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Venus Williams Shares Her Experience With Sjögren’s Syndrome

September is Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month. Rheumatism specifically targets joints and connective tissue, with arthritis being one of the most well-known rheumatic conditions. 

Most people don’t know that rheumatic diseases often affect the eyes. Sjögren’s Syndrome is a perfect example and to help spread awareness this month, Venus Williams opened up about her connection to this rheumatic disease. 

Keep reading below to learn more about Sjögren’s Syndrome, Venus Williams’ personal experience with it and how EverTears® may help with dry eyes associated with the disease.

What Is Sjögren’s Syndrome?

Sjögren’s Syndrome is an autoimmune disease, meaning the symptoms are caused by the immune system abnormally responding to some part of the body. In this case, it is primarily the lacrimal and salivary glands. Many patients suffering from Sjögren’s Syndrome may have eyelid inflammation (blepharitis). Using warm compresses, eyelid cleansers and gentle eyelid massage is recommended to relieve blocked oil glands in the eyelids. EverTears® self-heating and cleaning pads are a convenient way to relieve dry eye symptoms at home or on the go in minutes.

Many other parts of the body are negatively impacted by Sjögren’s Syndrome as well. This includes the nervous system, kidneys, lungs, and thyroid. Other symptoms include but are not limited to dry mouth, dry skin, fatigue, muscle pain, joint pain, extremity numbness, and chronic coughing.

Venus Williams’ Struggle

Venus Williams became a professional tennis player a year before her sister Serena. Both she and Serena have an excellent record of claiming Grand Slam titles and hitting number one rankings. Any list of the best tennis players in the history of the sport will have both of their names on there. 

Venus had a long and illustrious tennis career, despite her years of injuries and illness. She was repeatedly misdiagnosed until finally, in 2011, she was informed that she has Sjögren’s Syndrome. Venus talked about how this condition affected her energy levels and caused fatigue and joint pain, all while continuing to fight to remain competitive in her tennis career.

For the first time in her career, Venus had to pull out of competitions like the Rogers Cup and the Western & Southern Open. For the first time in her career, her ranking fell out of the top 50.

Venus and Sjögren’s Syndrome

Venus has not let Sjögren’s Syndrome take anything from her. She is still working hard and competing, even after her sister announced her retirement. However, it has not been easy to overcome this significant health struggle. 

She has shared that she started experiencing symptoms as early as 2004. Trying to play tennis through her seven years of misdiagnosis was extremely difficult. Even after diagnosis, she had to wait months for her new medications to take effect.

Another way she manages her illness is through her diet. After her diagnosis, she switched to an entirely vegan diet with a limited intake of calories and sugar. 

Rheumatism and the Eyes

Rheumatic diseases, like arthritis, commonly affect the eyes. Sjögren’s Syndrome is one example of a rheumatic disease that causes dry eyes. 

Not only are dry eyes intensely irritating, but they make the eyes more prone to infection or permanent cornea damage. Using heated compresses with cleaning pads, such as EverTears®, to soothe dry eyes is essential to protecting vision and reducing pain and other symptoms.

This treatment not only provides heat to help reduce symptoms of dry eye, but also includes a moisturizing solution with hyaluronic acid, which is especially great for athletes and people who spend more time outdoors or working on fitness programs.

Relief For Dry Eyes

Whether suffering from a rheumatic disease like Sjögren’s Syndrome or not, dry eyes affect millions of Americans. Finding relief often involves finding the right product to soothe the inflammation.If you or someone you know suffers from dry eyes, help is available. Take a moment to learn more about EverTears® and find out if it’s right for you.

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