Causes of Watery Eyes and Treatment Options

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Imagine this: In the midst of winter, you are walking to work. You can still feel the chill in your bones while wearing a helmet, scarf, gloves, and a large puffer. Then it takes place. The dreaded tears begin to fall down your cheeks. After tearing for an hour, you arrive at work five minutes later with mascara running and red-rimmed eyes. Why is that?

There are countless reasons why people experience watery eyes, including cold temperatures and strong winds. It can seem unimportant if you’ve never heard of the phenomenon. But even without the potential sight-related problems that can come with the territory, dealing with it can be a real nuisance.

What Can Cause Watery Eyes

Tears are generally beneficial because they help you maintain clear vision, keep the front surfaces of your eyes healthy, and keep them moist. However, it turns out that having too many tears (a good thing) can potentially be an indication of a bigger issue.

Watering eyes, often referred to as epiphora or crying, are characterized by an overflow of tears onto the face, frequently without a discernible cause. There are two main causes of watery eyes: an excessive amount of tears produced or a problem with tears draining (which usually stems from blocked tear ducts). In addition, while some people simply have overactive tear ducts or undeveloped tear ducts from birth, the symptoms frequently indicate that there are more serious problems at hand. There are several typical ones that act as the underlying cause producing drainage issues or overproduction.

Something in Your Eye?

Your body produces extra tears to wash anything in your eye out, such as a bit of dust, an eyelash, or debris. This reaction is triggered even by things that are too small to detect, such as smoke particles or compounds in onions. Your eyes ought to quit tearing up once the issue has been resolved. However, there are other eye conditions and health disorders that may also cause you to cry more frequently.

Dry Eyes

You may be experiencing this issue because your body doesn’t produce enough tears, or because your tears dry out too quickly or don’t contain the proper amount of water, oils, and mucus. Numerous factors, including windy days and medical conditions, can contribute to those problems. Whatever the reason, your eyes respond by tearing much more.

Pinkeye (Conjunctivitis)

For both kids and adults, this is a typical cause of watery eyes. One or both eyes may turn pink or red and may feel scratchy and abrasive, like they contain sand. The most frequent cause is an infection from a virus or a bacterium. While bacterial infections may require antibiotic eye drops, viral illnesses do not require treatment.


Along with a cough, runny nose, and other typical allergy symptoms, watery, itchy eyes are frequently present. But ocular allergies can occur on their own as well. Eye drops, allergy medications, and avoiding your triggers, such as pollen, mold, or pet hair, can all be beneficial. Colds may also result in watery eyes, although they won’t itch. That is one method of differentiating between colds and allergies.

Eyelid Problems

Your eyelids act like wipers on a car. They cover your eye with tears as you blink, wiping away any excess moisture. However, occasionally they don’t operate perfectly. Entropion is a condition where the eyelashes and lids can curl inward and brush against the eye. When you blink, the lids cannot completely cover the entire eye if they sag outward, a condition known as ectropion. Watery eyes may be brought on by either. Surgery can be a long-term solution if you need it.

Blocked Tear Duct

The tear ducts in the corner of your eye are where the tears normally exit the tear glands above your eye. The tears accumulate and your eye becomes watery if the tear ducts become blocked Infections, accidents, and even old age are just a few of the many possible causes of the issue.

Scratch on the Eye

Contact lenses, grit, and dirt can scratch the cornea, which is the clear covering on the outside of your eye. Your eye may become sensitive to light, look red, hurt, and tear up as a result. Even while these scratches typically disappear within a day or two, it’s crucial to visit a doctor if you suspect you may have a corneal scrape. To avoid getting sick, you might need therapy.


The other symptoms, such as a swollen, red, uncomfortable lump along the edge of your eyelid, are typically more noticeable and might cause your eye to get watery. Styes are caused by bacteria, and they typically go away on their own after a few days. Don’t try to pop it like a pimple in the interim; doing so will spread the illness. It might help to place a warm towel over your eye.

Eyelash Problems

Have you ever experienced an eyebrow hair that obstinately grows in at an odd angle? Your eyelashes might experience the same issue. They irritate the eye if they expand outward rather than inside. Trichiasis is a condition that can develop from infections, wounds, or other issues. Your doctor might remove the eyelash or reposition it so it points in the proper direction to alleviate the discomfort and excessive crying.


Your eyelids will bulge, usually just below the lashes, as a result of this illness. It’s possible that you will get watery, crusty, red, itchy eyes. It can be brought on by a variety of conditions, such as allergies, rosacea, and infections. Though blepharitis frequently comes and goes, treatments can still be beneficial.

Oil Glands Issues

Meibomian glands, which are tiny glands on the edge of your eyelid, produce oils that support the wellbeing of your eyes. They produce a barrier that keeps tears where you need them and prevent your eyes from drying up too quickly. Your eye becomes itchy and watery if these glands become blocked and don’t produce enough oil. One method for restoring the glands’ normal function is by applying warm compresses to the eye.

Less Common Causes

Eye injuries: There are numerous possible eye injuries, all of which may cause excessive watering of the eyes.

Certain medications: As we mentioned before, watery eyes can be a symptom of dry eyes, which can be brought on by several drugs. These drugs may include retinoids, antihistamines, and antidepressant.

When Are Watery Eyes Cause for Concern?

Most of the time, watery eyes alone don’t mean anything significant, but both medical professionals concur that extreme or protracted tearing combined with other particular symptoms could be cause for concern. They notably advise against watery eyes that are accompanied by blurred or reduced vision, discharge from the eyes, bleeding around the eyes, severe headaches, swollen or itchy eyes, and any type of damage or scratch to the eyes.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Wet eyes do go away on their own. But if they don’t go away or appear together with any of the symptoms mentioned above, it’s generally advisable to see a doctor. Be ready to discuss any recent eye injuries, medical issues, frequently consumed prescription or over-the-counter drugs, and dietary supplements.According to Block, there are some at-home treatments that may help to lessen or even stop tearing brought on by dysfunctional tear syndrome. For allergy-related tearing, a cold compress should work. Levitan (tells BYRDIE) advises using over-the-counter drugs for eye-watering caused by allergies.

The Bottom Line

Alas, it seems that dry eyes are quite common. Positively, minor cases typically resolve on their own. So, unless it’s causing any pain or vision-related problems, hold off on worrying right immediately. Discuss other therapy options with a doctor if the problem continues or gets worse. Keep an eye on your symptoms and, if necessary, seek assistance.

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