Did you know that a lot of people around the world suffer from called dry eye syndrome (DES)? It’s a common eye condition that causes the eyes to look red and feel dry and itchy. DES is often caused by dry air or too much screen time, but it can also be caused by underlying health conditions like an autoimmune disease.
If you or someone you love has dry eye syndrome, contact Cockeysville Opticians and Eyecare in Cockeysville today. We can help by getting to the root of the issue and providing lasting relief.
What Is Autoimmune Disease?
Sometimes the body's immune system can get confused, leading to it attacking healthy cells, tissues, and organs instead of harmful pathogens like viruses and bacteria. This is known as autoimmune disease.
There are different types of autoimmune disease, with each one affecting the body differently. Treatment is necessary to manage the symptoms of autoimmune diseases, including dry eye (which is a common symptom).
How Does Autoimmune Disease Cause Dry Eye?
Although there isn’t extensive research on how autoimmune diseases and dry eye are connected, researchers believe that when the immune system attacks the body's healthy tissues and cells, it can also impact the eyes.
This leads to the tear glands (which are responsible for producing the tears that keep our eyes lubricated) becoming inflamed. This inflammation can decrease tear production and cause dry eye symptoms.
Some autoimmune diseases can also directly affect the eyes and cause DES, but not all autoimmune diseases will cause dry eye.
Autoimmune Diseases Associated with Dry Eye
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease that is commonly associated with dry eye. It causes inflammation in the exocrine glands, which produce tears and saliva, which is why a major symptom of this disease is dry eye and dry mouth.
Rheumatoid arthritis is another autoimmune disease that can potentially lead to dry eye. This is because it causes inflammation and damages the joints and other parts of the body. The inflammation prevents tear production, thus causing dry eye.
Lupus also causes dry eye through inflammation and damage to the body, including the eyes.
Autoimmune thyroid diseases, like Hashimoto's thyroiditis, prevent the creation of much-needed thyroid hormones responsible for tear production, resulting in dry eye symptoms.
Treat Dry Eye in Cockeysville
If you're experiencing dry eye symptoms, it's important to see your eye doctor at Cockeysville Opticians and Eyecare in Cockeysville to figure out if an autoimmune disease could be the cause and to receive effective dry eye relief.