Tear duct surgery
Watering eyes are when tears are produced without any obvious reason. It is caused when tears don't drain away properly (epiphora) or too many tears are produced (hypersecretion). Epiphora and hypersecretion can occur as a result of conditions such as conjunctivitis (eye inflammation), an eye injury, or something irritating your eye, such as car fumes.
How tears work
Tears are constantly produced to keep the eyes moist. They are produced in the small gland located above and outside each eye, called the lacrimal gland, and in the small cells found in the membrane that covers the eyeball (conjunctiva). When you blink, tears are spread over the front of your eyes.
The tears drain away through tiny channels known as canaliculi, which are found on the inside of your eyes. The tears drain into a tear "sac" before flowing down a tube and into your nose.
Blocked tear duct
If your tear ducts become blocked or narrowed, or if you have an eye infection, excess tears can build up. This causes the tear ducts to overflow, leading to a watering eye. If you have a blocked tear duct, your eye may water at least 10 times a day.
Who is affected by watering eyes?
You can get watering eyes at any age but it is most common in young babies (0-12 months) and people over the age of 60. It can affect one or both eyes and can cause blurred vision, sore eyelid skin and sticky eyes.
Surgery on the tear duct to alleviate a watery eye is called lacrimal surgery. If you have a watery eye, it is possible that you have a blocked tear duct.
When you are seen, you will be examined to see if your watering is caused by a blocked duct or whether it is happening for some other reason, such as an irritation of the eye causing overproduction of tears. If you have a blocked tear duct and you would like an improvement, it is likely that surgery will be the treatment of choice.
Sometimes a minor procedure, under local anaesthetic, is all that is needed but you may require an operation that requires a general anaesthetic either as a day case or with one night's stay in hospital.