More medical visits: fun with eyes & teeth

So I’ve had a couple interesting medical visits over the past week. First, I saw my optometrist for my annual checkup. In terms of vision, my eyes haven’t really changed, though I have a follow-up for the full Plaquenil screening (which should be done at least once a year). I did ask to have a Schirmer’s test done, and the results were surprising. My right eye barely registered (1), while my left eye gave normal results (14). The tear film break-up test was similar; my right eye lasted only 2-3 seconds, while my left was a perfectly normal 12 seconds. I’ve always known that my right eye was more dry than my left, but even my optometrist was surprised, saying that the disparity of results was the largest she’d seen. Indeed, it seems odd for a systematic disease to strongly affect one eye and not the other. It could be that my treatments are having a better effect on my left eye, but even that seems strange.

In other news, I get to have a tooth removed next week. This tooth has been a problem for over a decade; first a deep cavity, followed by root canals and more. After going into the dentist last month, scans showed an infection under the tooth. Last week, I saw a periodontist, who said that the tooth needed to be removed right away. I’m certainly not looking forward to the operation, though part of me thinks that it can’t hurt to have a constant source of infection removed. There have been many in the natural/holistic health community that have argued a link between root canals and autoimmune disease, though reliable scientific data is scarce. Nonetheless, I sometimes wonder if that bad tooth is linked to my SS. I certainly wouldn’t complain if its removal resulted in an improvement in my symptoms.

I’m also concerned about the antibiotics I have to go on for the operation. Antibiotics are known to have an adverse effect on helminth populations, ranging from weeks of dormancy to actually killing the colony. We shall see if they have a noticeable effect; if nothing else, a spike in my symptoms may indicate that the worms are working. I have another dose coming next month; if my symptoms do indeed get worse, I may ask to accelerate the dose.

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