Once the disease and what it entails has been explained, health professionals should ‘prescribe’ associations, an argument defended by the president of AESS because a large majority of patients only approach an association when they want to resolve a crisis, and nothing will. It has paid off. When that happens, he is discharged and, as soon as he feels better, he is erased.
“In an association, the patient can see and feel that he is not alone, that there are other people like him, who can speak without listening to criticism, find understanding, share experiences, better accept what happens to him and know what he can do in a moment determined. If he has a crisis outside of ‘his place,’ he knows who he can call to tell him what is happening to him. He no longer goes to the ER frequently or goes to the ophthalmologist every two by three (yes, ophthalmological appointments are sacred). The association also defends the necessary rights”, Inga emphasizes. “However, for whatever reason,” she adds, the idea of associations is not well established in Spain. We must continue working to understand what this association is, an association of people that can achieve many things for the group of patients. But to see results, it is necessary to get involved; that is why we say that each member is a pillar of the association”.
"In an association, the patient can see and feel that he is not alone, that there are other people like him, who can speak without listening to criticism, find understanding, share experiences."
In this sense, if you look for an association of patients dedicated solely and exclusively to dry eye, you will not find, but you will find one related to other pathologies that are associated with SOS, as is the case of the Sjögren Syndrome Association. Sjögren’s syndrome is, as the president of the association says, a chronic, autoimmune, systemic, and quite complex rheumatic disease. Its main characteristic is the dryness of the salivary and lacrimal glands and parotid swelling, which characteristically results in dry mouth and dry eyes. In addition to other dryness, it also produces musculoskeletal pain and fatigue, which is usually “the classic triad” of symptoms that the vast majority of the patients present.
That is to say, that for Sjögren’s diagnosis, there must be “necessarily” ocular and oral dryness and, if this occurs, a series of explorations will have to be made to exclude it or finally confirm it, according to Dr. Calonge: “if the patient has this disease, The mucous membranes (ocular, oral, nasal, vaginal, rectal), the skin (dryness) and other organs are usually affected, with the possibility of arthritis and general affectation (such as abnormal fatigue). This pathology will be a primary Sjögren’s syndrome, or it will be secondary if these extraocular symptoms have been grouped into a clear disease, rheumatoid arthritis being the most frequent”.
For Sjögren's diagnosis, there must "necessarily" be ocular and oral dryness and, if this occurs, a series of explorations will have to be made to exclude it or finally confirm it.
The most serious aspect of Sjögren’s syndrome is the increased risk that those affected have of developing hematological cancer (lymphoma), a risk 10 to 30 times higher than the rest of the population.
WHAT IS DRY EYE SYNDROME?
Dry eye (DE) is a common disease defined by the Dry Eye Workshop II (DEWS II) of the Tear Film and Ocular Surface Society (TFOS) as “a multifactorial disease of the ocular surface characterized by a loss of film homeostasis lacrimal, and accompanied by ocular symptoms, in which tear film instability and hyperosmolarity, inflammation and damage to the ocular surface, and neurosensory abnormalities play etiological functions. “The prevalence ranges between 10 and 20% of the general population.
WHY IS IT PRODUCED?
There are many risk factors, including the most common ones such as using computers, using contact lenses and refractive surgery, altering sex hormones and substitution therapy in menopause, and the environment with low relative humidity produced by the air conditioning. In our setting, the adverse effects of certain drugs (antiserotonergic, antidepressant, b-blockers) and the iatrogenic effects of chronic topical medication at the ocular level (especially eye drops that contain vasoconstrictors are sold without a prescription) are also very important.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE DRY EYE?
Patients usually present to the ophthalmologist symptoms such as a sensation of having a foreign body, dryness, burning, pain, or sensitivity; likewise, visual symptoms such as poor or fluctuating vision, among others. However, to verify it, an examination by a specialist (ophthalmological consultation) is necessary, and in some cases, it is necessary to supplement
r this examination with certain clinical or laboratory tests because for each patient, and there are different causes.
CAN THIS DISEASE BE CURED?
This condition can be CONTROLLED by counteracting the factors that cause it. Treatment begins with identifying the factors responsible for the symptoms. It is necessary to look for sources of pain such as inflammation, water deficiency, unstable tear film, disease of the fat-producing glands, or anatomical alterations. These abnormalities can be addressed as follows: inflammation with anti-inflammatory agents, home eyelid hygiene procedures, topical and oral antibiotics, intense pulsed light, among others.
WHAT IS THE ROLE OF ARTIFICIAL TEARS?
Artificial tears are ONE PIECE of the “puzzle” that involves the treatment of the dry eye. They contribute to its management, and there are different compositions, concentrations, or presentations, depending on each patient’s condition. They must be used consciously, considering that they can never be as complete as those produced by the body itself under normal conditions.
IS THERE ANYTHING THAT IS IN MY REACH TO IMPROVE?
Of course, yes, in fact, a large part of the management falls on the patient himself, for this reason, it is advisable:
Avoid drafts such as those caused by the wind, fans, the open windows of the vehicles, and the air conditioning of the same. Avoid air conditioning in closed areas. Avoid hot air next to ovens and grills. Avoid atmospheres with dust, chalk, sand, dirt, and sawdust. Take scheduled breaks during exposure to electronic media. Perform frequent active blinking. Maintain adequate hydration (drink enough water).