Crying Your Eyes Out – The Problem of Watery Eyes

Water in your eye is a good thing. Your eyes need natural lubrication for health and function. But, like most things in life, too much of a good thing can be bad for you. And so when there’s an overabundance of water in your eyes it can create a condition called watery eyes. This is a common condition that occurs when too many tears are produced or if they can’t drain away. It can affect anyone, but the condition is more prevalent in young babies and people over the age of 60. Watery eyes can cause sore or sticky eyes and blurred vision.


One cause is a problem with the glands. Meibomian glands in the eyelids secrete an oily substance that slows the evaporation of tears between blinks. But when these glands don’t function properly, it can result in dry patches on your eyes. These can become sore, and extra tears are produced as a reflex. This is the most likely cause of watery eyes. Another typical cause is an eye infection such as conjunctivitis, or inflammation brought about by an allergic reaction. Other problems that can cause extra tears to be produced include: the lower eyelid sagging away from the eye, which makes it difficult for tears to reach the drainage ducts; eyelids that roll inwards; inflammation of the edges of the eyelids; blocked or narrowed tear ducts; or irritation caused by foreign substances (e.g. grit, wood) scratching or becoming lodged in the eye.


If the underlying cause is dry eye syndrome, we recommend that you try and avoid reading, watching TV or using your computer (that includes overindulge on your iPhone as well) – you’re likely to blink less during these activities, which can exacerbate symptoms. If you’re producing extra tears as a result of dry eye syndrome, we recommend lubricating eye drops and advise you to avoid activities that worsen your symptoms.

If an infection such as conjunctivitis is causing your watery eyes, we may suggest antibiotics to clear the infection. Antihistamine medications are used to reduce inflammation if your condition is caused by an allergic reaction.

For eye irritation or if you think a foreign substance (like a piece of grit or splinter of wood) has become lodged in your eye, it might help to hold a warm, damp, clean cloth over the affected eye for a few minutes while at the same time gently massaging your eyelids with the cloth to loosen any material that might be blocking the eye glands from doing their job properly.

In more serious cases, we may suggest an ophthalmologist for more detailed testing and possible surgery if a tear duct is blocked.

If watery eyes aren’t interfering with your life, you may choose not to have treatment, as there’s a good chance the condition will simply dissipate of its own accord. But if you’re in any way not sure, visit iSight Optometry today and get friendly and professional help from our resident experts.