Dry Eye

Rocky Mountain Eye Center -  - Ophthalmology

Rocky Mountain Eye Center

Ophthalmology & Optometry located in Missoula, Hamilton, Butte & Helena, MT

Dry eyes can cause various levels of discomfort, including itching, burning, and excess watering that make it difficult to perform daily tasks. The optometrists and ophthalmologists at Rocky Mountain Eye Center diagnose and treat dry eye at their locations in Missoula, Hamilton, and Butte, Montana. If you think you may have dry eye, call or book an appointment online today.

Dry Eye Q & A

What is Dry Eye?

Dry eye is a common condition that happens when the quality or quantity of your tears isn’t enough to properly lubricate and nourish the eye. Tears are an essential part of eye health and help provide clear vision.

What Causes Dry Eye?

Dry eye occurs when your eyes either don’t make enough tears, or when the tears they produce are of poor quality:

  • Inadequate Amount of Tears: Several glands around your eyelid produce tears. Various conditions may reduce the volume of tears these glands make, including -
    • Increasing age
    • Damage to the tear gland
    • Certain medications, including antihistamines
    • Medical conditions, such as diabetes
    • Environmental factors, such as wind, smoke, and dry air, may temporarily reduce the number of tears by increasing tear evaporation
  • Poor Quality of Tears: Tears have three main layers: oil, water, and mucus. Each component plays an important role in nourishing the surface of your eye. An imbalance in any of these layers may cause tears to evaporate too quickly or prevent them from adequately covering the surface of your cornea. These conditions can lead to dry eye.


What are the Symptoms of Dry Eye?

Signs and symptoms of dry eye typically affect both eyes. Common dry eye symptoms include:

  • Stinging, burning, or scratching sensation
  • Feeling like something is in your eyes
  • Mucousy discharge around your eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Watery eyes
  • Red eyes

Dry eye may make it uncomfortable to wear contact lenses and cause vision problems that make it difficult to drive, especially at night.

How is Dry Eye Diagnosed and Treated?

To diagnose dry eye, your vision specialist at Rocky Mountain Eye Center performs a comprehensive eye exam. They thoroughly review your medical history and eye health to understand the cause of your dry eye. They may also perform tests to measure the volume and quality of your tears.

Then, they recommend the best treatment for your specific dry eye condition. Treatment for dry eyes may include:

  • Using artificial tear eye drops
  • Medications to reduce eyelid inflammation
  • Medications to stimulate tear production
  • Punctal plugs to reduce tear loss
  • Using special contact lenses for dry eye


Your specialist at Rocky Mountain Eye Center may also recommend self-care steps you can take to reduce dry eye, such as using a humidifier and taking nutritional supplements that contain essential fatty acids.

To find the right dry eye treatment for you, call Rocky Mountain Eye Center or book an appointment online today.