Tear Ducts

When laughing or crying, normally your tear ducts open and the tears flow. But when your eyes begin to water without any apparent reason, an eye condition may be the reason.

Tears perform a wide range of functions, including:

  • supplying your eyes with oxygen
  • acting as a lubricant
  • rinsing foreign particles out of our eyes
  • nourishing the cornea
  • producing antibodies to fight pathogens that enter your eye.

Your lacrimal gland (tear duct) is located in the upper outer eyelid and produces tears which spread across the surface of your eyes. Blinking your eyes pumps excess moisture into your eye’s drainage system via ducts in the upper and lower eyelids and finally into the nose. We all shed tears as a necessary function for optimum eye health.

However, eyes that water for no apparent reason may be the result of an underlying eye condition. Sometimes tear ducts function incorrectly due to minor infections, injuries, irritants, vision straining, or poor composition of tears and can lead to:

  • constant tearing and overflow
  • eye infections due to tear stagnation
  • blurred vision

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Conditions and Treatments:

Endoscopic and External DCR

Tear duct drainage or blockage issues may require a procedure called a dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) which is performed via the nasal cavity to access and clear the tear duct system or bypass any obstruction.

Revision Tear Duct Surgery

In some cases, the eyelid position may interfere with effective drainage of tears and require surgical correction. To minimise scarring on the face, tear duct surgery is usually performed through an incision on the nose which provides excellent access to built-up scar tissue that is most often the cause of the duct obstruction.

Did you know…? Tears brought about by emotions actually have a different chemical make-up than that of reflex tears – they contain significantly more serotonin, a ‘feel-good’ hormone.