Watery eyes is called excess lacrimation or Epiphora. It is the abnormal overflow of tears, found in one or both eyes. It can occur continuously or intermittently. Even though it is not a life threatening illness it may cause severe discomfort in most of the sufferers especially among the people of profession where more contact of eye is mandatory in maximum occasions.
Tear production, storage mechanism
Mechanism of production, storage and drainage of tear
Lacrimal glands are found in the upper-outer portion of each orbit (eye sack in the skull). These glands continuously produce small quantities of tears, in order for the eyeball to remain healthy and moist.
It helps in lubrication and facilitation of free movement of the eye ball. When there is eye irritation or during emotional situations, these glands produce more tears.
After tears are dispersed on the surface of the eyeball, they go inside a small opening that exists in every eyelid and it is are drained through a small tube to the anatomical eye pouch-lacrimal sac and from there through the small tubule namely, naso-lacrimal duct it enters to the nose. This is termed as ‘runny nose’ or ‘running nose’.
Excess lacrimation or watery eyes-mechanism
Excessive production or poor drainage results in excess lacrimation. Surplus tears make the eye appear moist and allow tears to concentrate along the lower eyelid and subsequently drop to the cheek.
Main mechanism behind Epiphora/ Excess lacrimation
Overproduction of tears and Inadequate drainage of tears are the two important factors behind the mechanism of epiphora i.e. excess lacrimation.
Causes for Excess lacrimation
Excess formation of tears can be caused due to injuries, irritation and due to congenital malformations and infections.
Obstruction to the pathway of the tear i.e in the lacrimal punctum, the canaliculi, the sac or the nasolacrimal duct may lead to this particular kind of discomfort. .
Also, the inflammations, eyelid disorders, diseases like glaucoma, exposure to strong wind and light, tired eyes are the other factors in the causation of this complaint.
Excessive production of tears may be caused by emotional situations, dry eye conditions,irritations and allergic reactions, poor drainage of tear is usually due to anomalies in the position of the eyelid or the lacrimal punctum, improper blinking habits, infection conditions, injuries etc
To rule out the exact mechanism behind the excess lacrimation full ophthalmological examination should be carried. According to modern science depending upon the cause and site of affliction line of treatments will vary.
Ayurvedic way of understanding of Excess lacrimation
Charaka Samhita explains feature of excess lacrimation in several eye disorders. But more specifically and in simple way of understanding ‘Akshi srava’ is explained in Nimitantra, another Ayurvedic text book.
The occlusion of Akshigata nadi (tubular structures of the eyes) results in this particular complaint and it is managed by
Kaphahara chikitsa – Kapha balancing treatment
srotoshodhaka (channel cleansing) and
netrya – netra balakaraka(eye tonics) medicines.
So, according to the condition
Seka (pouring the medicaments),
Ashchotana(eye drops) etc are mentioned in this respect.
Ayurvedic herbs useful in watery eyes treatment:
Shigru-Drum stick-Moringa oleifera
Punnaga-Caryophyllum innophyllum etc
Ayurvedic medicines for external application for excess lacrimation:
Chandrodaya varti – Chandrodaya Varti is an Ayurvedic collyrium medicine, used in the treatment of early stage of cataract, pterygium, growth over the eyes, etc. This should be used strictly under medical supervision.
Saptamrita loha – Saptamrit Lauh is an Ayurvedic medicine in tablet or powder form. It is mainly used in the treatment of eye disorders, gastritis, abdominal colic, etc. It contains Iron Bhasma as its main ingredient.
Phalatrikadi kashaya – useful for both eye washing and also for oral administration.
Do’s and dont’s
Do’s and Don’ts in Excess lacrimation of the eyes
Seeing the shining and penetrating objects, minute substances for prolonged period, excess stress, restless work to the eyes etc are to be avoided. Proper eye exercise, good sleep and regular application of collyrium will help to overcome excess lacrimation in significant way.
Ayurvedic home remedies
Ayurvedic home remedies for watery eyes:
1. A teaspoon of Triphala powder at night, after food, mixed with a teaspoon of honey and 5 drops of ghee, is consumed along with a cup of lukewarm water for 20- 30 days time.
2. Take a tablespoon of Triphala powder, mix it with 2 cups of water, boil and reduce to 1 cup and filter. Use this lukewarm kashayam to wash the eyes – 2 – 3 times a day for 10 – 20 days time.
“Rare diseases are rarely becomes true or confirmed”-this saying in medicinal field is applicable to watery eyes also. Because excess lacrimation appear as a simple complaint but if it is persistent for long it may denote serious eye disorders and diseases of systemic involvement too. So, early detection of the reason for the complaint may help to proper diagnosis and cure of the illness in such incidences.
Article by Prof. MS Krishnamurthy MD (Ayu)., PhD (Ayu)