Epiphora can cause the eyes to water slightly, or excessively with a constant overflow of tears. The patient may also experience other symptoms in the eyes, such as visible blood vessels, redness, eyelid swelling, soreness, and sharp pain.
Oculoplastic surgeon Dr. Jennifer Hui provides eyelid surgery and various other eye care procedures to patients in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, La Quinta, Coachella Valley, Riverside, Redlands, Yucaipa, Loma Linda, and surrounding locations.
The treatment will depend on the severity of the problem and the reason for its development.
For patients with mild cases, doctors may recommend only watchful waiting or doing nothing and overseeing the patient’s progress.
The various causes of watering eyes have specific treatment options:
In case the epiphora occurs due to infective conjunctivitis, the physician may prefer to wait for a week or so to see if the issue resolves on its own without the need for antibiotics.
If the watery eyes occur due to an inward-growing eyelash or a foreign substance within the eye, the doctor will eliminate it.
If the eyelid turns outwards, the patient may require surgery to tighten the tendon that holds the outer lid in position.
Blocked tear ducts
Surgery can help create a new channel from the tear sac within the nose to allow the tears to bypass the obstructed portion of the tear duct. This surgical procedure is known as dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR).
In case the drainage channels (canaliculi) on the inside of the eye are narrowed by not fully blocked, the doctor may use a probe to make them broader. The patient may require surgery when the canaliculi are fully blocked.
Watering Eyes in Babies
This condition often resolves by itself within a few weeks in babies.
At times, a sticky liquid may develop around the infant’s eye(s). The parent or guardian can take a piece of cotton wool that has been soaked in sterile water to cleanse the area.
The sterile water will need to be boiled, but ensure that it is cool prior to dipping cotton wool into it.
At times, tears can be dislodged by delicately massaging the tear ducts, which involves applying light pressure with the finger and thumb to the outside of the nose.
Watery eye due to allergies is often seasonal. It is advisable to avoid known allergen triggers, such as pollen, during the spring season.
Medications can help relieve watery eyes and other allergy symptoms. Allergy drugs help mitigate an overactive immune response and offer relief from symptoms. These meds may include:
- eye drops
- cromolyn sodium nasal spray
Blocked ducts and eyelid changes
Blocked tear ducts may resolve by themselves or with antibiotics for an eye infection. The patient can use a warm compress with sterile water to remove any debris in the eyes.
Sometimes, a blocked tear duct requires surgical treatment to open up eye drainage. Surgery may also help repair eyelid changes.
In a clinical trial, it was found that injecting botulinum toxin may relax the muscles that close the tear ducts to treat watery eyes.
Epiphora in infants usually clears up by itself. Newborn babies sometimes have tear ducts that can take a few months to open completely. The eyes may have to be cleaned with sterile wet cotton several times daily.