Home Opthalmology Watery Eyes (Epiphora): Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Remedies

Watery Eyes (Epiphora): Causes, Symptoms, Treatments and Remedies

Verified By Apollo Opthalmologist July 12, 2022 5893 0
Watery Eyes
Watery Eyes


Watery eyes can be caused by a variety of factors. The presence of tears, which help lubricate the eye, is typically normal. However, too many or too few tears can lead to pain and irritation, which needs treatment.

About the Topic

Your eyes produce tears when you are emotionally overwhelmed or when something enters your eyes, like dust or sand. Tears rid your eyes of any foreign particles entering the eyes. Once the foreign object is flushed out, your eyes stop watering.

However, when the watering does not stop and is accompanied by other symptoms like itchiness and eye pain, it could indicate an underlying health problem.

What Are the Symptoms that can occur along with Watery Eyes?

Here are some symptoms of watery eyes you may experience.

  • Eye swelling and redness
  • Pain in the eyes
  • Inflammation or infection
  • Allergy
  • Sneezing
  • Vision deficit
  • Eye discharge and twitching

What Are the Causes of Watery Eyes?

A variety of factors can cause watery eyes. Some common causes are:

  • Blocked tear ducts: Your tear glands are located just above the eyeballs. They secrete tears that spread across the eyeball and then flow into the tear ducts in the corner of the eyes. When these ducts are blocked due to an infection or an injury, you get watery eyes.
  • Allergies: Allergies cause cough, runny nose, and watery eyes.
  • Common cold: The common cold also causes watery eyes. They last for a few days and go away on their own as you recover from the cold.
  • Conjunctivitis: Conjunctivitis, also called pink eye, is a common cause of watery eyes in children and adults.
  • Scratch in the eye (abrasion): You may get an abrasion on your cornea, the outer surface of your eyeball, from wearing contact lenses. Sometimes dust or sand may also scratch the cornea and cause pain, irritation, and watery eyes.
  • Stye: A stye is a small red lump on the edge of your eyelid. It is caused by bacteria and is painful. This can lead to watery eyes.
  • Eyelashes: Sometimes, a condition called trichiasis causes your eyelashes to point inwards. The eyelashes rub against your eye and cause watery eyes.
  • Dry eyes: Lacrimal or tear glands make a fluid, which is mostly salt and water, which gets to the eye via small openings inside the upper eyelids. This watery liquid is spread across the eye when eyelids blinks. There are other important glands (the most important of these are called the meibomian glands) on edges of eyelids that make oils. Actually, the oils from these glands float on top of watery fluid in the tears thus keeping the water from evaporating too quickly. A problem with the meibomian glands, oddly enough, can cause overflowing tears and dry eye syndrome at the same time.
  • Makeup: Makeup products like eyeliners can clog the oil glands and cause watery eyes. If you use eyeliners regularly, you should wipe them off with eyelid wipes before going to bed.
  • Inflammation of the cornea (Keratitis): Inflammation in the cornea can occur because of an infection or an injury. This can cause irritation and watery eyes.
  • Sinusitis: Sometimes, chronic sinusitis can also cause watery eyes
  • Eyelid problems: Outwardly or inwardly turned eyelids, also known as ectropion and entropion, can cause excessive tearing.

Some other causes of watery eyes are:

When to See a Doctor?

If your watery eyes do not get better on their own and cause additional trouble, like vision disturbance, bleeding or discharge from the eye, swelling, and headaches, you should see your doctor.

What Are Some Home Remedies For Watery Eyes?

If you have watery eyes, you may want to try these remedies.

  • Take a warm damp cloth and start massaging the eyelids.
  • Stay away from screen time or anything that puts pressure on your eyes.
  • Splash water on your eyes.

How Are Watery Eyes Treated?

Your doctor performs an eye examination to determine the cause. If you are taking any medications or have suffered eye injuries or problems in the past, inform your doctor.

Based on the initial diagnosis, your doctor may recommend the following treatment:

  • Eye drops
  • Antibiotics, if it is an eye infection
  • If an allergy is causing watery eyes, your doctor will prescribe medication to treat it.
  • Surgery, if your tear ducts are blocked.


Watery eyes rarely indicate anything alarming. In fact, in most cases, a watery eye is not a cause for worry. The most common cause of watery eyes is a foreign particle, such as a speck of dust that enters your eye. A watery eye is your body’s attempt to flush out the irritant.

That said, several conditions can cause watery eyes, and if left untreated, they can cause more severe problems. If you have persistent watery eyes, it is a good idea to make an appointment with your doctor to figure out the cause.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can watery eyes affect vision?

Watery eyes have the potential to affect your vision by making it blurry. If the blurriness and watering persist, you should see a doctor immediately.

What causes watery eyes in winter?

You might have experienced watery eyes in cold weather. The cold, windy air makes tears evaporate faster than under normal circumstances, which triggers the lacrimal glands to produce more tears. This is the reason for watery eyes in winter.

How to stop watery eyes?

Many factors can cause watery eyes. Identifying the cause is important. If your condition does not improve on its own, you should see your doctor for a proper diagnosis.

Verified By Apollo Opthalmologist
The content is curated and verified by expert ophthalmologists who take their time our to review the information provided

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