March 5, 2014
Netanyahu's inaction to Obama's provocations sends powerful message
Kerry, after apparent criticism by Schumer, seeks to allay skepticism on diplomacy
How to ruin a perfectly good kid in 10 simple steps
2014 Oscars played it safe, but was faith lost in the shuffle?
Apple joins Hobby Lobby in touting corporate values beyond profit
March 3, 2014
Alina Dain Sharon: In the Hebrew calendar, a leap year has extra month, not day
Latest Obama appointment to prove Prez set on emasculating so-called Israel Lobby
Jewish World Review
Ask the Harvard Experts: Something to cry about
Robert Shmerling, M.D.
Damaging your cornea by not tearing sufficiently
Q: I've been diagnosed with recurrent corneal erosion. My eyes are dry all the time. One eye doctor suggests putting small plugs in the ducts that drain tears from my eyes, which should make the tears stay in my eye longer and make my eyes moister. I use artificial tears all day long and an ointment at night. Will the plugs help prevent further eye damage? Also, I have a dry mouth and wonder if I have Sjogren's syndrome. If I have it, would the plugs still help?
A: Placing "punctal plugs" has become a common procedure for patients with severe dryness of the eyes. These plugs block your tears from draining. So the tears you make last longer in the eye. Your condition sounds severe enough that this approach seems appropriate to consider.
The dryness could be an isolated problem or part of Sjogren's syndrome (see below). Whatever it's from, punctal plugs can help relieve symptoms and protect the cornea.
Other ways to help avoid dry eye include:
Using artificial tears frequently
Steering clear of low-humidity environments
If possible, avoiding medicine that makes dryness worse (such as diuretics, antihistamines and certain antidepressants)
There are a variety of eye drops that may reduce irritation and help prevent corneal damage from not making enough tears. Doctors commonly recommend artificial tears and cyclosporine (RESTASIS). Your ophthalmologist can determine the best care for your eyes after a full evaluation.
|FREE SUBSCRIPTION TO INFLUENTIAL NEWSLETTER|
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". In addition to INSPIRING stories, HUNDREDS of columnists and cartoonists regularly appear. Sign up for the daily update. It's free. Just click here.
Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disease. That's a condition in which the immune system mistakenly attacks its host. People with Sjogren's syndrome have dry eyes and mouth and inflammation in multiple organs, including the eyes, joints and skin.
Antibody tests can help diagnose this condition. Diagnosis is important because you may need more than just eye drops. For example, drugs that stimulate saliva production or drugs that suppress the immune system may be helpful.
Dry mouth increases the risk of cavities. So your dentist may recommend frequent dental cleaning and an oral rinse with fluoride.
Based on the symptoms you describe, I would suggest you see an ophthalmologist, dentist and rheumatologist for evaluation.
(Robert H. Shmerling, M.D. is a practicing physician in rheumatology at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass., and an Associate Professor in Medicine at Harvard Medical School.)
Interested in a private Judaic studies instructor for free? Let us know by clicking here.
Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
To comment, please click here.
© 2012, PRESIDENT AND FELLOWS OF HARVARD COLLEGE. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.