What are the causes of Watery eyes & How to manage it?

Feb 14, 2023 by Adhip

Epiphora, or watery eyes, occurs when your body makes too many tears for the tear ducts to absorb and evaporate. The build-up of tears results in excess tearing that can lead to discomfort and irritation.

Tears are essential in aiding the health of your eyes. They keep your eyes well-lubricated and rid them of any dusty particles or other debris. Additionally, they carry natural antibodies that help you fight against infections.

For the majority of cases, excessive tearing resolves without any particular treatment. Though, in some cases, it can become a long-term issue that needs to be addressed.

In some cases, watery eyes may resolve without any treatment. However, you can still take steps to soothe and relieve the symptoms. Home remedies for inflammation or dry eyes can help treat watery eyes effectively.

Causes of Watery eyes

Watery eyes in babies can be attributed to blocked tear ducts that fail to remove tears from the eye. In this case, the ducts act like storm drains and are unable to do their job of carrying away moisture from the eye. This phenomenon is common among children and many factors and conditions can lead to it.

Babies have narrow tear ducts which may not be fully functional in the first few months. However, tears normally pass through tiny openings near the nose (puncta) on the inner part of the eyelids and drain into your nose.

As we age, droopy eyelids that pull away from the eyeball can lead to watery eyes. Apart from that, excessive tear production can also cause watery eyes in elderly people.

Allergies, viral infections (conjunctivitis), and inflammation can all be the causes of short-term watery eyes. Medication such as chemotherapy drugs, epinephrine, and eyedrops might also be a cause of this symptom. Among the eyedrops that may cause it is echothiopate iodide and pilocarpine.

Common causes of Watery eyes

  1. Allergies
  2. Eyelid inflammation
  3. Blocked tear duct
  4. Corneal abrasion
  5. Corneal ulcer
  6. Dry eyes & Tear duct infection
  7. Ectropion (outwardly turned eyelid)
  8. Entropion (inwardly turned eyelid)
  9. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  10. Ingrown eyelash (trichiasis)
  11. Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  12. Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  13. Style 
  14. Trachoma


If you experience watery eyes, with any of the below symptoms, please consult a doctor immediately: blurred vision, eye discomfort, or the sensation that something is in the eye.

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If your watery eyes are caused by mild dryness or inflammation, they may resolve with no additional treatment. To combat this issue, try using artificial tears or warm compresses to soothe the area around your eyes for a few minutes. If your eyes are still watery, it’s best to consult a doctor. They may suggest you see an ophthalmologist if needed.

Watery eyes Treatment

Most instances of watery eyes clear up by themselves, however, if they don’t, you may need to consult a physician or eye specialist. They will be able to give you an eye exam or physical to diagnose the issue.

Make sure you have all the important information ready for your doctor about any recent eye injuries and health problems. Don’t forget to discuss any prescription or non-prescription drugs or supplements you’re taking.

Along with examining your eyes, your doctor may carry out a test to determine if any blockages are present in the tear ducts. Treatment options for watery eyes include:

  • Prescription eye drops are an effective solution for allergies that cause watery eyes. They can help reduce the discomforts associated with it and give you relief from the symptoms.
  • If you have an eye infection, antibiotics can be used to treat it.
  • You can unclog your blocked tear ducts by using a warm, moist towel and placing it on your eyes several times during the day.
  • A surgical intervention to unlock obstructed tear ducts is now available, providing an effective solution for those suffering from blocked tear ducts.
  • Dacryocystorhinostomy, a surgical procedure to either fix or craft a new tear drainage system, is available.


Generally, watery eyes don’t need any medical intervention and should settle down on their own. However, if you experience any changes in your vision such as blurriness or double vision, it is important to contact your optometrist as soon as possible. These could be indicators of a severe eye condition that requires immediate treatment.

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