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Why do the eyes produce tears?

The lacrimal gland and other small glands located inside the eyelid and on the white part of the eye constantly produce tears to keep the eye moist, lubricated and healthy.

Lacrimal Apparatus diagram

How do tears drain from the eye?

Tears are produced by glands around the eye and are washed across the eye toward the nose. They drain from the eye through two small openings called the upper and lower puncta, which are located at the inside corner of the upper and lower eyelids near the nose. The tears then move through a passage called the canaliculus and into the lacrimal sac. From the sac, the tears then drop down the tear duct, called the nasolacrimal duct, and drain into the back of the nose and throat. That is why your nose runs when you cry.

Excessive tearing may occur from the following:

  • Dry eyes or a tear film deficiency;
  • Infection or other blockage of the lacrimal (tear) drainage system;
  • Allergic reaction;

A thorough eye examination is necessary to determine the cause of excessive tearing. Dr. Landa may also:

  • Irrigate your tear drainage system with fluid to make sure the pathway is open;
  • Measure tear production;
  • Illuminate the tear drain with a fluorescent dye test;
  • Perform computerized tomography (CT) scanning.

How is excessive tearing treated?

Once Dr. Landa determines the cause, treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Adding a new opening from the lacrimal sac into the nose, a procedure known as dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR);
  • Use of lubricating eyedrops or ointment;
  • Treatment of allergies

Dr. Landa will discuss the most appropriate form of treatment with you.

Want more information about tearing?

Download Our Tearing Brochure

Tearing Brochure