Understanding the Possible Causes of Excessive Tearing

  • Posted on: Sep 30 2014
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Excessive tearing or frequent episodes of watery eyes may be a sign of an underlying condition or may be a condition in itself. As a board certified ophthalmologist, Dr. Daniel Tresley has helped men and women who have issues with excessive tearing through accurate diagnosis of the underlying problem. If you’ve been tearing more than the usual lately, here’s what you need to know!

A Quick Look on the Normal Lacrimal System

The body’s lacrimal (tearing) system is mainly composed of 3 parts: the glands responsible for producing the tears, the openings (drainage) in which the tears freely flow, and the ducts inside the nose that drain the tears. Excessive tearing, medically known as epiphora, may result if there is a problem with one or all of the three basic parts. In some cases, irritation from outside elements may also lead to overproduction of tears such as in the case of allergies.

Problems with the Tear Glands

There are several circumstances wherein problems may arise in the tear glands which could result to excessive tearing and of the most common reason has to do with the meibomian glands (one of the lacrimal glands responsible for producing the oil in tears which prevents it from evaporating quickly).

Issues with the meibomian glands may either lead to overflow of tears or ironically, dry eye syndrome. In dry eye syndrome, lack of oil produced by the meibomian glands will only make the eyes drier as one blinks.

Problems with Drainage

The openings in which the tears freely flow are called punctum. Each four openings or puncta are akin to valves which take tears out of the eye. They can be found out within the edges of the eyelids just near the nose. If one or all of the puncta are blocked, tears are most likely to overflow. Dirt particles and infection are the most common causes of blocked puncta.

Problems with Drainage Ducts

Tears from the punctum will drain down to the nasolacrimal duct which goes through underneath the skin and the nasal bones. This explains why your nose becomes stuffed when you cry. Blockage in the nasolacrimal duct may lead to excessive tearing. Swelling and pain in the area between the eye and the nose may also be present.

Your Personalized Treatment Plan

Treatment for excessive tearing will be dependent on any of the aforementioned underlying cause. A thorough assessment by Dr. Tresley will be done before a personalized treatment plan will be formulated. Treatment may also range from antibiotics  to warm compresses to surgery.

Call us at 847.291.6900 or fill out this contact form to schedule an appointment today. We look forward to helping improve your vision and lead a better life!


Posted in: Tearing Disorders

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