Watery eyes? Ironically you may have dry eye disease!

As we head into winter it is not unusual to notice some extra ocular moisture when outside on a crisp morning. However if your peepers are welling up throughout the day, even when not watching ‘The Notebook’, then you may have an eye problem to blame.

The puncta: Our eye’s drainage channel. This can block up downstream and cause watery eyes.

Tears drain out of the eye through two holes, called puncta, at the inside corner of our eyes. These channels can block up due to a build-up of debris, infection, or age-related narrowing. Just like plugging a bath and filling it up, eventually your tears will spill out onto your cheeks. If the drainage holes flop away from the eye when your lids become loose with age this can also lead to bothersome watering. Our optometrist Mr Alex Petty can perform a treatment called lacrimal lavage to flush out any blockage, or recommend alternative treatments to help any faulty ocular plumbing.

Hayfever sufferers will be well aware how watery their eyes can become when their allergies flare up. Many people are not aware they have ocular allergies, and can help their symptoms with appropriate anti-histamine eye drops. These are best prescribed by your optometrist, as some allergy drops available in pharmacys do not reduce the action of the histamine molecule which cause the symptoms of allergy, or can lead to rebound redness of the eyes when the drops wear off.

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However the most common cause of a watery eye is in fact dry eye disease, which can affect ~20% of kiwis. When the corneal nerves get irritated from dryness, the lacrimal gland can overcompensate and flood the eyes with unstable tears, blurring vision. In some people this can occur without the classic dry eye symptoms of red, gritty and sore eyes. Dry eye disease has a range of causes and requires a thorough examination to determine the best management. At Bay Eye Care we offer a comprehensive dry eye work-up, using cutting edge diagnostic tools to evaluate your eye condition.

If symptoms are bothering you visit our therapeutic optometrist Mr Alex Petty, and take control of those troublesome tears in your eyes!