Are Your Eyes Crying For Help?

By July 1, 2013Blog, Eye Care, Eye Facts

Believe it or not, watery eyes could be a sign of dry eyes. Constant watering of eyes is surely a very annoying eye problem. Let’s find out more about the causes and treatment of this eye condition.

Tears are produced by the tear glands that are located below our eyelids. They not only moisten our eyes but also wash off the irritants and protect our eyes from various eye infections. The tear ducts that are located on the upper and lower eyelids facilitate the drainage of tears. When these tear ducts become blocked or the tear glands start producing too much tears, it causes watery eyes (epiphora).  Epiphora could also be caused by certain eye conditions.

Causes of Watery Eyes (Epiphora):

Dry Eyes
As mentioned earlier, tearing eyes is associated with tear gland disorders. Dry eyes syndrome is one of the common causes of itchy watery eyes. Dry eyes is an eye problem associated with improper functioning of the lacrimal gland. The quantity or quality of tears produced is affected by this condition.  People suffering from dry eyes generally experience symptoms such as itchy eyes, a gritty sensation in the eyes, pain, eye fatigue, redness, burning sensation and increased sensitivity to light. When eyes dry out, the lacrimal gland starts producing more tears in order to relieve the dryness.

Blocked Tear Ducts
Blocked tear ducts or improper drainage of the tear duct could also lead to watering of the eyes. The tear duct performs the task of moving excess water from the eyes to the nostrils. When the tear ducts get blocked, tears are unable to travel down the nose. As a result, they get accumulated in the eyes and start rolling down the cheeks. Sometimes, the chemicals that help in spreading the tears on the surface of the eye cannot be released due to blockage, therefore, the eye becomes dry and this leads to watering of eyes.

Eye Allergies
Allergies of the eyes could also be responsible for watering of eyes. Some people face this problem when they come in contact with allergens such as pollen, dust, chemicals, fumes and pet dander. Use of certain eye makeup products could also lead to epiphora. Ingrown eye lashes can also cause excessive tearing of eyes. Watering of eyes is generally our body’s response to presence of allergens or irritants. More tears are produced in order to get rid of the irritants.

Eye Infections
When excessive tearing of eyes is accompanied by redness and itchiness, it is indicative of an eye infection. Blepharitis is an eye infection that is commonly known to cause itchy, watery, swollen eyes. Blepharitis symptoms include excessive tearing of eyes, itchy swollen eyelids, burning sensation and foreign body feeling in the eye. Another eye infection that can cause itchy, watery, red eyes is conjunctivitis. Conjunctivitis or pink eye is generally caused by a  bacterial or a viral infection. It is one of the common causes of epiphora.

Treatment Options for Epiphora

The treatment will vary depending on the underlying cause. Since watering of the eyes can be caused due to various eye problems, it is best to consult an ophthalmologist soon. If dry eyes is responsible for watery eyes, doctors prescribe lubricants or eye drops. Since harsh environmental conditions can also aggravate dryness, you must wear sunglasses to protect your eyes. Besides the use of artificial tears, insertion of punctal plugs might also be suggested by your doctor. If the watering of eyes is caused by allergies, doctors recommend the use of antihistamines for itchy eyes relief. These surely provide relief from itchiness and the redness associated with watery eyes. If excessive tearing of eyes is caused by a bacterial infection, antibiotic eye drops are prescribed. Eye strain could also lead to excessive tearing and can cause itchy red eyes; therefore, it is best to rest your eyes.  Cold compresses can be used for providing relief from eye strain. If the tear ducts are blocked, a minor surgical procedure called probing can be used for opening up the blocked tear ducts.

Though watering of eyes might not be a cause of serious concern always, if you have been experiencing symptoms such as redness, itchiness, and blurred vision, you should have your eyes examined. Sometimes epiphora can be an early symptom of tear sac infection and other eye infections. If left untreated, the condition could worsen. Our eyes are very delicate organs and we must pay close attention to every aspect of eye care. So, those of you who have been experiencing excessive tearing of eyes should consult an ophthalmologist soon.