Sjogren's Syndrome Treatment in Olympia

Sjogren's Syndrome is a chronic autoimmune disorder that mainly affects the exocrine glands, such as the tear and saliva glands, leading to symptoms like dry eyes and dry mouth. As a local optometrist, Dr. Zurcher’s focus lies in providing the best possible Sjogren's Syndrome treatment, specifically addressing the ocular manifestations of this condition. Dry eye symptoms are a common concern among patients with Sjogren's Syndrome, and it's crucial to identify the right Sjogren's Syndrome treatment options to alleviate discomfort and maintain optimal eye health.

In this article, we will discuss various treatment options available for managing dry eyes in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome, focusing on those that can be provided by our eye doctor.

Sjogren's Syndrome Treatment in Olympia in Olympia

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Sjogren's Syndrome Treatment Options

Artificial tears

One of the most common and simple Sjogren's Syndrome treatments for dry eye symptoms is the use of artificial tears. These over-the-counter eye drops provide temporary relief by lubricating the ocular surface and can be used as needed throughout the day. There are various formulations available, and our eye care professional can recommend the most suitable option based on your specific needs and preferences. Artificial tears are generally considered to be a temporary solution. 

Stimulating the trigeminal nerve 

A relatively new product on the market for dry eye sufferers, Tyrvaya, utilizes a unique medicated nasal spray that stimulates the trigeminal nerve to produce tears. This is a superior outcome to wetting the eyes with drops, as this approach does not impact the stability of the tear film or expose the eye to preservatives or allergens. 

Punctal plugs

For patients with moderate to severe dry eye symptoms, punctal plugs can be an effective Sjogren's Syndrome treatment option. These small, biocompatible devices are inserted into the tear ducts to block tear drainage, allowing the tears to remain on the eye's surface for a longer period. This procedure can be performed by our optometrist, and the plugs can be temporary or permanent, depending on the patient's needs and response to the treatment.

Prescription eye drops

In some cases, prescription eye drops may be recommended as a Sjogren's Syndrome treatment to address dry eye symptoms. These may include medications like cyclosporine (Restasis) or lifitegrast (Xiidra), which work by reducing inflammation and improving tear production. Our optometrist will closely monitor your response to these medications and adjust the treatment plan accordingly.

Moisture chamber glasses

Patients with severe dry eye symptoms or those who are frequently exposed to harsh environments may benefit from moisture chamber glasses as part of their Sjogren's Syndrome treatment. These specially designed eyewear create a humid environment around the eyes, helping to retain moisture and reduce tear evaporation. Our eye doctor can help you find the right moisture chamber glasses based on your needs and lifestyle.

Lid hygiene 

Maintaining good eyelid hygiene is crucial in managing dry eye symptoms related to Sjogren's Syndrome treatment. This may include gently cleaning the eyelids with a warm, damp cloth or using over-the-counter lid scrubs. 

Ensuring proper lipid production

For someone with Sjorgens, it is critical that the tears do not evaporate quickly. To ensure this the meibomian glands need to produce the top protective oil or lipid layer. By heating and expressing those glands the eyes are able to protect the tears from evaporation. Heating is best done in the office with accompanying at-home maintenance by applying warm compresses to the eyes to stimulate the release of oils from the meibomian glands, improving the quality of the tear film.

Scleral Lenses 

The groundbreaking clinical guidelines set out by the Dry Eye Workshop, Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society 2, indicated the use of custom contact lenses called scleral lenses for the advanced treatment of dry eye. These contacts have a vaulted design, leaving room for a barrier of saline between the eye and the lens. Furthermore the contact sits on the less sensitive white of the eye. 

Amniotic Membranes 

Amniotic membranes are an advanced treatment that places a special bandage contact on the eye. These are made with bio preserved tissue that is placed on the eye to protect, nourish and rejuvenate the corneal cells. 

Nutritional supplements

Some studies have shown that oral supplements containing omega-3 fatty acids may help improve dry eye symptoms in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome as part of their treatment plan. Consult with our optometrist before starting any nutritional supplements, as they can provide guidance on the appropriate dosage and potential interactions with other medications.

Statistics related to Sjogren's Syndrome and its ocular manifestations are as follows:

  • Sjogren's Syndrome affects approximately 1 to 4 million people in the United States, with the majority being women (90%).
  • Dry eye symptoms are present in more than 95% of patients with Sjogren's Syndrome.
  • Studies have shown that punctal plugs can provide significant relief from dry eye symptoms in up to 85% of patients with Sjogren's Syndrome.
  • Prescription eye drops like Restasis and Xiidra have been reported to improve dry eye symptoms in approximately 60% of patients with Sjogren's Syndrome as part of their treatment.
  • Moisture chamber glasses have been shown to provide a 48% improvement in tear film stability and a 22% reduction in tear evaporation rate in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome and dry eye symptoms as a treatment option.
  • Regular lid hygiene and warm compresses have been found to improve dry eye symptoms in 70% of patients with Sjogren's Syndrome when included in their treatment plan.
  • Research suggests that oral omega-3 fatty acid supplementation can lead to a 33% improvement in tear production and a 68% decrease in ocular surface inflammation in patients with Sjogren's Syndrome and dry eye symptoms as part of their treatment strategy.
Statistics related to Sjogren's Syndrome and its ocular manifestations are as follows:

Common Questions

There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for Sjogren's syndrome, as the best approach depends on the individual patient's symptoms and needs. Treatment typically aims to manage symptoms and prevent complications. For ocular symptoms, artificial tears, punctal plugs, prescription eye drops, moisture chamber glasses, lid hygiene, warm compresses, and nutritional supplements can be helpful. For systemic symptoms, physicians may prescribe medications to manage inflammation, pain, and fatigue, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, or immunosuppressive medications. It is important to work closely with healthcare professionals to develop a personalized treatment plan.
Some vitamins and supplements that may help with Sjogren's syndrome include omega-3 fatty acids, which can improve dry eye symptoms and reduce inflammation. Vitamin D supplementation may also be beneficial for those with low levels, as it plays a role in immune system function. It is essential to consult our eye doctor before starting any new supplements to ensure they are appropriate and safe for individual circumstances.
First-line treatment for Sjogren's syndrome typically involves managing symptoms and improving the patient's quality of life. For dry eyes, this may include the use of artificial tears and maintaining good eyelid hygiene. For dry mouth, using sugar-free gum or lozenges, saliva substitutes, and maintaining good oral hygiene can be helpful. In some cases, medications like NSAIDs or corticosteroids may be prescribed for pain and inflammation.
While Sjogren's syndrome can be a mild condition for some, it can also lead to severe complications for others. These may include dental decay, oral infections, corneal ulcers, vision loss, lung infections, and kidney problems. Additionally, patients with Sjogren's syndrome have an increased risk of developing lymphoma. Proper medical management and regular follow-ups with our optometrist are crucial to minimize the risk of complications.
Sjogren's syndrome is more common in women, with approximately 90% of patients being female. The condition typically occurs in individuals aged 40 and above, but it can affect people of all ages. Additionally, having a family history of Sjogren's or other autoimmune disorders can increase the risk of developing the condition. Other risk factors may include certain genetic predispositions and environmental triggers, such as viral infections.
Dr. Zurcher cartoon

Schedule a Comprehensive Eye Exam for Sjogren's Syndrome

If you or a loved one is experiencing dry eye symptoms related to Sjogren's Syndrome, we encourage you to schedule an appointment at our optometry practice for a customized Sjogren's Syndrome treatment plan. We are committed to providing the highest quality eye care and will work closely with you to develop a customized treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. Please call us at (360) 491-2121 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

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.

Amy Fagerness
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