Watery eye occurs when there is failure of the tear-drainage system to adequately drain tears from the eye into the nose. This occurs if the tear duct (nasolacrimal duct) is blocked, if the tear duct opening is narrow or misplaced, or when the eyelids become lax.
Tear production is essential for removal of unwanted elements such as dust and pollution, and to ensure the eye remains moist and well-lubricated. Allergies, infections, eyelid loosening (entropion or ectropion) and even dry eyes are all conditions that may result in overflow of tears.
Watery eye can lead to severe skin irritation and redness around the eyes, it can cause blurred vision and can be socially embarrassing.
Your surgeon will conduct a clinical examination of the eye and eyelids to determine the underlying cause impacting the tear production and drainage. In many cases cleaning solutions and eye drops are prescribed and no surgical treatment required.
If the nasolacrimal duct is obstructed a surgical procedure called dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) is required. This involves creating a new drainage connection from the tear sac to the nose to allow tears to bypass the blocked nasolacrimal duct. A small stent is placed inside the nose to maintain the opening and removed 4-6 weeks after surgery in the surgeon’s rooms. This procedure is carried out under a general anaesthetic.
There are two types of DCR, endoscopic or external.
Endoscopic DCR is a minimally invasive procedure using a specialised telescope (endoscope) to allow access to the lacrimal sac via the nose, eliminating the need for a skin incision on the face and improving recovery time.
External DCR involves creating a small external incision on the side of the nose to enter the nasal cavity and is commonly used if the nasal space is too narrow or the smaller tear ducts (canaliculi) are also blocked.
All surgical procedures carry some risk. The information provided here is for general educational purposes only. Please contact Forest Eye Surgery to find out if eyelid surgery is appropriate for your individual situation.