Watery eyes

Causes of Watery Eyes

Watery eyes are a common symptom of many different eye and health conditions. While watery eyes do not always indicate a serious problem, some conditions can cause permanent eye or vision damage if not diagnosed and treated correctly. Here are some of the more common causes of watery eyes:

  • Allergies: Itchy, watery eyes are often the first symptom of allergies to pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold, and other substances.
  • Corneal abrasion: A scratch or cut to the cornea can cause intense pain and watery eyes.
  • Conjunctivitis: This infection of the outermost layer of the eye can cause irritation, redness, and watery eyes.
  • Dry eye syndrome: Normally, your eyes produce tears to maintain optimal moisture and clarity of vision. With dry eye syndrome, the tear production is insufficient, causing irritation and watery eyes.
  • Blepharitis: This is an inflammation of the eyelids due to bacteria. Irritation and watery eyes are common symptoms.
  • Foreign object: Objects stuck in the eye can cause watery discharge along with pain, burning, or itching.
  • Stye: Also known as a Hordeolum, a stye is an infection of the oil gland of the eyelid.

Diagnosing Watery Eyes

If your watery eyes are accompanied by pain, redness, vision changes, or light sensitivity, it is important to consult an eye care professional right away. The specialist will perform a comprehensive eye exam using special equipment such as a slit lamp to diagnose the cause of the watery eyes, and determine the appropriate treatment plan.

Treating Watery Eyes

Treatment for watery eyes will depend on the underlying cause. Allergy sufferers can benefit from antihistamines, decongestants, and preventive measures such as avoiding triggers or using air purifiers. Likewise, conjunctivitis can be treated with eye drops or ointments. For other conditions, such as an infection or dry eye syndrome, the doctor may recommend eye drops, ointments, or other treatments.