Sjogren's Syndrome

Image of an elderly woman holding a tissue.

Pronounced SHOW-grins, Sjogren's syndrome is a disorder of the immune system, or an autoimmune disease, which causes the body's immune system to attack and harm the body's glands. Your glands are responsible for the production of saliva, tears, and other lubrication necessary for the proper function of the body.

Sjogren's Syndrome Symptoms and Side Effects

The two most common symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome are dry eyes and mouth. Eye dryness usually leads to an itchy, gritty feeling. Dry mouth causes a cottony feeling which can make regular speaking and swallowing difficult. In Sjogren's syndrome, the body's immune system first attacks the body's glands, but eventually might target other parts of the body like the liver, kidneys, joints, nerves, thyroid, skin, and lungs. In addition to dry eyes and mouth, people with Sjogren's syndrome might also experience one or more of the following:

  • Dry cough
  • Fatigue
  • Swollen salivary glands
  • Joint pain, swelling, and/or stiffness
  • Dry skin and skin rashes
  • Peripheral neuropathy

If left untreated, symptoms of Sjogren's syndrome, particularly dry mouth and dry eyes, can lead to further complications such as cavities, oral yeast infections, and corneal ulcers.

Causes and Risk Factors

Like many autoimmune diseases, the exact cause of Sjogren's syndrome is not understood. Research links the presence of a certain gene in the body to Sjogren's syndrome, but it may also develop with an undetermined trigger such as a bacterial or viral infection. Post-menopausal women over 40 are most likely to develop Sjogren's syndrome. Sometimes present alone, it often accompanies other autoimmune disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Diagnosis

An eye care professional usually diagnoses Sjogren's syndrome after a patient presents with dry eyes. After ruling out other possible causes such as medications, several tests will be performed to pinpoint Sjogren's syndrome, including:

  • Blood tests for certain markers indicative of Sjogren's syndrome
  • Schirmer’s test to measure tear production
  • Slit lamp eye exam
  • Sialogram, an X-ray of the salivary glands
  • Salivary scintigraphy, which tracks an isotope's journey through the body's glands
  • Biopsy looking for inflammatory cells

Treatment

No cure for Sjogren's syndrome has been developed. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms. Treatments include eye drops and lubricants, mouth lubricants, immune system suppressants, medications to increase saliva production, and surgery to prevent tears from draining. Patients have also found relief by increasing water intake and wearing protective eye glasses or goggles outdoors.

Contact us to request an appointment today.

New Patients receive 15% OFF Second Pair of Complete Glasses!

Testimonials

  • Dr. Joyce is the most compassionate, caring person I have ever met. She is very intelligent, explains the eye tests and results, and offers suggestions to keep my eyes healthy. I consider her a friend as well as a fabulous eye doctor.

    - Doreen W
  • Dr. Joyce was affable and professional. Most thorough eye exam I’ve experienced. State of the art facilities. Friendly and knowledgeable office staff. Highly recommended.

    - Steven C
  • Very professional & friendly staff, very clean office with top of the line eye care equipment for extremely thorough eye care exam. Dr. Joyce in addition to examining my eye sight reviewed very detailed results of my overall eye health.

    - Stephanie B
  • The staff are friendly and competent. Dr Joyce takes time to explain any tests that were performed. Great experience.

    - Beverly K
  • Very thorough. explained what is going on with my vision and was able to fit me with contact lenses that feel great and now have no need for reading glasses.

    - Boyd D
  • Dr. Joyce is top notch and has all of the cutting-edge technology. I also bring my children to her. We used to see her when she was at Schwartz Eyecare in Newtown and we were thrilled when she opened her office in Richboro...even closer to us! You'll be well taken care of if you choose her as your ophthalmologist.

    ...
    Show More - Elle B
  • of the best, most thorough, articulate, accessible doctors I’ve ever seen. Her office is packed full of state of the art cool eye tools that provide incredible insight (oops... pun actually works) and she explains so that this non-medical patient can understand. This exam was most comprehensive. One of my eye doctors is a friend and even when visiting him in Santa Monica office, the time Dr Joyce spent with me was comparable. I only wish she had more specialties (e.g. dermatology, podiatry). I’m a patient now so I feel safe. You better call for an appointment now lest she stops taking new patients. Thank you, Dr Joyce!

    ...
    Show More - judy a
  • Dr Joyce was extremely pleasant, informative, thorough and professional. She took the time to go over all of my test results and explain what they meant. She was able to identify some personal care items that I could do to improve my particular concern. I was very impressed with her personal approach to her practice and patients.

    ...
    Show More - Henry C
  • This was my first time at Eyecare For You. The facility was very clean and the office staff pleasant. The young man who I was with in the beginning to do the initial check in process was very efficient, professional and it was very evident that he took his job seriously. I especially liked that he cleaned off each piece of equipment prior to my resting my chin and forehead on them. Dr Joyce was also very professional and personable. Her work ethic was spot on, and she explained each process very clearly and made sure I understood before she moved on to the next section. The equipment seemed to be the most current and I was overall very impressed with the care I received here. I will be returning.

    ...
    Show More - Karen B
  • Excellent experience with Dr Joyce and others on the staff. No need to get records transferred from previous eye care center. Eyecare For You appears to have the latest hi-tech testing equipment and will determine the best option(s) to improve your vision to its maximum capability. I expect my new prescription glasses with anti-glare coating will minimize glare at night and should allow me to see better than ever. Cost was very reasonable. I have already recommended two friends to call for an appointment ASAP.

    ...
    Show More - Dave T
  • Dr. Kathleen Joyce is absolutely amazing! I haven't seen her in over 2 years but she still made me feel like I just saw her last week. She pays attention to details and makes you excited to see her in the office! She really goes the extra mile

    - Cassi LP.
  • Dr. Joyce was thorough, explained procedures completely, and on top of that was friendly and very down to earth. I really could not ask for more!

    - Kathy F.
  • Dr. Joyce is an excellent doctor, diagnostician and communicator.

    - Catherine L.
  • Dr. Joyce make me feel welcome and, did explain everything about my exam results in detail.

    - Robert M.
  • Very efficient, competent, and solved my contact problems. Now I can wear them all the time without discomfort. Dr. Joyce is very professional yet friendly!

    - Jessica M.
  • Dr. Joyce is awesome she makes you feel at home and is very calm.

    - K. I.
  • Dr. Joyce is amazing!

    - Kevin H.

Contact Us

We look forward to hearing from you

Hours of Operation

Call for an Appointment at (215) 485-5384

Monday

9:00 am-5:00 pm

Tuesday

10:00 am-6:00 pm

Wednesday

11:00 am-7:00 pm

Thursday

Closed

Friday

9:00 am-3:00 pm

Saturday

9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Sunday

Closed

Monday
9:00 am-5:00 pm
Tuesday
10:00 am-6:00 pm
Wednesday
11:00 am-7:00 pm
Thursday
Closed
Friday
9:00 am-3:00 pm
Saturday
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Sunday
Closed

Location

Find us on the map