Montgomery Eye Care is a modern practice with old-fashioned values: patients actually spend time with the doctor, not assistants, when they visit the practice.

Owner Dr. Mary Boname, who recently was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Network, doesn’t use technicians to "fill in the gaps." Instead, patients benefit from the questions she asks and the knowledge she gleans, which often helps her discover other issues.

"I go beyond the eye to see what else might be going on with a patient," Dr. Boname said. "Dry eyes could be related to systemic inflammation and autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus. Many medications, vitamins, and supplements have potential drying effects. Poor sleeping could indicate glaucoma or heart issues. That’s why I ask so many questions."

This winter has been incredibly dry so Dr. Boname has seen more patients than usual with dry eyes, tearing, and burning. She’s created a niche as a specialist for dry eyes and ocular surface disease. While these could be indicators of something else, as she noted, they also could simply be side effects from work and home environments and the daily tasks performed as a result of a chosen career. Those who spend long hours on the computer or behind the wheel of a car, and those who are frequent flyers often suffer from chronically dry eyes.

"Studies have shown these issues to be as significant if not more significant than chest pain in terms of frustration and anxiety," she added. "It’s like the pebble in your shoe you can’t remove or a nagging toothache."

Another culprit is meibomian gland dysfunction, which occurs when the eye’s oil glands become chronically inflamed. This leaves thick, congealed oil at the base of each eyelash and causes tears to evaporate more rapidly which, in turn, causes chronic tearing.

"Ocular surface disease and meibomian gland dysfunction are long-term medical conditions like diabetes or hypertension that can cause permanent damage to the tissue and the eyelid," Dr. Boname said. "Treatment depends on the presenting condition, but if you’re using non-prescription drops two times a day with no effect, you need to be evaluated by an eye doctor."

Montgomery Eye Care offers patients comprehensive eye care, plus a large variety of glasses, sunglasses, and contact lenses. The office is open Monday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday: closed; Wednesday and Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturdays 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Hours may vary near holidays, so call or check out the front door, where any changes also will be posted. See display ad on page 22.

Montgomery Eye Care. Montgomery Center, 1325 Route 206, Suite 24, Skillman. 609-279-0005.,

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