Tears play a pivotal role in the human body, as they provide the required
amount of lubrication to the eyes. In turn, the lubrication keeps the
eye infectionsat bay by washing away the foreign matters from the
eyes. Tears also keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear.
On every blink, tears spread across the eyes and keep them moist all the
time. However, an excessive amount of tears can cause watery eyes. The
production of too many tears results in the overflowing of the tear ducts,
eventually causing watery eyes.
You might be wondering what causes watery eyes? Are medical conditions
associated with watery eyes? Let’s look at the what and why of watery eyes.
What Causes Watery Eyes?
You would have witnessed watery eyes during excessive laughing, coughing,
or any such similar activity. Watery eyes are primarily caused when the
interval between blinks (or blink rate) is not diligently followed.
Many times, you get engrossed in something and forget to blink for a long
duration. Such a scenario can result in an increased dryness in the eyes,
a condition also termed as ‘dry eye syndrome.’
If you are someone who uses a laptop or mobile phone for a prolonged period,
you would have faced dryness of eyes. Over-exposure to screens is not the
only reason for dryness in the eyes, various reasons like Vitamin A deficiency,
scleroderma, sarcoidosis, etc. can also cause dryness in the eyes.
In today’s times, dryness in the eyes is one of the major causes of watery
eyes. Excessive dryness in the eyes can increase the reflex secretion of
tears in the eyes. Constant scratching of the dry eyes may cause the overproduction
of tears due to irritation.
Blocked Tear Ducts
Tear ducts can get blocked due to eye infection, inflammation, or serious
health conditions like tumor.
Tears in the eyes are produced by the lacrimal glands. These wash the
surface of the eyes and get drained out through the tear ducts. If the
tear ducts get blocked, there is no way for the tears to exit. These accumulated
tears can result in watery eyes.
Sinus and Eye Allergies
A drastic change in weather conditions such as excessive wind, cold, etc.
can lead to eye allergies. These allergies cause itching and redness as
well as watery eyes.
Eye drops and nasal decongestants can help in getting some relief from
the allergy-related cold. However, it is recommended to visit a doctor
who has prior knowledge about your medical conditions before opting for
any such anti-allergic drugs.
The cornea is the outermost barrier of the eye that withstands environmental
pollution, dirt, dust etc. An excessive amount of dirt, dust or sometimes
germs can cause irritation of the cornea which
in turn results in watery eyes.
Inflammation of Eyelids
Blepharitis is referred to as the inflammation of the eyelids. The inflammation
affects the eyes as well as the edges of eyelids. Blepharitis normally
causes clogging of the pores of eyelids resulting in prolonged redness
and irritation in the eyes.
Miscellaneous Eye Problems
Apart from the common causes of watery eyes listed earlier, the other
causes are side-effects of prescription medicines, ingrown eyelashes (trichiasis),
and eyelid turned outward (ectropion) or inward (entropion).
Ageing of the skin can result in sagging of the eyelids which can hamper
drainage through the tear ducts.
Watery eyes may be a temporary phenomenon and a visit to the doctor is
required for evaluation.
Watery Eyes Treatment
The treatment for watery eyes depends on the severity of the problem as
well as the cause. Here are some treatment modalities:
In scenarios where irritation in the eyes is caused due to conjunctivitis,
judicious use of particular medicines in the form of eye drops can provide
relief of symptoms.
In the case of ectropion or entropion where the eyelids turn outwards
or inwards, patients are benefited from surgery.
Trichiasis is a common eyelid problem where the eyelashes grow inwards
and rub against the cornea. In these cases, removal of the offending eyelash
usually solves the problem. Additional procedures sometimes may be needed
in case of recurrence.
A surgery named Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) is
required to create a new passage for tears between the tear sac and the
nose when there is a blockage of the bony portion of the tear duct.
You should consult a doctor for treatment if you have watery eyes with:
Foreign body sensation
Pain around the eyes
We can suggest a few home remedies for you on how to stop watery eyes:
Lubrication of the eyes with eye-drops. Consult a doctor before using
any such eye-drop.
Massage the eyes with a warm and damp cloth to remove blockages in the
pores of eyelids.
Take a break from strenuous activities like watching TV, sitting on the
computer for long hours etc. Blink the eyes at regular intervals to avoid
dryness of the eyes.
We recommend consulting an Ophthalmologist for
detailed examination and investigations as applicable for diagnosis of
the cause of the watery eyes.
Centre for Sight has different Ophthalmological speciality departments
for treating various eye problems such as LASIK,
cataract, droopy lids, watery eyes, and more. The combination of medical
expertise and state-of-the-art technology helps in diagnosing and treating
mild to severe eye concerns.
Article: What Causes Watery Eyes and How to Treat Them
Author: CFS Editorial Team | Feb 05 2021 | UPDATED 02:20 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.