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Addiction and Substance Abuse

Chronic, severe eye pain

08/05/2008

Question:

This is a tough one, but I don`t Know what to do. I`ve been suffering with the pain for the past 4 years and it`s always there and intensifies daily to the point of incapacity. One eye is usually most severe, and it was always the left eye but suddenly it now starts in right eye and seems to connect with the mastoids. Doctors I`ve consulted (Opthomalogists, Optometrists, Neuroligists, ENT doctors, and general practioners) but no one knows the cause so I self diagnose guessing I might have a pinched nerve somewhere and I take piroxicam, neuronting and narcotic pain releivers (10/325 mg percocdets) for releif and fear I`m becoming opiod dependent. Drs say the eyeballs appear normal but don`t know what causes the pain. The last pressures test indicated a pressure of 19 in the right eye and 21 in the left eye. What is normal eye pressure? I`m a 74 yr old male in otherwise perfect health and I would like to enjoy God`s wonderful creations for the remainder of my life pain free but I cannot live without narcotic pain releivers. If you could suggest a possible cause or a medical specialist who could diagnose it, I would really appreciate it. God bless you.

Answer:

Thank you for your very good but difficult question, which is also being forwarded to NetWellness Eye and Vision Care experts for their input. I can comment on your concern regarding the oxycodone pain pills.

There is a difference between physical dependence to an opioid pain pill and addictive disease. Physical dependence is a normal result of taking a pain pill regularly over a period of time (a person who takes pain medicine regularly enough to develop physical dependence and withdrawal if it is abruptly taken away). Addiction to narcotic pain relievers is characterized by loss of control / adverse consequences / and cravings (loss of control over use / over-use / running out early / using more than one prescriber / bingeing on the medicines / urges or cravings for the drug when it is no longer available). Addiction tends to happen in people who have prior alcohol or drug use problems. Hope this helps put your mind at ease.

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Response by:

Ted   Parran, MD Ted Parran, MD
Associate Professor of General Medical Sciences
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University