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by Karl Evans

Dry or watery eyes? The solution may be a plumbing job

In some ways your eyes are like a shower. You have a tear gland at the top that makes tears. These tears are constantly washing over the surface of your eye to keep it clean and smooth. They then drain away into a channel through your lower lid into your nose.

There are two opposite conditions which we can assist with relating to this channel - known as the punctum.

Firstly, if your tear gland is not working 100% - that is, to use our analogy, the shower isn’t turned on enough, then we can put a little plug in the drain, the punctum, to keep the water on the eye longer. Plugs can be temporary (designed to dissolve) or permanent (can be manually removed) and can’t be seen or felt once in place. Punctum plugs can even reduce inflammation caused by dry eyes in some instances.

Secondly, if you have unwanted tears running down your cheek it can often be a blocked punctum - a clog in the drain when the shower is on. A blockage may be caused by the buildup of dust and/or mucous and this can be treated by pushing some water through - a simple and painless procedure akin to applying a plunger to your bathroom drain. Sometimes the blockage is more substantial and a referral for a surgical opinion is warranted.

photo credit : link

If you are having symptoms that make you think you might need some eye plumbing work, schedule a time to talk to one of our optometrists.