Watery eyes


Watery eyes means you have too many tears draining from the eyes. Tears help keep the surface of the eye moist. They wash away particles and foreign objects in the eye.

Alternative Names

Epiphora; Tearing - increased


Your eyes are always making tears. These tears eave the eye through a small hole in the corner of the eye called the tear duct.

Causes of watery eyes include:

Increased tearing sometimes happens with:

Oddly enough, one of the most common causes of excess tearing is dry eyes. Drying causes the eyes to become uncomfortable, which stimulates the body to produce too many tears. One of the main tests for tearing is to check whether the eyes are too dry.

Home Care

Consider the cause of the tearing before treating yourself at home. Any treatment at home depends on the cause of your problem.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Tearing is rarely an emergency. However, seek help right away if any chemical gets into the eye, or if you have severe pain, bleeding, loss of vision, or a more severe injury to the eye.

Contact your health care provider if you have:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

The doctor will examine your eyes and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. Questions may include:

Your doctor may order tests to help determine the cause.

Treatment depends on the cause of the problem.


Hurwitz JJ. The lacrimal drainage system. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 3rd ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2008:chap 12.

Review Date: 11/7/2011
Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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