What are the causes of watery eyes?

Young woman suffering from eye strain while working on a laptop which is one of the causes of watery eyes

Weddings and weepy movies can make you well up, but watery eyes often have quite a different cause. Watery eyes can be down to all sorts of things, from allergies to blocked tear ducts. If your eyes are watering for no reason, we’ll help you identify the trigger, and answer the question: ‘what does it mean if your eyes keep watering?’.

Watery eyes: causes

Some of the most common causes of watery eyes include:

  • Allergy.
  • Infection.
  • Irritants.
  • Dry-eye syndrome.
  • Blocked tear ducts.
  • Eyelid issues.
  • Eyestrain.
  • A cold.

As you’ll need plenty of tissues to wipe away those tears, use a super soft Cushelle tissue in a handy pocket pack for whenever you need to deal with watery eyes.

Help for watery eyes if you have allergies

Allergies can make your eyes water. When you come into contact with an allergen – such as pollen outdoors, or dust mites, mould or pet dander indoors – red, watery eyes can form part of your allergic reaction, along with sneezing and a runny nose. That’s because the irritation prompts tear production.

Irritants that can cause red, watery eyes

Sometimes, watery eyes are a response to environmental factors that irritate your eyes, such as wind, dust, bright light, or dry air. This can lead to your eyes producing excess tears. Exposure to chemicals, smoke, or even an eyelash can result in the same response.

Constantly watery eyes caused by dry-eye syndrome

Think your eyes are watering for no reason? The cause could be dry-eye syndrome. This is when the glands in your eyelids that produce an oily substance don’t function correctly. This oily substance slows down the evaporation of tears, so when it’s not there, your eyes dry out.

It sounds counter-intuitive, but when your eyes dry out, they produce extra tears as a reflex – so many tears that the natural drainage system can’t cope.

Watery eyes symptoms caused by blocked tear ducts

When your tear ducts are blocked, the tears that your eyes naturally produce can’t drain away as easily. This creates an overflow of tears.

Eyelid issues could be one of the reasons for watery eyes

Your eyelids need to close correctly in order to spread your tears evenly over your eyes. If your eyelid turns inwards, or your lower eyelids droop and pull away, this can be what causes runny eyes. See your doctor if this is the case for you.

Can eyestrain be what causes your eyes to water?

You might need help for watery eyes if you experience eyestrain. This can be the result of staring at a screen for a long time, or any other activity that involves the eyes being focused in the same spot for prolonged periods, such as driving or reading.

What causes watery eyes in winter

Having a cold in the colder months can lead to watery eyes. In winter we’re more prone to catching a cold because we spend more time indoors, where germs can spread more easily. So, if you have a sore throat and a stuffy nose too, it might all be down to the common cold.

What can you do about watery eyes?

The home remedies for watery eyes you might want to try depends on if you can find what causes your eyes to water. For example, if it’s down to allergies, wear wraparound sunglasses or avoid going outside on high pollen count days. If it’s due to eyestrain, take regular breaks from screen-time. Whatever the reason, you might find that a warm or cold compress brings some relief.

Now that you have more information about the common causes, you’re all set to start soothing your watery eyes.


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