Watering of eyes is a condition in which there is an overflow of tears from one or both eyes. Rather than a disease itself, it can be a symptom of one of the many underlying abnormality. Production of tears from the lacrimal gland is a normal function. It helps to keep the surface of the eyeball healthy. Tears are drained through the nasolacrimal duct system into nose. They keep running down over the face when the duct system is not able to drain it. Medical term for watery eyes is epiphora.
It can develop at any age but more common in those who are under 12 months of age or above 60 years.
Watering of eyes may not be the only symptom in the patient. There can be other associated signs and symptoms depending upon the underlying cause as
Crying or entry of any foreign body is the common cause of watery eyes in people which are otherwise normal. The overflow of the draining duct system causes tears to run down over the face. It can happen either due to overproduction of tears or abnormal duct system
There can be several reasons of improper drainage of tears which includes
The conjunctiva is the inner part of the eyelids that covers some part of the eyeball too. The bulging transparent part of the eyeball is called as cornea. Irritation of these structures lead to overproduction of tears which can be caused by
Some medications such as chemotherapeutic drugs or eyedrops containing pilocarpine are also known to cause watery eyes as a side effect.
A diagnosis is required to manage the condition better. Specialists who deal with the eyes and the related structures are known as ophthalmologists. The doctor will ask you a detailed history of your signs and symptoms. He or she may perform some physical examination or order some tests to confirm the diagnosis.
The management depends upon the specific diagnosis and the severity of the symptoms. Different causes require different approach as
In mild cases of watery eyes without an absolute cause your doctor may recommend warm compresses and to wait for a while to see if the condition improves or not.
In cases of watery eyes due to deficient oil in tears, putting a clean hot towel over your eyelids may help open the oil glands. Sometime the blocked opening of oil glands can be cleared with the help of cleaning along the lash line with the help of cotton swab dipped in diluted no tears or baby shampoo.
If a foreign body is causing irritation then it needs to be removed in the aid of proper visualization.
Surgical approach may be required when the cause is some anatomical defect as