Sjögren’s syndrome (pronounced “SHOW-grins”) is an autoimmune disorder in which the body’s white blood cells attack healthy tissue and organs. In this disease, the immune system attacks the glands that keep our eyes and lips lubricated. Dry eyes are a common symptom of Sjögren’s syndrome.
Sjögren’s syndrome is a common autoimmune condition that can sometimes be discovered via a thorough eye examination. Nine out of ten patients with it are women between the ages of 40 and 60. It can, however, affect both men and women of any age or color.
Sjögren’s Syndrome Symptoms
Sjögren’s syndrome symptoms that affect the eyes include:
● Extremely dry eyes
● Blurry vision
● Eyes that are burning or hurting
● An abrasive sensation in the eyes
● Increased light sensitivity
● Wearing contact lenses causes discomfort
● Blepharitis or inflamed eyelid margins
Your eye doctor may perform some tests to confirm if you have Sjögren’s syndrome. Schirmer’s test is one diagnostic test for this. A small strip of paper is inserted beneath your lower eyelid to quantify the amount of tears your eye produces during a five-minute period.
To color your tears, you can utilize a dye test; this allows your doctor to view how rapidly your tears dry up using a microscope. It can also assist your doctor in determining how dryness has impacted your cornea or other components of your eye.
Your doctor may also order blood tests; this aids in the detection of antibodies and other blood indicators common in persons with Sjögren’s syndrome. Your ophthalmologist may recommend you to a rheumatologist, an autoimmune disease specialist, if necessary. The blood samples will be reviewed by the rheumatologist, who may be able to assist with treatment.
It is critical to address Sjögren’s syndrome’s persistent dry eye. Otherwise, your eyes will be irritated and painful for a long time. They can get inflamed and scarred in rare situations, impairing your eyesight.
Lubricating eye drops or ointments may be recommended by your eye doctor. These drops are crucial for preventing your tears from drying out too rapidly. Your eyes will stay moist for longer this way.
You can keep your eyes moist by doing the following:
● drink enough water
● as frequently as your eye doctor suggests, use artificial tears and ointments
● if the air in your home is extremely dry, consider using a humidifier
● any medications you are taking (including allergy medicine) should be disclosed to your eye doctor, as they may cause dryness.