We often hear patients complain that their eyes are very wet and tear all of the time. It can be confusing, but a dry eye and a very wet eye often have the same problem at their root. The problem may be that the eye is not producing the right type of tear (tear quality) or there is not enough tears (tear quantity). The body then uses the accessory lacrimal gland, the gland that supplies tears when we cry, to then bathe the eye and prevent it from drying out. That extra amount of tears is what causes the excess tearing. At times it is a problem of the amount of tears that are being produced or if the tears evaporate too quickly.
Similar to eyes that feel very dry, we may need warm compress, nutritional supplements, or lid scrubs. At times, prescription medication is needed to addresses the inflammation to help your body produce more natural tears to keep your eyes moist, comfortable and healthy. Restasis, for example, is a prescribed medication whose benefits come only after using the medication for several weeks. Some people find their eyes sting when they insert the medication.
Inflammation is often the reason for a dry or very wet eyes. This causes the redness and burning feeling. Addressing the inflammation is often the best way to address the underlying problem. Over-the-counter tear supplements often do not solve the problem. Prescribed steroid eye drop medication may be needed to better manage the underlying inflammation associated with dry eyes. Steroids are not without risk however, and they can be used successfully for short periods.
Other answers to the problem recommended by our East Brunswick eye doctor is Lacrisert (Bausch + Lomb). Lacrisert is about the size of a grain of rice and is a sterile, slow-release lubricant placed in the sack between the eye and the lower eyelid. It slowly melts and produces a moisturizing effect that lasts all day. It relieves many of the symptoms of dry eye.
Temporary Punctal Plugs made of collagen can be inserted into the tear ducts. They dissolve over 7-10 days and give temporary relief. If the results are good, and you get relief from the temporary plugs, we can insert silicone punctal plugs. These plugs help maintain the tears in the eyes rather than draining into the nose.