Sjogren's Syndrome: A Clinical and Biochemical Analysis
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Sjogren’s syndrome (SS) is a systemic autoimmune disease that presents to eye care practitioners with the hallmark symptom of “dry eye.” Stratifying dry eye patients as Sjogren’s positive or negative is a critical differential diagnosis, as SS patients have numerous systemic complications and a forty times greater risk of developing lymphoma. As such, management of this relatively common dry eye sub-population requires specialized care. Since a firm diagnosis requires testing that is both invasive and expensive, patients should be protected from these tests if they are not warranted. In this thesis, studies were therefore undertaken to determine if SS dry eye could be differentiated from other forms of dry eye using two methods: 1) standard clinical tests used in a multi-disciplinary Sjogren’s syndrome clinic and 2) subsequent biological evaluation of collected tear samples and cells from the ocular surface. The former would allow eye care practitioners to conduct appropriate tests and pose suitable questions to ifferentiate these subgroups, and the latter might serve in the future as a relatively non-invasive quantitative means of differentiating such groups through biomarkers.