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Tearing Problems

Tearing throughout the day can affect your ability to read, drive, and do the things you enjoy. Tearing can be caused by a number of things, including dry eyes, eyelid abnormalities, or a problem with the tear drain. Your ophthalmologist may determine the problem is eyelid- or tear drain-related and refer you to our practice.

The eyelids serve as a pump mechanism to push the tears towards the small openings of the tear drain. Eyelid abnormalities such as laxity, retraction, entropion, or ectropion may prevent the tears from making it to the tear drain. Surgery to put the eyelids back where they once were may eliminate tearing.

The tear drain begins with a small opening in the upper and lower lid in the corner of the eye near the nose. Each opening is connected to a small tube called the canaliculus. The canaliculus then empties into the lacrimal sac. Once the tears reach the lacrimal sac, they flow through a small boney canal called the nasolacrimal duct and ultimately empty into the nose. A tear drain problem can occur with any of these structures and can lead to annoying tearing.

There are numerous causes of tear drain problems, including infection or inflammatory changes. A number of surgical and nonsurgical treatments are available for tearing. Depending on the cause, treatment may be as simple as using warm compresses. Some minor tear drain surgeries can be performed in the office. A new tear drain can be created (dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR), in which case your surgery may be performed at an outpatient facility or the hopsital operating room. See our oculoplastic surgeon who specializes in eyelid and tear drain problems to determine the cause of your tearing.