Epiphora can happen under a number of different circumstances. Transient epiphora can occur anytime the eyes produce reflex tears in response to irritation or a foreign body, these tears are often produced in such quantity that they overflow. Chronic epiphora may indicate that the tear drains (puncta) are not functioning properly so tears are not able to drain from the eyes.
Dry eye patients who have watery eyes due to constant surface irritation may experience epiphora regularly. Additionally, patients who have had punctal plugs inserted may experience epiphora. This may be temporary or may persist. We recommend that patients try temporary collagen plugs before having permanent plugs inserted, in order to test whether they will benefit, experience epiphora, etc.