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Dr. Stevens
Dr. Stevens, Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 1404
Experience:  Board Certified Ophthalmologist
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what causes burning watery eyes

Resolved Question:

this has only been a problem the last couple of weeks. I have my eyes checked twice a year and they are fine.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Stevens replied 7 years ago.

Hello there

what is your age and gender? do you have any sneezing, itching in the eyes? do you wear contacts?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
My age is 73, yes sneezing but it feels more like burning than itching and no I don't wear contacts. My eye doctor said at my last visit my eyes were healthier than the average person at my age.
Expert:  Dr. Stevens replied 7 years ago.

HelloCustomer/p>

In someone your age, the most common cause of tearing and burning is poor surface lubrication. Lets talk a bit about this now so you know what is happening. You may or may not know, the tears that help lubricate the eye are made of 3 different components. One is the actual watery component made in the lacrimal gland under your brow. It is where the water is made and if you get something in your eye or your eye is irritated, this gland goes in to overdrive and causes tears to be produced excessively. Second, is the mucous component and rarely do patients have a deficiency of this. Third is the oily component of the tears and this comes from the glands at the base of the lashes, called meibomian glands. Those glands are often the culprit in someone with dryness, irritation and tearing.....yes, folks with meibomian gland dysfunction have lots of tearing and here is why. Stay with me....

when your hands are dry, you dont put water on them although it makes sense to do so if you think about it in the most basic sense. However, you go get lotion which is oil and water mixed in a precise mixture. Same with your eyes, if you have any reduction in the output of these oil glands as seen with aging, oil glands become boggy and they dont drain and it contributes to a tear that is more mucousy, but less oily and the tear evaporates quickly and the surface of the eye becomes irritated as there is no continuous lubrication. Instead the surface becomes irritated and it causes running of the eyes. Unless the glands become more functional, the situation never gets better.

 

Here is what I suggest. You need to apply heat packs which will help the oils get moving. We are not talking a warm washcloth, that gets cold quickly, rather a heat pack that applies constant heat for at least 3-5 minutes at a time. Also, use lubricants which already have the proper oil content to help lubricate and heal the irration on the surface of your eye. You can purchase something like Soothe XP, hypotears, Refresh Optive and aplly it 3-4 times daily. This regimen will help heal your eyes and reduce the burning, stinging and tearing. Take care and let me know if there is any more questions or concerns.

Sincerely XXXXX XXXXX

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