Sjogren's, (pronounced “SHOW-grins”), is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body attacks the glands that produce moisture needed in the mouth, skin, eyes, vaginal area, gastrointestinal tract and respiratory tract (exocrine glands). Not surprising, the hallmark symptoms of this disorder are dry eyes and dry mouth.
Of the 4 million Americans affected by Sjogren’s, nine out of 10 are women and most are diagnosed in their late 40’s. However, Sjogren’s has been found in nearly all racial and ethnic groups and in all age groups including children.
The exact cause is unknown but scientists seem to think that genetic factors and environmental contacts to certain viruses may increase the risk of developing the disorder. See our website for the causes of dry eye syndrome.
Although there is no cure, Sjogren’s symptoms may be managed with treatment to give relief to improve symptoms and prevent complications.
To alleviate symptoms associated with the exocrine glands such as dry mouth, doctors may prescribe saliva substitutes or prescription meds to help stimulate the salivary glands.
For dry eye syndrome, doctors may prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription artificial tears or ointments for dry eye relief as well as oral supplements such as EZ-Tears®. Treatment for dry eye can also include Restasis® as well as anti-inflammatory drops. In more extreme cases, punctal occlusion or surgery to cauterize or seal the tear ducts in the eyes may be an option.
For symptoms beyond those affecting the exocrine glands, doctors may recommend non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help relieve joint and muscle pain, antifungal medications to treat yeast infections in the mouth and steroids and/or immunosuppressive drugs to treat systemic symptoms.
Dr. Mulqueeny is the Director of the Dry Eye Institute of St. Louis, the only establishment of its kind in the Midwest dedicated to the diagnosis and treatment of chronic dry eyes syndrome. He currently is serving as a Principal Investigator for the PROOF study to determine the natural progression and treatment of dry eye disease and the ONIT Study to determine the effect of Oral Nutrition on Tear Film. He also serves on the advisory board for ZeaVision, assisting in the development of products for eyecare professionals and consumers to preserve healthy vision.
Contact the offices of Mulqueeny Eye Centers Accredited Dry Eye Treatment Center for more information on the treatment of Dry Eye.
Dr Mulqueeny is friendly yet very professional. He cares about his patients and will take the time to talk and answer any questions. I would tell anyone to go see him.