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Understanding Sjogren’s Syndrome and Managing Dry Eye

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If you've ever dealt with dry eye syndrome, it may surprise you to find that an autoimmune disorder called Sjogren's Syndrome could be its cause. This condition targets the moisture-producing glands in your body, leading to decreased tear production and uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.

At Premier Vision Care Optometry in Lomita, California, we provide high-quality care to help manage Sjogren's Syndrome and prevent dry eyes from interfering with your daily life. Schedule an appointment with us today to reclaim your comfort and preserve your vision.

Now, let's dive in and learn more about this condition.

What is Sjogren's Syndrome?

Sjogren's Syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body's moisture-producing glands, primarily the salivary and lacrimal glands.

This condition causes the immune system to mistakenly attack these glands, leading to reduced tear and saliva production. Dry eye is a common symptom of Sjogren's Syndrome, causing discomfort, blurred vision, and light sensitivity.

Prevalence and Risk Factors of Sjogren’s Syndrome

Sjogren's Syndrome predominantly affects women, with approximately 90% of patients being female; although men can also be affected.

And while it is estimated that millions of people worldwide live with this condition, its main cause remains uncertain.

However, experts believe that a genetic predisposition and certain viral infections such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and Human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV) can be potential risk factors.

The symptoms of Sjoren’s Syndromes include dry eyes and mouth, fatigue, and joint pain. If you experience similar symptoms, it's important to see a doctor early on for diagnosis and medical help.

Understanding the Impact of Sjogren’s Syndrome on Dry Eye

Sjogren's Syndrome causes dry eye disease by inflaming and infiltrating the lacrimal glands which are located in the upper outer corner of the eye and produce tears to keep the eyes lubricated and moist. Once infiltrated, Sjogren reverses the correct order of things: it impairs tear production and increases tear evaporation.

If left untreated, this can cause complications such as corneal damage, scarring, and eye infections. By understanding the connection between Sjogren's Syndrome and dry eye, we can develop better strategies to manage the symptoms and enhance your overall quality of life.

Diagnosis and Evaluation

Accurate diagnosis of Sjogren's Syndrome requires a comprehensive approach.An experienced eye care professional will conduct a thorough medical history review, considering symptoms, risk factors, and family history. They will also perform an ocular examination, assessing tear quality, ocular surface health, and signs of inflammation.Specialized tests such as Schirmer's test, tear film break-up time (TBUT), and ocular surface staining may be conducted to assess tear production, tear stability, and corneal health.

Management Strategies

Managing dry eye symptoms in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome requires a multidisciplinary approach involving collaboration between eye care specialists and rheumatologists (medical specialists who diagnose and treat conditions that affect the joints, muscles, bones, and connective tissues).

Treatment options aim to reduce dryness and improve overall eye comfort, including:

  • Artificial Tears - lubricating eye drops or ointments can provide temporary relief by supplementing the natural tears and moisturizing the ocular surface.
  • Punctal Plugs - these tiny devices can be inserted into the tear ducts to block tear drainage, helping to retain moisture on the surface of the eye.
  • Anti-inflammatory Medications - prescription medications, such as cyclosporine or corticosteroids, may be recommended to reduce inflammation and improve tear production.
  • Moisture Chamber Goggles - this treatment may be recommended for more severe cases. The specialized goggles create a humid environment around the eyes, retain moisture, reduce evaporation, and provide relief from dryness.

Expert Dry Eye Treatment in Lomita

If you suspect you may be at risk for Sjogren's Syndrome or are experiencing dry eye symptoms, it's important to seek professional evaluation and care with an eye doctor near you.

In Lomita, California? Premier Vision Care Optometry offers trusted expertise and can provide a comprehensive dry eye exam tailored to your needs. Contact us today to book your appointment and take the first step toward managing your dry eye symptoms effectively.