Causes of Watery eyes

Simple non-pathological reasons for increased tearing include:

Causes of Epiphora: Other causes of watery eyes related to excessive tear production include:

Wet vs Dry Eyes: Is the eye dry or wet? Paradoxically, watering eyes can result from dry eyes, because eye irritation triggers more tear production. Causes of both types of symptoms need to be considered together. See also: dry eyes.

Eye Disorders: Disorders of the eye that may provoke increased tearing include:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Conjunctivitis
  • Chronic Conjunctivitis
  • Viral conjunctivitis
  • Bacterial conjunctivitis
  • Fungal conjunctivitis
  • Allergic conjunctivitis
  • Dry eye
  • Eye foreign body (e.g. grit or sand in the eye)
  • Keratoconjunctivitis sicca (Dry eye syndrome)
  • Scleritis
  • Episcleritis
  • Corneal scratch (corneal abrasion)
  • Corneal foreign body
  • Corneal ulcer
  • Dacryocystitis
  • Conjunctival foreign body
  • Conjunctival abrasion
  • Eyestrain
  • Eye injury
  • Exposure keratitis

Eyelid Disorders: Eyelid problems can cause dry eyes by directly irritating the eye, or by improper closer of the eyelids, leading to dry eyes from exposure. Eyelid disorders that may cause increased tearing include:

Other Causes: Other causes of watery eyes include:

Excessive Tearing: Abnormal drainage of the eyes often leads to excessive tearing, such as in:

  • Lacrimal drainage obstruction (nasolacrimal duct obstruction)
  • Lacrimal stones (calculus)
  • Congenital lacrimal duct obstruction (e.g. in children, often resolving as they age and the duct grows larger)
  • Dacryocystitis (lacrimal sac infection)
  • Lacrimal tumor
  • Bogorad syndrome (Bellís palsy complication; gustatory tears)
  • Lacrimal duct disorder

Eye Drainage Disorders: Abnormal eye drainage is quite common in young children because they have much smaller ducts. This type of watering eye is often unilateral and without eye inflammation. It may last for some time, but in most cases will resolve with age, although treatments or surgical correction are occasionally required.

Psychological Causes: Crying for emotional or psychological reasons may result in excessive tearing and watery eyes, such as in:

Similar Symptoms: See also the causes of similar symptoms, such as:

  • Eye inflammation
  • Eye irritation
  • Eyelid symptoms
  • Eyelid irritation
  • Dry eyes
  • Wet eyes
  • Crying too much (excessive crying)

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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.