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 infections at 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.