How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr Dansingani Your Own Question
Dr Dansingani
Dr Dansingani, Ophthalmic Surgeon
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 15
Experience:  BA, MA (Cambridge) MB,BS (London) FRCOphth (London)
Type Your Eye Question Here...
Dr Dansingani is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

Wondering if you could help me please. i have watering eyes

Customer Question

Hello Wondering if you could help me please. i have watering eyes which i have suffered from since i was 11 i am now 28. its really annoying, it started with just one eye, now its in both, and i constantley get a slimey discharge come out of them which i pick out of my eye, its a yellow colour. my eyes water all the time, and when im outside they are terrible. i have been to a eye doctor twice to see if my tear duks are blocked, but they are not, my doctor has told me ive got a infection, but all perscriptions given to me dont do anything. i have been prescribed glasses, and they dont help at all. please please please could you tell me what could be wrong with my eyes, as they seem to be getting worse, and i suffer with alot of blured vision now, as i keep picking them because of the slime. Thank you
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Eye
Expert:  Dr Dansingani replied 8 years ago.
Dear *****,

Eyes water for a number of reasons that may be divided up as follows:
  1. Too much tear production
  2. Impaired tear drainage

Impaired drainage may be due to laxity of the lower lid (so that it fails to form a proper gutter for tear drainage) or blockage of the tear duct system. Given that you are probably too young to have lid laxity and your tear ducts have already been checked, we have to look at tear over production.

Overproduction is usually due to continued irritation of the surface of the eye. This can be due to infection, inflammation, allergy etc.

However, your post describes perfectly the condition known as 'mucus-fishing syndrome.'

This term is given to a vicious cycle in which the patient habitually removes mucus strands from the conjunctiva. This traumatises and stimulates the conjunctiva to produce more mucus (mucus productions is the eye's normal response to any irritative injury). Since more mucus is produced, the patient perpetuates the vicious cycle by fishing out this mucus, and stimulating the eye to produce even more.

The effective way to break the cycle is simply to stop extracting the mucus strands. If you must remove any excess mucus, you must do so without touching any part of the surface of the eye. If mucus has become externalised on the skin, it may be removed very gently by wiping away with a clean tissue with the eyes closed.

Another strategy that can help to break the cycle is N-acetyl-cysteine eye drops (marketed in some places as i-lube). Used upto three times per day, this can help dissolve mucus so that it doesn't form tenacious strands. However, the key to the whole thing is to abstain from manually extracting the mucus from the conjunctiva.

I hope your symptoms are alleviated soon. If the advice is helpful, kindly click the 'accept' button.

Thanks & best wishes.
Dr Dansingani and other Eye Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.

Hello. thank you for your message, this sounds like something i may have, and i would like it if i could try some treatments for it. You mentioned " N-acetyl-cysteine eye drops " do you know of a website where i could buy this please? Also will it sting my eyes, and will it help to stop the watering ?

Thank you so much for your reply.



Expert:  Dr Dansingani replied 8 years ago.
Hi Becky,

I'm not sure where you could obtain this drop. In the UK it is available on prescription only and marketed by Alcon as Ilube.

It does sting for a short while when instilled but not too bad. I wouldn't expect you to need it for more than a week or two to break the cycle.

If the problem resolves I would expect the watering to improve. If the watering does not resolve completely, there may be an allery underlying the whole process. Consider whether you are allergic to anything (pets, dust, bedding, make-up) or whether you have hayfever. Once the mucus-cycle is broken, allergy would be easier to treat by:
  1. avoiding whatever you are allergic to
  2. using a drop such as cromoglycate or olapatadine
But first things first... please avoid touching your eyes, however tempting, so that the mucus production is regularised. (The Ilube may help but is not essential.)

Best wishes.