Tearing in adults

Small glands (called lacrimal glands) located in the eye's orbit, the white part of the eye, and lining of the eyelids constantly produce tears to keep the eye moist, lubricated and healthy.

How do tears drain from the eye?

As new tears are produced, old tears 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 our noses run when we cry.

Excessive tearing may occur from the following:

How is the cause of excessive tearing determined?

A thorough eye examination by an ophthalmologist (Eye M.D.) is necessary to determine the cause of excessive tearing. He or she may also:

How is excessive tearing treated?

Once your ophthalmologist determines the cause, treatment may include one or more of the following

Your ophthalmologist will discuss the most appropriate form of treatment with you.

Copyright © 2003 American Academy of Ophthalmology

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