Sjogren’s syndrome is a chronic, inflammatory condition that affects the parts of the body which produce tears and saliva. This is otherwise known as exocrine gland dysfunction. Ophthalmologists are often the first healthcare professionals to diagnose Sjogren’s syndrome due to patients commonly reporting dry, uncomfortable eyes which are only mildly alleviated with common ocular lubricants.
What are the Symptoms?
What are the Causes?
Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune condition in which the body’s defence systems attack the host tissue. Salivary and lacrimal glands become infiltrated with lymphocytes (white blood cells) compromising their respective production of saliva and tears. Although the aetiology (dry eye) is not fully understood, many patients with Sjogren’s syndrome have a coexisting autoimmune condition such as rheumatoid arthritis. Long-term clinical studies have also highlighted that the condition predominantly affects middle aged females.
What is the Diagnosis?
Individuals with Sjogrens syndrome are typically co-managed by an auto-immune specialist such as a Rheumatologist, Ophthalmologist and a dental professional. Ocular treatments are focused on improving tear quality and volume in order to limit symptoms of dryness. Management includes tear supplements such as Omega-6 essential fatty acids and temporary occlusion of the small drainage holes in the eyelids with punctal plugs in order to retain a healthy volume of tears on the surface. Autologous serum tears made from an individual’s blood sample can also provide more effective relief from dry eye than over-the-counter lubricants
Choosing the right vision correction clinic for your surgery is paramount. This is a life changing procedure after all, and you need to have complete trust in your surgeon and care team of professionals.
More information about Punctal Plugs
Punctal plugs are small soft plugs which block the opening of a tear duct known as a punctum. They help to retain the volume of tears on the surface of the eye and reduce symptoms of dryness.View Punctal Plugs