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Dr. Dan B.
Dr. Dan B., Board Certified Ophthalmologist
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 3343
Experience:  Eye surgeon experienced in cataracts, glaucoma, retina & neuro-ophthalmology
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What treatment is available for reflex tears

Customer Question

What treatment is available for reflex tears
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

Hello and thanks for your question.


Please correct me if I'm wrong, but it sounds as though you are asking what available treatment there is for persistent tearing or watering from the eyes. It also sounds as though the openings in your eyelids that normally drain the tears have been further opened to facilitate better drainage. Is this correct?

Customer: replied 6 years ago.
Yes, this is correct. The ducts have been surgically opened to facilitate better drainage, but I am still having persistent/watering.
Expert:  Dr. Dan B. replied 6 years ago.

A watery eye is usually due to one of a few problems: 1. the eyelids not being positioned correctly (surgery, trauma, skin loosening as we age or a Bell's palsy can cause this); 2. There is some inflammation inside or on the eye (corneal scratches or infections and/or iritis) and the eye responds by being light-sensitive and also waters. This is usually not a chronic condition, but a solitary event; or 3. Dry eye.


By far dry eye is the most common cause of tearing. It sounds backwards to attribute tearing to a dry eye, but when the eye is dry, the eye sends a signal to the brain that tells the eye to water, but the watering is usually not sufficient to keep the eye hydrated over the long haul. There are many reasons to have a dry eye. Some of the most common are: not making enough of your own tears, having eyelid inflammation called blepharitis, allergies, living in a dry/windy/dusty environment and some medicines (antihistamines commonly).


One of the first things to do to start treating dry eye is to start using artificial tears 4x/day for a few weeks. It must be consistent, daily use, however, or it won't work. Then, if there is mattering or crusting on the eyelashes in the morning and the eyes burn, sting or feel more irritated in the morning than the evening, then a daily regimen of hot compresses on the eyes x 10 minutes, followed by scrubbing the eyelashes with a dilute baby shampoo solution will help treat eyelid inflammation. If these things are done consistently, it is likely that you will have a noticeable improvement, but you must be consistent about them.


Does this make sense and does this help address your concerns?


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My opinion is solely informative and does not constitute a formal medical opinion or recommendation. For a formal medical opinion and/or recommendation you must be examined by your doctor.