Watery eyes (epiphora) are a common problem with a variety of causes, requiring careful examination to determine the management.
The eyelid has a complex tear drainage system. Tears are made in the lacrimal gland (situated in the outer quadrant of the upper eyelid) and then swept across the surface of the eye where they are drained via small 2mm openings called the puncti. The puncti are the entry points to the drainage system which empties tears into the nose.
The role of tears are to protect, lubricate and nourish the cornea (front window of the eye). Tears are produced by neuronal stimulation of the lacrimal gland but can also be triggered as a reflex from an external irritant or dry eye.
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It is not normal for the eye to water excessively. A persistent watery eye can cause the stickiness and skin irritation. It can give the appearance of constant crying and cause eye-makeup to smudge. This can be embarrassing and have a substantial effect on the quality of life.
In order to determine the cause of watery eyes, a thorough consultation and assessment by an oculoplastic surgeon is required. This includes flushing water through the tear ducts, a process known as lacrimal syringing. A watery eye is usually due to an excess in tear production or an obstruction of outflow. Once the cause has been established, treatment or surgery can be offered to relieve symptoms.
How long does watery eye treatment take?
Allow 30 minutes for a watery eye consultation, examination and lacrimal syringing ‘tear duct washout.
There is no downtime after a watery eye assessment.
The outcome is dependent on the cause of watery eyes, and most patients respond well to their treatment.
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