Our eyes need tears to remain healthy but if they are tearing too much it can be annoying. Excessive tearing can happen for many reasons, including: allergies, a scratched eye, infection, getting something in the eye, blocked tear ducts, eyelid problems or dry eye.
Believe it or not, dry eyes are one of the main reasons that our eyes get watery. This happens because of something called reflex tearing. If the eyes are too dry, sometimes the tear glands kick into overdrive to moisturize the eyes. This is very common when it is cold and windy. Some people have chronic dry eyes so they need artificial tear eye drops or prescription eye drops to help alleviate the excessive tearing.
We have glands that are constantly producing tears. These tears drain through little holes (puncta) in our upper and lower eyelids and then into the back of your nose and throat. Sometimes the drainage system can get clogged, causing an overflow of tears or very watery eyes. Ectropion is a condition where the eyelids are pulled out, away from the eyeball. This makes it difficult for the tears to reach the puncta and again resulting in an overflow of tears. Either of these conditions may require surgical treatment.
Allergies, colds, foreign objects and eye infections can also cause watery eyes. The eyes reflexively tear to protect the eye by rinsing out bacteria, foreign objects, viruses and things we are allergic to. Treating the underlying condition in critical to improving the tearing.
Watery eyes are very common and can occur for many reasons. While tearing is important for the health of your eyes, excessive tearing or “runny” eyes can be annoying. Should this be a problem for you, schedule an appointment so we identify the source and select the appropriate treatment.
Dr. James Ivanoski practices optometry at Lakeshore Eye Care Professionals with Dr. Martha Jay and Dr. Mark German. He welcomes patients of all ages into his practice and accepts most insurance plans.
For more eye care information, call 262-241-1919 or visit www.LakeShoreVision.com.