Eye Health

15 December 2008

Excessive watering, ptosis, blood in the eyes, twitching

Watery eyes, ptosis, blood in the eye and twitching eyelids are only a few of the problems causing discomfort.

Excessibe watering
Are tears streaming from your eyes as if you have peeled onions? Watery eyes may actually be your eye’s response to dryness and irritation, or may be an allergic reaction, or can result from a blockage in the ducts that drain tears from your eyes to the inside of your nose. Overflowing tears can cause more tearing.

Self treatment

  • Don’t rub your eyes.

  • Relieve the symptoms by holding a clean, warm and damp cloth gently over your closed eyes, two to four times daily for ten minutes.

  • Meticulously follow directions to clean and store your contact lenses.

  • Replace your eye make-up and mascara if the other measures does not yield relief.

This is the term for drooping of the upper eyelid. In small children it requires urgent attention to prevent the development of a lazy eye. It is common in the elderly and can be very successfully corrected by surgery.

Blood in the Eye
It looks dramatic and the medical name – subconjunctival haemorrhage – sounds serious. But the appearance and name tends to cause unnecessary alarm.

Subconjunctival haemorrhage is a small bleed under the surface membrane on the white of the eye. It results from the bursting of a tiny blood vessel.

There is usually no discomfort and the problem is no more than a temporary cosmetic blemish Spontaneous subconjunctival haemorrhages are common and many people will experience one or two during the course of a lifetime.

The blood gradually changes colour from bright red to dark red and eventually to yellow before finally disappearing in two to three weeks. One, two, or even three spontaneous subconjunctival haemorrhages are nothing to worry about, require no treatment, and do not warrant a visit to your doctor.

See your ophthalmologist if:

  • Bleeding occurs more than three times.

  • The bleeding covers an area larger than the iris of the eye.

  • The bleeding occurs while you use blood thinning (anti-clotting) medication.

  • The bleeding occurs after an injury to the eye.

Twitching of the eyelid
This is caused by tiny muscle spasms in the eyelid and can be very irritating. It is said to be brought on by fatigue and stress, but this has not been firmly established. It almost always stops on its own after a few days, but may continue for several weeks.

Self treatment
Resting and reducing stress is worth trying. See your ophthalmologist or family doctor if the twitching persists for more than several weeks.

Useful resources:

South African Optometric Association
Tel: 011 805 4517

South African National Council for the Blind
Tel: 012 452 3811

Retina South Africa
Tel: 011 622 4904

Ophthalmological Society of South Africa


Read Health24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Ask the Expert


Megan Goodman qualified as an optometrist from the University of Johannesburg. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Clinical Epidemiology at Stellenbosch University. She has a keen interest in ocular pathology and evidence based medicine as well as contact lenses.

Still have a question?

Get free advice from our panel of experts

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

* You must accept our condition

Forum Rules