Naturally, the body produces tears to keep our eyes lubricated, and to do away with any foreign bodies. However, when the body begins to produce too many tears or when there is a malfunction in its drainage, then the eyes will be over-flowing. So get hold of some tissue and let’s find out why your tears runneth over.
There are two main reasons for watery eyes
- Overproduction of Tears
When the eye is irritated, in trying to rinse the irritant away it will have to produce more tears. Example of some irritants that can cause tearing:
- Maybe some chemicals, even onions.
- An eye injury, maybe a scratch or a piece of dirt.
Some people may have tears with a high content or fat or lipid, which may be a problem for tears to move freely and cause a not so even spread of tears across the eyes, dry patches appear, may lead to soreness together with irritation and viola, more tears are produced.
- Blocked Tear Duct
A newborn usually has watery eyes that clear up within few weeks. This is because they have underdeveloped tear ducts, so as the duct develops the tearing starts to drain correctly. Out of many the most common cause of watering eyes in adults, as well as older children, is usually blocked duct or sometimes just a duct that’s too narrow. These may be due to swelling or inflammation, in the case of a blocked or narrowed tear gland; tears will not be able to drainage perfectly and can get stuck in the tear sac.
One of the significant causes of infection in the eye is due to stagnant tears which result in the production of a sticky liquid and actually worsens the situation. An infection can lead to an inflammation mostly on the side of the nose close to the eyes. If a narrow drainage channel inside the eyes becomes blocked, it may be as a result of swelling or a scar.
Other reasons for watering eyes include:
This may not be much of a problem because both allergy and cold can cause a watery eye; one can just limit exposure to allergens in other to stop the allergy-related tearing. Of course, it depends on your specific allergen. For some just the use the eye drops, decongestants or antihistamines may help.
- Conjunctivitis (Pink Eyes)
Sometimes called pink eye, conjunctivitis is commonly caused by adenoviruses, pesky viruses that cause a common cold, bronchitis, and sore throats. Watering of the eyes is just one pink eye symptom; it may also be accompanied by itching, redness, and pain.
There’s isn’t much to be said about treatment for viral conjunctivitis, other than allowing the infection run its course. A cold, wet compress over the eyes may ease some of the tearing and other symptoms. Like the common cold, this type of pink eye is very contagious. Prevent spreading it by avoiding the hands in eyes syndrome, wash your hands regularly, and clean your pillowcase, sheets, and towels frequently.
- Bumps on the Eyelid (Styes or a Chalazion)
These are little red bumps that grow on your eyelid or lash line and may lead to tearing. Most styes are caused by bacterial infections, and they are very painful. “Just like pimples on the eyelid,” says Bibiana Reiser, MD, an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California and director of cornea and glaucoma services at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles.
Styles are not severe, but they are bothersome. A warm compress can hasten the healing process. Your doctor might need to drain if it is there for too long (more than few days). Make sure not to squeeze the stye yourself; you would not want to spread the infection any further. A chalazion is as a result of the healed styes that are no longer infectious.
- Bell’s palsy
This occurs when some of the nerves in the face become weak or paralyzed. It can affect the blinking reflex or make it so the eyelids cannot close properly, which can dry your eyes out. “Blinking distributes tears,” Dr. Le says.
Experts are not sure what causes Bell’s palsy, but most cases leave in a matter of a few months and sometimes much sooner. “In the meantime, lubricate your eyes with artificial tears,” says Dr. Le. Avoid products that promise to “get the red out” though: The more you use those products, the more you need them, she says.
- Ingrown Eyelashes
When someone’s eyelashes grow inward, there is friction on the eye. This irritates it and results in the production of extra tears. Your doctor might pluck out an ingrown lash or suggest a minor surgery to remove the lash permanently. If it is not treated, it may degenerate into to more severe problems such as cornea scratches and ulcers.
- Cornea Problems
The cornea which is the outermost transparent layer of the eye is the first line of defense when it comes to dirt or anything that can enter the eye. This makes it an easy target for irritants.
Anything that irritates your cornea can also make your eyes watery, whether it is just dust particle, a sore, or a scratch. You’re possibly going to have redness, pain, and sensitivity to light if a cornea issue is causing the watery eyes.
Most problems involving the cornea do not need to be treated, while others may likely require medication or even surgery. Consult a specialist if the irritation does not go away or if you’re also experiencing other symptoms.
- Dry Eyes
If the eyes get irritated, one’s immune system can respond by producing more tears. There may also be possible stinging or burning feeling, redness, and vision problems. If the symptoms don’t go away on its own (usually within a few days), it’s time to talk to your doctor.
If it is a mild case, artificial tears will be given to you. You may also be prescribed drugs to relieve the inflammation or help create tears. Other options may include implants that act like artificial tear glands or a combination of light therapy and eye massage.
There are a lot of reasons why the eyes may be watering, but among all reasons discussed I think the most ignored or the most unattended is drug-induced watering of the eyes. Examples of medications that can cause this include: Eye drops, especially echothiophate iodide and pilocarpine, Epinephrine, Chemotherapy drugs. Of cause, this effect is supposed to stop after these medications are discontinued, so there is no cause for alarm. However, if excessive tearing persists even after stoppage of the drugs, please see your doctor as soon as possible.
Although there are so many reasons why your eyes are watery, they all share somewhat identical symptoms, which makes getting the correct diagnosis very important. Visiting a physician will help you figure out what is causing your excessive tearing and the best ways to treat them.
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