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Our ophthalmology and optometry practice proudly serves Northwest Montana with a decades-long tradition of innovative, high-quality care and a friendly staff. Our ophthalmologists Aaron Alme, Roger Barth, Mark Remington, and Gus Stein, as well as optometrists Shawn Lebsock and Jon Olsen, take great pride in offering every patient the absolute best in vision care.
Our services include fitting for eyeglasses or contact lenses, diagnosing and treating cataracts, glaucoma, and macular degeneration among many other eye diseases, or assessing eligibility for LASIK and other eye surgeries. Our diverse practice includes subspecialists with expertise in glaucoma, retina, oculoplastics, strabismus, and pediatric eye care.
Our expert ophthalmologists and optometrists along with our experienced staff will take the time to answer all of your questions, explain treatment options, and provide the highest quality eye health treatments available. Built on the foundation of patient-first service, convenience and satisfaction, Glacier Eye Clinic serves all of your family eye care needs under one roof. Come visit our new facility!
The Glacier Eye Clinic provides a full range of contact lenses for all needs and lifestyles. If you need to re-order new contact lenses or have any questions regarding contact lenses please contact our office and we will be happy to help you
Contact lenses are among the safest forms of vision correction when patients follow the proper care and wearing instructions. Contact lenses can help correct the following:
Abnormal pupil size and color due to ocular trauma
Low vision is loss of eyesight that makes everyday tasks like reading, writing, crossing the street, or watching television difficult. When vision cannot be improved with eyeglasses, medicine, or surgery, people with low vision need to know how to best maintain their existing vision and best utilize the vision they still have.
Age-Related Macular Degeneration - AMD
Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is one of the most common causes of poor vision after age 60. AMD is a deterioration or breakdown of the macula. The macula is a small area at the center of the retina in the back of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly and perform activities such as reading and driving.
Your eye works a lot like a camera. Light rays focus through your lens onto the retina, a layer of light-sensitive cells at the back of the eye. Similar to photographic film, the retina allows the image to be “seen” by the brain.
Over time, the lens of our eye can become cloudy, preventing light rays from passing clearly through the lens. The loss of transparency may be so mild that vision is barely affected, or it can be so severe that no shapes or movements are seen–only light and dark. When the lens becomes cloudy enough to obstruct vision to any significant degree, it is called a cataract. Eyeglasses or contact lenses can usually correct slight refractive errors caused by early cataracts, but they cannot sharpen your vision if a severe cataract is present.
The most common cause of cataract is aging. Other causes include trauma, medications such as steroids, systemic diseases such as diabetes, and prolonged exposure to ultraviolet light. Occasionally, babies are born with a cataract.
Complete Eye Examination
A complete eye examination does more than determine how clearly you see from a distance and which lens prescription, if necessary, will give you the best possible vision. Your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) will also run a number of tests to check the health and function of your entire eye.
If you have never had an eye examination or are seeing a new ophthalmologist, your doctor or a technician will begin by asking you questions about your medical history, your family’s medical history, and any vision problems you may have. If you wear contact lenses, be sure to bring them with you to your appointment. Your ophthalmologist will check them to make sure that they are the correct prescription, fit, and kind of lens for your eyes.
Treatment Of Eye Diseases
Glacier Eye Clinic is a comprehensive ophthalmologic practice. We have 4 ophthalmologists and 2 optometrists who diagnose and treat nearly all eye conditions. Please refer to a specific eye condition or disease on our website or ask one of our eye care professionals if you have any questions or concerns.
Unfortunately injuries often occur to the eye or surrounding structures. At Glacier Eye clinic we see and treat many different types of injuries. Some injuries require surgery while others can be managed with a thorough evaluation, medications, and time.
Glaucoma is a disease of the optic nerve, which transmits the images you see from the eye to the brain. The optic nerve is made up of many nerve fibers (like an electric cable with its numerous wires). Glaucoma damages nerve fibers, which can cause blind spots and vision loss.
Glaucoma has to do with the pressure inside the eye, known as intraocular pressure (IOP). When the aqueous humor (a clear liquid that normally flows in and out of the eye) cannot drain properly, pressure builds up in the eye. The resulting increase in IOP can damage the optic nerve and lead to vision loss.
Pediatric Eye Care
Children and Vision
Many people are confused about the importance of eyeglasses for children. Some believe that if children wear glasses when they are young, they will not need them later. Others think that wearing glasses as a child makes one dependent on them later. Neither is true. Some children need glasses because they are genetically nearsighted, farsighted, or astigmatic. These conditions generally do not go away nor do they get worse because they are not corrected. For people with refractive errors, eyeglasses or contacts are necessary throughout life for good vision.
Eyelid Surgery and Blepharoplasty
Eyelid surgery is a common method of treatment for entropion (inward turning of the eyelid), ectropion (outward turning of the eyelid), ptosis (drooping of the eyelid), and some eyelid tumors.
Eyelid surgery is usually an outpatient procedure performed under local anesthesia. Risks of surgery are rare but can include bleeding, infection, and eyelid asymmetry due to uneven wound healing. Differences in healing between the eyes may cause some unevenness after surgery.
After eyelid surgery, bruising or a black eye is common but resolves quickly. It may be difficult to close your eyelids completely, making the eyes feel dry. This irritation generally disappears as you heal. Serious complications are rare but can include vision loss, scarring, and infection. To most people, the improvement in vision, comfort, and appearance after eyelid surgery is very gratifying.
As we mature, the delicate skin around the eyes can appear puffy, saggy, or droopy. Eyelid skin stretches, muscles weaken, and the normal deposits of protective fat around the eye settle and become more prominent. The surgical procedure to remove excess eyelid tissues (skin, muscle, or fat) is called blepharoplasty.
Dr. Alme graduated Maxima Cum Laude from Carroll College and attended University of Washington School of Medicine. He did an Internship at the Boise VA Medical Center followed by a residency in Ophthalmology at the University of Nebraska. He also completed a fellowship in VitreoRetinal Surgery at the same university.
Dr. Alme is a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology, and the Nebraska Academy of Eye Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Alme is Board Certified.
Dr. Alme joined Glacier Eye Clinic in July 2008.
Dr. Barth was raised in Eastern Washington and first came to the Flathead Valley on family ski trips as a child. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Washington and continued there for medical school. After medical school he completed his residency in ophthalmology at the Washington Hospital Center in Washington D.C. where he was Chief Resident. Dr. Barth culminated his training with a fellowship in glaucoma at the University of Iowa.
In 1991 Dr. Barth joined Glacier Eye Clinic. His primary professional interests are cataract surgery, glaucoma and macular degeneration. He is Board Certified in ophthalmology. He has served as president of the Montana Academy of Ophthalmology, The Flathead Medical Society and has been a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology Patient Education Committee. He has been Chief of Staff at Kalispell Regional Hospital and continues to serve on several hospital committees.
Dr. Barth enjoys traveling with his wife to visit their three grown children. They have participated in many mission trips providing eye care in South America. For fun Dr. Barth enjoys hiking, skiing, golfing and yard work.
Dr. Remington attended the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University. He graduated from St. Louis University School of Medicine. He did his internship at LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, UT, and his residency in Ophthalmology at University of Cincinnati. He completed additional training in oculoplastic surgery.
Dr. Remington joined Glacier Eye Clinic as an owner/physician in 1998. He is board certified in Ophthalmology and is a member of Montana Medical Association and American Academy of Ophthalmology.
Dr. Stein joined Glacier Eye Clinic in August of 2013. Dr. Stein earned his undergraduate degree in biology, with chemistry and theology minors, from Carroll College in Helena, Montana. He completed his medical studies at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, then carried out his internship at the university’s Department of General Internal Medicine and his residency at its Department of Ophthalmology. He then was awarded a pediatric ophthalmology fellowship through Seattle Children’s Hospital.
Dr. Stein has a history of philanthropic work through providing medical care at free clinics in Ecuador, organizing and performing free sports physicals for middle schoolers, working as a habilitation trainer with autistic children in Helena, and serving the Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program in Eureka. He and his wife Jennifer Tzenis, have a daughter and son.
After completing his undergraduate degree and football career at the University of Montana, Dr. Lebsock earned his doctorate of optometry from Midwestern University in Glendale, AZ. He has training in ocular disease through Bowden Eye Associates in Jacksonville, FL, as well as specialty contact lens training at Phoenix’s Accent Eyes and The Vision Center of West Phoenix. He is a current member of the Montana Optometric Association and is National Board of Optometry certified. Dr. Lebsock grew up in Billings, MT, and enjoys golfing, fishing, and spending time with family and friends. He also coaches the St. Matthew’s middle school football team each fall.
Positive, outgoing and full of energy, Jonathan Olsen’s cheerful disposition helps him connect with people. Jonathan grew up in a small town in Alberta, Canada. Jonathan and his wife, Amber, have resided in Kalispell since 2004. They have three sons and a daughter. He enjoys spending time with his family. Some of his hobbies include hiking, mountain biking and water activities. He is active in Boy Scouts and church. He also enjoys coaching his sons’ basketball teams.
Jonathan graduated from Indiana University as a Doctor of Optometry in 2001. He pursued specialty training in refractive surgery at the Salt Lake Eye Institute, medical co-management and contact lens training from the Indianapolis Eye Care Center. He enjoys the variety of patients and challenges that are presented on a daily basis. Co-management on a variety of surgical patients are a significant part of his day to day clinic. He particularly enjoys working with younger patients.
Glacier Eye Clinic - FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions I have a red spot over the white of the eye what do I have?
A subconjunctival hemorrhage is similar to an ordinary bruise except that the bruise is to the eye. It usually appears as a single red spot or many red splotches spread out over the sclera, the white part of the eye.
Seeing a subconjunctival hemorrhage on the eye can be alarming, but it is quite common, it is usually harmless, and it will heal on its own. It will not affect your vision and usually will not cause pain.
The most common causes of this condition are sneezing, coughing, straining, or anything that raises the blood pressure in the veins, leading to a small rupture in a blood vessel or capillary. Other causes include rubbing the eye vigorously or trauma to the eye. Rare causes include blood clots or systemic blood disorders.
Even though a subconjunctival hemorrhage can seem alarming, treatment is generally not necessary. The blood spot will slowly disappear on its own. If your eye is irritated, an ophthalmologist may recommend using over-the-counter artificial tears.
I see floating objects and flashing lights in my vision what should I do?
As one gets older, the vitreous (the clear, gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye) tends to shrink slightly and take on a more watery consistency. Sometimes as the vitreous shrinks, it separates from its normal attachments and manifests as floaters. Sometimes it exerts enough force on the retina to make it tear. The appearance of flashing lights, floating objects, or a gray curtain moving across the field of vision can be indications of a retinal tear or detachment. If any of these occur, see an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) right away.
I think I have dry eyes what should I do?
Your eyes constantly produce tears at a slow and steady rate so that they stay moist and comfortable. Some people are not able to produce enough tears or the appropriate quality of tears to keep their eyes healthy or comfortable. This condition is known as dry eye.
Symptoms of dry eye include scratchiness, stinging, stringy mucus in or around the eyes, and blurry vision.
Dry eye often increases with age as tear production slows. For women, this is especially true after menopause. Dry eye can be associated with other problems like Sjögren’s syndrome, which can cause dry eyes along with dry mouth and arthritis.
Treatments for dry eye include eye drops called artificial tears to lubricate the eyes and help maintain moisture. Your ophthalmologist may conserve your tears by closing the channels through which your tears drain. You can also try to prevent tears from evaporating by avoiding wind and dry air from overheated rooms and hair dryers. Smoking irritates dry eyes and should be avoided.
Can pills cure Age Related Macular Degeneration?
Link to AMD in our website under heading Comprehensive Retina
When should my infant or child be seen by an ophthalmologist?
Children are examined for any rare congenital problems at birth and at each well-child examination by the primary care physician, who will check for problems that may not be apparent to the parent or child but that could have serious consequences for the child’s vision. When the child is old enough, the primary care physician will perform a more formal vision screening examination. If the parent or the child’s doctor has any concerns, or if there is a family history of strabismus, amblyopia, or other eye conditions, the child should be referred to an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) for evaluation.
Conditions that the primary care physician will screen for include:
strabismus (misaligned eyes); amblyopia (“lazy eye”); ptosis (drooping of the upper eyelid); and decreased vision If the child is referred to an ophthalmologist, he or she will conduct a physical examination of the eyes, using eye chart tests, pictures, or letters to test the child’s ability to see form and detail of objects, and to assess for any refractive error (nearsightedness, farsightedness, and astigmatism).
Vision problems in children can be serious, but if caught in time and treated early, the child’s good vision can be protected.
I just started to get double vision, what should I do?
Diplopia is double vision caused by a problem with the muscles that control the eye or the nerves that stimulate those muscles.
Many conditions can cause diplopia. Double vision is usually a symptom of strabismus (misalignment of the eyes), due to the improper movement of one or more eye muscles. Strabismus is most often found in children, but it can develop later in life. A growth in the eyelid pressing on the front of the eyeball can also cause temporary double vision. Rarely, double vision arises because of an abnormality within the eye, such as a dislocation of the eye’s natural lens.
The onset of double vision in adulthood should be brought to the attention of your ophthalmologist (Eye M.D) immediately to exclude the possibility of a tumor, aneurysm, or neurological problem.).
What is pink eye?
“Pink eye,” the common name for conjunctivitis, is an inflammation or infection of the conjunctiva. The conjunctiva is the outer, normally clear covering of the sclera (the white part of the eye). The eye appears pink when you have conjunctivitis because the blood vessels of the conjunctiva are dilated. Pink eye is often accompanied by a discharge, but vision is usually normal and discomfort is mild.
Either a bacterial or a viral infection may cause conjunctivitis. Viral conjunctivitis is much more common. It may last several weeks and is frequently accompanied by a respiratory infection (or cold). Antibiotic drops or ointments usually do not help, but symptomatic treatment such as cool compresses or over-the-counter decongestant eye drops can be used while the infection runs it course. Unlike viral conjunctivitis, bacterial conjunctivitis can be treated with a variety of antibiotic eye drops or ointments, which usually cure the infection in a day or two.
Conjunctivitis can be very contagious. People who have it should not share towels or pillowcases and should wash their hands frequently. They may need to stay home from school or work, and they should stay out of swimming pools.
Vision is usually normal when pink eye is caused by conjunctivitis. If your vision is affected or you experience eye pain, it is recommended that you see an ophthalmologist.
What is the difference between an Ophthalmologist and Optometrist?
Ophthalmologists (Eye M.D.s) are different from optometrists and opticians in their training and in what they can diagnose and treat.
As a medical doctor, an ophthalmologist is licensed to practice medicine and surgery. He or she diagnoses and treats all eye diseases, performs eye surgery, and prescribes and fits glasses and contact lenses.
four years of college; four years of medical school; one year of internship; and at least three years of residency (hospital-based training) in the diagnosis and medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the eye. While all ophthalmologists specialize in eye problems and can treat all conditions, some decide to concentrate in a specific area of medical or surgical eye care. These ophthalmologists are called subspecialists. They usually complete a fellowship, which requires one or two more years of training in the chosen area. Some subspecialists focus on the treatment of a disease, such as glaucoma. Others sub specialize in a particular part of the eye, such as the retina. Pediatric ophthalmologists sub specialize in treating eye disease in children.
An Optometrist is a doctor of optometry, licensed to practice optometry. Optometrists determine the need for glasses and contact lenses, prescribe optical correction, and screen for abnormalities of the eye. They attend two to four years of college and four years of optometry school.
In some states, optometrists can prescribe certain kinds of drugs to help diagnose and treat some eye conditions. Optometrists do not perform surgery.
An optician is licensed by the state to make optical aids. He or she fits, adjusts, and dispenses eyeglasses, contact lenses, and other optical devices according to the prescription of a licensed ophthalmologist or optometrist. Training for opticians varies from a preceptorship to two years of opticianry school.
What causes a temporary loss of vision or blackout of vision?
A transient loss of vision is often referred to as amaurosis fugax. This is most often caused by an embolic event or a small piece of cholesterol or clot travelling to the eye temporarily blocking the circulation. If you or anyone you know experiences this then you need a prompt evaluation by your ophthalmologist. He may order further testing such as an ultrasound of the neck or heart.
Is it OK if my baby’s eyes cross? One common form of strabismus, or misaligned eyes, is called esotropia. Esotropia, or “crossed” eyes, occurs when the eyes turn inward. Esotropia can be both congenital, when it occurs in infants, and accommodative, which is more likely to develop after two years of age.
The main sign of esotropia is an eye that is not straight. Sometimes children will squint one eye in bright sunlight or tilt their head in order to use their eyes together.
Amblyopia, or “lazy eye,” is closely related to esotropia. Children learn to suppress the double vision associated with esotropia so effectively that the deviating eye gradually loses vision. It may be necessary to patch the good eye and have the child wear eyeglasses before treating the esotropia. If you think your child’s eyes are crossing they need to be seen by an ophthalmologist to determine if there is a problem.
Esotropia is often treated by surgically adjusting the tension on the eye muscles under general anesthesia. The goal of surgery is to get the eyes close enough to perfectly straight so that it is hard to see any residual deviation. Surgery usually improves the condition, and though the results are rarely perfect, they are usually better in young children.