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What causes excessive tearing?

Abnormal or overflow eye tearing is a common condition in infants. In fact, approximately one-third of all newborns have excessive tears and mucus. It occurs when a membrane (a skin-like tissue) in the nose fails to open before birth, blocking part of the tear drainage system.

A very rare condition called congenital glaucoma can also cause excessive tearing. With congenital glaucoma, other signs and symptoms will accompany tearing, such as an enlarged eye, a cloudy cornea, high eye pressure, light sensitivity and eye irritation.

Excessive tearing can also be caused by wind, smoke, allergies or other environmental irritants. Rarely, the tear drainage system fails to develop normally. An eye examination by an ophthalmologist will identify the exact cause of the tearing.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.