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Eyes always tearing?

Tearing eyes can be very irritating and a real nuisance, but it can also be a sign of other eye problems.  Tearing in adults is either due to overproduction of tears or inability to drain tears from the eye. This installment will discuss overproduction of tears.

Overproduction of tears:

When your eye is irritated or dry it will tear.  The eye reflexively tears when it feels something touch the cornea or front surface of the eye.   Whether it is an eyelash, or wind, or a foreign body  your eye will attempt to wash it away with tears.  Sometimes the irritation is from the surface of the eye drying out and becoming rough, and your eye will tear to try to clear it.  The problem arises with this reflexive tearing.  Tears normally contain 3 layers: water, mucous and oil.  But reflex tears are mostly water.  Therefore they don’t moisturize the eye very well.  It becomes a vicious cycle- the eye is dry and irritated, it makes watery tears, the water evaporates quickly without moisturizing and soothing the eye, the eye feels more irritated, it waters more, and so on.  Your eye is constantly watering, even though it is actually dry!!

Why is my eye dry?

At this time there are different explanations for why the eye is dry.  Current research shows dryness is actually a problem with inflammation on the eye surface and in the tear film.  This inflammation affects the cells which make the components of tears: water, mucous, and oil.   Some people make more of one layer than another, and the tear film becomes unstable and no longer adequately moisturizes the eye.  This inflammation can also be hormonal, immunologic, and also worsens with age.


can add to this problem such as antihistamines, diuretics (water pills), chemotherapy, and even eye drops with certain preservatives.

Systemic Diseases

which affect the immune system: like Rheumatoid arthritis, Sarcoidosis, and Sjogren’s all decrease tear production and stability leading to dry eye.

Eyelid Disease

Rosacea (causes the oil glands to not function properly), loose eyelids, retracted eyelids (usually from thyroid disease), floppy eyelids all can cause dry eye and tearing.


Although dry eye is a chronic disease- There is help available!! There are several treatments to help these issues. Talk to your eye doctor today!

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