Autoimmune disease occurs when the body's immune system mistakes healthy cells and tissues for harmful pathogens, causing it to attack itself. There are over 80 different types of autoimmune diseases that impact different parts of the body.
One thing that’s often overlooked is how autoimmune disease can impact the eyes, leading to dry eye.
Lifetime Eyecare Associates in The Woodlands offers treatments for dry eye caused by autoimmune disease and other factors.
What is Dry Eye?
Dry eye is a common condition caused by the eyes not producing enough tears for lubrication. This results in vision issues, discomfort, dryness, redness, and a feeling of grittiness in the eyes. Even though dry eye is associated with aging and environmental factors, research also shows that autoimmune disease can also be a hidden cause.
How Does Autoimmune Disease Cause Dry Eye?
Autoimmune disease can lead to dry eye because it attacks the glands that produce tears, causing a decrease in tear quality and the quantity of tears produced. It also causes inflammation in the eyes, which can make dry eye symptoms worse.
Some of the autoimmune diseases that have been linked to dry eye include Sjogren's syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and sarcoidosis.
Sjogren's syndrome is a condition caused by the body attacking the glands that produce tears and saliva, which leads to dry eye and dry mouth. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and sarcoidosis can also cause inflammation in the eyes, leading to uncomfortable dry eye symptoms.
Treating Dry Eye Caused by Autoimmune Disease
Treatment for dry eye caused by autoimmune disease depends on the type of condition an individual has. Sometimes treating the autoimmune disease may improve dry eye symptoms. This includes taking medication to suppress the immune system or receiving immunotherapy.
Additional treatments, such as artificial tears and ointments, can also alleviate dry eye symptoms.
Dry Eye Specialist in The Woodlands
Not everyone with an autoimmune disease is affected by dry eye, but if you have an autoimmune disease and are experiencing symptoms of dry eye, it is important to speak with your eye doctor at Lifetime Eyecare Associates in The Woodlands. We'll help you manage your symptoms so that you can continue living your life to the fullest.