SPOKANE (509) 928-8040 : HAYDEN (208) 762-0605
COEUR D'ALENE (208) 664-9888

Mark Kontos, M.D. : Christopher Sturbaum, M.D. : David Skale, M.D. : Casey Claypool, O.D. : Ali Heaton, O.D.

Dry Eye Treatment


Empire Eye Physicians has the first and only Dry Eye Specialty Clinic in the Spokane and Coeur d' Alene area. We provide evaluation, education and treatment of dry eye disease of all forms including: contact lens dry eye, post-LASIK dry eye, autoimmune and medication induced dry eyes. Evaluation is done using the most advanced dry eye testing available: blink analysis (LipiView II), tear osmolarity (Tear Lab), meibomian gland imaging (oil producing glands), and inflammatory markers in the tear film (MMP-9/Inflammadry). We maintain a large referral network with all optometrists and ophthalmologists in the area and are happy to work with your regular eye doctor.

In 2013 Empire Eye Physicians acquired a new, breakthrough system for treating the most common cause of dry eye called LipiFlow®.1 We anticipate that LipiFlow will become the new standard of care for this common condition that frustrates so many patients.

Dry eye disease can cause the following symptoms:

  • Burning and redness of the eyes
  • Contact lens discomfort
  • Increased dry eyes with computer, TV, reading, and driving
  • Watery eyes/ tearing
  • Foreign body sensation
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Symptoms worsen later in the day
  • Fluctuations in vision
  • Itchy, scratchy, or gritty eyes
  • Dry or crusty eyes in the morning
  • Eye fatigue

86% of dry eye patients have MGD

Dry eye is most often defined based on the quantity or quality of your tears. An estimated 86% of the 300 million dry eye sufferers worldwide have evaporative dry eye1, which stems from a deficiency in the oily, lipid layer of the tear film. This lipid deficiency is commonly due to blockages in the meibomian glands caused by Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD). Over a period of time, this chronic, progressive condition can cause the blocked meibomian glands to atrophy and drop out, thereby increasing symptoms and the likelihood of other ocular complications.

LipiFlow treats the root cause of evaporative dry eye by unblocking the obstructed meibomian glands during a short in-office procedure. Once unblocked, the meibomian glands are allowed to resume their natural production of lipids required for a healthy tear film and ocular surface. This in turn will prevent further gland loss and save the patient years of dry eye irritation. Unlike traditional treatments (such as artificial tears or lubricating drops) that address symptoms of dry eye, LipiFlow treats the root cause- the obstructed meibomian glands, in a painless 12-minute in-office procedure. Studies show that this can last from 1-3 years or even longer as the data is still being produced.2   

In addition, we specialize in other advanced dry eye treatment therapies such as:

  • Autologous serum tears
  • Restasis (Cyclosporin)
  • Amniotic membrane
  • Punctal plugs
  • Topical steroids
  • Oral anti-inflammatory
  • Eyelid therapy

Empire Eye Physicians’ philosophy has been to offer patients the best in innovative technology. We value your trust in our clinic for the treatment of dry eye and look forward to caring for you. 

Learn more about Dry Eye and MGD 


  1. Lemp MA, Crews LA, Bron AJ, Foulks GN, Sullivan BD. Distribution of aqueous-deficient and evaporative dry eye in a clinic-based patient cohort:a retrospective study. Cornea. 2012;31(5):472-478.
  2. Lane SS, et al.  A New System, the LipiFlow, for the Treatment of Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD).  Cornea 2012; 31:396-404 


Success Stories from Our Patients

I was 17 years old when I got my first pair of contact lenses. I quickly adapted to wearing them and successfully wore them for the next 50 years. Then they became very uncomfortable to wear and I tried several eye drops which did not help. I consulted my Optometrist and he said that perhaps my oil production had lessened leading to the lens irritation and tested my eyes for oil production. After a few easy tests with Lipiview, it was evident that my oil glands were either plugged or no longer functional and he suggested that I try Lipiflow, a procedure to help correct chronic dry eye. I had the painless procedure done right in the office and learned to blink differently and was back to wearing contact lenses without a problem. I would highly recommend this procedure whether you wear contacts or not just for the comfort of moist eyes again.

The Lipiflow treatment has made a 100% difference in my life. I do computer support for a living. My eyes had gotten so bad by early afternoon I could no longer see my 27” monitor. I was desperate to find some help. I found the TearScience Lipiflow information after many days/hours of searching the internet. I immediately started looking for a location near my home. I finally had hope that there was something that sounded promising. I tried all the omega 3, hot compresses, eye drops, steroid eye drops everything my eye doctor recommended. I was so happy to find Empire Eye Center in Spokane offered the treatment. I was able to get an appointment, I drove 4 hours to have the procedure, and drove home the same day with my eyes feeling the best they had in 2 years. The treatment has made a 100 % difference in my eyes. I would recommend it to anyone having dry eye problems. It has been a lifesaver for me.