At times, water eyes are simply an occasional annoyance. However, since excessive tearing (epiphora) can have various causes, watery eyes may also be a symptom of a medical condition.
By understanding the various causes of watery eyes, you can find relief and determine if you need to see an eye doctor. Here is a look at why your eyes might be particularly watery.
You Just Woke Up
When you wake up in the morning, opening your eyes exposes your pupils to a sudden bout of bright light. That simple act can lead to tearing, with the watery eyes usually subsiding in a few minutes.
Dry eyes can lead to bouts of excessive tearing. Whether you have chronic dry eye or your eyes dry out due to an activity – like being overly focused on a computer screen – or environmental change – such as going outside on a cold, windy day – more tears are your body’s solution. When your body tries to relubricate your eyes, it can produce more tears than are usually necessary, leading to a short period of wateriness.
Contact lenses can disrupt eye lubrication and act as a mild eye irritant, both of which can lead to tearing. If the tearing is occasional, it may be no more than an annoyance. If it’s disruptive, you may want to see your eye doctor to determine if your contacts are the wrong material for you, improperly fit, or if you’re simply wearing them too long each day.
In some cases, the issue isn’t the amount of tears you produce but your eye’s inability to drain the tears properly. If you have a blocked punctum, the tears can’t leave the eye properly, causing your eyes to be watery.
Often, blockages caused by minor infections or colds clear on their own in time. However, if the situation isn’t resolving, your eye doctor can examine the issue and remove the blockage.
Along with blocking the punctum, an infection can lead to watery eyes. Usually, you’ll have other symptoms as well, such as redness, discomfort, or fever.
Treating the underlying infection is usually the best way to relieve any symptoms. You’ll want to see your eye doctor to determine which course of treatment is best for your condition.
Small pieces of debris can typically lead to eye tearing. This goes for debris that’s small enough not to be outwardly noticeable, as well as bigger pieces. For example, even a tiny bit of eyeliner or eyeshadow may cause tearing, even if you don’t feel any in your eye.
When you’re exposed to an allergen, your body release histamine, which can cause an allergic reaction, that allergic reaction may include excessive tearing, causing your eyes to become watery.
Usually, allergy-related tearing is a straightforward situation. With the right allergy treatment, the issue usually resolves.
A scratch, sore, or ulcer on your cornea can lead to inflammation, as well as excessive tearing. Usually, the condition is painful and results in light sensitivity. If you experience any of those symptoms, it’s best to see your eye doctor.
While the issues above are some of the most common ones, other conditions can lead to watery eyes. Chemical exposure, harmful fumes, eye injuries, facial surgery, nerve conditions, and certain medications are just some of the possibilities.
At ECVA, we take the safety and health of our patients’ eyes seriously. If you are concerned about watery eyes or excessive tearing, we are here to help. Schedule an appointment at your closest ECVA clinic today.