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Medical Author: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Tearing is a normal function of the eye. Excessive tearing, or teary eyes that are not from normal crying, can be a sign of an underlying health condition or disease. The tears of the eye come from the tear gland, called the lacrimal gland, which is located above the outer eye. Tears are composed of water, oil, and antibodies. The moisture from tears on the front of the eye, the cornea, is important to avoid damage of the cornea. The tears drain from the eye through the tear ducts (lacrimal ducts). If the tear ducts become blocked, tears can well up in the eye and fall excessively. This leads to watery eye (epiphora), often mistaken for crying. Tear ducts can become blocked from infection and inflammation, both of which can also lead to excessive tear production. The outer membrane of the eye is called the conjunctiva. Infection of the conjunctiva (conjunctivitis) is a common cause of itchy, watery eyes, as well as eye swelling.
Symptoms that can be associated with watery eye and excessive tearing include
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Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2011.
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