What is tearing?

Small glands, located in the surface tissue on the white of the eye and lining the eyelids, constantly produce small quantities of tears to keep the eye healthy and lubricated. The lacrimal gland, a larger gland located in the upper eyelid, responds to emotion or eye irritation by producing larger quantities of tears..

In some people, tears well up in the eye because too many tears are produced or because the tears are not draining properly. Excess tears give the eye a moist appearance, and can collect along the border of the lower lid and overflow onto the cheek.

How is excessive tearing treated?

Treatment depends on the exact cause. If excess tears are caused by an in-turned eyelash, the offending eyelash is removed. Abnormalities of the eyelid may require surgery. If the tear drainage system is block, surgery to open or bypass the blockage may be necessary. The type of surgery depends on the location of the blockage.

For example, it may be necessary to make and additional opening from the lacrimal sac into the nose, a procedure known as dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR. If the problem is dry eyes, artificial tear replacement or even closure of the tear drainage puncta may be helpful.

Image of woman crying

The doctors at Davis Eye Center have either authored or reviewed and approved this content.