Excessive tearing may be a sign of dry eye syndrome

Excessive tearing may be a sign of dry eye syndrome

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For many patients with dry eye syndrome (DES), their primary symptom is excessive tearing. A healthy tear film is a necessary component to clear vision and comfortable eyes, but like anything in excess, tearing can be a real nuisance.

One question that I frequently get from patients is: "But if my eyes are dry, why are they constantly watering?" Normally we produce just enough tears to protect the cornea and create good vision. But under certain situations, we may over-produce tears. For example, if we get a particle of sand in our eye, the nerves on the cornea tell the gland to overproduce tears to wash away the sand.

In the case of DES, the cornea is inflamed, typically from chronically low levels of tears throughout the day, or poor quality of tears (evaporative dry eye). The nerves in the inflamed cornea ask the lacrimal gland for help: make more tears! But the side effect of this is watery eyes.

What about treatment? First, it is best to be examined by an ophthalmologist to determine the cause. If the watering is found to be a response to the irritation from DES, then the typical initial treatment is over-the-counter artificial tears to soothe the irritated cornea. For more advanced cases of dry eyes where artificial tears have not been helpful, other options such as prescription cyclosporin drops (Restasis) or Intense Pulse Light (IPL) therapy may be helpful.

Call our office today to schedule a consultation. Relief is on its way!


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