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Sjögren’s: Hard to pronounce, Even harder on the eyes

Sjögren’s Syndrome’s (pronounced show-grins) is an autoimmune disorder that affects the body’s ability to produce moisture, leading to dryness of the eyes, mouth, and other parts of the body. The eyes are one of the most vulnerable organs affected by Sjögren’s since they rely heavily on moisture to function properly.

How does Sjögren’s Syndrome affect the eyes?

The disorder battles against the eye’s tear film, the protective barrier against dust and debris. Made up of water, mucus, and oil, the tear film constantly replenishes itself through blinking and tear production. When the eyes become dry, the tear film can break down, leading to itching, burning, and redness. Dry eyes can also lead to vision problems, such as fluctuating or blurred vision and sensitivity to light that can interfere with everyday tasks dependent on the eyes, such as reading, driving, or even watching TV.

How widespread is Sjögren’s?

In a recent Sjögren’s Foundation survey of Sjögren’s patients, dry eye was a symptom for 92% of patients. The condition primarily affects women, with approximately 90% of patients being female. Estimates are that up to 3.1 million adults suffer from Sjögren’s. (National Library of Medicine) The National Health Council estimates that two million people have Sjögren’s and do not know it.

Is a warm eye compress recommended to treat Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Yes. In addition to medications that can suppress the immune system and keep the syndrome at bay, treatment can include lubricating the eyes and staying hydrated. While there is no cure for Sjögren’s Syndrome, the Sjögren’s Foundation recommends treatments to help manage the symptoms, including the use of warm eye compresses to soothe dry, irritated tissues and improve secretion of oil from meibomian glands in the eyelids.

The Bruder Moist Heat Eye Compress contains patented silver-infused MediBeads to maintain clean, uniform, moist therapeutic heat at the right temperature, for long enough to melt meibomian glands.

In addition, Bruder hygienic wipes exfoliate the eyelids, removing debris that can aggravate the eyes. And the Bruder hypochlorous spray can reduce bacteria on the eyelid, protecting against irritants.

April is Sjögren’s Awareness Month, but if you suffer from the syndrome, you know it deserves year-round attention.

If you would like to get involved, show your support and become a member of the Sjögren’s Foundation. Find out more about upcoming events throughout the year. Visit sjogrens.org/get-involved.

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