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Watery eyes

Epiphora; Tearing - increased

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.

Images

External and internal eye anatomy

Causes

Your eyes are always making tears. These tears leave 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:

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

Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Therefore, it is important to determine the cause before treating yourself at home.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Tearing is rarely an emergency. You should seek help right away if:

Also, contact your health care provider if you have:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

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

Your provider may order tests to help determine the cause.

Treatment depends on the cause of the problem.

Related Information

Yawning - excessive
Nausea and vomiting - adults

References

Borooah S, Tint NL. The visual system. In: Innes JA, Dover AR, Fairhurst K, eds. Macleod's Clinical Examination. 14th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 8.

Olitsky SE, Marsh JD. Disorders of the lacrimal system. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 643.

Seller RH, Symons AB. Vision problems and other common eye problems. In: Seller RH, Symons AB, eds. Differential Diagnosis of Common Complaints. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 34.

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Review Date: 10/2/2019  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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