How to Stop Watery Eyes

When your eyes won't stop watering, it can feel like you're crying nonstop. Although it can be frustrating, watery eyes are a common condition.

Read on to learn more about what causes watery eyes and how to make your eyes stop watering.

How to Stop Watery Eyes

Visit the Experts at Nationwide Vision

The eye doctors at Nationwide Vision are here to discuss your eye care concerns and get you the treatment you need. Schedule a consultation at a Nationwide Vision location in Arizona near you for watery eye relief.

Symptoms of Watery Eyes

Watery eyes can cause a whole host of other eye symptoms. These can include blurry vision, mucus discharge, eyelid issues, irritation, and light sensitivity. Eyelid issues can include peeling skin due to dryness and rubbing, or the lower lid becoming loose. 

If watery eyes persist, or if you develop other eye serious eye conditions as a result of watery eyes, consult your Nationwide Vision eye care specialist as soon as possible.

Causes of Watery Eyes

Epiphora, or excessive watering of the eye, can be caused by many different conditions, habits, or external factors. Each condition may require a different treatment.

Environmental Causes

Environmental factors, such as being exposed to the cold, wind, or smoke, can worsen watery eyes. This may be because your environment is causing your eyes to dry out. If you experience a lot of airborne dust or allergens, you could have blocked tear ducts. 

Makeup Irritation

Makeup can cause infections, styes, and irritations, leading to watery eyes. If you rub your eyes while wearing makeup, you may be contributing to your eye symptoms. Sleeping in makeup can cause complications. Make sure you always remove makeup before going to bed and regularly clean the area around your eyes to remove any residual makeup you may have missed while removing it.

Tear Production Complications

Tear production and drainage is an intricate, precise process involving the secretory system. If any part of this system is off balance, tear production and drainage can change too. While many factors can throw this balance off, issues can arise from making too many tears or having poor eye drainage.

Making Too Many Tears

Eyes have three types of tears: basal/lubricating tears, reflex tears, and emotional tears. Basal tears are made slowly. These tears, moisturize the surface of the eye and act as a protective barrier to keep it safe and healthy. Reflexive tears can be produced quickly in response to stimuli impacting the eye. This type of tearing up can result from several eye conditions. Some of these conditions can include allergic conjunctivitis, inflammation, ocular surface disorders, trichiasis, injury to the eye, or dry eye syndrome. Exposure to some chemicals, including hair spray, perfumes and even cutting onions, can cause excessive tears as well. Emotional tears are produced when emotions, whether happiness or sadness, overwhelm you. Not only are these tears a form of emotional expression, but they also help release stress hormones and natural painkillers. 

Having Poor Eye Drainage

Poor eye drainage can stem from other conditions, such as a blocked tear duct. Tear ducts are at the corner of the eyes near the nose. When these are clogged, tears can't drain from your eyes into your nose, where they either disappear through evaporation or reabsorption. Instead, the tears stay in the eye, making it watery. If the tears don’t drain from the eye properly, it can lead to an infection. 

Tear duct blockages can be caused by a variety of eye conditions. Narrow tear ducts, chronic eye inflammation, swelling, eye infections, glaucoma, previous facial surgeries, and even previous cancer treatment can cause blockages.

People Most Susceptible to Watery Eyes

Anyone can have excessive eye-watering, but it's most common in newborns and older people. Nasolacrimal duct obstruction, or dacryostenosis, is a condition that causes excessive eye watering and discharge in 6% to 20% of newborns. It usually fixes itself as the ducts develop, or with minimal treatment that includes massages, eye drops, and topical antibiotics. By most kids' first birthdays, 90% of tear duct blockages have resolved.

Older people may experience eyelid malposition. The two types of eyelid malposition are entropion and ectropion. These conditions are characterized by the eyelid being turned abnormally inward or outward. This malformation can contribute to eye-watering. This is because the eyelid has become misshapen with age and is having difficulty regulating tear flow. Both types of malposition can be treated with surgery.

Treatments for Watery Eyes

Treatments for watery eyes depend on the underlying conditions that cause them. Your eye doctor may not prescribe any treatment initially. "Watchful waiting" is often used when no treatment seems necessary. You’ll want to track when your eyes start watering excessively. Knowing when it happens and how often can help your doctor pinpoint the cause. Then they can determine how to make your eyes stop watering. Here are a few treatments your eye doctor may recommend for watery eyes.

OTC or Prescription Eye Drops

Using over-the-counter eye drops can help lubricate the eye and stop surface irritation, including dry eye symptoms. If over-the-counter drops are ineffective, your doctor may prescribe you stronger eye drops or ocular steroids.

Antibiotics and Medicated Eye Drops

If an eye infection is causing excessive tearing, you might need oral antibiotics or medicated eye drops to stop the infection. Sometimes, a doctor may have you use both treatments at once.

Allergy Medications

If your eyes are bothered by an allergen, antihistamine eye drops or an oral antihistamine medication could provide relief. If the tearing persists, you may need stronger recommendations from your doctor.

Use a Humidifier

Dry air can contribute to dry eyes and cause excessive watering. Using a cool humidifier indoors can help return humidity to the air and moisten your eyes.

Warm Compresses

You can purchase an eye compress to help relieve eye blockage issues. You can also make your own warm compress by wetting a washcloth with warm water. Apply the warm compress to your eyelids for five to 10 minutes. Doing this several times a day can help ease irritations and clear blockages. Gently massaging the eyes while using a warm compress can also help encourage tear flow. As a bonus, warm compresses can also help relieve any pain or irritation you may be feeling from continued watery eyes.

When to See an Eye Doctor

If your condition changes drastically or persists after home treatment, consult your doctor to discuss the next steps. Some symptoms that accompany watery eyes can be a warning sign of a more serious eye condition. If you're experiencing reduced vision or visual changes, pain around the eyes, or persistent foreign body sensation,  get immediate medical attention.


Schedule an Appointment at Nationwide Vision

If your eye condition persists, or you experience vision impairment because of your symptoms, it’s time to see a doctor. Schedule an appointment with one of our Arizona eye doctors at Nationwide Vision. We’re here to find a treatment plan that works best for you.

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