Woman rubbing eyes

Dry Eye Syndrome

Dry eyes can be irritating, affect your vision, and distract you from daily tasks like reading or driving. 

Our doctors restore the moisture to your eyes with various treatments so you can focus and see clearly in your daily life. 

Find out what could be causing your dry eyes and how we can alleviate your symptoms at our practice in Denver, CO. 

What Causes Dry Eye Syndrome?

Dry eye syndrome is a condition that occurs when your tear glands do not produce enough liquid to keep your eyes moist. This moisture helps clear your eyes of debris like dust and helps them function normally. This condition can leave your eyes susceptible to infection, and when left untreated, dry eyes can eventually lead to significant damage.  

Dry eyes can have multiple causes, including: 

Difficulty blinking (i.e., due to muscular or nerve issues) 

Age (after age 50, the tear glands may produce fewer tears) 

Environmental factors (such as wind, pollution, sun, and dry air)

Blockages in the meibomian glands

Certain procedures (such as LASIK and cataract surgery)

Certain medical conditions (such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis)

Medications (such as decongestants or antihistamines)

Colorado has dry air year-round due to the higher altitudes and a lack of nearby major bodies of water. These dry conditions can increase your risk of suffering from dry eyes, and many patients do not produce enough natural tears to offset Colorado's environmental effects. 


How Your Eye Retains Moisture 

A healthy set of eyes have a sufficient film of liquid sitting on the surface of your corneas. This film is directly related to the tears that our eyes produce, which also moisturize our eyes and help us to see more clearly. Without this tear film, we would have difficulty removing debris from our eyes. 

The tear film is made up of three separate layers:

  • An outer layer made of oils that are released by the meibomian glands in our eyelids 
  • A middle layer of water, the thickest of the three layers 
  • An inner layer of mucus closest to the cornea that spreads tears evenly over the eye

Your tears are produced in the lacrimal glands, which are located above each eye. Your tears then drain through the puncta, a set of small openings on the inside of your eyelids near the nose. 

Our Denver practice can restore the tear film to minimize dryness, blurred vision, and irritation resulting from dry eyes.  

Dry Eye Symptoms

Dry eye symptoms can vary from patient to patient, but the most common symptom is eye irritation. Other typical dry eye symptoms can include:

  • Scratchy and burning feeling in the eyes
  • Heightened sensitivity to smoke or wind
  • Light sensitivity
  • Decreased vision
  • Tired eyes from reading or trying to focus on an object
  • A decreased tolerance to contact lenses

Our doctors can help examine your symptoms and determine whether you suffer from dry eyes or another condition. 

Do You Struggle
With Dry Eyes? 
Request a Consultation to Find the Solution 

Are you suffering from ongoing eye irritation, itching, or watering; especially when wearing contact lenses? Reach out to the experienced team of eye doctors at our ophthalmology office in Denver, CO, to alleviate the symptoms of dry eyes. We can diagnose the cause of your problems and treat dry eye syndrome to improve your quality of life. We use some of the latest techniques and technology to pinpoint eye conditions and create personalized treatment options. 

You can reach out to our staff and submit your questions about dry eyes or request a consultation by calling our Denver office at: 

(303) 777-3277

Our office is conveniently located on the edge of Denver University's campus. We provide coffee, tea, and other amenities to create a comfortable atmosphere.

"A great eye doctor."  5-Star Reviews of Our Denver Practice 


Skip Rodgers


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Stanley Cushing is a great eye doctor. He takes the time to answer your questions. Great care by the support staff. Office staff is friendly.

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Justin Petrafeso (GoBuffs)


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EVERY person working here is friendly and professional. They fixed my issue and put me at ease. As a first time patient, I’m here to stay! I highly recommend them.

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Our Diagnostic Technology 

We will ask you a series of questions about your lifestyle, daily environment, work requirements, and nutrition habits to start a general assessment. For some tests, we may apply numbing eye drops to help you feel more comfortable during the process. Our Denver practice uses two main forms of testing: 

Schirmer's Tear Test 

Schirmer's tear test can determine whether your tear glands are producing too much or too little moisture. The test involves placing a small strip of special paper on the inside of your bottom eyelid for around five minutes. Our doctors can test both eyes at the same time and measure the amount of moisture captured by each strip. 


LipiScan® is an advanced digital imaging system that can take pictures of the meibomian glands in your upper and lower eyelid. For this method, our doctor will gently roll back the edge of your lower or upper eyelid to expose a small portion of tissue and capture a photo. Our doctors can take pictures of all four eyelids in less than a minute. 

Other tests include a series of dyes to determine the surface conditions of your eyes and to determine how long it takes for your eyes to evaporate the tears. Through these tests, our doctors can locate the dryest parts of your eyes to help plan a personalized treatment.

Questions About Dry Eyes?  Ask Our Eye Doctors

Our team is happy to answer your questions about dry eye syndrome, its various treatments, and how the condition may affect your candidacy for LASIK. We even offer same-day appointments through ZocDoc so you can discuss your situation with our doctors and get a professional opinion. Our doctors can then create a customized treatment plan to match your condition. 

Request a consultation with our doctors or ask us a question by calling our Denver office at: 

(303) 777-3277

"Thorough, informative, and relaxed." More 5-Star Reviews From the Denver Community


Bill Maxwell


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Everyone at the practice was very helpful and courteous. I was especially cared for by Bernadette as she explained the procedure and the process to me. All the follow-up was thorough, and folks are very friendly.

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Carol Emrick


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Staff was friendly and efficient, keeping me informed about wait times. It was a pleasant experience where all my questions were answered and Dr Coco was thorough, informative, and relaxed.

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Treatments for Dry Eye Syndrome

Traditional eye drops, artificial tears, and ointments can provide temporary relief, but our treatments aim for more long-term solutions that target the cause of the problem. Depending on your condition, our doctors can recommend various treatments, including: 

Punctal Plugs

If your tears drain too quickly through the puncta, then our doctors can apply punctal plugs to help slow or block the flow of your tears to the tear ducts. We can apply local anesthesia to numb the area before placing the plugs. Depending on your situation, our doctor may recommend plugging the upper puncta, lower puncta, or both at the same time.  

Punctal Plug Diagram
LipiFlow Animation


The LipiFlow® treatment can help patients who suffer from dry eye syndrome due to meibomian gland dysfunction (MGD). Our doctors will apply numbing eye drops so you can feel more comfortable during the 12-minute procedure. This treatment essentially massages the meibomian glands using heat and gentle pressure to remove any obstructions such as congealed lipids. 


ThermiEyes can also treat meibomian gland dysfunction by applying heat to liquify congealed oil and removing obstructions. However, ThermiEyes uses a handheld device that applies radiofrequency waves (the source of heat) and moves around the target area in a circular motion for 10 to 15 minutes. Our eye doctors may apply a cooling substance to the surrounding skin in preparation for treatment. 

Optometrist visit
Person getting eye drops in eye


RESTASIS® are prescription eye drops that can treat dry eyes caused by chronic inflammation. Unlike artificial tears, RESTASIS can help your eyes generate more tears after three to six months of daily use. Patients should apply RESTASIS twice a day with 12 hours between each dose. Patients can still use artificial tear drops for temporary relief but must wait at least 15 minutes before applying RESTASIS. 

Micro Exfoliation 

In some cases, an abundant population of micro-organisms called Demodex mites can block the oil glands in your eyelids. Our doctors can perform a micro exfoliation in the area that gently scrubs away the organisms or other unseen blockages so your meibomian glands can function again.  

Demodicosis diagram

"Friendly and easy to talk to."  More Positive Reviews From Our Valued Patients 


M Weber


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Professional staff always friendly and they get my jokes. I always have a great visit! I've been coming to this office for a very long time and have had the best treatments! I would highly recommend!

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Marianne King


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I’m seen at my appointed time by very professional and knowledgeable people. They’re all friendly and easy to talk to. The doctor has patience and listens during the exam.

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The Cost of Treating Dry Eyes

Since dry eyes have a daily impact on your quality of life, your health insurance may cover at least part of the costs. However, coverage will depend on your insurance plan and the type of treatment you need. Our Denver staff can help you determine what your insurance will cover and plan treatments accordingly.

For patients without insurance, we offer flexible financing options through CareCredit®. CareCredit payment plans can help patients break up the cost of treatment into affordable monthly payments. We can prepare a quote for the cost of treatment once we have identified the cause of your dry eye.

The team at Hines Sight

Hines Sight

The team at Hines Sight works together to provide the greater Denver, CO, area with the best possible experience. Our doctors are affiliated with professional organizations, including:

  • American Academy of Ophthalmology
  • American Osteopathic Association
  • American Osteopathic College of Ophthalmology
  • American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery
  • International Society of Refractive Surgery
  • Sigma Sigma Phi Osteopathic Honors Society

Schedule your consultation by contacting us online or calling us at (303) 777-3277.

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