What can be done for watering eyes?
Watering eyes can be very troublesome as they blur vision, cause dirty, smudged glasses, are associated with stickiness and discomfort, and can make the skin sore where the tears drip down. Watering eyes cause social embarrassment because other people often ask sympathetically “Are you crying?” or “Are you alright”. This can interfere significantly with carrying out work or attending meetings and being effective. It’s hard to be persuasive in a meeting if you look as if you are crying and giving the wrong signals.
Patients of all ages get watering eyes. I see many young adults and middle-aged adults troubled by narrowed tear ducts. Although it is more common in older aged persons, especially women as their bony tear canals are narrower, there are many active working-aged people with tearing who require my professional help and watering eyes surgery, DCR (dacryocystorhinostomy).
First of all, patients with watering eyes can be referred to me at Clinica London by their GP or directly via writing to me via the website to request more information and a consultation. Once a consultation is booked, I can begin to assess what can be done for watering eyes for the individual.
At the consultation, I take a history. Then I start by examining the front of the eye, the tear film, the eyelids, their position and function and the little openings at the corners of the eyelids called the puncta.
I then syringe some saline gently down through the puncta into the sac and hopefully onwards into the nose. Patients sometimes experience as a small amount of saline trickling in the back of their throat. If only a little saline reaches the throat, it can indicate a narrow nasolacrimal duct. If none at all reaches the throat, the tear duct is fully blocked.
I can usually tell at what level the block is and then advise accordingly on the best possible surgery. Possible surgeries can be minor such as punctal dilation or one-snip or can be bigger requiring an operation done in the nearby private hospital either under local anaesthetic with sedation or a general anaesthetic.
The main operation for watering eyes from a narrow or blocked tear duct is called a dacryocystorhinostomy, or DCR for short. This makes a small opening from the lacrimal sac into the nose through which the tears can easily pass and relieve the feeling of watering. DCR is done usually under local anaesthetic with sedation or full general anaesthetic. The procedure requires about a week to 10 days off work in which to recover.
I will be talking more about how I investigate patients for watering eyes and the operations that are available for watering eyes in the next few blog posts.