tearing

The tear film serves many functions for the eye. Tears lubricate the eye and protect the eye from foreign bodies by washing them away.  Tears also help vision by creating a smooth surface for the refraction of light.  Too little tears can cause dry eye, where the eyes feel irritated and “tired.” Too much and the fluid will collect along the lower eyelid, making the eyes feel weepy and the vision blurry.  Tearing can be so bad that the tears overwhelm the nasolacrimal “drain” and roll down the cheek instead (epiphora).  Most people with “weepy” eyes actually suffer from dry eye.  Their basal tear production is too low, causing intermittent episodes of ocular irritation. When the eyes are irritated, reflexive tearing from the lacrimal gland turns on and floods the eye like a waterfall.  This results in periodic episodes of dry eye followed by periods of intense watering.  Sometimes, a regularly scheduled regimen of rewetting drops (artificial tears) can help even out this cycle.

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Dr. Timothy Root is a practicing ophthalmologist and cataract surgeon in Daytona Beach, Florida. His books, video lectures, and training resources can be found at:

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