Excess tearing is not a serious health condition, but it can certainly be annoying and uncomfortable. It is also treatable.
Increased tear production is natural under certain conditions, but persistent tearing may indicate overproduction or a drainage issue.
Are my watery eyes normal or problematic?
What are the risk factors?
Persistently watery eyes can affect patients of any age. In fact, it is common for infants to experience watery eyes due to blocked tear ducts. Tear ducts can also become narrower with age, or become partially obstructed due to injury or health issues such as polyps. Meanwhile, women are more prone to having allergies and developing dry eye syndrome (which can cause watery eyes).
Dry eye syndrome, contrary to what the name suggests, can result in excess tearing as the eye struggles to compensate for dryness and irritation. Sinusitis, allergies, blepharitis (inflamed eyelids), keratitis (inflammation of the cornea), diabetes, and conjunctivitis can also result in ongoing excess tear production.
How can I prevent excess tearing?
Always stay away from known allergens or take precautions before entering an environment that contains a known allergen (e.g., take an oral antihistamine thirty minutes prior to entering the environment). Dr. William Trattler, Florida International University College of Medicine Consultant
Why are my eyes watering?
Discussing your symptoms and medical history can help your doctor determine which tests are most likely to provide information on your condition.
Your doctor can use a special saline solution to gauge the drainage rate of your tear ducts. In some cases, x-rays may be necessary to reveal an obstruction.
Your doctor may perform one or several tests to determine the cause of excess tearing.
Your doctor may conduct any number of tests to determine if an illness is causing your excessive tearing. This can involve a visual exam, or a test of your tear quality (which is often compromised in those suffering from dry eye syndrome). In some cases, your doctor may recommend a fluorescein stain, which involves placing dye on the surface of the eye to reveal any foreign objects. The doctor will also look for any corneal scratches or abrasions.
What does treatment involve?
What can I do today?
If you notice anything unusual or uncomfortable about your eyes, the best course of action is to consult a doctor right away. The cause of excess tearing is usually not difficult for a doctor to identify, and with the proper treatment, you can quickly achieve relief.