Tearing Evaluation and Treatment

Excessive tearing and watering of the eyes is a fairly common problem. Since there are a variety of disorders which may cause your eyes to tear, determining the underlying reason for the tearing is the first step in establishing a successful treatment plan. The following are some of the more common causes of tearing.

Dry Eyes

This may seem ironic, but an eye that is dry is prone to tearing. With dry eyes, the normal constant production of tears is deficient. The surface of the eye becomes dryer and dryer, the eye becomes irritated, and then it pours out tears. Dry eyes are actually one of the more common causes of tearing, and there are many treatment options available.

Allergic Eye Disease

Indoor or outdoor allergies often cause symptoms of itching, redness and tearing of your eyes. Avoiding areas that are known to irritate your eyes and/or treatment with appropriate allergy eye drops and medicines is helpful.

Lacrimal (Tear Duct) Obstruction

The lacrimal (tear) duct is responsible for draining the tears away from the eye. Blockage of this duct can occur with time. It is more common in women and/or people with a history of sinus disease. Surgical treatment is often required.

Eyelid Disorders

The lower eyelids are responsible for holding tears against the eyeball and pushing them down into the tear duct. Lower eyelids that are abnormally loose (typically from age), scarred (from an injury or previous surgery), or paralyzed (from a either a stroke or Bell’s palsy) do not contain the tears well and the eye will be prone to tearing. Sometimes surgery to reposition the eyelid is helpful.

Tearing may also occur as a result of abnormal mattering or crusting of the eyelids from blepharitis, a condition in which the oil glands of the eyelids are malfunctioning. In these cases, eyelid scrubs and antibiotic eye drops are often helpful in controlling the eyelid matter, which in turn lessens the tearing.

In many cases, tearing is the result of a combination of causes, and some people have eyes that are sensitive and simply prone to tearing. Nevertheless, with a thorough eye examination and a careful history of the problem, a successful treatment is usually achievable.

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