When the eyes don’t produce enough tears, or the tears evaporate too quickly, they quickly become red, itchy, and irritated.
Chronically dry eyes, a condition called dry eye syndrome (DES), is a common symptom of some autoimmune diseases. Left untreated, DES can cause corneal scarring and even permanent vision loss in severe cases.
At Lakeside Vision we diagnose and treat DES in patients living in Hawley and surrounding areas.
What is Autoimmune Disease and How Does It Cause Dry Eye?
Autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system turns on itself. The immune system loses its ability to differentiate between harmful germs and normal cells, leading to organs, tissues, and cells being damaged.
There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases, including lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and Sjogren's syndrome.
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease notorious for causing dry eyes. It produces abnormal antibodies that attack the glands that produce tears and saliva. This is why people affected by Sjogren's syndrome frequently experience debilitating dryness in the eyes and mouth.
Another autoimmune disease that can cause dry eye syndrome is rheumatoid arthritis. While RA is more commonly known for producing joint pain and stiffness, nearly half of the people with the condition also have dry eye symptoms.
Treating Dry Eye Caused By Autoimmune Disease
If you’re experiencing chronic dry eye symptoms, schedule a dry eye exam as soon as possible. Your eye doctor will perform a thorough examination of your eyes, review your medical history and assess your tear production. Your eye doctor will treat your dry eyes while you also receive treatment for your autoimmune condition.
DES caused by the autoimmune disease can be treated in a variety of ways, including artificial tears, prescription eye drops, in-office dry eye treatments, medications to decrease eye inflammation, and medications to suppress the immune system.
Keep in mind that dry eye caused by an autoimmune disease can be more challenging to treat, but with a combination of close monitoring and a tailored treatment plan, an individual affected by dry eye is able to keep symptoms at bay and maintain good eye health.
Dry Eye Doctor in Hawley
With the right treatment plan, people with autoimmune-related dry eye syndrome can live life to the fullest.
If you’re suffering from dry eye symptoms, find relief by booking an appointment with Lakeside Vision in Hawley.