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 essential to prevent damage to the cornea from drying and becoming inflamed (keratitis) leading to corneal abrasion and corneal ulcer.
The tears drain from the eye through the tear ducts (lacrimal ducts) into the nose. 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. Blockage of the tear ducts can also occur from diseases such as sarcoidosis, lymphoma, IgG related disease, as well as from trauma and radiation treatments.
The outer membrane of the eye is called the conjunctiva. Any irritation of the cornea or conjunctiva can lead to watery eye. Inflammation of the conjunctiva from (conjunctivitis) infection, irritants (chemical splash, etc.), or allergy (hay fever) is a common cause of itchy, watery eyes, as well as eye swelling. Infection of the eye can require antibiotics in the form of prescription eyedrops. Regular use of over-the-counter eyedrops (artificial tears) can be very beneficial for treating chronic dry eyes, such as from Sjögren's syndrome or with facial nerve palsy (Bell's palsy) and inability to close the eyelid.
Symptoms that can be associated with watery eye and excessive tearing include
- eye pain,
- eye inflammation or eye infection,
- runny nose,
- vision impairment,
- eye swelling, and
- eye redness.
Other causes of watery eye
- Crying (With Depression, Grief, Pain, or Sadness)
- Foreign Body in the Eye
- Infection (Viruses, Trachoma)
- Tear Duct Blockage (From Injury or Infiltrative Diseases, Such as Amyloidosis or Sarcoidosis)
- Trauma Injury (From Objects in Eye or Direct Blow)
Causes of Watery Eye
Adenovirus infections are common and often have no symptoms. Adenoviruses cause illnesses like bladder infections, diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis, pinkeye, colds, encephalitis, sore throat, and meningitis. Signs and symptoms of an adenovirus infection depend on the type of virus causing the infection. Treatment focuses on supportive care. A vaccine against adenovirus type 4 and 7 is available only to U.S. military personnel.
An allergy refers to a misguided reaction by our immune system in response to bodily contact with certain foreign substances. When these allergens come in contact with the body, it causes the immune system to develop an allergic reaction in people who are allergic to it. It is estimated that 50 million North Americans are affected by allergic conditions. The parts of the body that are prone to react to allergies include the eyes, nose, lungs, skin, and stomach. Common allergic disorders include hay fever, asthma, allergic eyes, allergic eczema, hives, and allergic shock.
Bell's Palsy (Facial Nerve Problems)
Bell's palsy is one type of facial nerve paralysis. The seventh cranial nerve controls the muscles of the face, and although scientists do not know the exact cause of Bell's palsy, they think it may be due to nerve damage from an infection, for example, the flu, common cold viruses, and more serious infections like meningitis. The symptoms of Bell's palsy vary from person to person, but can include mild weakness to total paralysis, dry eye, dry mouth, eyelid drooping, drooling, mouth drooping, dry mouth, changes in taste, and excessive tearing in one eye.
Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelids. Acne rosacea, staphylococcal bacteria, allergies, sensitivities to makeup or contact lens solutions, head lice, or other conditions may cause blepharitis. Symptoms and signs include itchy eyelids, burning sensation in the eyes, crusting of the eyelids, light sensitivity, red, swollen eyelids, loss of eyelashes, and dandruff of the lashes and eyebrows. Proper eyelid hygiene and a regular cleaning routine controls blepharitis.
Can an Optometrist Remove Foreign Bodies?
Some foreign bodies in the eye may be simple and go away on their own, whereas others require removal. Removal of foreign bodies from certain parts of the eye, such as the cornea, eyelid, or conjunctiva - with any appropriate instrument other than a scalpel or needle - can be performed by an optometrist as per the laws in the US.
Cold, Flu, Allergy Treatments
Before treating a cold, the flu, or allergies with over-the-counter (OTC) medications, it's important to know what's causing the symptoms, which symptoms one wishes to relieve, and the active ingredients in the OTC product. Taking products that only contain the medications needed for relieving your symptoms prevents ingestion of unnecessary medications and reduces the chances of side effects.
The common cold (viral upper respiratory tract infection) is a contagious illness that may be caused by various viruses. Symptoms include a stuffy nose, headache, cough, sore throat, and maybe a fever. Antibiotics have no effect upon the common cold, and there is no evidence that zinc and vitamin C are effective treatments.
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 film. This can be due to dry air created by air conditioning, heat, or other environmental conditions. Treatment may involve self-care measures, medications, or rarely, surgery.
Eye allergy (or allergic eye disease) are typically associated with hay fever and atopic dermatitis. Medications and cosmetics may cause eye allergies. Allergic eye conditions include allergic conjunctivitis, conjunctivitis with atopic dermatitis, vernal keratoconjunctivitis, and giant papillary conjunctivitis. Dry eye, tear-duct obstruction, and conjunctivitis due to infection are frequently confused with eye allergies. Eye allergies may be treated with topical antihistamines, decongestants, topical mast-cell stabilizers, topical anti-inflammatory drugs, systemic medications, and allergy shots.
How Can I Get My Eye To Stop Twitching?
A blepharospasm (eye twitch) is a harmless, involuntary spasm of the muscle of the eyelids, which may resolve on its own. If the twitching isn't caused by an underlying condition, getting more rest and avoiding alcohol and caffeine may help stop it.
Is Pinkeye Contagious?
Pinkeye (conjunctivitis) is inflammation of the conjunctiva. Whether pinkeye is contagious depends upon what is causing the irritation. With pinkeye, people may experience swollen eyelids, a pinkish color in the whites of the eyes, eye discharge, photophobia, increased tear production, and itching.
MELAS syndrome, a rare form of dementia, stands for Mitochondrial Encephalopathy, Lactic Acidosis, and Stroke-like episodes. Mutations in the genetic material (DNA) in the mitochondria cause MELAS syndrome.
Mold Exposure: Symptoms, Removal, and Remediation
Mold exposure may cause symptoms in people who are sensitive to molds. Symptoms of mold allergy include sneezing, runny nose, wheezing, coughing, redness of the eyes, and rash. Prevent mold growth by keeping indoor humidity low, between 30%-50%, using bathroom fans when showering, repairing plumbing leaks quickly, and using an air conditioner during humid seasons.
Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis): Types, Treatment, and Symptoms
Pinkeye, also called conjunctivitis, is redness or irritation of the conjunctivae, the membranes on the inner part of the eyelids and the membranes covering the whites of the eyes. These membranes react to a wide range of bacteria, viruses, allergy-provoking agents, irritants, and toxic agents.
Trachoma is an infectious disease caused by the Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. Symptoms and signs include redness and irritation of the eyes with tearing. Trachoma is diagnosed by examining the eyes and eyelids. Treatment involves a single dose of azithromycin (Zithromax) or the use of topical tetracycline (Achromycin) ointment. Infected individuals should be counseled about sanitation and taught simple cleanliness.
What Are Some Common Eye Infections?
An eye infection is a condition in which viruses, bacteria or other microbial agents may attack the eye. This can cause itching around the eyes or the eyes may turn pink. The infection can affect the eyelid, cornea or conjuctiva (inside lining of the eyelid).
What Causes Yellow Discharge From Eyes?
What is yellow discharge from your eye? Learn what causes it, how to recognize it, and how it is treated.
What Does An Eye Infection Look Like?
An eye infection may bring about the following changes in the eye: A pink tint in the whites of the eye, swollen red or purple eyelids, crusty lashes or lids, and/or discharge of fluids which may be yellow, green or clear.
What Is a Twitching Eye a Sign of?
A blepharospasm (eye twitch) is a harmless tic of the eyelid muscle, which may resolve on its own. Conditions that may cause eye twitch include blepharitis, dry eyes, light sensitivity or conjunctivitis. Nerve disorders can also cause eye twitching.
What Is the Fastest Way to Get Rid of a Chalazion?
Stye is painful inflammation and swelling on the eyelid with the accumulation of pus. It is an infection commonly caused by the bacterium, Staphylococcus. It is usually not possible to get rid of a chalazion completely overnight or “fast” because there are no shortcuts to the treatment. You can use warm compresses, gentle cleansers and painkillers to treat a chalazion or see your doctor for medical intervention or surgery.