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Comprehensive Guide to Managing Dry Eyes in Sjogren's Disease

If you've been diagnosed with Sjogren's disease, you likely grapple with the common symptom of dry eyes. This blog post aims to provide a clearer understanding of Sjogren's, its impact on eye health, and various treatment options available to patients.





Understanding Sjogren's Disease


Sjogren's is a chronic systemic (whole body) autoimmune disease that targets the body's healthy tissues. While it affects the entire body, its primary focus is on the endocrine system, specifically the moisture-producing glands. This includes the mouth, nostrils, and eyes.


The Layers of the Eye and Dry Eye Explanation


To comprehend the effects on dry eye sufferers, let's break down the layers of the eye and understand what happens.


Here is a breakdown of how the layers of the eye work, and an explanation of what happens to dry eye suffers.




Treatment Options for Dry Eyes in Sjogren's Patients

For those with Sjogren's-induced dry eyes, various treatment options and supplements are available. It's important to note that the following recommendations are for informational purposes, and individual experiences may vary.


Eye Drops For Management Of Dry Eyes


Use preservative-free options to avoid worsening symptoms.


Prescription eye drops like Alrex (steroid) and Restasis (increases tear production) may be recommended by your optometrist or ophthalmologist.


Eye Gels For Management of Dry Eyes


Gel drops typically have a thicker and more viscous consistency compared to regular eye drops. This increased viscosity provides enhanced lubrication, which is beneficial for individuals with severe dry eyes.


Many dry eye patients experience more significant discomfort, particularly at night. Using a gel drop before bedtime can provide overnight lubrication and alleviate symptoms during sleep.


Over-the-counter gels, such can be effective in combating inflammation and blepharitis.


Heat Masks For Meibomian Gland Dysfunction


Use heat masks at home, alongside eye drops and gels, for a relaxing and affordable treatment.




Diet and Supplements For Dry Eye Disease


 Diet and supplements play a crucial role in managing dry eyes, and incorporating specific nutrients can contribute to overall eye health.


Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish (such as salmon, mackerel, and trout), flaxseed, chia seeds, and walnuts, have anti-inflammatory properties. They can help reduce inflammation in the eyes and improve the quality of the tear film.


Staying well-hydrated is essential for overall health and is particularly important for individuals with dry eyes.


Scleral Lenses In The Management Of Severe Dry Eyes


Oversized, rigid contacts like scleral lenses can retain tear volume, providing relief for moderate-to-severe dry eye symptoms.


Here is an article written about a dry eye sufferer and how scleral lenses have helped to improve her quality of life.


Punctal Plugs Can Help Manage Dry Eyes


Punctal plugs, also known as lacrimal plugs or tear duct plugs, are small, biocompatible devices inserted into the tear ducts (puncta) of the eyes to manage severe dry eye disease.


These tiny plugs aim to block the drainage of tears from the eyes, thereby increasing the retention time of natural tears on the ocular surface.


Blephex for Blepharitis, Eyelid Inflammation and Infection


Blephex is an in-office treatment targeting blepharitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eye lids which can aggrivate and contribute to dry eye disease and infection of the eye lids and lashes.


In this treatment the doctor uses a device to scrub bacterial debris off the surface of the eye lid (which is the leading cause of blepharitis).


Treatment has been reported to be well tolerated and only takes a couple minutes.


LipiFlow Dry Eye Treatment


Lipiflow® is a dry eye treatment where your eye doctor uses a device to remove gland blockages and restore meibomian gland function.


This ensures a targeted and effective treatment for meibomian gland dysfunction while prioritizing patient comfort and eye safety throughout the process.

iLux Treating Meibomian Gland Dysfunction


The iLux® device uses an LED light to gently raise the eyelid temperature and melt the substances blocking the meibomian glands.


The eye doctor will then apply compression to squeeze the melted substances from the lids, restoring the body’s natural oil production for naturally lubricated eyes. 


Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy


Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) Therapy is a painless therapy, often combined with digital gland expression and prescription medications for enhanced results.


IPL therapy usually consists of several treatments performed at 4-6 week intervals, followed by maintenance treatments as needed thereafter.


Conclusion on Dry Eye Treatment Options


With a plethora of products and treatments available, managing dry eyes in Sjogren's patients requires careful consideration.


Prices can vary, so research and consult with professionals before committing to any particular option.


If you are looking for brand specific product recommendations to help you manage your dry eyes due to Sjogren's disease, visit our product recommendations list here.

To fellow Sjogren's Warriors, share your experiences and recommendations in the comments below. What works for you? What would you pass on? What would you share with a newly diagnosed Sjogren's patient?





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