The Watering

Quite often, patients present at the clinic or surgery complaining of watering eyes. It could be the golfer whose glasses keep misting up on the fairway, the housewife who is embarrassed by tears dropping on food when cooking, or the six-month-old baby whose eyes have watered and discharged since birth. Sometimes an elderly patient might complain of watering eyes when on examination there is no evidence of tear excess but the vision has been made blurred by cataracts. Some degree of tear overflow is, of course, quite normal in windy weather, and the anxious patient can overemphasise this; it is important to assess the actual amount of overflow by asking the patient whether it occurs all the time both in and out of doors.

An eye can water because the tears cannot drain away adequately or because there is excessive secretion of tears.

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