Sjögrens – A Little More Discussion


I’ve mentioned several times that I have Sjögrens.  It impacts my mouth, eyes, and skin.  However, I have also always said that it is primarily my salivary glands that are affected.  Time seems to have changed that.

A little over a week ago, I started having trouble with one of my eyes.  It hurt.  It felt like there was something in it, constantly.  It itched.  The upper eye lid swelled slightly.  And the inside turned an odd shade of white.

After dealing with it for a few days, I called my doctor, who was out of the office.  The nurse called me back though and we began talking.  She gave me a list of things to watch for, in case it turned out to be something serious, but then asked if I was using eye drops.

I was not and I admitted it.  She told me to grab some Systane drops and use them three times a day.  Call back if it got worse.  So, begrudgingly I did.  The reason I do not use eye drops all the time is because it bothers me.  Watching that tip come near my eye makes my heart beat a little faster.  If I have a weak spot, it’s eyes.  If you crack your head open, I can deal with that… Poke out your eye, I’m going to faint.  So, drops freak me out.  It takes a lot of finagling to keep my eye held open and usually I need some help.

The first two days, I didn’t notice a change.  My eye still hurt, it still felt like there was something in it all the time, it just didn’t seem to be getting better.  Day three, I did notice a change however.  My eye lid was no longer sore or swollen.  The white under lid was returning to a normal shade of pink.  And my eye no longer hurt or felt like there as something in it.

Finding this strange, I had to do some research.  Chronic dry eyes can cause to an increase in eye infections (which I have never had and I am knocking on wood now), scarring of the eyes, vision problems, and eye lid issues.  Since there isn’t enough moisture on the surface of your eyes, you begin blinking more frequently.  This extra blinking causes the mucus that lubricates the eyelid to dry faster and can even cause skin to peel off the inside of your eyelid (which as it turns out, is what happened to me), much like when the skin peels off your lips because they are too dry.

As stated, I have Sjögren’s, but I was also prescribed reading glasses several years ago (that was the start of my diagnosis for the immune disorder).  One eye requires much stronger magnification than the other.  Reading on an ereader or tablet has become a useful crutch in the last three or four years, as I can make the font as big as I need.  But it doesn’t help with the other issue, I’m straining my eyes, which requires more tear production, which I am incapable of creating.

I sucked it up and put on my reading glasses  Holy shit!  The lenses have yellowed with age.  I can’t see out of them correctly.  Obviously I not only need new lenses because of age, but because the prescription has changed.  Now I get to go to the eye doctor.  Yea!  Most people fear dentists… Not me, I’m fine with dentists… I do not like ophthalmologists though.  Every time they dilate my eyes, I get a massive migraine.  Light is a contributing factor to my migraines, making my pupils absorb more of it, doesn’t make my head feel any better.

But hey, now I get to have the nerdy author look, as I will be sporting my glasses every time I sit down to write.

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