Sjögren’s syndrome (say “show-grins”) causes your body’s defense, or immune, system to attack the glands that make moisture. The condition affects your tear and saliva glands and sometimes other parts of your body. Your eyes and mouth get very dry. Sjögren’s also may cause you to be very tired and to have pain in your joints. A small number of people may have problems with their lungs, kidneys, and nerves.
Even though there is no cure for Sjögren’s, you can treat the symptoms. You can use artificial tears to keep your eyes moist. Saliva substitutes, water, or prescription medicines can help keep your mouth and throat moist.
How can you care for your eyes with Sjogren's syndrome?
- Use artificial tears during the day. They come in different brands, so if one type does not help, try another. Try to use preservative-free drops. They may be easier on your eyes.
- Use lubricating ointment at night. It is thicker and lasts longer than artificial tears, so you have less burning, dryness, and itching when you wake up in the morning. The ointment may blur your vision for a short time, so use it before going to bed.
- Wear wraparound sunglasses to protect your eyes from wind and dust.
- Avoid smoke. It irritates your eyes.
- Keep makeup away from your eyes or you may want to avoid eye makeup.