May 27, 2016

Watery Eye

MedicineNet - Watery Eye

Watery Eye Symptoms & Signs

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Symptoms & Signs

Tearing is a normal function of the eye. Excessive tearing, or teary eyes that are not from normal crying, can be a sign of an underlying health condition or disease. The tears of the eye come from the tear gland, called the lacrimal gland, which is located above the outer eye. Tears are composed of water, oil, and antibodies. The moisture from tears on the front of the eye, the cornea, is important to prevent damage to the cornea from drying.

The tears drain from the eye through the tear ducts (lacrimal ducts). If the tear ducts become blocked, tears can well up in the eye and fall excessively. This leads to watery eye (epiphora), often mistaken for crying. Tear ducts can become blocked from infection and inflammation, both of which can also lead to excessive tear production. The outer membrane of the eye is called the conjunctiva. Any irritation of the cornea can lead to watery eye. Inflammation of the conjunctiva from (conjunctivitis) infection or allergy is a common cause of itchy, watery eyes, as well as eye swelling. Infection can require antibiotics in the form of prescription eye drops.

Symptoms that can be associated with watery eye and excessive tearing include

  • eye pain,
  • eye inflammation or eye infection,
  • runny nose,
  • vision impairment,
  • allergies,
  • sneezing,
  • eye swelling, and
  • eye redness.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/2/2016

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Kasper, D., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2015.

Causes of Watery Eye
    • Allergy (Allergies) An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. ...learn more »
    • Blepharitis Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Acne rosacea, Staphylococcal bacteria, allergies, sensitivities to makeup or contact...learn more »
      In This Article
      Blepharitis Article
      • Blepharitis facts
      • What is blepharitis?
      • What causes blepharitis?
      • What are the symptoms and signs of blepharitis?
      • How do health-care professionals diagnose blepharitis?
      • What are complications of blepharitis?
      • What types of doctors treat blepharitis?
      • What is the treatment for blepharitis? Are there home remedies for blepharitis?
      • What is the prognosis for blepharitis?
      • Is it possible to prevent blepharitis?
    • Common Cold The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms...learn more »
    • Dry Eyes Dry eyes are caused by an imbalance in the tear-flow system of the eye, but also can be caused by the drying out of the tear...learn more »
      In This Article
      Dry Eyes Article
      • Dry eye syndrome facts
      • What is dry eye syndrome?
      • What causes dry eye syndrome?
      • What is the impact of dry eye syndrome?
      • What are dry eye syndrome symptoms and signs?
      • What are the complications of dry eye syndrome?
      • What are the risk factors for dry eye syndrome?
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    • Eye Allergy Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics...learn more »
      In This Article
      Eye Allergy Article
      • Eye allergy facts
      • Eye allergy introduction
      • What causes eye allergies?
      • What is the basic anatomy of the outer eye?
      • Why are the eyes an easy target for allergies?
      • What are symptoms and signs of eye allergies?
      • What are allergic eye conditions?
      • What are eyelid allergies (also called contact eye allergies)?
      • What conditions can be confused with eye allergies?
      • What is the treatment for eye allergies?
      • What is the prognosis of eye allergies?
      • Can eye allergies be prevented?
    • Is Pinkeye Contagious? Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is inflammation of the conjunctiva. Whether pinkeye is contagious depends upon what is causing the...learn more »
      In This Article
      Is Pinkeye Contagious? Article
      • What is pinkeye?
      • Is pinkeye contagious? What is the incubation period for pinkeye?
      • How will I know when I have pinkeye?
      • How do people transmit pinkeye?
      • How long does pinkeye last? What is the contagious period for pinkeye?
      • When should I contact a health-care provider about pinkeye?
    • MELAS Syndrome MELAS syndrome, a rare form of dementia, stands for Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes....learn more »
      In This Article
      MELAS Syndrome Article
      • What is MELAS?
      • What causes MELAS?
      • What are the symptoms of MELAS?
      • How is MELAS diagnosed?
      • When do people with MELAS develop symptoms?
      • How is MELAS treated?
      • Are there other mitochondrial diseases?
    • Pinkeye Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids...learn more »
    • Trachoma Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Symptoms and signs include redness and irritation...learn more »
      In This Article
      Trachoma Article
      • Trachoma facts
      • What is trachoma? Is trachoma contagious?
      • How does trachoma manifest itself?
      • What is the cause of trachoma?
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      • Can trachoma be prevented?
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Other Causes of Watery Eye
  • Crying (With Depression, Grief, Pain, or Sadness)
  • Ectropion
  • Exophthalmos
  • Foreign Body in the Eye
  • Infection (Viruses, Trachoma)
  • Medications
  • Tear Duct Blockage (From Injury or Infiltrative Diseases, Such as Amyloidosis or Sarcoidosis)
  • Trauma Injury (From Objects in Eye or Direct Blow)

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