SIGMT 2022 Summer

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Montana is undoubtedly the last-best place. ere are many outdoor adventures to experience in our beautiful surroundings. One key to enjoyment is to pay aention to your eye health, specifically dry eyes which can result from exposure to heat, wind, and extreme weather. Dry eyes can also be complicated by outdoor/indoor allergies and irritants like wildfire smoke. Dry eye symptoms can include any or all of these: stinging, burning, blurry vision (where blinking helps clear things up), a scratchy or griy feeling like something is in your eye, mucous strands, redness and irritation, problems wearing contact lenses, and even excessive tearing. ose complaining of these symptoms may have a physical ailment like rheumatoid arthritis or rosacea that causes dryness. Alternatively, it may be age-related hormonal changes affecting how tears are produced. Eyelid inflammation like blepharitis can cause oil-producing glands along the base of the eyelids to malfunction. When the eyelids malfunction, the oil added to tear film decreases causing tears to evaporate too quickly. Other eyelid issues can contribute to dryness problems (like eyelids rolling in or out), and certain medications can also make dryness worse, such as allergy (antihistamine) pills. A comprehensive eye exam is necessary to diagnose dry eyes, beginning with a thorough case history. Further testing can reveal information such as the quality and quantity of tear film and if the severity of the dryness is causing inflammation on the surface of the eye. In addition, tear osmolarity testing (like TearLab) gives a number to the "concentration" of your tears and is a good way to diagnose the severity of your disease. Other testing includes looking at the oil-producing glands (Meibomian) function. Once a firm diagnosis of dryness is reached, management of this painful problem can be as simple as improving your blinking, staying well hydrated, using a humidifier in your home, protective eyewear when outdoors (ski goggles and sunglasses with wraparound frames), and treating with artificial tears formulated to match your natural eye lubrication. More advanced options include prescription eye drops, meibomian gland therapy, Omega 3 supplements, or plugging the tear ducts to keep your tears from draining away. In addition, it is very important to NOT have a ceiling fan or other forced air blowing directly on you night or day. ere is nothing like geing outside to clear your head, get your heart pumping and really enjoy being a Montanan. Make sure your eyes are comfortable and protected to truly see and relish the wonders around you. 90 | SIGNATURE MONTANA S MT Dr. Mindy Sterner Leach, Founding partner of Central Montana Eyecare. Specializes in comprehensive family vision care, eye surgery co-management, medical eye care, contact lens fitting and children's vision. American Board of Optometry certified. TO YOUR HEALTH TEXT BY DR MINDY STERNER LEACH My Eyes are so Dry! EYE - Yi Yi Eye dryness is an important problem to identify, diagnose, and treat. If left untreated, it can potentially cause permanent damage to the cornea, which can cause permanent problems with vision. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact Central Montana Eyecare: 406-453-1900.

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