Was diagnosed last Fall with Sjogren's at 6.9 antinuclear antibodies. Intially, the symptom was just my dry throat and my eyese were very watery, not dry. Then, starting about 3 months ago, my eyes felt like they were really tired, as if they were closing because I'm sleepy. This when I had had enough sleep.
It's hard to say for sure whether my eyes are definitely dry, since before this I never really had dry eyes before. I can only describe it as sleepy eyes when my eyelids are about to slip shut, when my eyes shouldn't be tired at all. (I'm also having more problem with light reflection ... car headlights from oncoming traffic or from behind through my rearview mirror ... they are nearly blinding me, and I know they don't have high beams on!).
But now it seems my eyes are causing problems. I wear contacts only when I exercise and one time, they got stuck and it took a long time to get them out. In the morning when I wake up, the eyes seem really sticky and gooey ... never felt like that before. Before, my eyes tended to be very watery in the morning, and I would rub my eyes to get the water out.
So far, I've only tried Blink Tears for the Mild-Moderate Dry Eye, an OTC medication. For someone starting to have Sjogren eye symptoms, what should be the starter medication? My rheumy can probably get me Restasis if I ask for it but I wanna know what I should try over the counter: perhaps Refresh, Thera Tears, Oasis? Or should Restasis be used for the symptoms I'm displaying right now?
My opthamologist actually prescribes my Restasis. I also have a punctual plug in one eye. That eye is now doing better than the other eye that does not have a plug. I use Genteal gel drops 3 - 4 times a day in addition to the Restasis and that seems to help. Genteal also has an ointment that you can use at bedtime. Just make sure to clean your eyes when they get gookie to help prevent blepharitis. Hope you feel better soon!
I like the Genteal products too. But my neuro-ophthalmologist has me one a routine that drives me nuts. I am supposed to alternate Genteal gel drops or gel on an hourly basis with Refresh Plus drops(the ones that are single use with no preservative) and then use Restasis twice a day. At bedtime, I use the Genteal ointment. But Restasis keeps giving me sinus infections so I use it once a day and only if I'm flaring but I do do the hourly eye drops as best I can, alternating the 2 kinds. So far so good without the Restasis, until like now, when my mouth and eyes are very dry. If I do have a bad enough flare to need Restasis twice a day, I then use a Neti Pot to flush my sinuses.
My eyes will become watery as a sign that they are becoming inflamed. I don't wait for them to feel dry. I have both SS and RA and have learned that as soon as you sense a flare up, treat aggressively to stop it in it's tracts no matter which disorder. Keep the inflammation at a minimum. My doc does monthly blood work and can even warn me of an impending flare if my sed rate (ESR) goes up before I even feel.
Sounds excessive but it's working. I also have RA problems with my eyes so I have to be aggressive with everything. 14-15 drops a day in the old eyes is a total pain but it is working. Corneas no longer look like broken glass.