The highest quality ophthalmic care is only minutes away from your home

Eye Care Associates has been providing personalized ophthalmic care to our patients for more than 50 years. Seven ophthalmologists, two optometrists and more than 55 highly skilled staff members serve our offices in:

Downtown Minneapolis Northeast Minneapolis
South Minneapolis Osseo

Patients appreciate that we are a “one-stop shop” for all types of eye care related services including the following:


We offer many types of treatments for patients who suffer from dry eye


What is dry eye and what causes it?

  • Dry eye is poor quantity and/or quality of tears. The risk of developing dry eye increases with age. Women have a higher prevalence of dry eye compared with men.
  • Many prescription and over-the-counter medications can cause dry eye (antihistamines, decongestants, antidepressants, birth control pills, hormone replacement therapy to relieve symptoms of menopause, and medications for anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, and some high blood pressure medications.)
  • Rosacea (an inflammatory skin disease) and blepharitis (an inflammatory eyelid disease) can disrupt the function of the Meibomian glands.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as Sjögren syndrome, lupus, scleroderma, and rheumatoid arthritis and other disorders such as diabetes, thyroid disorders, and Vitamin A deficiency are associated with dry eye.
  • Windy, smoky, cold, or dry environments increase tear evaporation.
  • Seasonal allergies can contribute to dry eye.
  • Prolonged periods of screen time encourage insufficient blinking.
  • Laser eye surgery may cause temporary dry eye symptoms.

What are the symptoms of dry eye?

Dry eye can cause a scratchy sensation or the feeling that something is in the eye. Other symptoms include stinging or burning,episodes of excess tearing, itching, discharge, pain, and redness in the eye. People with dry eye may also feel as if their eyelids are tired or heavy, and may experience blurred vision, particularly with visual tasks like reading and driving.

Tearing due to a dry eye condition happens when the oily layer of the tears is not present, due to plugged eyelid oil glands, and the basal tears evaporate too fast. This triggers the release of “reflex tears” that are like the tears you get when you chop onions. Reflex tears can also blur vision.

What are tears and how do they relate to dry eye?

In a healthy eye, lubricating tears called basal tears continuously bathe the cornea, the clear, dome-shaped outer surface of the eye. With every blink of the eye, basal tears flow across the cornea, nourishing its cells and providing a layer of liquid protection from the environment. When the glands nearby each eye fail to produce enough basal tears, or when the composition of the tears changes, the health of the eye and vision are compromised. Vision may be affected because tears on the surface of the eye play an important role in focusing light.

Tears are a complex mixture of fatty oils, water, mucus, and more than 1500 different proteins that keep the surface of the eye smooth and protected from the environment, irritants, and germs.

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Treatment options
AVOID VISINE OR CLEAR EYES or any drops that “relieve redness.” They can be used
only very occasionally, or they will irritate your eyes because of the preservatives,
and cause “rebound hyperemia,” or more redness.

Over-the-counter (OTC) topical medications

Mild dry eye symptoms may be treated with over-the-counter medications such as artificial tears, gels, and ointments. There are numerous types of tears made by different manufacturers.

Our doctors will recommend specific types.

Environmental and lifestyle changes

  • Cutting back on screen time and taking periodic eye breaks.
  • Closing the eyes for a few minutes, or blinking repeatedly for a few seconds, may replenish basal tears and spread them more evenly across the eye.
  • Sunglasses that wrap around the face and have side shields that block wind and dry air can reduce symptoms in windy or dry conditions.
  • Smoking cessation and limiting exposure to secondhand smoke.
  • Increased humidity at home and/or work.

Lid hygiene for Meibomian gland dysfunction

  • Warm lid compresses once or twice daily with wash cloth or Bruder mask, try for 20 minutes.
  • Gently scrub eyelid margins (base of eyelashes) with Q tip or baby washcloth (no soap) or Ocusoft lid cleaning pads.

Prescription dry eye medications

There are a number of types of topical eye drops that may be helpful. These include mild immunosuppressant eye medications (Restasis or Xiidra)  or mild steroid eye drops for short term treatment. Your doctor will advise you if you need one of these medicines. 

Tear Duct Occlusion

Punctal plugs made of silicone or collagen may be inserted by an eye care professional to partially or completely plug the tear ducts at the inner corners of the eye to keep tears from draining from the eye. In severe cases, surgical closure of the drainage ducts by thermal punctal cautery may be recommended to close the tear ducts permanently. Multiple treatments are often needed.

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