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A Little Bitty Tear Let Me Down

The other day I visited my Rhematologist for a follow up on my Sjogren's Syndrome which had been bothering me considerably, including bodily pain and exhaustion. He had given me a prescription for prednisone, which has been quite effective in making me feel better. Though I am still bothered very much by dry eye. That might not seem like a big deal to those who do not have it. But, just imagine yourself going through life with what feels like sand in your eyes, with pain and sometimes swelling of the eyelids. Not to mention your appearance is reminiscent of a bad hangover!

In my visit with the doctor, I hesitated to bring up the fact that I was disappointed the Prednisone didn't give me a "High". Usually it does, and I had been hoping for the benefits of it helping to pull me up from my recent depressive state. We discussed the fact that perhaps my depression was deeper than just a side effect of my physical condition and needed to be treated with anti-depressants instead. This made me more sad. I do have an underlying condition, and it was time for me to face needing care. Tears formed and fell down my cheeks. He handed me some tissues and said, "At least you are producing tears."

That was reassuring. I'm glad he reminded me. I had been feeling so sorry for myself. Sometimes I forget to count my blessings! Afterwards, I thought about what he said. Then wondered. If I can produce an abundant quantity of tears for the sake of crying, then why are my eyes still dry? And, then I thought, if I could just have a good cry every day, perhaps it would help my tear ducts be healthier. Of course, I began searching for information that might back up my theory.

I found the following: "There are in fact three types of tear, two of which are rather uninteresting: basal tears which lubricate and protect the eye and reflex tears which flush out irritants such as smoke particles or onion vapors. The third type of tear is, of course, shed in response to emotion, and differs from basal and reflex tears not only by its cause but also by its chemical composition, being considerably richer in certain substances such as prolactin and adrenocorticotropic hormone."

So now I wonder if because emotional tears have a different chemical composition, the idea of purposely crying every day wouldn't be beneficial. Hmmm... Is this making sense? Or is it just the hopeful wishes of a patient who wants to be in the know?

In the same article I found this: "Damage to the ophthalmic branch of the trigeminal nerve renders the surface of the eye insensitive and thereby prevents the production of reflex tears. However, it is the parasympathetic division of the facial nerve that is actually responsible for making tears, and damage to the facial nerve, as in Bell’s palsy, can lead to a decrease in tear production. Reflex and emotional tears are produced by the lacrimal gland and drained through the nasolacrimal canal into the nose."

I do NOT believe I have Bell's but I wonder if my TMJ could have an affect. Even though I have positively been identified by specialists at UCSF as having Sjogren's Syndrome, I wonder if my TMJ problems contribute to the much more troublesome dry eye problems that I experience on the right side. Perhaps if I could get appropriate treatment for the TMJ, then some of the pain and discomfort I have in the right eye could be diminished! Is my logic off? Or again, is this just wishful thinking?

And now for a little bit of fun!

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