Watery eyes are annoying but did you know that they can also be a sign for a serious problem? If you’re dealing with persistent watery eyes, here are a few possible causes.
1. Dry Eye Disease:
This sounds counterintuitive, but dry eye disease can actually cause your eyes to tear up. This type of tearing is known as reflex tearing, and it happens when the eye is irritated. Reflex tearing is part of the eye’s defense mechanism, but it can get annoying to have watery eyes. Dry eye disease can involve a variety of other symptoms including blurry vision, a sensation of sand in the eye, or even the feeling that you are looking at the world through a film or haze that improves when you blink.
2. Eye Injury or Foreign Body:
When the eye is injured, it tears as a protective measure. The tearing can help wash out a foreign body and relieve an injury. If you sustain an injury to your eye or feel like you may have something in your eye, seek care with your eye doctor as soon as possible. Both eye injuries and foreign bodies can feel painful and both make you feel like there is something in the eye.
3. Nasolacrimal Duct Narrowing or Obstruction:
Failure of the tear ducts to open is a common cause of tearing in newborns. In adults, the tear ducts may become narrow and obstructed with age, which also causes excess tears to leak out. Your eye doctor will be able to check for a nasolacrimal duct obstruction in the office.
4. Eye Infection aka Pink Eye:
Pink eye is actually a broad term for conjunctivitis, which is the inflammation of the tissue around the white part of your eye. Conjunctivitis can happen for several reasons including infection, viral or bacterial, or even allergies. Certain eye infections, especially viral eye infections can cause a lot of tearing. If you suspect that you might have viral conjunctivitis you should practice good hygiene, avoid touching the affected eye and avoid sharing towels and other personal items with other members of your household.
Allergies to various environmental factors such as dust, pollen, dander, and even eye makeup can cause your eyes to water. Some clues that your watery eyes are due to allergies include other allergy-related symptoms such as sneezing, congestion, runny nose, or itchy eyes.
If your eyes are tearing and you aren’t sure why, the best thing to do is to see your eye doctor. Both optometrists and ophthalmologists are trained in diagnosing and treating many various causes of tearing. However, if you have sustained an injury that may require surgical repair, you may need to see an ophthalmologist.
Clinical and Metaverse Optometrist at Benjamin Eye Institute