Overview: Tearing

Tearing is an often multifactorial symptom and is a common complaint in any eye center. The problem typically is related to the eyelid, conjunctiva, cornea, or lacrimal system. Tearing is also frequently a sequelae of other eye conditions such as dry eye disease or allergic conjunctivitis.


Diagnosing the cause of tearing requires a thorough history and guided exam focusing on the external periorbita and anterior segment of the eye. Specific tests such as nasolacrimal duct irrigation and Schirmer’s testing may be indicated.


Treatment is highly variable and dependent on the factors causing the tearing. Potential options range from conservative treatment including artificial lubricants and environmental changes to more intensive surgical options.