Citation, DOI and article data
Epiphora (plural: epiphoras) represents excessive tearing of the eye and is a common clinical presentation to ophthalmological practice. It is most frequently due to an obstruction of the nasolacrimal drainage apparatus. Less commonly, overproduction of tears may be responsible.
In one of the few epidemiological studies, unilateral and bilateral epiphora each accounted for about half of the cases 2.
In normal situations in which the eye surface becomes dry, there is reflex secretion of tears by the lacrimal glands. In certain disease states this reflex lies at the root of their pathophysiology 2.
- dry eyes
- inflammatory diseases
- primary hypersecretion of the lacrimal glands (very rare)
- decreased tear flow
Many cases are multifactorial
Treatment and prognosis
Management is conditional on the underlying etiology 2:
- dry eyes: warm compresses, artificial tears, flaxseed oil eye-drops
- nasolacrimal duct obstruction: mainstay is surgery
- conjunctivodacryocystorhinostomy (CDCR)
- dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR)
- balloon dacryoplasty
- malposition of the eyelids: corrective surgery
- primary hypersecretion of the lacrimal glands: botulinum toxin
- 1. Maliborski A, Różycki R. Diagnostic imaging of the nasolacrimal drainage system. Part I. Radiological anatomy of lacrimal pathways. Physiology of tear secretion and tear outflow. (2014) Medical science monitor : international medical journal of experimental and clinical research. 20: 628-38. doi:10.12659/MSM.890098 - Pubmed
- 2. Shen GL, Ng JD, Ma XP. Etiology, diagnosis, management and outcomes of epiphora referrals to an oculoplastic practice. (2016) International journal of ophthalmology. 9 (12): 1751-1755. doi:10.18240/ijo.2016.12.08 - Pubmed