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Tears without reason 

PAGE 32 TEARS

Everyone cries from time to time but watering eyes is when tears are produced without any obvious reason.

It is caused when tears don’t drain away properly (epiphora) or too many tears are produced (hypersecretion).

Epiphora and hypersecretion can occur as a result of conditions such as conjunctivitis (eye inflammation), an eye injury or something irritating your eye, such as car fumes.

How tears work

Tears are constantly produced to keep the eyes moist. They are produced in the small gland located above and outside each eye, called the lacrimal gland, and in the small cells found in the membrane that covers the eyeball (conjunctiva). When you blink, tears are spread over the front of your eyes.

The tears drain away through tiny channels known as canaliculi, which are found on the inside of your eyes. They drain into a tear “sac” before flowing down a tube and into your nose.

Blocked tear duct

If your ducts become blocked or narrowed, or if you have an eye infection, excess tears can build up. This causes the ducts to overflow, leading to a watering eye. If you have a blocked tear duct, your eye may water at least ten times a day.

Who is affected by watering eyes?

You can get watering eyes at any age but it is most common in young babies (0-12 months) and people over the age of 60. It can affect one or both eyes and can cause blurred vision, sore eyelid skin and sticky eyes.

Treatment

Treatment isn’t always necessary for watering eyes and mild cases may not need treatment at all.

It depends on how severe the problem is and what is causing it. For example, if you have a blocked tear duct, surgery may be required to unblock it.