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Dr. Matheson Harris: Our tears are extremely important to the health of our eyes, without enough tears, our eyes are uncomfortable, and our vision suffers. Sometimes though, we have too many tears, and our eyes are wet and blurry.

The most common reason for teary eyes, is actually dry eye. When eyes are dry, a reflex causes the tear gland to pump out lots of watery tears to wet the eye. See our page on "dry eye," for more information on that topic. Sometimes the problem resides in the drainage system of the eye. Each time we blink, our tears are spread across the eye, and then, pushed towards the inside corner, where they drain into a series of tubes.

These tubes carry the tears to our nose, where they get to the back of our throat, and are swallowed. When the tears can't get through this system, they pool on the eyelids, and run down our face. As an Oculoplastic Surgeon, I specialize in treating these types of problems. In the office, we can perform an examination to localize the blockage, and recommend a treatment. Sometimes the only treatment needed is to flush water through the system. Other times, we place stents or do bypass surgery, to make a new drainage pathway.

The most common surgery we perform is called dacryocystorhinostomy or DCR. In this surgery, we create an alternate pathway for the tears to get into the nose, bypassing a blockage in the tear drainage duct. At the end of the surgery, we place a small tube to protect the pathway, which we leave in place for a few months.

What Causes Excess Tearing (Watery Eyes)?

Dr. Matheson Harris discusses the causes of watery eyes, also known as Dry Eye, and the recommended treatment options to improve the condition.