How Is Sjögren's Syndrome Diagnosed?
Your eye doctor may do some tests to confirm that you have Sjögren's syndrome. One test is called a Schirmer's test. This is where a tiny strip of paper is placed under your lower eyelid to measure the amount of tears your eye makes over a period of about five minutes.
A dye test may be used to color your tears. This allows your doctor to see with a microscope how quickly your tears dry up. It can also help your eye doctor see how dryness has affected your cornea or other parts of the eye.
Your eye doctor may examine tiny glands in your eyelids. These glands, called meibomian ("my-BOH-me-un") glands, produce oil for your tears to help keep them from drying out too quickly. If these glands are swollen or blocked, your tears may not have the right amount or quality of oil. This is one cause of dry eye.
Other types of tests may be done to help your eye doctor confirm Sjögren's syndrome. For instance, they may measure how much saliva you have in your mouth. Your eye doctor also may order blood tests. This helps to check for certain proteins called antibodies and other blood markers usually found in people with Sjögren's syndrome.
If needed, your ophthalmologist may refer you to a rheumatologist, a doctor who specializes in autoimmune disease. The rheumatologist will review the blood tests, and may help with treatment.