drops every other day in the afternoon.

4 – Be consistent.

How Long Does a Chalazion Last (or should last)?

1-2 months if you’re lucky, it will go away on it’s own without you doing anything. But you should be trying natural treatments first.

3 or more months of having a chalazion, you’ll need medical help from my personal experience.

I’ve Had a Chalazion For Over a Month!

Most doctors and medical sites will state that a chalazion will go away within a month if you take the time to apply conservative measures to promote healing like a warm compress for 15 minutes per day (see our post on chalazion treatments).

What has been my personal experience?

After recovering from my eye infection, I developed 3 chalazions, all in my upper right eyelid. Two of the chalazions were small and one was medium sized. The first local doctor I went to told me all the chalazions were too small to remove through incision and that he was not trained in treating a chalazion with a steroid injection.

His advice to me was to simply be patient and that the lumps on my eye lid would just go away with time.

I took his advice, but I also looked for solutions online about how to cure a chalazion. It’s one of the reasons why I created this site because I was just so frustrated that I could not find advice about what to do to make a chalazion go away, or how long a chalazion should even last.

My chalazions DID NOT go away on their own unfortunately. They did get slightly smaller, but by no means did they become un-noticable. I followed the first doctors advice and waited a month. Most websites said a month and the doctor I spoke to said it would go away over time.

After a month, I still had three ugly lumps on my eyelid. How long does a chalazion last? In my case it seemed to be never ending.

1 month if you’re lucky. It will go away on it’s own.

1-2 months if you’re lucky. It will go away with natural treatments.

Only with surgury if you’re unlucky like me 🙂

This is the advice I would give myself.

Conclusion: Doxycycline fixed my eye

So after the surgery, my eye was way better, then it got worse again.

Yea, I’m not kidding when I said this was the never ending eye infection. My upper and lower eyelids were swollen and a bit red. Not as bad as before, but still noticeable. But my eye never really healed.

After trying the conservative treatments I again went to Rutin Eye Hospital for a follow up. It’s been 8 months and my eye was STILL not back to normal. The doctor to a quick look and said I had a bacterial eye infection.

WTF again? He prescribed me Doxycycline and told me to take it for a week and to apply hot compress. Well no shit, I’ve been doing that for months.

I was mad. It’s not normal to have a bacterial eye infection and chalazions for almost an entire year. BUT I decided to take the medication he prescribed and it worked. Within a week the swelling went down and the medication ran out.

Then my eye became red and swollen again over the next 2 weeks of being off the medication. Well Rutin is an expensive hospital so instead of going there to see a doctor and pay over $100 USD to get more cheap medication, I simply went to my local pharmacy and bought a 1 month supply of Doxycycline FOR 3 DOLLARS (yea what!)  and began taking it twice a day for 3 weeks and then once a day the last week (THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE).

It was this step that finally put a nail in the coffin of my eye infection. After nearly a year and hundreds of dollars spend and general discomfort, my eye infection and chalazions finally went away.

Appreciate your health. Thanks for reading.

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