Tears have a protective function on the eye. They moisturize the front of the eye, clean it of external irritants and are the eye’s first immune barrier. Maintaining its humidity allows us to have clearer vision. Tears are produced in the tear gland located in the outer corner below the upper eyelid and to a lesser extent in the auxiliary tear glands located along the eyelids. With each blink, they are blown across the surface of the eye, cleansing and moisturizing it. They normally flow through the tear ducts and enter the tear sac located in the inner corner of the eye, and from there they enter the nose. The normal daily amount of tears is 30 drops, noting that no tears are secreted during sleep. Tears contain the highest percentage of water (98%), and the rest are proteins, minerals, enzymes and immunoglobulins. The eyes usually water for two reasons:
  • The tear ducts are blocked or
  • There is increased tear production.

What does increased tearing mean?

Increased tear production is one of the three signs of eye disease (epiphora, blepharospasmus and fotophobia). It can be the result of banal eye irritations, but also the result of serious eye diseases. Household dust, dry air, cigarette smoke, aerosols can be mentioned as irritants. One of the most common causes of increased tearing is the result of an allergic reaction of the eye. There are a number of substances that cause an allergic reaction. For example, in the spring the most common is an allergy to pollen, various flowers, grass, etc. Allergies can be caused by various cosmetic products, contact lenses. People who keep pets often complain of increased tearing of the eyes, which may be the result of an allergy to the hair of those animals.

Do I need to call a doctor every time I have a tear in my eye?

If tearing is accompanied by intense redness, scratching and pain in the eye, or blurred vision, an eye examination is urgently needed. The ophthalmologist will determine if it is inflammation of the eyelids (blepharitis), conjunctivitis (conjunctivitis) or corneal disease (keratitis, foreign body of the cornea, superficial erosions, etc.) and will recommend adequate therapy. What is interesting is that we also have increased tearing in dry eye syndrome. It sounds paradoxical, but the explanation is actually that due to the dryness of the superficial layers, the eye is constantly irritated (feeling of a foreign body) and because of that, the tear gland is stimulated to produce more tears. Therapy is artificial tears.

What should be done to reduce tearing?

  • To consult an ophthalmologist;
  • To discover the cause of the intensified tearing;
  • To avoid the irritants that led to that condition;
  • Use eye drops to moisturize the eye; antiallergic or antibiotic drops and
  • To wear goggles.