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Watery Eyes

What is a watery eye?

Tears are produced to keep the eyes lubricated and to help remove any foreign bodies. Comfortable eyes that water all the time can be caused by lid problems, excessive tear production or problems with the tear drainage system. Watery eyes is a common condition, it is not necessarily harmful but it can be an irritation. 

What causes it?

The two main causes of watery eyes are: 

  • Excessive tear production – this is usually caused by irritation or inflammation of the surface of the eye. Causes of this include eyelash and eyelid problems or allergies. A dry eye can also cause watery eyes as the eye produces excess tears to combat the dryness.
  • Poor tear drainage – this can occur when the eye’s tear drainage channels are unable to drain a normal volume of tears. A blocked tear drainage duct, displaced or narrow tear drainage openings (puncta), or lax eyelids which can cause the normal tear drainage ‘pump’, which would usually be activated by blinking, to fail.


What you might experience:

Excess tears which run down your cheek. Symptoms may be worse outdoors, in cold and windy conditions.

What treatment is needed?

Watery eyes caused by excessive tear production can often be treated very simply with eye drops, warm compress or sometimes medication. Poor drainage problems usually require surgical treatment, our oculoplastic surgeons will accurately diagnose your condition and recommend appropriate surgery. Most surgical treatments are quick and highly effective and are performed under local anaesthetic.

Who will I see for treatment?

Causes of watering eyes can be investigated and treated by our Lacrimal Specialists: Mr Boyce.

Book or get in touch

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Ask an Ophthalmologist

Simply fill in the form below and explain your symptoms and one of our Ophthalmologists will get back to you as soon as possible. Our Ask-an-Ophthalmologist is a free and confidential service where we aim to provide you with the best possible advice.

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