Tearing in the young child
Tearing in young children can be caused by a nasolacrimal duct obstruction. This is generally due to a membrane that remains after birth. Many times the tearing will go away with time, but after 12 months of age it may be necessary to perform a lacrimal probe to open the membrane allowing tears to flow normally. Tearing can also be a sign of pediatric glaucoma, which can be very serious. If your child is experiencing tearing they should be seen to evaluate for the above conditions.
Tearing in the adult patient
Tearing can be caused in adults from a variety of different things. Common findings include dry eye, blepharitis, iritis, and conjunctivitis. If the tears drip down your cheek it can be a sign of inflammation or obstruction of the lacrimal drainage system, which allows tears to drain from your eye to your nose. Bloody tears can be a sign of malignancy and need to be evaluated immediately.
Sometimes simple eye drops can resolve the issue. Irrigation or a small snip in the punctum can also relieve tearing. Other times more intervention is needed.