Overflow of tears from the eye due to overproduction or poor drainage
- Most common in babies and elderly people
- Gender, genetics, and lifestyle are not significant factors
Watery eye may result from irritation of the eye by a foreign body such as a particle of dirt. Older people often have watery eye as a result of entropion, in which the eyelashes rub against the eye, or ectropion, in which tears do not drain away normally. The watering usually stops when the irritant is removed or the underlying condition is corrected. Watery eye may also occur as a result of a blocked nasolacrimal system (which drains tears), possibly caused by an infection of the eye.
Babies may have watery eyes because the nasolacrimal system is underdeveloped. Gently massaging between the corner of the eyelid and the nose may help. The condition usually corrects itself by the age of 6 months. Persistent blockages, at any age, must be treated by a doctor, who may clear the tear duct by inserting a fine probe.
From the 2010 revision of the Complete Home Medical Guide © Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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