What are Tearing Disorders
Tears are produced constantly by mucin glands which are located in the outer membrane of the eyes. Tears are essential because they coat the front surface of the eye and prevent it from becoming dry, which is vital for eye health. Normally, tears quickly lubricate the eye and then are drained from the eye through a complex system of channels. These channels lead from the inner corner of the eyelids into the nose and are called the lacrimal drainage system. Tears also evaporate from the eye. Tearing disorders or watery eyes are caused by a disturbance of this equilibrium. Tearing can result from dry eyes to abnormal production of tears to blockage of the tear draining system.
How do I know if I have a tearing disorder?
- Tearing or watery eyes
- Frequent ocular discharge
- Tears running down your cheek
What treatments are there for Tearing disorders?
If the tearing is caused by dry eyes, treatment is directed towards dry eye management and may include artificial tears or gel, tear duct plugs to keep more fluid in the eyes, medications for dry eyes and/or laser treatment to the eyelid glands.
Frequently an obstruction of the drainage system is the reason for excessive tearing. This may require an office procedure to open the tear drainage system. If the blockage is not resolved, stagnation of the tears within the draining ducts can lead to an infection. Antibiotic treatment will usually be required and a surgical procedure may need to be performed to open the tear duct.
Tearing in a newborn baby
A newborn baby may present with a “wet” eye in the first few weeks that usually is associated with a mucousy or yellow/greenish discharge. This can be due to a membrane blocking the drainage of tears into the nose. This blockage usually opens spontaneously within four to six weeks after birth. If the tearing persists, contact us to schedule an appointment with our Pediatric Ophthalmologist, Dr. Judith Lavrich.