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Fibromyalgia and Dry Eye Syndrome

Recent advances in understanding fibromyalgia have shed light on it’s complex interplay of neurochemical and genetic influences, triggered by conditions such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and irritable bowel syndrome, and associated with other symptoms of fatigue, pain, sleep and mood disturbances.  Eye problems such as dry eye syndrome, eye irritation or redness, and contact lens intolerance are commonly diagnosed in more women than men with fibromyalgia.  Complaints of pink eye and gritty eyes are frequent.

The key to maintaining excellent eye health is by preventing damage from ocular inflammation and dryness. Your eye doctor can recommend helpful advise on treating red, dry eyes, and keeping your contact lenses comfortable.  Single use daily disposable contact lenses in combination with eye drops for dry eye can get rid of, or at least control, most symptoms of irritation.

Other medical and alternative treatments are available.  Both drug and nondrug therapies can be very effective in treating fibromyalgia, and in fact, most experts believe that the best approach is to combine different types of therapies to work on different aspects of the disorder since different neurotransmitters systems are known to regulate our sleep, pain perception, mood, and alertness.

The nondrug treatments that have been shown to be the most helpful are education, exercise, and cognitive-behavioral therapy.  FibroGuide is a free program for people with fibromyalgia.  Other treatments that can be effective include yoga, tai chi, acupuncture, and many other complementary and alternative medicine therapies.

For current medical treatment, savvy primary care physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants are in an ideal position to both identify and treat fibromyalgia.  Subspecialist doctors such as rheumatologists for musculoskeletal concerns, or neurologists if symptoms resemble multiple sclerosis, are other options in seeking medicinal treatment.

Article cited: Daniel J. Clauw, Philip J. Mease, Bret S. Stetka. Fibromyalgia: The Latest in Diagnosis and Care. Medscape. Sep 17, 2014.


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