It can be frustrating when your eyes won't stop watering. Watery eyes can be a hindrance to your daily life by causing blurry vision and uncomfortable sensations. Luckily, this common condition has available treatments to help you combat your symptoms.
The eye doctors at EyeCare Associates are here to discuss your eye care concerns and answer any questions you may have about your symptoms. Schedule an eye appointment at an Alabama location near you.
Several common symptoms can accompany watery eyes. Some of these include blurry vision, mucus discharge, eye irritation, and sensitivity to light. Additionally, excessive eye watering can also cause other eye issues, such as loose lids and peeling skin. This can add further irritation as you try to cope with watery eyes.
Excessive watering of the eye, also known as epiphora, can be caused by many different factors. Whatever the cause, each may require a different treatment.
Environmental factors that can cause watery eyes include frequent or long-term exposure to cold air, wind, or smoke. These environmental conditions can worsen dry eyes or blocked tear ducts, increasing watery eye symptoms.
Makeup can also cause eye infections, styes, and mild irritation, which can cause watery eyes. It is recommended to avoid rubbing your face while wearing makeup, as well as to wash makeup off before you go to sleep at night. Removing makeup and regularly cleaning your face, especially before bed, can help prevent irritation or eye conditions that contribute to watering eye symptoms.
Problems with tear production and drainage can also cause watery eye symptoms. Your secretory system is an important part of regulating the composition of the eye. If any part of this system is off balance, tear production and drainage can change too. While many causes can throw this balance off, issues mainly arise from producing too many tears or having poor eye drainage.
There are three types of tears that humans produce: basal tears, reflex tears, and emotional tears. Basal tears are the type of tears that constantly lubricate the eye. The tears are made at a slow but consistent pace, moisturizing the surface of the eye and acting as a barrier to keep it safe and healthy. Reflex tears are produced in response to foreign body sensations in the eye. Reflex tearing can also result from allergic conjunctivitis, inflammation, ocular surface disorders, trichiasis, injury to the eye, and dry eye syndrome (DES). Exposure to chemicals, including hair spray, perfumes and even cutting onions, can cause excessive tears as well. Emotional tears are produced when you experience an overwhelming emotion. As well as being a form of emotional expression, these tears also release stress hormones and natural painkillers.
Poor eye drainage often stems from other conditions, like a blocked tear duct. When your tear ducts are clogged, tears can't drain from your eyes to evaporate or be reabsorbed by your body. Your tears will instead collect in the eye, making it watery. This can even lead to an infection. Blockages in the eye can be caused by narrow tear ducts, chronic eye inflammation, swelling, eye infections, glaucoma, previous eye surgeries, or even previous cancer treatment.
Anyone can experience excessive eye-watering. However, it is most common in newborns and older people, each for different reasons. For example, a nasolacrimal duct obstruction, or dacryostenosis, is a condition that causes excessive eye watering and discharge in 6% to 20% of newborns. Usually, the problem resolves itself as the ducts develop. Sometimes minimal treatment such as gentle eye massages, eye drops, and topical antibiotics are necessary to resolve the problem. By most kids' first birthdays, 90% of cases have resolved.
On the other hand, older people may experience eyelid malposition. Eyelid malposition is when the eyelid is abnormally turned inward or outward from the eye. The two types of malposition are entropion when the eyelid is turned inward, and ectropion, when the lower eyelid is turned outward. These conditions can lead to eye-watering due to the eyelid becoming mispositioned through age. This causes difficulty with regulating tear flow. However, this condition can be treated with surgery.
Depending on the cause of your watering eyes, the type of treatment you need may vary. Your eye doctor may advise you to wait a little longer before recommending a treatment. "Watchful waiting" is protocol when no treatment seems necessary yet. If you’re seeking treatment, you'll want to track when your eyes start watering excessively. Knowing when it happens can help your doctor pinpoint the cause of your symptoms easier, as well as what treatment to recommend. Here are a few treatments your eye doctor may recommend for watery eyes.
Using over-the-counter or prescribed eye drops can help treat watery eye symptoms. Eye drops lubricate the eye and stop surface irritation from a variety of factors, including dry eye syndrome. If over-the-counter eyedrops are not helping your condition, consult your doctor.
If your excessive tear production is caused by an eye infection, you may need oral antibiotics or medicated eye drops. Consult your doctor for recommendations on the type of treatment you should take.
If you experience eye watering due to allergies, antihistamine eye drops or an oral antihistamine medication could provide relief. If the tearing persists, there may be other causes aside from allergens. Schedule a comprehensive eye exam with your eye doctor if your allergen medication is not solving your eye watering like usual.
Dry air from the weather or the climate you live in can dry your eyes out and cause excessive watering. A cool humidifier indoors, especially during the dry times of the year, can help return humidity to the air and moisten your eyes.
Finally, the use of a warm compress is a great way to treat watery eyes at home. You can purchase an eye compress to help relieve excessive eye watering. You can also make a warm compress by dampening a washcloth with warm water. You then apply it to your eyelids for five to 10 minutes. Using a warm compress several times a day can help with your symptoms, as well as other eye conditions.
If your symptoms persist or change unexpectedly, even after home treatment attempts, consult your doctor to discuss further treatment plans. If you experience visual changes, eye pain, or the feeling that something is stuck in your eye, seek immediate medical attention. These symptoms accompanied by watery eyes can be an indicator of a serious eye condition.
It’s time to see a doctor if your eye condition persists, or you experience vision impairment due to your symptoms. The eye care professionals with EyeCare Associates are here to help you find the right vision correction treatment. We’ll help you find a treatment plan that works best for you. Schedule an appointment with one of the EyeCare Associates today.