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Watery Eyes

Tears are a mixture of water, salt, protein and mucus. They are constantly produced to keep the eyes moist and healthy. Tears also help to wash away specks of dirt from the surface of the eyes. While tears are important, some people suffer from too many tears, and their eyes are constantly watery. Epiphora: An abnormal overflow of tears from the eyes is called epiphora. People with epiphora often have tears in their eyelashes and streaming down their cheeks. Frequently, the onset of epiphora is sudden. Acute episodes of epiphora usually result from an irritant to the eye, such as sawdust or an allergy. They usually clear up quickly with minor treatment. However, chronic epiphora is usually more complex, and the condition may require surgery.     

The two most common causes of epiphora are:

  • a blockage somewhere in the lacrimal drainage system of the eye
  • an over-production of tears.

Some images and information provided courtesy of RANZCO and Mi-tec Medical Publishing. The complete RANZCO patient education pamphlet is available from your ophthalmologist.