This is a condition in which the tears are secreted more rapidly than they can be carried away from the eye by the nasal duct, and hence, are allowed to flow over the lids and down the cheek. It may result from excessive secretion of tears, or obstruction of the passage by which the fluids of the eye are conducted to the nasal cavity. Obstruction may be the result of closure of the opening into the lachrymal passages or tear ducts, or to inflammation or stricture of some part of those passages. The starting point of the difficulty is generally inflammation in the corner of the eye next to the nose. It most often accompanies a severe cold in the head, being really an extension of the disease of the nasal cavity to the mucous membrane of that portion of the eye. Sometimes, in consequence of the inflammation, an abscess is formed in the tear sac, which opens and forms a fistula from which the tears may run upon the face. In other cases, there is a catarrhal condition of the mucous membrane lining the tear sac, which causes it to become filled with a mucous secretion. This difficulty is indicated by a little swelling in the corner of the eye, which may be emptied by pressure, the mucus being squeezed out from the edge of the lid, from which it may be wiped away.

The Treatment of Epiphora - Watery or Weeping Eye

Many people suffer on for years with a difficulty of this sort without making any attempt to obtain relief, although the difficulty may in most cases be readily cured by a surgical operation. It is generally necessary to divide the little tear sac, and in many cases, a long-continued course of dilatation of the canal which leads from the eye to the nose, is necessary. This is accomplished by means of delicate probes, Fig. 445, the size of which is gradually increased as the canal is enlarged. The old method of treating these affections by inserting silver tubes to conduct the tears from the eye to the nasal cavity, is not now employed.

Fig. 445. Probe for Treating Epiphora - Watery or Weeping Eye.

Fig. 445. Probe for Treating Epiphora - Watery or Weeping Eye.