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Eye and Vision Care

Cold air watery eyes

03/04/2003

Question:

My eyes water when cold outside air or air conditioning hits them. I am 47 years old. The left eye waters more than the right eye. I have tried sinus tabs and allergy remidies (Clarltin) neither help. My eyes drain down my face so bad it looks like I`m crying. It happens with or without makeup, day or night. There is no matter in my eyes. I do wear contacts but also wear my glasses on occassion and my eyes will still water. What can I do? I carry tissue every where I go.

Answer:

Human tears are composed of three separate layers: oil, protein, and water. These three layers must be in a specific proportion with each other to keep your cornea moist and healthy. Given your age category, you might have one or more layers thinner than normal; and this would cause your cornea to be super- sensitive to even minor changes in temperature. Ask your eye doctor to evaluate you for dry eyes. If that is your diagnosis, he or she can prescribe artificial tears to get the proportion of oil, protein, and water back into a normal balance. Thanks for a very interesting question!

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Response by:

Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO Robert D Newcomb, OD, MPH, FAAO
Professor Emeritus of Clinical Optometry
College of Optometry
The Ohio State University