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Dry Eye Q&A with Dr. Viker

Woman suffering from dry eye symptoms

Q: Is it true that dry eye symptoms seem to be more severe in the winter than in the spring and summer?

Dr. Viker: Absolutely; we tend to see more patients that are struggling with dry eye symptoms in the winter months. We live in a cold, dry climate that can cause tears to evaporate from the surface of the eye. Additionally, a lot of people tend to be dehydrated in the winter time as it is easy to overlook drinking enough water during periods of cold weather. Dehydration can worsen symptoms of dry eye.

Q: When should a person see their optometrist for dry eye symptoms and when is it enough to take care of it yourself?

Dr. Viker: We recommend coming in for an evaluation for dry eyes as early as possible. There are different types of dry eyes and it is important to be proactive in addressing them to ensure the long-term health of your eyes. Dry eye syndrome is a complex cycle of events that can damage tear-producing glands of the eyes. Early treatment is typically less expensive and can help keep your eyes healthy and comfortable for many years.

Q: What is the examination like to determine if someone has dry eyes?

Dr. Viker: A large part of the examination is finding out what the patient is experiencing and determining the type of dry eye causing the symptoms. We look at the surface of the eye under a microscope to look at the quantity and the quality of the tear film. Additionally, we examine the eyelids and the glands inside the eyelids to insure they are healthy. Typically, a drop of yellow dye is placed in the eye which helps us look for dry spots on the surface of the eye.

Q: I have a friend and his eyes are very watery – that isn’t dry eye is it?

Dr. Viker: Surprisingly, watery eyes are a very common sign of dry eye. There are three different types of tears (mucous tears, watery tears, and lipid tears) produced by the eye and the watery tears are the easiest for the eye to make. If there aren’t enough lipid tears from the eyelid’s oil glands, the eye will try to compensate by making more watery tears, but without the lipid tears to insulate the watery tears, the watery tears overflow and run down the patient’s face.

Q: What are the typical treatments for dry eyes?

Dr. Viker: There are a wide range of treatments ranging from over the counter products to specialty laser procedures. Many times using artificial tears and vitamin supplements can help boost the tear film. There are prescription eye drops that can aid in tear production as well as laser procedures for patients with more advanced dry eye.

Q: Are some people more prone to having dry eyes than others?

Dr. Viker: Yes. Patients with certain medical diagnoses or patients that take specific medications can be more prone to dry eye. Using digital devices like smart phones and computers cause us to blink less frequently which can contribute to dryness as well.

Q: Do you have any recommendations to help people avoid dry eye?

Dr. Viker: Of course – we always recommend being hydrated and making sure you consume enough water each day. Additionally, taking breaks from your computer and smart phone can help as well. We recommend the 20/20/20 Rule – take a 20 second break every 20 minutes and look 20 feet away and blink your eyes. Wearing sunglasses is critical to protecting the surface of the eye and the eyelids from UV exposure.

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To our valued patients,

At The Eye Doctors, Inc. the health and well-being of our patients is at the core of everything that we do. In light of the rapidly changing situation and the spread of COVID-19 we made the difficult decision to close the clinic on Tuesday, March 17 th.

At this time, the Wal-Mart Vision Center remains open limited hours for urgent glasses repairs, pick-ups of existing orders and new contact lens orders. The vision center is open every day from 10 AM to 2 PM and on Tuesdays from 6 AM to 2 PM, with the hour of 6 AM to 7 AM reserved for senior citizens. New orders of contact lenses can be placed in-store or over the phone at 952-829-9024 and will be shipped directly to your home.  Additionally, you may order contact lenses at

If you are experiencing an eye emergency, please call 952-955-4427 to leave a message for one of the doctors. Messages will be checked Monday through Saturday from 9 AM to 5 PM.

We are monitoring the situation closely and will re-open when it is safe to do so. We look forward to seeing you when things improve and thank you for your continued support of our practice. Please continue to our website for further information.

Dr. Melissa Viker & Dr. Britt Gustafson

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The Eye Doctors, Inc. COVID-19 Information:

Our clinic closed on March 17th and will remain closed until it is safe to re-open.  Please watch our website and Facebook page for updates.

Urgent or Emergent Eye Concerns

If you have an eye emergency, we are here to help.  Please call 952-955-4427 and one of the doctors will return your call.  The messages are monitored Monday through Saturday between 9 AM and 5 PM.  Eye emergencies include (but are not limited to): eye pain, a recent onset of redness in one or both eyes, flashes of light or sudden onset of new floaters, double vision, and sudden change/worsening of vision in one or both eyes.

Glasses and Contact Lens Orders:

The Wal-Mart Vision Center is open daily at this time from 10 AM to 2 PM and 6 AM to 2 PM on Tuesdays for limited services. The hour of 6 AM to 7 AM on Tuesdays is reserved for senior citizens.  One optician is on duty to provide urgent glasses repairs and adjustments; at this time no new orders for glasses are being accepted. Existing orders of contact lenses and glasses may be picked up from the vision center.  New orders of contact lenses can be placed in store and will be shipped to your home if we do not have the lenses in stock. Additionally, you may order contact lenses at

Contact Lens Safety

There is no evidence that contact lens wearers are at greater risk for a Corona Virus infection, per the American Optometric Association Cornea and Contact Lens Section.  Please follow the below tips:

  • Wash and dry your hands thoroughly before handling contact lenses
  • Avoid using contact lenses if you are ill with any cold or flu-like symptoms
  • Reduce your risk for infection by avoiding sleeping, napping, swimming or showering in contact lenses
  • Replace your contact lens case every 2 months
  • Use fresh contact lens solution each time you store your lenses
  • Do not reuse single-use/daily disposable lenses