Watering eyes are a common problem, particularly in older people. A blocked tear duct is the most common cause, but there are a number of other causes. It can occur if too many tears are produced or if they cannot drain away properly. Other problems that can cause extra tears to be produced include:
• the lower eyelid sagging away from the eye (ectropion) – this makes it difficult for tears to reach the drainage ducts
• eyelids that roll inwards (entropion)
• inflammation of the edges of the eyelids (blepharitis)
• blocked or narrowed tear ducts
• eye irritation (for example, from chemical fumes or grit)
• an eye infection, such as conjunctivitis
• an allergy
HOW IS WATERY EYES DIAGNOSED?
The provider will examine the eyes and ask questions about medical history and symptoms. Liquid may be inserted into a tear duct to find out whether it comes out of the patient's nose. If it is found to be blocked, a dye may be injected to find the exact location of the blockage - this will be done by using an X-ray image of the area. The dye shows up on the X-ray.
HOW IS WATERY EYES TREATED?
Treatment of watery eyes depends on the cause. If it is due to dryness, then eye drops may be provided to relieve dryness. If it is due to an infection then appropriate medicine may be given to treat that.
DID YOU KNOW?
Causes of watery eyes include:
• Allergy to mold, dander, dust
• Blepharitis (swelling along the edge of the eyelid)
• Blockage of the tear duct
• Smog or chemicals in the air or wind
• Bright light
• Eyelid turning inward or outward
• Something in the eye (such as dust or sand)
• Scrape on the eye
• Inward-growing eyelashes