Watery or dry eye

Believe it or not, patients sometimes cannot distinguish these opposite conditions. Watery eye means too many tears, and dry eye means a lack of tears: it seems obvious enough, except patients suffering dry eye are often told “the beginning of dry eye is watery eye”. This dogma is still taught to GP’s, Optometrists and Ophthalmologists, and is completely wrong.

Watery eye means tears running onto the face. If this happens constantly, the tear drain is likely to be completely blocked; if it happens every now and again, the tear drain is likely to be partially blocked, causing symptoms of watering outdoors or in the cold weather. Surgery corrects partial and complete blockages. Sometimes, the eye may feel full of tears but there is no overflow onto the face: this often happens with problems of the lining of the eye.

Patients suffering dry eye complain of discomfort, fatigue, and difficulty with prolonged screen time and that eye drops provide relief for only 5 minutes. . Patients suffering watery eye complain of blurring and difficulty reading, and that everyone recommends drops but all that does is fill up an already watery eye. Because watery eye is harder to diagnose, these patients suffer for years.

In most cases, relief is available by treating inflammation or correcting watery eye by surgery.