Venus Williams on Sjogren’s syndrome: My eyes are too dry for me to wear lenses

Seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams reveals Sjogren’s syndrome causing her eyes to be so dry and it is making extra difficult for her to wear contact lenses. 

In 2011, Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease. 

Since then, Williams has made several changes to her lifestyle. 

Fortunately, Williams was able to continue her career, and at the age of 42, she is still listed as an active player. 

“Some of the hallmark symptoms of Sjogren’s Syndrome is dry eyes and dry mouth, so that’s one of the differentiators between Sjogren’s and lots of other autoimmune diseases. With autoimmune diseases some of the typical symptoms are joint pain and fatigue, so those are symptoms you can also get with Sjogren’s Syndrome,” Williams said in a video uploaded on her YouTube channel, as quoted on Sportskeeda. 

Williams: Difficult for me to wear contact lenses 

“Those extra special friends that come along with it are dry eyes and dry mouth,” Williams added. “It’s very difficult for me to wear contact lenses. My eyes are just too dry to wear those. It can be very uncomfortable to the point where you would get mouth sores so as you can see an extreme level of Sjogren’s Syndrome or extreme flare-up, or extreme symptoms can start to really affect your life.”

Before Williams was diagnosed with Sjogren’s disease, she was constantly getting tired. 

After getting the diagnosis, Williams was able to finally get a proper treatment and address the problem. 

“Everyone’s life is affected in different ways with autoimmune diseases,” Williams said. “For me, it really obviously affected my work and my profession. I wasn’t able to play tennis anymore, and I was out of the game for maybe nine months. I also had challenges playing my best tennis, so of course that was frustrating especially when you have a high expectation of yourself.”

Last week, Williams confirmed she won’t be participating at Wimbledon. 

However, she hasn’t closed the door on a potential return in the rest of 2022.