A colleague of mine has been complaining this week of watery eyes and put it down to seasonal hay fever.

However, excessive watering or tearing of the eye could also be an inflamed tear duct and you could be suffering from dacryocystitis. It can affect one or both eyes at the same time and in addition to watering you may see discharge despite no other health worries such as suffering a cold or an allergy reaction.

One in three babies are diagnosed with the condition but it can affect anyone at any age.In adults, it is not uncommon for natural bone growth to narrow the tear ducts which in turn causes a back up or blockage wherein an infection begins due to the collection of bacteria.


In young children and babies a natural occurring  membrane in the tear duct that doesn't always open or may be too narrow to allow  for the passage of tears.  Where this is diagnosed, the condition is usually " grown out of" by the times they reach toddler-hood. Should it not be self-correcting then a small procedure is carried out to open it.

An optician or eye health professional can test for the disorder by investigating the sinus's for discharge through the tear ducts,  or they may well use a dye run coloured fluid run through the infected ducts to see if they are clear.Common symptoms include

  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye tearing in excess
  • Excess redness
  • Eye discharge
  • Fever

Antibiotics are the quickest and most effective form of treatment. Where abnormal growth has allayed the development of the tear duct surgery is usually required.