Watery eyes, also known as epiphora, is a condition that occurs when tears are produced excessively, often without any clear explanation. It usually happens due to two reasons: either when there is an overproduction of tears or there are blocked tear ducts in the eye, causing tears to overflow onto the face. Epiphora can occur at any age, but it is more common in people under the age of 12 months or over the age of 60. It can affect either one or both eyes. This condition is not always concerning and usually resolves on its own.

Symptoms of watery eyes (Epiphora)

Epiphora may cause your eyes to water persistently, or excessively with a constant stream of tears. You may also experience a few other symptoms, such as:

·         Redness in the eye

·         Enlarged, visible blood vessels

·         Sharp pain

·         Swelling in eyelids

·         Blurred vision

·         Light sensitivity.

In this article, we’ll further discuss the causes of watery eyes, when to see a doctor, and the treatment options available.

Causes of watery eyes (Epiphora)

It can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, infections, irritants, or underlying medical conditions.

·         Allergies: Reactions to allergy-causing substances such as grass, pollen, dust, or pet dander can cause watery eyes, along with other symptoms such as itching, redness, and swelling. Other causes of watery eyes that are not true allergens include perfumes, exhaust fumes, aerosol sprays, and cigarette smoke.

·         Infections: Bacterial or viral infections in one or both eyes, such as conjunctivitis, can cause excessive tear production and discharge from the eyes.

·         Dry Eyes: Although it may seem counterintuitive, dry eyes can cause watery eyes. When the eyes do not produce enough tears or produce low-quality tears, it prompts the lacrimal glands to produce excessive tears.

·         Blocked Tear Ducts: Blockages in the tear ducts, called lacrimal stenosis prevent tears from draining properly, leading to excessive tear production and watery eyes.

·         Eyestrain: Extended periods of screen time or focusing on a specific task can cause eye fatigue and strain, leading to watery eyes.

When to see a doctor for watery eyes (Epiphora)

While it is usually not a serious condition, there are certain instances where medical attention may be necessary. If you experience any of the following symptoms along with watery eyes, it’s important to see a doctor:

·         Pain or sensitivity to light

·         A feeling that some foreign object is in the eye

·         Persistently blurred vision

·         Swelling or redness in the eye or surrounding area

·         Eye discharge that is yellow, green, or bloody

·         Fever or chills

Treatment options for watery eyes (Epiphora)

The treatment will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. Some treatment options include:

·         Allergy Medications: Over-the-counter or prescription allergy medications can help reduce symptoms of watery eyes caused by allergies.

·         Antibiotics: If an infection is causing watery eyes, antibiotics may be prescribed.

·         Artificial Tears: Artificial tears can help relieve symptoms caused by dry eyes.

·         Warm Compresses: Applying a warm compress to the eyes can help unblock tear ducts and improve tear drainage.

·         Surgery: In rare cases where a blockage in the tear ducts is severe, surgery may be necessary to remove the blockage and restore normal tear drainage.


To prevent , you can take the following steps:

·         Washing your hands regularly. Avoiding touching your face to prevent spreading germs to your eye.

·         Avoiding allergens or irritants.

·         Wearing protective eyewear, such as goggles or glasses, when you step outside in the sun or in situations where the eyes may be exposed to irritants or debris.

·         Taking regular breaks during extended periods of screen time or focusing on a specific task.

·         Using a humidifier to add moisture to the air and prevent dry eyes.

·         Making regular eye examination a part of your regular health checkups.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, watery eyes can be caused by a variety of factors, including allergies, infections, dry eyes, blocked tear ducts, and eyestrain. They are frequently a symptom rather than the cause of eye discomfort. Excess tears can be annoying, but unless they are accompanied by eye pain or redness, they are usually not a serious issue. However, it’s important to seek medical attention if you experience certain symptoms along with watery eyes. Treatment options range from medications to surgery, depending on the underlying cause of the condition. Taking preventive measures such as avoiding irritants and taking regular breaks during screen time can help prevent this from occurring. 

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