We depend on the tears flowing from our tear ducts to keep our eyes properly lubricated and to assist us in cleansing away dust and foreign articles before they can get into our eyes. Our tears also work with our immune system in guarding against infections. But like anything good, too much of a good thing in terms of tear production can leave us with a condition of excess tears known as watery eyes, also known in medical terms as epiphora.
Symptoms of Watery EyesHaving the condition known as watery eyes is more than just having an excess amount of tears leaking from your eyes. Other symptoms associated with watery eyes include swollen eyelids, a burning sensation in your eyes, itchy eyes, an enhanced sensitivity to light, blurry vision, and/or a feeling of heightened tiredness, heaviness, or soreness with your eyes, per emedihealth.com.
Watery Eyes vs. Dry EyeGranted, when it comes to our eyes and related conditions, it can get confusing: on the one hand, some of us at times suffer from watery eyes; for others, the annoying eye-related health issue can be dry eye. So, which is it going to be? Actually, they are linked to one another, as one of the common sources of watery eyes is dry eye syndrome, per healthline.com. In such cases when your eyes aren't being properly lubricated – because your tears don't have the right balance of water, salt, and oils – the resulting irritation can stimulate an excess production of tears from your tear ducts.
Watery Eyes SourcesOne of the more familiar causes of watery eyes are seasonal allergies, where watery eyes are a common daily affliction. Per mayoclinic.org, other causes – among dozens – include:
- An eyelid inflammation known as blepharitis
- Blocked tear duct
- Ingrown eyelash (trichiasis)
- Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
- Tear duct infection
- Chronic sinusitis
- Facial nerve palsy
- Radiation therapy
- Corneal ulcer
- Common cold
- Eye injury (such as a blow to the eye)
- Other causes can include eye strain, light sensitivity, and even weather conditions, per emedihealth.com.
‘A Plumbing Problem'Essentially, watery eyes come about when more tear fluid is being produced than can be washed away, per health.harvard.edu. This might surprise you to know, but your eyes are always producing small amounts of tears at a consistent rate. These tears are being produced by your lacrimal glands, positioned at the edge of your eye sockets, located right above your eyes. The involuntary blinking of your eyes spreads the moisture over the front of your eyes, providing a protective film. The fluid is then drained and replenished, with a drainage system ridding you of the excess.
Treating Watery EyesThere are a number of home remedies you can try to treat your watery eyes, but start with a consultation with your doctor to diagnose your condition. He or she can determine whether you have epiphora by examining your eyes and going over your medical history, per clevelandclinic.org. By doing so, your physician could determine you might have a blocked tear duct, with various tests then able to assess the magnitude of the blockage. Such testing would likely involve flushing out your tear ducts with a saline solution, then using a dye to be placed in the corner of each eye, and then checking your eye, nose, and throat 10 to 15 minutes later to see if the dye has drained from the eye, per clevelandclinic.org. If it hasn't, that's a likely sign that the tear duct is blocked. Further tests could then include a CT scan or a unique kind of X-ray known as a dacryocystography. Following are eight home-remedy treatments that have been shown to be effective to some degree or another:
- Chamomile. Because it is an anti-inflammatory, chamomile has been used to treat an assortment of conditions to include anxiety, skin inflammation, conjunctivitis . . . and watery eyes, per effectiveremedies.com. Whether in the form of boiled chamomile flowers or as an oil added to water, it makes a worthy eye wash.
- Cucumber. Cut a cucumber into slices, lay on your back, and place one slice over each eye. Because cucumbers are 90 percent water, they will hydrate your eyes, which, as explained above, can provide a solution to watery eyes.
- Antihistamines. These help you battle the symptoms of seasonal allergies, which typically include persistent watery eyes.
- Warm, wet towel. Similar to placing a cucumber slice over each eye. By placing a warm, wet towel over your eyes several times a day, you can alleviate the blockage to your tear ducts, per healthline.com.
- Baking soda. Mixed with water, it works well as an eye wash to relieve epiphora.
- Castor oil. This oil contains fatty acids and other antioxidants that help keep your eyes hydrated while reducing inflammation, per effectiveremedies.com.
- Green tea. There are antioxidants in green tea known as flavonoids that can not only help protect your eyes from some diseases such as cataracts, per effectiveremedies.com, but also work toward relieving watery eyes.
- Good hand hygiene. This helps ensure that when you do touch your eyes for any reason, at least your hands are clean and less likely to cause any condition that might lead to watery eyes.