Causes of Excessive Tearing
Watery eyes can be due to many factors and conditions. In infants, persistent watery eyes, often with some matter, are commonly the result of blocked tear ducts. Unlike a storm drain that carries away rainwater, tear ducts do not produce tears.
Tears normally drain into your nose through tiny openings in the inner part of the lids near the nose. For the first few months of life, the tear duct may not fully open and function. In elderly individuals, persistent watery eyes may occur because the aging skin of the eyelids sags away from the eyeball, causing tears to accumulate and flow.
Symptoms of Excessive Tearing
- Enlarged and visible blood vessels
- Sharp pain
- Swelling of the eyelid
- Blurry vision
- Sensitivity to light
What Causes Excessive Tearing?
One cause of excessive tearing is the eye producing too many tears. This can happen when there is inflammation or irritation of the eye. Allergies and eye infections cause the eye to produce excess tears. In this case, the excess tears are the body’s way of trying to wash away what is bothering the eye.
Another possible cause of excessive tearing is a blocked tear duct, causing tears to collect in the eye. This can happen as a result of an infection in the tear duct or an injury.
Other causes include:
- Common colds
- Dry eyes
- Eye infections caused by bacteria and viruses
- Eyelid problems or inflammation
- Ingrown eyelash
- An irritant or foreign object in the eye
Excessive tearing is not a serious problem but if the symptoms persist and cause inflammation, seek medical help right away.
Risk Factors of Eye Tearing
- Being older than 50. Tear production tends to diminish as you get older. Dry eyes are more common in people over 50.
- Being a woman. Women are more likely to experience a lack of tears, especially when going through pregnancy, using birth control pills, or going through menopause.
- Low intake of vitamin A and omega-3 fatty acids
- Having worn contact lenses or had refractive surgery in the past.
How to Diagnose Excessive Tearing?
The test and procedures that may be used to determine the cause of your dry eyes may depend on the severity of the condition. Your doctor may recommend:
- A comprehensive eye exam
- Measuring the volume of the tear
- A test to determine the quality of your tears. Other tests use special dyes in eyedrops to determine the surface condition of your eyes.
- A tear osmolarity test
- Tear samples to look for markers of dry eye disease
What are the Available Treatments for Excessive Tearing?
For most people with occasional or mild dry eye symptoms, it’s enough to regularly use over-the-counter eyedrops. You can also use any of these eye care products: