Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons are offering a new test for Sjögren’s syndrome, a chronic autoimmune disease in which a person’s white blood cells attack their moisture-producing glands.

Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons, located in Greenbelt and Bowie, is an ophthalmology practice offering leading-edge treatments for Maryland LASIK and cataract surgery patients.

There are more than four million Americans living with Sjögren’s.

This condition causes the afflicted patient to experience dry eye, dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, cough, musculoskeletal pain and gastrointestinal complications.

Physicians are still trying to figure out what causes it or how to cure it.

A company named Nicox developed a quick and easy blood test to help diagnose patients with Sjögren’s Syndrome.

The test is called Sjö Test and only requires only a small amount of blood drawn from the patient by pricking their finger.

The doctor then sends the sample to a lab for testing, which then sends the results to the doctor within a few business days. Patients afflicted with this disease have abnormal proteins in their blood, which the Sjö Test detects.

Solomon Eye Physicians and Surgeons have recently received the necessary testing elements from Nicox.

Now patients suffering from dry eye symptoms can go to one of the few practices in the state of Maryland that offers the Sjö Test, and determine whether or not they have Sjögren ‘s Syndrome.

Sjögren’s Syndrome can only be identified in patients through two methods: A blood test, such as the Sjö Test, or through biopsies of salivary glands.

If a patient tests positive for Sjögren’s Syndrome, the facility “encourages them to see a rheumatologist, as the disease often mimics symptoms indicative of other diseases such as fibromyalgia, lupus or rheumatoid arthritis. A rheumatologist can conduct a physical exam and additional testing on afflicted patients and help them discuss treatment options.”

Henry Perry, M.D. of Ophthalmic Consultants of Long Island stated in a news release: “As many as 1 in 10 dry eye patients may have Sjögren ‘s Syndrome. Additionally, nine in 10 patients who contract Sjögren’s Syndrome are women, typically between the ages of 45 and 55, which causes the symptoms of Sjögren’s Syndrome to be associated with menopause.”

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Courtney Jacobs

AFRO Staff Writer