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Alternative Names Return to topEpiphora; Tearing - increased
Definition Return to top
Watery eyes occur when there is too much tear production or poor drainage of the tear duct.
Causes Return to top
Tears are necessary for the normal lubrication of the eye and to wash away particles and foreign bodies.
Causes of watery eyes include:
Increased tearing sometimes accompanies:
Oddly enough, one of the most common causes of excess tearing is dry eyes. Drying causes the eyes to become uncomfortable, which stimulates the body to produce too many tears. One of the main tests for tearing is to check whether the eyes are too dry.
Home Care Return to top
Consider the cause of the tearing. If the eyes feel dry and burn and then begin to tear, consider using artificial tears before tearing occurs. This prevents the reflex tearing.
If the eyes are itchy and uncomfortable, consider allergy as a cause. Over-the-counter antihistamines can be useful. A mucous discharge from the eyes or red eyes may indicate a blocked tear duct or eyelid problem.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Tearing is not an emergency, but it can be very annoying and usually can be treated.
Contact your health care provider if you have:
What to Expect at Your Office Visit Return to top
The doctor will take a medical history and examine your eyes.
Medical history questions documenting increased tearing may include:
The physical examination may include a detailed eye examination.
Diagnostic tests that may be performed are:
Once the symptoms are explained, the cause is usually clear. Treatment can include:
If you might have a blockage of the tear system, your doctor may use a probe to test the tear drainage system. This is painless. If you have a blockage, you may have surgery to correct the problem. Minor surgery can fix improper eyelid position.Update Date: 11/13/2007 Updated by: Manju Subramanian, M.D., Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology, Vitreoretinal Disease and Surgery, Boston University Eye Associates, Boston, MA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.