My eyes are constantly streaming. We visited and ophthalmologist and we were told that I have a narrow tear duct and this is why my eyelids fills up like water in a well, separating slightly from the eye. However, the ophthalmologist told us that it was a case for aesthetic surgery and they couldn't do anything.

Tears are normally drained from the eye to the nostril without running down the face. This occurs by means of the tear duct, a drainpipe that starts at a small point in the lower eyelid and opens the path towards the nostril via the lacrimal sac.

The lacrimal punctum

For the tears to drain properly towards the nose, the channel needs to have a suitable interior diameter, so as the tear flow passes through it without any major problems, and in addition the lacrimal punctum is closely attached to the eyeball. This makes the tears flow down the edge of the eyelid until it falls down the punctum and can start is descend towards the nose.

If this punctum loses contact with the eyeball, the tears cannot find a normal exit and so they “fall” down the face, which the person perceives as constant tears. That is what is happening to you: the punctum has separated from the eye, causing what we call a punctual ectropian, which manifest itself with constant streaming of the eye.

Although it’s a very annoying problem, you have to be aware that it is not a serious condition in itself and, moreover, the ophthalmologist can solve it with straightforward surgery in outpatients, where the lacirmal punctum is repositioned onto its original site, the eyelid is stretched and normal tear flow resumes, meaning the annoying steaming will cease.

Dr. Gorka Martínez-Grau Ophthalmologist