Sjögren Syndrome (show-gren) is an autoimmune disease characterized by malfunction of the tear and saliva producing glands, and mucous-secreting glands of the vagina. Over 20 percent of individuals with systemic scleroderma have Sjogren Syndrome secondary to their scleroderma. The unusual dryness of the eyes resulting from this condition can lead to serious irritation and inflammation.
Dry eyes may be lubricated by the frequent use of artificial tears and ophthalmic ointments. Regular visits to an ophthalmologist are important. The mouth should be kept as well lubricated as possible by sipping fluids during the day (a plastic squirt bottle filled with water may help), and by chewing sugar-free gum or sucking sugar-free sour candy to stimulate salivary activity. Artificial saliva is also available.