We naturally expect to get somewhat teary when watching intense movies or when slicing onions. However, watery eyes are not something that we ever expect to be the norm. The eyes usually have a sufficient tear film to keep the ocular surface moistened and comfortable, but not so much that tears spill over the eyelids. If excessive watering is something that you struggle with frequently, even daily, you have an excellent reason to see a qualified eye doctor. Solutions exist, and we can help you find the right one.
Correcting excessive tearing is not a simple matter. There are several reasons why the eyes may water. Therefore, there must be solutions for each one. To begin the exploration of watery eyes, we may first look at the tear film itself.
Tears are not only produced when we cry; the lacrimal glands in the upper, outer corner of the upper eyelids are always at work. Here, three components come together to make tears: oil, aqueous fluid, and mucus. For tears to be useful, each element must exist in balance to the others. Upon exiting the lacrimal gland, tears cover the ocular surface when we blink. Blinking directs the tear film across the eye to the inner, lower corner, where natural drainage tubes call puncta are located. This journey sounds simple, but there are enough steps for misadventure to happen.
What Causes Excessive Tearing?
We can’t presume that excessively watery eyes stem from an overproduction of tears. There are a few other reasons this problem may occur. For example, eyelid inflammation called blepharitis can cause over-watering. Eyelid malposition is another common reason for unreasonable tearing. Eyelid malposition may involve:
- An inward turn of the eyelid. We refer to this as entropion. When the eyelid turns inward, the eyelashes come into contact with the ocular surface, causing inflammation.
- An outward turn of the eyelid. This is referred to as ectropion. When the eyelid turns outward, irritation stems from overexposure to the environment and the natural drying that results. Additionally, an outwardly-turned eyelid changes the position of the punctal drains that usher tears out of the eye.