Hi JustDave & Ladies,
I have Sjogrens as well. It runs with Lupus as well as Fibro, and Antiphospholipid syndrome. There is a blood test that can be done to confirm Sjogrens. An opthamalogist can do a Rose Bengal test as well to confirm it. I have now developed blepheritis along with Sjogrens (lids turn purple, hurt, ache, eyes hurt) and was told to put hydrocortisone on them. I have the dry nose, mouth, etc. as well. My dentist rx'd SF-5000 toothpaste so my teeth won't deteriate due to no natural fluids to rinse away the bacteria in my mouth.
I finally bit the bullet on my last opthamalogist apptmt (billed to insurance since it is related to a medical problem such as Sjogrens) and had punctal plugs put in. I go in every 6 months to get my eyes checked for plaquenil.
Wow, I wish I had this done 2 years ago. They plug the drainage holes in the bottom corners of your eyes and my eyes almost feel normal with fluid. My doc said if they fall out within 5 years, I simply go back and he will do an occlusion and permanently close the holes. I am hoping they won't fall out; but if they do I know where I am going and hopefully I will have insurance to cover it. It didn't hurt at all and I have noticed a huge difference. Why didn't I do this before?
Tests to confirm are:
Schirmer's tests measure tear flow. In Schirmer I, a small strip of soft paper is placed in your lower eyelid to absorb your tear flow. Your doctor then measures the area of the paper that is moistened, to evaluate the amount of tear flow. In Schirmer II, a cotton swab is placed gently into your nose to stimulate tear production, in order to measure how fast tears form in your eyes when you feel an irritation in your nose. One or both of these tests will help determine whether your tear (lacrimal) glands are responding properly.
Rose Bengal tests measure potential damage to eyes. A small drop of dye is placed in your lower eyelid. The dye coats the surface of your eye and is then rinsed out. A slit lamp is then used to study the surface of the eye to look for dry or scratched areas. This test is usually performed by an ophthalmologist.
Salivary function tests measure the amount of saliva you produce. A straw is placed in your mouth, which pools the saliva into a cup. Decreased saliva production is often present if you have Sjögren's syndrome.
Blood tests for Sjögren's syndrome determine whether autoantibodies are present in your blood. The presence of autoantibodies, which are proteins produced by the immune system, may help your doctor diagnose Sjögren's syndrome. Anti-SSB blood test if I remember correctly.
Wow Faith...this is really informative. Thanks so much for sharing all the information. I think I'll bring this up at my next eye doc visit since I've experienced the dry, sandpapery eyes too. I've been wondering if it might be Sjogren's.
No problem. I hope it helps. I wish someone had told me about these plugs eons ago. They have been very helpful; I almost feel human. lol.
Hey Faith, Did the plugs hurt when the doc put them in? I have been sort of scared to do it.
Hi Sick N Tired,
Didn't hurt at all!!!! In fact, I didn't even feel him put them in. I have gone from putting tears in my eyes 20-30x daily to 5x daily at the most.
Whoever made the plugs; must have been very, very smart and very rich. My insurance paid 80% of it. My exam and the plugs, my cost, are $80.00.
I wished I had done this a LONG time ago!! Seriously. My eyes aren't yucky in the morning anymore. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
How are you feeling? Have you found out any more info?? I am continuing to pray for you.