What are watery eyes?
In order for the eye to stay healthy, it is important that it is well lubricated. To do so, it has a gland that is responsible for producing lacrimal fluid. When we blink, the eyelid spreads the lacrimal fluid across the surface of the eye. Excess fluid is drawn into a small duct, eventually flowing into the nasal cavity.
Lacrimal fluid is essential to keep the eye healthy.
What causes it?
Watery eyes are caused by an excess of lacrimal fluid produced when the duct that drains the fluid into the nasal cavity is not functioning properly. This blockage causes tears to accumulate on the surface of the eye and overflow onto the cheek.
How can it be prevented?
In most cases, watery eyes cannot be prevented. When associated with a nasal infection or conjunctivitis, adequate treatment is necessary. Avoiding eye trauma helps to prevent blockage of the tear duct.
As well as excessive tearing, other symptoms are produced, such as excessive mucus, eye irritation and inflammation in the corner of the eye.
The lacrimal fluid that accumulates in the tear duct can sometimes become infected, causing pain and inflammation on the inner edge of the eyelids.
When the tear duct is blocked, surgery can be performed to create a new lacrimal duct (dacryocystorhinostomy). In this procedure, some small silicone tubes are temporarily fitted to ensure that the new tear duct stays open until the healing process has finished.
Tear duct obstruction cannot always be repaired, however. When this occurs, it is necessary to surgically implant an artificial drainage tube.
In both cases, surgery is carried out on an outpatient basis without the need for hospitalisation. Recovery usually takes one week. Patients with tear drainage system problems are treated by oculoplastic surgeons who specialise in diseases and disorders of the eyelids, the lacrimal system, the orbit and adjacent facial structures.