Why Are My Eyes Teary?

  • Posted on: Aug 15 2020
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Excessive tearing can be irritating when it happens now and then. When the problem is persistent, it can be troubling. What could be causing the eyes to tear so much? Is it an indication of allergies? An eye disease? Here, we take a closer look.

There are glands in the eyes that produce the various components of the tear film. These components include water, mucus, and oil. The tear film spreads across the ocular surface (the eyeball) when we blink. Some of the fluid evaporates from the surface, and some exists the eye through tear ducts. Some may flow out of the eye onto the lower eyelid.

What Might Cause Tearing?

There are a few assumptions about what may cause the eyes to produce too much tear film. One is that excessive tearing is a side effect of dry eye syndrome. This condition occurs when the tear film is not balanced and the ocular surface is too dry. Although this is a potential cause, it is not what leads to excessive tearing in every case. The term excessive tearing refers to more than the wetness that a person with dry eyes may feel; it refers to tears running down the cheeks.

When there is so much fluid on the eyes’ surfaces that tears run down the cheeks, it is nearly always due to a structural abnormality in the tear drainage mechanism. The eyes have two tear ducts, one in the upper eyelid and one in the lower. These are called the canaliculus. These tear ducts empty into the lacrimal sac, which joins the nasolacrimal duct near the nose. It’s a relatively complex system that requires precision for proper function.

The position of the eyelids may affect the ability for the small tear ducts in them to pick up tears from the eyes. The small ducts could also be obstructed by excess conjunctiva, the clear film that covers the white of the eye. It is also possible that the nasolacrimal duct could become blocked or may simply be narrow. In this case, additional symptoms such as eye discharge or frequent eye infections may occur.

The abnormalities that cause excess tearing may require a minor procedure to restore adequate tear drainage from the eye. Most cases of excess tearing can be treated in the office with a local anesthetic to make patients completely comfortable.

We proudly serve patients in Canfield, Alliance, and North Canton. To schedule a visit, contact an office near you today.

Posted in: Excessive tearing

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