Tearing eyes or watery eyes are, as the name suggests, when there is a greater level of tear production than is normal which makes the eyes watery. We all suffer from tearing eyes/watery eyes at some point and you probably noticed that it often goes away on its own too. Let’s take a closer look at the other symptoms of this slightly annoying affliction as well as the causes and treatment for it.
Symptoms of Tearing Eyes/Watery Eyes
- As is obvious, tearing eyes are when your eyes water so much that it makes you uncomfortable and perhaps even unable to go about your day.
- Watery eyes may be accompanied by sneezing or a runny nose. This does not always mean that you have a cold. It could instead be your body’s reaction to something you are allergic to.
- Sometimes, watery eyes may also be accompanied by eye irritation such as red eyes or itchy eyes.
- Along with the tears, you may notice that there is some other eye discharge too that has a mucous-like texture.
- In the most extreme cases of tearing eyes, there may be loss of vision, unbearable pain and perhaps even bleeding. If any of these symptoms accompany any of the above, see a doctor immediately.
Causes of Tearing Eyes/Watery Eyes
The tear glands are located above your eyes. They are also called lacrimal glands. Tears are made up not just of water but also of antibodies and oil. These substances help to clean and disinfect the eyes. Their main function, however, is to keep the cornea moisturized. Without tears, your eyes would dry up and be prone to massive damage. Not to mention that you’d be uncomfortable as hell. So the tears do all that maintenance work and then simply drain out of the tear ducts which are located at the corner of the eyes. If, for whatever reason, the tear ducts get blocked, the tears will just collect in the eyes and cause them to get watery.
When we explore the causes of tearing or watery eyes, we have to determine the factors that could cause your tear ducts to get blocked. However, that is just one scenario. Watery eyes also occur when your tear glands start over-producing tears. Generally, the tears either leave through the tear ducts or get evaporated naturally. When there are too many tears, they create an imbalance in the natural structure, not allowing the regular methods to work. This causes tearing eyes/watery eyes.
- Over 45% of all watery eye cases are a symptom of some sort of allergy whether it is to dust or animals. So if you frequently suffer from watery eyes, try to identify the trigger. Maybe your eyes get watery on the day of the week you clean under the kitchen sink and maybe there’s mold down there which you are allergic to. Know that allergies can develop even later in life so something you may have been fine around when you were a teen can suddenly seem threatening to your immune system in your 30s.
- Blepharitis, an eye condition that causes a swelling on the eyelids, can also cause watery eyes.
- If your eyes are irritated by something in the environment, whether it’s smoke, pollution, oil (yes, there’s oil in the air too) then your eyes will get excessively watery in an attempt to flush out the thing that’s causing the pain.
- Being exposed to very bright light is another cause of watery/tearing eyes.
- If you scrape your cornea due to rough handling or in an accident, your tear glands will automatically start over-producing tears in an attempt to facilitate healing.
- Wearing dirty or torn contact lenses will also cause your eyes to get watery.
- You’ll notice that your eyes get watery when you have a cold.
- Tear ducts can get infected too, which can lead to watery eyes.
- Eye infections are often accompanied by tearing eyes/watery eyes.
- Sometimes, the eye lashes can grow inwards and cause watery eyes.
- If your eyes are very strained, that too may cause water eyes. Take for example when you laugh too hard or when you vomit – in both cases your eyes get strained and your eyes get watery as a result.
- OK, this may sound like a paradox, but watery eyes can also be caused by dry eyes. How is that, you might wonder. When the eyes are dry, they get irritated very easily. This stimulates the tear glands to over-produce tears, thus causing watery eyes.
- Having conjunctivitis – an inflammation of the eye – can also cause watery eyes.
- In rare cases, tearing eyes/watery eyes may be caused by thyroid problems, surgery on the nose or eyes, facial nerve damage, arthritis, and chemotherapy. In all these instances, an inflammation of the eyes is possible which can lead to watery eyes.
- Not surprisingly, even some medications like sleeping pills, certain eye drops and pain killers can cause tearing eyes/watery eyes.
- Sometimes, tearing eyes/watery eyes can be caused by a condition which makes the eye lids turn outward or inward. Your tear production in this case may be completely normal but it may appear that your eyes are getting watery because the eyelid problem is preventing the tears from staying in your eyes and spreading over their surface. This is a problem that usually affects the elderly and it should be rectified as it increases the risk of eye infections.
Treatment for Tearing Eyes/Watery Eyes
This will obviously depend on the cause of your watery eyes. If it is because of an allergy, then merely staying away from the thing that you are allergic to will solve your tearing eye problem. If that is not possible, you can ask your doctor for an antihistamine.
- If your tearing eyes are caused by an eye condition, you will need to see your doctor for further help.
- Watery eyes caused by infections or inflammation will usually reduce greatly with the use of medicated eye drops. Again, you need to see a doctor for a prescription to the correct kind of eye drop.
- If blocked tear ducts are the issue, then you may have to undergo surgery to open them up again or to create a new puncture through which the tears can drain out. However, surgery is usually a last resort.
- Fortunately, tearing eyes/watery eyes are rarely a cause for worry and will most likely go away even if you do not do anything. You can apply a warm compress or use artificial tear drops for relief.
See your doctor if your watery eyes are accompanied by pain, eye discharge, a scratch on your cornea, or a slight sore feeling on your nose. Also see your doctor if your watery eyes do not get better for a long period of time.