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Tearing

Tearing or production of tears is a normal function of the eyes. Tears are produced by tear glands present above the outer eye and are made of water, lipid and mucin. They keep the surface of the eye moist, clear and protect it from foreign bodies. Excessive tearing in the eye, known as epiphora, is not normal and can be caused by:

  • Eye lid inflammation
  • Poor tear film quality
  • Blockage of the tear ducts (an opening through which tears come out from the eye)
  • Allergic reactions to dust, mould or dander
  • Foreign bodies
  • Turning in or out of the eyelid
  • Facial paralysis
  • Conjunctivitis (infection of the membrane lining the eye)
  • Bright light
  • Infections or irritations
  • Smog or chemicals present in the environment
  • Eyestrain, vomiting, laughing or yawning

Tearing can be treated by addressing the specific cause. Problems with eyelid position or tear drainage are usually treated surgically.

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