Watery Eyes

Watery Eye

Small babies often appear to have a perpetually watery eye. Sometimes they have an obstruction to the tear duct. This is a narrow canal leading from the inner corner of the eye (via a little hole at the surface that is often clearly visible) to the nasal passageway. Fluid is manufactured by the tear gland (the lachrymal gland) located above the eye and toward its outer margin. The idea is to supply plenty of fluid to keep the surface of the eye moist, and remove any debris or foreign material that may collect on the surface and cause damage.

Watery Eye Causes

Occasionally a filament of bone or membrane may block the canal. Baby commonly is born this way. It means tears cannot escape by the normal route, so they simply build up and flow over the lower margin of the eyelid, giving the appearance of an eternally moist eye, or that baby is crying, which is not really happening in most cases.

Watery Eye Treatment

Generally therapy is advisable. The blockage tends to cause an infection, and pus may well up into the inner corner of the eye, or infect the entire surface of the eye. Eye drops from the doctor may check this and occasionally the entire thing rights itself. But more likely it will be necessary for baby to have a small general anaesthetic, and for the eye specialist to “probe” the canal. The canal is then washed out, and the entire obstruction relieved and usually a permanent cure is quickly effected. Occasionally a second probing may be needed, but this is usually not required. Eye drops are used for a few days following the small operation. Presto! The eye is better, and no longer does baby have perpetual tears!

This condition is also known as “dacrocystitis.” Probing is usually not carried out until between the age of six to twelve months. But of course each patient is assessed individually