What Causes Watery Eyes and How to Treat Them

Fri Feb 05 2021

Tears play a pivotal role in the human body, as they provide the requiredamount of lubrication to the eyes. In turn, the lubrication keeps theeye infectionsat bay by washing away the foreign matters from theeyes. Tears also keep the surface of the eyes smooth and clear.

On every blink, tears spread across the eyes and keep them moist all thetime. However, an excessive amount of tears can cause watery eyes. Theproduction 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 conditionsassociated 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 theinterval between blinks (or blink rate) is not diligently followed. 

Dry Eyes

Many times, you get engrossed in something and forget to blink for a longduration. 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 theonly 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 wateryeyes. Excessive dryness in the eyes can increase the reflex secretion oftears in the eyes. Constant scratching of the dry eyes may cause the overproductionof tears due to irritation.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Tear ducts can get blocked due to eye infection, inflammation, or serioushealth conditions like tumor.

Tears in the eyes are produced by the lacrimal glands. These wash thesurface of the eyes and get drained out through the tear ducts. If thetear ducts get blocked, there is no way for the tears to exit. These accumulatedtears 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 aswell as watery eyes.

Eye drops and nasal decongestants can help in getting some relief fromthe allergy-related cold. However,  it is recommended to visit a doctorwho has prior knowledge about your medical conditions before opting forany such anti-allergic drugs.

Cornea Problems

The cornea is the outermost barrier of the eye that withstands environmentalpollution, dirt, dust etc. An excessive amount of dirt, dust or sometimesgerms can cause irritation of the cornea whichin turn results in watery eyes.

Inflammation of Eyelids

Blepharitis is referred to as the inflammation of the eyelids. The inflammationaffects the eyes as well as the edges of eyelids. Blepharitis normallycauses clogging of the pores of eyelids resulting in prolonged rednessand irritation in the eyes.

Miscellaneous Eye Problems

Apart from the common causes of watery eyes listed earlier, the othercauses 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 hamperdrainage through the tear ducts.

Watery eyes may be a temporary phenomenon and a visit to the doctor isrequired for evaluation.

Watery Eyes Treatment

The treatment for watery eyes depends on the severity of the problem aswell 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 providerelief of symptoms.
  • In the case of ectropion or entropion where the eyelids turn outwardsor inwards, patients are benefited from surgery.
  • Trichiasis is a common eyelid problem where the eyelashes grow inwardsand rub against the cornea. In these cases, removal of the offending eyelashusually solves the problem. Additional procedures sometimes may be neededin case of recurrence.
  • A surgery named Dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) isrequired to create a new passage for tears between the tear sac and thenose 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
  • Reduced vision
  • 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 usingany such eye-drop.
  • Massage the eyes with a warm and damp cloth to remove blockages in thepores of eyelids.
  • Take a break from strenuous activities like watching TV, sitting on thecomputer for long hours etc. Blink the eyes at regular intervals to avoiddryness of the eyes.
  • We recommend consulting an Ophthalmologist fordetailed examination and investigations as applicable for diagnosis ofthe cause of the watery eyes.

Centre for Sight has different Ophthalmological speciality departmentsfor treating various eye problems such as LASIK,cataract, droopy lids, watery eyes, and more. The combination of medicalexpertise and state-of-the-art technology helps in diagnosing and treatingmild 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.

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