Eye problems are perhaps the most overt symptom related to Sjogren’s Syndrome. For many, eye problems impact their lives more than any other symptom. Its possible to moderate the affects of severe dry mouth with constant sipping of a liquid. This fix is an irritation, but doable in most circumstances. A determined person can fight through fatigue when necessary. Movement may slow and become extremely uncomfortable when joint pain flairs. Even hair loss and rashes can be endured and masked, but eye problems impact every part of life even sleep.
WebMD describes dry eyes as:
- A gritty feeling
- Feeling like there’s something in your eye
- Blurry vision
- Light sensitivity
The problems often begin with a dryness in the eyes which is described as the dryness created by a constant wind on the eyes. At first, rubbing seems to relieve the irritation. Some form of artificial tears are usually introduced. As the need for the artificial tears increases other eye problems develop.
Dryness leads to small tears in the cornea. These are painful. At first, with medication, they heal. But as the eyes dry and the tears become more frequent, they seem to be permanent. Drops can be used every minute of the day, but the pain does not go away. It can become difficult to read or write. People find that there job performance is affected.
Your ophthalmologist will be able to suggest a variety of medications and treatments to moderate the dryness of your eyes. From artificial tears to medicated ointments to tear duct plugs. There are treatments that can help but they must be applied frequently and consistently. Scleral contact lenses, with their ability to deliver and hold moisture for the affected eye, are a wonderful solution for dry eyes.
A diagnosis of Sjogrens Disease is important. While treatment for undiagnosed symptoms provides relief, coverage by insurance for an unspecified disorder can be difficult. A documented Sjogrens diagnosis is covered by most insurance carriers.
Should symptoms become so severe that functioning at work becomes impossible, disability compensation is possibility with a diagnosis of Sjogrens Syndrome. My diagnosis could only be confirmed through positive results from a lip biopsy. Others can receive a positive diagnosis through appropriate blood tests.
Although dry eyes is not a life threatening symptom, it is life altering. Please share your experience in coping with dry eyes or any symptoms related to Sjogrens Syndrome in the comment section of this site.