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Evaluation and Treatment of Tearing

There are many causes of tearing, including either the creation of too many tears or a decreased ability to drain the tears normally created.

One of the most common causes of tearing is actually dry eyes where the tearing is a result of reflexive creation of more tears in response to the dryness of the eyes but with poor ability of these tears to remain in the eyes for various reasons. There are very limited surgical options to treat this cause of tearing. Patient who have had a good response with silicone plugs of the tear drain may consider a procedure to permanently close these tear drains.

Eyelid malpositioning is another cause of tearing in some patients. In these cases, the repositioning of the eyelid to its normal anatomic position corrects the tearing.

Tearing may also be a result of a problem in the tear drainage system. This type of tearing is very amenable to surgical correction. Patients may develop a blockage in the tear drainage system at any level within that system. The location of the blockage determines what kind of procedure or surgery is needed in order to correct the problem. Some blockages require a simple office procedure to correct and others do require a more involved surgery that would need to be performed in the operating room.

Thyroid Eye Disease

Patients who have thyroid disease, either too high functioning or too low functioning, can develop significant changes in the appearance and comfort of their eyes. These changes include greater prominence of the eyes, noticeable puffiness of the eyelids or significant discomfort in their eyes. A small number of patients with thyroid disease can develop sudden and severe changes in the eye socket that leads to compression of the optic nerve and secondary loss of vision. Patients who are newly diagnosed with thyroid disease or those with known thyroid disease but a new change in the appearance of their eyes or their vision, should see an ophthalmic plastic surgeon for further evaluation and recommendations for monitoring and treatment for their eye condition.

Jonathan C. Lowry, M.D. is available to evaluate and treat tear duct and eye socket disorders in our Morganton, Marion, Forest City and Shelby offices.