Sjogren's Syndrome

Image of an elderly woman holding a tissue.

Pronounced SHOW-grins, Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder of the immune system, or an autoimmune disease, which causes the body's immune system to attack and harm the body's glands. Your glands are responsible for the production of saliva, tears, and other lubrication necessary for the proper function of the body.

Sjogren's Syndrome Symptoms and Side Effects

The two most common symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are dry eyes and mouth. Eye dryness usually leads to an itchy, gritty feeling. Dry mouth causes a cottony feeling which can make regular speaking and swallowing difficult. In Sjogren's syndrome, the body's immune system first attacks the body's glands, but eventually might target other parts of the body like the liver, kidneys, joints, nerves, thyroid, skin, and lungs. In addition to dry eyes and mouth, people with Sjogren's syndrome might also experience one or more of the following:

  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Joint pain, swelling, and/or stiffness
  • Dry skin and skin rashes
  • Peripheral neuropathy

If left untreated, symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, particularly dry mouth and dry eyes, can lead to further complications such as cavities, oral yeast infections, and corneal ulcers.

Causes and Risk Factors

Like many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is not understood. Research links the presence of a certain gene in the body to Sjogren's syndrome, but it may also develop with an undetermined trigger such as a bacterial or viral infection. Post-menopausal women over 40 are most likely to develop Sjogren's syndrome. Sometimes present alone, it often accompanies other autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis

An eye care professional usually diagnoses Sjogren's syndrome after a patient presents with dry eyes. After ruling out other possible causes such as medications, several tests will be performed to pinpoint Sjogren's syndrome, including:

  • Blood tests for certain markers indicative of Sjogren's syndrome
  • Schirmer’s test to measure tear production
  • Slit lamp eye exam
  • Sialogram, an X-ray of the salivary glands
  • Salivary scintigraphy, which tracks an isotope's journey through the body's glands
  • Biopsy looking for inflammatory cells

Treatment

No cure for Sjogren's syndrome has been developed. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Treatments include eye drops and lubricants, mouth lubricants, immune system suppressants, medications to increase saliva production, and surgery to prevent tears from draining. Patients have also found relief by increasing water intake and wearing protective eye glasses or goggles outdoors.

Exclusive Offer

New Client Special! Receive 40% off any frame in stock with purchase of lenses!

Office Hours

*Please call for more information on additional hours not listed.

Monday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Tuesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Thursday:

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Friday:

10:00 am-8:00 pm

Saturday:

10:00 am-2:00 pm

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "We use Anderson Optometry for all of our family’s vision needs. Recently, we had to have our youngest fitted for new glasses and he made the experience fun for her and informative for us. We know Dr. Anderson will always take good care of our family’s eye care and that’s why we wouldn’t go to anywhere else."
    The Harrison Family
  • "Dr. Anderson and his staff are so patient and friendly. Dr. Anderson prescribed me glasses and I had the toughest time picking out frames. They didn’t rush, but instead made helpful suggestions and now I have an awesome pair of frames, not to mention the fact that I can see ten times better than before. You guys are the best!"
    Shelly
  • "I’ve been going to Dr. Anderson for over five years now and even though I only see him once a year for my annual exam, he and his staff always make me feel very welcome and take care of all my eye care needs. Anderson Optometry is the best at what they do and make you feel right at home."
    Anthony
  • "I was having headaches and felt my contacts were easily drying out all the time. I went in to see Dr. Anderson and after an evaluation, he suggested a switch in the type of lenses I use. Within a week of using the new lenses, I noticed a change and haven’t had any problems since. Thanks, Dr. Anderson!"
    Matt
  • "I had considered Lasik surgery in the past, but was still hesitant about the process. Dr. Anderson was very thorough in his consultation with me and answered all of my questions, making me feel comfortable with going forward with the procedure. I’m so glad I did the Lasik, it has been of great convenience to me and my sight has never been better"
    Carol

We answer all your crazy eyecare questions

Don't worry... everyone wonders!

No form settings found. Please configure it.