PURPOSE: Animal models suggest that early markers of Sjögren syndrome (EMS)-antibodies against salivary protein 1, parotid secretory protein, and carbonic anhydrase 6 (CA6)-are more accurate signals of early Sjögren when compared with classic markers (anti-Ro and anti-La). To further understand the relationship between EMS and dry eye (DE), we compared symptoms and signs of DE in subjects who tested positive versus negative for EMS. METHODS: In this cross-sectional study, patients at the Miami Veterans Affairs Eye Clinic who were tested for EMS underwent a standard ocular surface examination. Indications for EMS testing included DE symptoms in combination with dry mouth symptoms, low tear production, corneal staining, or a Sjögren disease-associated autoimmune disease. Statistical tests performed were the χ test, Fisher exact test, independent sample t test, and Spearman correlation. RESULTS: Seventy-three percent of 44 patients tested positive for 1 or more EMS. CA6 IgG was most frequently elevated, followed by CA6 IgM and parotid secretory protein IgG. EMS-positive versus EMS-negative subjects were more likely to escalate DE treatment past artificial tears to topical cyclosporine (n = 32, 100% vs. n = 9, 75%, P = 0.02). There were no demographic or comorbidity differences between EMS-positive and EMS-negative subjects, and marker levels did not correlate with more severe tear film measures. CONCLUSIONS: Most of the individuals with DE tested positive for 1 or more EMS antibodies, including men and Hispanics. Future studies will be needed to understand how to incorporate EMS data into the care of an individual with DE.
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