Epiphora; Tearing - increased
Consider the cause of the tearing. If the eyes feel dry and burn and then begin to tear, consider using artificial tears before tearing occurs. This prevents the reflex tearing.
If the eyes are itchy and uncomfortable, consider allergy as a cause. Over-the-counter antihistamines can be useful. A mucous discharge from the eyes or red eyes may indicate a blocked tear duct or eyelid problem.
Tearing is not an emergency, but it can be very annoying and usually can be treated.
Contact your health care provider if you have:
The doctor will take a medical history and examine your eyes.
Medical history questions documenting increased tearing may include:
The physical examination may include a detailed eye examination.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed are:
Once the symptoms are explained, the cause is usually clear. Treatment can include:
If you might have a blockage of the tear system, your doctor may use a probe to test the tear drainage system. This is painless. If you have a blockage, you may have surgery to correct the problem. Minor surgery can fix improper eyelid position.
Hurwitz JJ. The lacrimal drainage system. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.
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