Sjögren's Syndrome Symptoms

As a community-based optometrist, Dr. [token-primary-doc-lastname] recognizes the significance of raising awareness about the symptoms of sjogren's syndrome, an often-neglected autoimmune disorder that affects millions globally. Numerous patients visit our clinic, unaware of the potential effects this condition can have on their eyes, which is why we are committed to providing education and information to our patients.

Sjögren's Syndrome Symptoms in Olympia

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Symptoms of Sjögren's Syndrome

Sjogren's Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder in which the body's immune system attacks its own moisture-producing glands, including the tear and saliva glands. This results in a range of symptoms, many of which are related to the eyes. In fact, nearly half of the 4 million Americans living with sjogren's syndrome experience ocular manifestations, making it crucial for patients to recognize these symptoms and seek appropriate care from our eye care professional. The following are some key ocular symptoms associated with sjogren's syndrome:

Dry eyes

One of the most common symptoms of sjogren's syndrome is dry eyes, also known as keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This condition occurs when the lacrimal glands fail to produce enough tears to keep the eyes moist, resulting in itchiness, redness, and a gritty sensation in the eyes. In severe cases, dry eyes can lead to corneal abrasions and even vision loss. Learn more about dry eyes here.

Eye pain and sensitivity

Many patients with sjogren's syndrome experience eye pain, often described as a burning or stinging sensation. This discomfort can be exacerbated by sensitivity to light, known as photophobia, making it difficult for those affected to spend time outdoors or in brightly lit environments.

Blurred vision

Due to the lack of moisture on the ocular surface, sjogren's syndrome can cause blurred or fluctuating vision. This symptom is often more pronounced in the morning or after periods of prolonged visual focus, such as reading or using a computer. Learn more about blurred vision here.

Eye infections

The decreased tear production associated with sjogren's syndrome impairs the eyes' natural defense mechanisms, making them more susceptible to infections such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis. These infections can cause red, swollen, and watery eyes, as well as crusting and discharge.

Corneal ulcerations

In severe cases, the chronic dryness and inflammation caused by sjogren's syndrome can lead to corneal ulcerations, which are open sores on the surface of the eye. If left untreated, these ulcerations can result in permanent scarring and vision loss. Learn more about corneal ulcers here.

Filamentary keratitis

This is a rare but potentially debilitating condition where strands of mucus or cellular debris, known as filaments, adhere to the cornea's surface. These filaments can cause significant discomfort, foreign body sensation, and even corneal abrasions.

Meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD)

Sjogren's syndrome can affect the meibomian glands, which are responsible for producing the oily layer of the tear film. MGD can result in an unstable tear film, causing increased evaporation of tears and exacerbating dry eye symptoms. Learn more about meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD) here.

Episcleritis and scleritis

Inflammation of the episclera (the outer layer of the sclera) or the sclera itself can cause red, painful, and swollen eyes. Although rare, scleritis can be a severe and potentially sight-threatening complication of sjogren's syndrome.

Punctal stenosis

Chronic inflammation associated with sjogren's syndrome can lead to narrowing or even closure of the tear duct openings (puncta), further aggravating dry eye symptoms.

Retinal vasculitis

This is an inflammation of the blood vessels in the retina, which can lead to vision loss if not treated promptly. While relatively rare in sjogren's syndrome, retinal vasculitis is a severe ocular manifestation that requires immediate attention.

Neurotrophic keratitis

In some cases, sjogren's syndrome can affect the nerves responsible for corneal sensation and healing, leading to a condition called neurotrophic keratitis. This can cause persistent corneal epithelial defects, which can be challenging to treat and may lead to vision loss.


Although less common, sjogren's syndrome can cause inflammation of the uvea, which is the middle layer of the eye, composed of the iris, ciliary body, and choroid. Uveitis can result in pain, light sensitivity, and blurred vision, and if left untreated, can cause permanent vision loss.

Given the extensive list of ocular symptoms that can be associated with sjogren's syndrome, it is essential to remain vigilant and consult with our eye care professional if you experience any unusual or persistent eye-related issues. Our clinic is dedicated to providing comprehensive eye care for patients with Sjogren's Syndrome and other ocular conditions, working closely with other healthcare providers to ensure the best possible outcomes for our patients.

How can I find an eye doctor near me?

If you don’t already have a trusted optometrist or you live too far from our optometry clinic in Olympia, you could start your online search by typing in phrases such as "eye doctor near me," "optometrist near me," or "dry eye specialist near me."

How can I find an eye doctor near me?
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Schedule a Dry Eye Evaluation in Olympia

If you suspect that you or a loved one may be experiencing ocular symptoms related to sjogren's syndrome, don't hesitate to contact our office and schedule a consultation. Our team of dedicated professionals is here to help you manage your symptoms, protect your vision, and improve your overall quality of life. Don't wait; call us today at (360) 491-2121 and take the first step toward better eye health.

Patients with dry eye visit our clinic from all over Washington, and we are proud to be a leading provider of dry eye services for patients from Olympia, Lakewood, Tacoma, and Lacey.


Such a nice optician. My grandson is only 4 and needs glasses. We were so sad, but he explained the issues, and we will follow up as he suggested.

Anna P.

I had such a good experience with the clinic. Very friendly staff and doctor, did not have to wait for long to be called, and was treated respectfully. Thanks, American Family.

June S.

Dr. Zurcher has gone above and beyond what any other eye doctor has ever done to figure out what is going on with my eyes. Very happy with American Family Vision.

Christine R.

Family Vision Clinic changed our lives! My daughter was frequently car sick, and she was getting headaches every day, often painful enough that they brought her to tears. We saw a string of doctors and therapists, but we made no progress. Finally, we found Dr. Levi Zurcher and his eye therapist Rain. After ten weeks of eye therapy my daughter no longer gets headaches, and she no longer gets car sick. Daily tears are a thing of the past. I really can’t say enough about this clinic. It was fascinating to watch Dr. Zurcher work. For the first time, someone who knew what they were doing was intently studying my daughter, really trying to figure out all of her eye issues, and his therapist Rain is one of the most patient and lovely people that I’ve ever had the good fortune to meet. We’re finished with eye therapy—yay!—and I have switched to American Family Vision Clinic for all of my family’s other eye health needs.

Lars Wulff

Very professional, yet kind and helpful. They do what they can to make the appointment comfortable. I was running a bit late, I made sure ti call. They were able to switch me with a patient who was already there, they treated me with respect, and helped my son have confidence by getting him the eye care he needed that day. Thank you so much! Would recommend to anyone. It's a blessing that they care enough to work with people who have all different types of insurance from work to state coverage.

Justin E.

The staff is friendly. The Doc is very knowledgeable. The office is family friendly and everyone is so patient with the little ones.

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