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Wet Eyes/Lacrimation with Adults

Epiphora (Latin name)

By Bjarne Lühr Hansen PhD, MD and Philipp Skafte-Holm MD, Mentor Institute

In the lachrymal glands of the eye, tears are formed that moist the eyes and wash them clean from dirt. The tears run down over the cornea and mucous membrane of the eye. When you blink the eye, the tears pass on through the tear ducts down to the lachrymal sac and finally end up in the nose and throat. If there is an imbalance between the tear production and the outflow to the lachrymal sac, lacrimation arises.

The problem is relatively common and with most people it is a problem that passes. When we are emotional and cry, so many tears are formed that the tear ducts cannot cope with the outflow and therefore the tears run down the cheeks. Strong light and wind, smoke or irritating gas (e.g. from onion or chilli) can also lead to so many tears that the eyes run with water. In addition, allergies, inflammation or foreign body in the eye can lead to an increased amount of tears.

Reduced production of tears where you have dry mucous membranes can paradoxically lead to lacrimation. This is caused by irritation of the mucous membrane.

If the outflow of tears is blocked or contracted, lacrimation arises. This can be seen by inflammation of the lachrymal sac or in the case of trauma where the tear ducts are damaged.

When the tears run down the cheeks, the skin is irritated that then becomes red and you constantly have to dry the eyes for water.

Further reading on Frequent signs.

What can you do?

You can try to avoid the things you have experienced to trigger lacrimation. If the problem is continuous, you should contact the doctor. To avoid irritation of the skin, you can put an unscented facial crème (Vaseline) on the area surrounding the eyes.

What can your optician do?
Control that your contact lenses function optimally. Evaluate the need for glasses/contact lenses if you experience lacrimation that is caused by strain of the eye. Refer you to an ophthalmologist.

Contact the doctor tomorrow

If the lachrymal sac is inflamed, the doctor can prescribe antibiotics in the form of tablets. In the case of more lengthy symptoms, the doctor can refer to examination and treatment with an ophthalmologist.

Contact the doctor immediately

The doctor can unravel the cause of lacrimation. Blocking of the tear ducts can be treated with surgery. If the nuisances are not caused by blockage, it is often a difficult condition to treat. If the rim of the bottom eyelid is loose so that it cannot collect the tears, it can be tightened by surgery.