Accessibility View Close toolbar

Sjogren's Syndrome

Image of an elderly woman holding a tissue.

Pronounced SHOW-grins, Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder of the immune system, or an autoimmune disease, which causes the body's immune system to attack and harm the body's glands. Your glands are responsible for the production of saliva, tears, and other lubrication necessary for the proper function of the body.

Sjogren's Syndrome Symptoms and Side Effects

The two most common symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are dry eyes and mouth. Eye dryness usually leads to an itchy, gritty feeling. Dry mouth causes a cottony feeling which can make regular speaking and swallowing difficult. In Sjogren's syndrome, the body's immune system first attacks the body's glands, but eventually might target other parts of the body like the liver, kidneys, joints, nerves, thyroid, skin, and lungs. In addition to dry eyes and mouth, people with Sjogren's syndrome might also experience one or more of the following:

  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Joint pain, swelling, and/or stiffness
  • Dry skin and skin rashes
  • Peripheral neuropathy

If left untreated, symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, particularly dry mouth and dry eyes, can lead to further complications such as cavities, oral yeast infections, and corneal ulcers.

Causes and Risk Factors

Like many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is not understood. Research links the presence of a certain gene in the body to Sjogren's syndrome, but it may also develop with an undetermined trigger such as a bacterial or viral infection. Post-menopausal women over 40 are most likely to develop Sjogren's syndrome. Sometimes present alone, it often accompanies other autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis

An eye care professional usually diagnoses Sjogren's syndrome after a patient presents with dry eyes. After ruling out other possible causes such as medications, several tests will be performed to pinpoint Sjogren's syndrome, including:

  • Blood tests for certain markers indicative of Sjogren's syndrome
  • Schirmer’s test to measure tear production
  • Slit lamp eye exam
  • Sialogram, an X-ray of the salivary glands
  • Salivary scintigraphy, which tracks an isotope's journey through the body's glands
  • Biopsy looking for inflammatory cells

Treatment

No cure for Sjogren's syndrome has been developed. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Treatments include eye drops and lubricants, mouth lubricants, immune system suppressants, medications to increase saliva production, and surgery to prevent tears from draining. Patients have also found relief by increasing water intake and wearing protective eye glasses or goggles outdoors.

Sign up now

New Patients receive 15% OFF Second Pair of Complete Glasses!

Hours of Operation

GARDEN CITY OFFICE HOURS

Monday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Tuesday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Wednesday:

9:00 am

5:00 pm

Thursday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Friday:

8:00 am

5:00 pm

Saturday:

Closed

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Closed

LEOTI OFFICE HOURS

Monday:

Closed

Tuesday:

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Wednesday:

Closed

Thursday:

9:00 am - 4:00 pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Closed

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Testimonials

Reviews From Our Satisfied Patients

  • "Dr. Michael Houseman took great care of my 92-year-old father, who can't hear very well at all, and who gets confused easily. He was very patient and kind, and spent extra time giving him the best prescription possible. When we went to get glasses, they were able to cut the lenses in house, very affordably."
    Mark Berg
  • "Great service! Dr Gertsberger is wonderful. He takes care of my whole family and we have all been pleased with our eye care."
    SylnJoey R. Garden City, KS
  • "AMAZING customer service! The doctor and staff were incredible to work with and really care about their patients. They explained everything and were extremely helpful!"
    Samantha Roecker
  • "Great Drs. and friendly staff."
    Cheryl Messenger
  • "What fan can I say? If you need prompt, professional eye care, Garden City Optometrists is where you need to go for the best eye care in Southwest Kansas...they'll keep an eye out for you. (:-) Art Gomez, Scott City, Kansas"
    Art Gomez
  • "This place has been in operation for more than 100 years, so they must be doing something right. That "something" is prompt, professional service. I've never had to wait long for an appointment or to be seen once I arrive at the office. The staff knows what they're doing, and I've never walked away unhappy."
    Ashley F
  • "I was shopping for my third set of glasses from Garden City Optometrists. The entire staff got in on the experience, showing me frames that they thought would work well for me. We didn't find exactly what I was looking for, so they ordered some more examples. I've had nothing but great experiences with all of the doctors and staff here. See you guys in a few days for my new frames!"
    Sean Collins

Featured Articles

Read up on informative topics

Newsletter Signup

Sign up for more articles