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Watery Eyes are Dry Eye? That doesn’t make sense!

tears on faceWhen patients present to the office with a complaint of watering eyes, it's an interesting conversation to have to explain to that person. "Well, your eyes are watering because they're dry!" 

Because they think, how could my eyes be dry? I have these tears just rolling down onto my cheek!

The problem is that your tears are composed of many layers of lipids and oils and water essentially. Often, when a patient is experiencing watering eyes, it's because they're deficient in the oil layer of the tear film.

They don't have the component of their tears that keeps that tear on the eyeball. So, their tears are evaporating very quickly and the eye is trying to overcompensate by producing more and more of the water portion of the tears, but because they don't have the oil layer in place, the tears don't stay on the eye and they just roll right down onto the cheek.

This is really common. We see this often in a lot of dry eye patients. The treatment in this situation is to reinstate that oil layer, and when we do that, patients get a resolution of the tearing. 

Patients can also experience excessive eye-watering if the system that drains the tears down into the nasolacrimal system becomes clogged. This happens occasionally as well, and that's a relatively easy fix we do in the office. We simply flush out that nasolacrimal duct and now the tears can drain again. The patient gets relief from the excessive watering 

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