RA And Sjögren’s Syndrome

Though I’m living more pain-free these days, I don’t think my eyes got the memo. Quite frequently I wake up feeling like I spent the night frolicking through a windy desert. Sometimes I’m forced to leave my desk randomly throughout the day (as I just did while in the middle of writing this sentence) to dart into the bathroom and attempt to put eye drops in my eye (I miss on the first try every time. Without fail). It becomes a bit of a problem when your job requires you to stare at a computer all day.

It’s not rare for Rheumatoid Arthritis to affect other parts of the body besides the joints. Sometimes certain medications people take for RA are the culprits. A lesser known fact is that there are other medical conditions that develop as complications to autoimmune diseases like RA. Sjögren’s syndrome is one of those complications. It is an inflammatory disease that affects tear and salivary glands. According to the American College of Rheumatology, between 400,000 and 3.1 million adults have Sjögren’s, and half of those people have a disease like RA or Lupus. A rheumatologist can test for it during a routine visit. I haven’t been tested for it, to the best of my knowledge. Either that, or I have been tested for it and it came back negative.

The good news, it seems, is that the symptoms of Sjögren’s may go away on their own. Certain RA drugs like Plaquenil may help alleviate symptoms.

Even though my eyes get dry and itchy and my mouth sometimes feels like it’s stuffed with cotton, I’ve found that drinking a lot of water and keeping artificial tears in my bag really helps. My favorite brands are Blink Tears and Clear Eyes Natural Tears. Just make sure that whatever drops you get don’t contain an antihistamine or other allergy component.

Anyone else have this issue? What have you done about it?

 

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3 responses to “RA And Sjögren’s Syndrome

  • mssupershay

    I have RA too, mine is moderate to chronic, my vision/eyes have been going dry and blurry since mid November, the eye doctor and my specialist told me that is a symptom I have. That it was something that happens when your medication isn’t controlling your arthritis like it should. I now have to take eye drops every hour called prednisolone until my new medication for my arthritis kicks in and my vision returns to normal.
    Fortunately the blurry vision isn’t permanent.

    • Alyssa Pierce

      Interesting, I didn’t know they had steroid eye drops. Ya learn something new every day.

      Have you found that your symptoms become better or worse during certain times of the year? I find that I use eye drops less frequently during the warmer months than I do the winter, but I think that’s connected to the fact that I feel better overall when it’s warmer out.

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