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Scleral Lenses for Sjogren’s Syndrome

What Is Sjogren’s Syndrome?

Sjogren’s syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes extreme dryness that affects much of the body, including the eyes. In addition to dryness of the mucous membranes, Sjorgren’s syndrome can cause pain, exhaustion, nerve damage, and blood cancer.

About 4 million Americans have the disease, 90% of them women. An additional 3 million may be living with the disease without knowing it, according to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation. In fact, an estimated 1 in 10 patients with dry eye symptoms have Sjogren’s syndrome.

Why Sjogren’s Syndrome Causes Dry Eyes

Individuals with the syndrome have inflammation of the lacrimal glands, which causes them to produce a lower quantity of tears. Lower tear volume means that irritants that would ordinarily be washed away by tears remain on the ocular surface, leading to inflammation, irritation, and, if left untreated, corneal scarring.

Many individuals with Sjogren’s syndrome also have other autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, celiac disease or rheumatoid arthritis.

Eye Symptoms Related to Sjogren’s Syndrome

In those with Sjogren’s syndrome, having dry eyes is a given.

dizzyOther common symptoms include:

  • Burning eyes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye strain and fatigue
  • Blepharitis – an inflammation of the eyelids
  • Discomfort while wearing regular contact lenses

How Is Sjogren’s Syndrome Diagnosed?

Because the symptoms are varied and develop gradually, it can take several years for those with Sjogren’s syndrome to be diagnosed with the disease.

However, eye doctors are often the first to suspect the condition since dry eyes are a key symptom of the disease.

After taking your medical history and providing a thorough eye exam, your eye doctor may perform the Schirmer’s test to see whether your tear glands are working properly.

During the test, the eye doctor will place special paper inside your lower eyelids while you keep your eyes closed for a few minutes. Once the paper is removed, the doctor will measure the amount of liquid on the paper.

Another test, which uses dye to make your tears more visible, measures how quickly your tears evaporate.

How Scleral Lenses Alleviate Dry Eyes

Individuals with dry eye syndrome, whether caused by Sjorgren’s syndrome or another condition, often complain that traditional contact lenses irritate their eyes. That’s because traditional contacts dry out easily and compensate by drawing moisture away from the eye.

Scleral lenses, which are gas-permeable, do the exact opposite. They form a protective dome over the cornea that conserves saline solution. The solution acts as a liquid buffer between the lens and the cornea’s surface. That, in turn, alleviates the irritation, itchiness, and redness that are the hallmarks of dry eye.

Due to their larger diameter and custom fit, scleral lenses don’t move around as much as conventional lenses. This boosts visual acuity and reduces irritation.

If your eyes feel parched and gritty, contact Our doctors for a comprehensive eye exam to determine whether you have dry eye syndrome and to discuss whether your symptoms could be due to Sjorgren’s syndrome.

Call the The Specialty Contact Lens Center At Eye Trends today to schedule your consultation. We help patients from the Houston, Spring, Woodlands, and Conroe, in the Texas area enjoy great vision and comfort with scleral lenses.

References:

https://www.healio.com/ophthalmology/news/print/ocular-surgery-news-europe-asia-edition/%7B1a8b3144-7978-4b38-8968-9e65574acf00%7D/factors-separate-sjgrens-syndrome-from-simple-dry-eye

http://www.ocularsurface.com/graphics/PDFs/FLUORESCEIN_CLEARANCE_TEST_T3001.pdf

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/sjogrens-syndrome/sjogrens-syndrome-diagnosis

https://www.contactlenses.org/scleral.htm

 

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Dr. Inns is a 1982 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Wilfred Laurier University, Canada. During his training at the University of Houston, he held positions in research and was a teaching assistant / laboratory instructor.

Postgraduate work includes therapeutic courses at Pennsylvania College of Optometry and the Optometric Glaucoma Specialist Course at the University of Texas Medical School. Dr. Inns has published in Optometry Today and Optometric Management. He also volunteers at the schools in his area.

Dr. Inns and his wife, Lynn, spend much of their spare time calling and visiting with their four boys.

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Amber Draper, Manager

As the manager of The Woodlands office, Amber Draper leads the team with the focus on patient care and assisting with their ophthalmic needs. Having over 10 years experience, Amber can aid patients with the most appropriate lens technology to match their daily needs. Everyone needs at least one pair of sun wear, especially here in Texas.

Amber is a proud graduate of Sam Houston State University with a BA in History, and a minor in Spanish.

In her spare time, she is with family, friends, and enjoying some Houston Texans Football.

Dr. Toups is a 1984 graduate of the University of Houston College of Optometry. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Pharmacy from Northeast Louisiana University.

Being a therapeutically licensed optometrist, Dr. Toups is trained to diagnose and treat ocular conditions. He specializes in contact lenses and he is current with all refractive surgery procedures.

Dr. Toups is married, has five children and has lived in the Houston area since 1980.

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