What Can Cause Watery Eyes?

  • Watery eyes could be a symptom of an eye or health problem.
  • Some causes could involve infections or other environmental factors.
  • Several autoimmune diseases may also cause this.

You might have experienced watery eyes after staring at your computer the whole day or after reading for a long time. In this case, this condition is due to eye strain.

Aside from eye strain, there are still several reasons you may experience watery eyes, such as weather conditions, infections, medications, and injuries. Generally, this issue can be resolved without treatment, but it can sometimes persist and serve as a symptom of an underlying vision and health problem.

Several eye specialists share the possible reasons why you experience watery eyes.

1. Dry Eye Syndrome

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Having dry eyes is the most common cause of watery eyes.

According to Dr. Douglas Lazarro, a NYU Langone Health’s opthalmologist, when the eye’s ocular surface and cornea’s outer layer becomes dry, the eyes respond by producing tears. Dr. Lazarro further explains that the cornea has sensitive nerves, which can sense if the eye surface is dry and responds by signaling the lacrimal gland to produce more tears.

Another opthalmologist at Texas Health Arlington Memorial Hospital, Dr. Ray Chan, shares that certain medications can also cause the eyes to dry out. These drugs include antihistamines, antidepressants, decongestants, diuretics, and chemotherapy drugs.

Antihistamines and decongestants are used to help stop a runny nose or an itchy skin. It can also decrease the mucus and aqueous tears resulting in dry eyes which then tear up.

Antidepressants can interrupt nerve signals relating to tear production. When this happens, the eyes become dry because of insufficient lubrication. As a response, the eyes produce more tears.

2. Eye Drops

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Some eye drops contain a preservative, which can make the ocular surface irritated. When the eye surface gets irritated, it responds by producing more tears to lubricate the eyes. 

3. Allergies

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Allergens can also cause the eyes to water. When you have eye allergies, your first response is to rub your itchy eyes.

According to Dr. Stephanie Marioneaux, the clinical spokesperson for the American Academy of Opthalmology, the eye reacts by producing more tears when there are allergens in your eyes. The tears will try to break apart the allergens and wash it away to relieve the itchiness in your eyes.

4. Blocked Tear Duct

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Another possible reason for watery eyes could be a blocked tear duct. Dr. Lazarro explains that if you have a blocked tear duct, the tears do not drain and only accumulate in your eyes, and with nowhere to go, it roll downs the cheeks instead.

5. Autoimmune Diseases

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Several autoimmune diseases can also cause watery eyes. Data suggest that rheumatoid arthritis can cause this condition but Dr. Marioneaux shares that the link between rheumatoid arthritis and watery eyes is not yet established. Sufficient data is still needed to confirm this association.


Source: The Healthy

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