RELATED CONDITIONS: SJÖGREN’S
Over 20% of systemic scleroderma patients have Sjögren’s Syndrome.
Sjögren’s is pronounced “SHOW-grins.”
Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease identified by its two most common symptoms: dry eyes and a dry mouth.
This disease causes the immune system to attack the tear and saliva producing glands, as well as the mucous-secreting glands of the vagina. The unusual dryness of the eyes resulting from Sjögren’s Syndrome may lead to severe irritation and inflammation.
There are several treatment options.
Frequent use of artificial tears and ophthalmic ointments may help lubricate dry eyes. Sipping fluids during the day (ex. a squirt bottle filled with water), chewing sugar-free gum, or sucking sugar-free sour candy may help keep the mouth lubricated. The latter two options stimulate salivary activity. Artificial saliva is also a possibility.