- Dr. Saket Kulkarni
Watery Eyes are a frequent issue that mostly affects infants and the elderly. The most typical reason, while there are a few others, is a clogged tear duct. If your symptoms are minimal, you might not require therapy. A clogged tear duct may often be treated surgically. The cause will determine additional treatments. Overactive tear ducts
Each eye has a little gland known as the lacrimal gland just above and on the outside of it. This frequently produces a tiny amount of tears. To keep the front of the eye wet, the eyelid distributes tears across it as you blink.
The tears then flow into a tear sac through little openings on the inner surface of the eye known as canaliculi. They then go into the nose through a passageway known as the tear duct (also known as the nasolacrimal duct). As seen in the following figure, tears normally flow away:
Why do eyes water all the time?
Making too many tears
You can cry often if anything upsets your eyes. The watering is a defence mechanism to keep irritants out of the eye. For example:
● Chemical irritants such as onions or fumes from machines.
● Infection of the front of the eye (infective conjunctivitis).
● Allergy causing inflammation of the front of the eye (allergic conjunctivitis).
● A small injury or scratch to the front of the eye, or a piece of dirt or grit which gets stuck in the eye.
Blocked drainage of tears
Newborns frequently experience this since their tear ducts are somewhat constrained and unable to contain all of their tears (and babies cry a lot!). Babies' tears are rather thick and can become somewhat gunky if they are obstructed. Because of this, many infants have gunky eyes even if an infection is not present. Usually, it goes away on its own in a few months or, at the very least, by the age of one. All you have to do is use warm water and a clean cotton wool pad to wipe away the filth.
The tear ducts of the elderly frequently become smaller as they age. Their eyes get exceedingly moist as a result of the tears not being able to dry properly. The skin immediately between the nose and eye becomes red and uncomfortable on occasion when the clogged tear duct develops a little infection.
Problems with eyelashes or eyelids
The eyeball might get scratched and painful and watery in the elderly when the eyelashes shift inward. Entropion is a condition that can be treated surgically. The lower eyelids may droop outward as a result of the eyelids becoming a little more relaxed and loose with age. The tears then stop flowing down the tear ducts and just fall out of the eye. Ectropion is what this is, and surgery can fix it.
Tests for watery eyes
In most cases, the reason may be quickly determined, such as infections, ectropion, entropion, and conjunctivitis. Additional tests could be suggested if a straightforward examination fails to identify an evident reason. These may vary according on how severe the watering is and how bothered you are by it.
An eye expert may inspect the tear drainage ducts while using local anaesthetic if a drainage issue is detected. To check if the tear sac is obstructed, they may insert a thin rod (probe) into the tiny canaliculi. Fluid can be syringed into the tear duct to see if it empties into the nose if the probe reaches the tear sac. Syringing can occasionally remove a blockage, although the relief may only be momentary. An injection of dye into the tear duct may be necessary if there appears to be a blockage. Next, an X-ray image is captured. On the X-ray film, you can see the dye in the duct.It will display the precise location of any tear duct blockage or constriction.
In some circumstances, further scans may be performed, such as a computerised tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. An eye doctor will be able to provide you advice.
Treatment for watering eyes (Epiphora)
Treating eye irritation
The reason is frequently treatable.
Entropion, or irritating eyelashes, can be treated surgically.
Typically, drops can be used to treat conjunctivitis.
Pieces of grit, etc, can be removed.
Treating tear drainage problems
● Watery eyes in babies often go away on their own without any therapy.
● Blockage of the channels in adults:
● If the watering is light or does not affect you much, you might not require treatment.
● An surgery can clear a clogged tear duct. The common procedure is known as a dacrocystorhinostomy (DCR). The clogged tear duct can be unblocked by inserting a small probe through it.
● If the watering is severe enough to impede your daily activities, DCR surgery may be beneficial. Additionally, it is advised if the clogged tear duct caused an infection in your tear sac. The procedure might stop recurring outbreaks of a red, uncomfortable swelling in the corner of your eye.
● The operation has dangers, so you should only have it done if you completely grasp the benefits and drawbacks.
● By inserting a probe in, a small, constricted channel (canaliculus) that is partially occluded may be made wider