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How can dry eyes due to rheumatoid arthritis be treated?

Q: My 60 years old mother is having rheumatoid arthritis. Her tear glands are not functioning hence she has been advised to put tears in her eyes after every 3 hours. How can it be treated? She feels pain while turning her eyeballs to the right and left and sometimes the eyes are itchy and red. What preventive measures can be taken?

A:Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) causes dry eye. Treatment for dry eye consists of lubricating drops (often in various combinations), punctal plugging and the use of cycloimmune drops. All treatment must be under the supervision of an ophthalmologist. Dry eye is often associated with allergies; hence concomitant anti-allergics are also prescribed to such patients. Prevention consists of regular visits to the ophthalmologist and if infections develop, they must be treated on an urgent basis (as ulcers/ corneal melts are known to develop in RA patients).

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