The eyes get watery sometimes, but the production of tears should not become a nuisance. The eyes typically make enough tears to keep the ocular surface moist, and they also have natural drainage tubes that clear old fluid out to make way for new tears. There are several reasons why tears may build up and cause excessively watery eyes. If you’re living with this condition that we refer to as Epiphora, you need to know there are solutions that can put a stop to this frustrating problem.
What Causes Watery Eyes?
The thing about watery eyes is that there is more than one potential cause. Therefore, there must be more than one available treatment option. To determine the most appropriate protocol for treating watery eyes, we must know what is causing them. This means we have to look at the tear film.
Ocular health relies heavily on a healthy tear film. Tears aren’t just for crying, they provide vital nutrients to the ocular surface and contain antibodies that help ward off infection. Tears originate in the lacrimal gland that is located deep within the tissue of the upper, outer eyelid. They have a fatty layer, an aqueous layer, and a mucus layer, each of which is present when the tear film leaves the gland. When tears leave the lacrimal gland, they are spread across the eye by blinking. They travel from the upper, outer region to the inner, lower region, where they can then exit the eye through the puncta and down through the nose.
What Causes Excessive Tearing?
We cannot assume that excessive tearing means that the lacrimal gland is simply over productive. There are several other causes to consider. It could be that the eyelids are inflamed or that there is a malposition of the eyelid. Either detail of the eye could disrupt the balance of the fatty layer of tears. Without sufficient oil, the tear film evaporates quickly, causing dry eye. When the ocular surface is intensely dry, the natural response is for the lacrimal gland to make more tears. Excessive watering resultant from dry eye syndrome may be a relatively easy fix using eye drops or innovative ophthalmic treatments to reduce eyelid inflammation.
Excessive tearing resultant of eyelid malposition may relate to entropion or ectropion. Entropion describes an inward turning of the eyelid margin. An inward turn can cause inflammation as the eyelashes rub against the ocular surface. Conversely, ectropion describes an outward turn. When the eyelid turns outward, there is no contact between the eyelid margin and the eye, which exposes the ocular surface to the environment. The natural reflex, then, is for the eye to water. Because the outward turn also disrupts the position of the punctum, the natural drainage system, tears also have nowhere to go. Eyelid malposition can often be corrected in an outpatient procedure.
Schedule a Consultation
We have discussed only a few of the potential causes of excessive tearing. To discover why your eyes are watering excessively, schedule a consultation in our Denver office. Call (303) 839-1616 for assistance.