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A watering eye is an uncommon condition characterized by continuous tearing of the eye. Sometimes the condition occurs when a foreign object in the eye causes excessive tear formation. In other cases, a blocked nasolacrimal duct (the duct that drains tears from the eye into the nose), either as the result of an injury to the bone at the side of the nose or from long-term inflammation such as sinusitis, prevents normal tear drainage. A blocked nasolacrimal duct can lead to an infection, as bacteria that would normally be washed from the eye build up inside the lacrimal sac. Watering eye usually occurs in people who are middle-aged or older.


If the ophthalmologist finds a foreign object in the eye, he or she will remove the object, which should relieve the symptoms. If a nasolacrimal duct is blocked, the doctor may attempt to clear it by inserting a probe into the duct or by irrigating the duct with a sterile saline (saltwater) solution. If these measures are not effective, the doctor may recommend surgery to create an artificial nasolacrimal passageway that bypasses the blockage. If the blocked duct is infected, the doctor may prescribe antibiotics (in pills or in eyedrops) to clear up the infection before performing surgery.

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