Watery eyes – causes, treatment

Teary eyes

Watery eyes , tears or tears are a common symptom of the disease at the ophthalmologist. It is often difficult or difficult for those affected to see normally. However, watery eyes are usually harmless and treatment is easy.

What is lacrimation?

We speak of watery eyes or tears when the eyes water more than is usually the case. Daily tear production differs from person to person.

The average tear volume is between 1.5 ml and 2.5 ml per day. External stimuli such as foreign bodies in the eye, computer work, drafts, dry air, smoke or dust particles, but also laughing, crying and yawning can cause this value to be exceeded.

As a rule, however, it regulates itself as soon as the triggering influences have been eliminated. If the excessive tearing persists for no apparent reason, it is advisable to see an ophthalmologist .


The causes of watery eyes are mostly irritation of the eyes caused by environmental influences. Above all, smoke, dust and low humidity can lead to watery eyes. Even if it sounds strange at first, dry eyes in particular can also be responsible for the tears in the eyes.

The production of tears is particularly stimulated as a reaction to the dry eyes. Since the eyes can then no longer compensate for this excess of tears, the watery eyes are particularly noticeable. This is the case, for example, with conjunctivitis .

Other causes are the composition or consistency of the tears. In addition to salty water, tears also consist of protein and a lipid layer. If the lipid layer is disturbed, the eyes can no longer hold back tears to the normal extent. In addition, the water content is increased.

Injuries such as scratches or foreign bodies on the surface of the cornea can also lead to watery and overflowing eyes. A malposition of the eyelids can also be the cause of excessive moistening of the eyes.

Watery eyes also rarely occur when the tear outlet is blocked. Especially in infants or babies, constipation can occur if the tear ducts have not yet opened.

Ametropia and bright and glaring light can also lead to watery eyes, since seeing is more strenuous and the eyes are more strained.

diseases with this symptom

Diagnosis & History

The diagnosis of lacrimation or watery eyes is also easy for laypeople, since the eyes water considerably more than usual with this clinical picture. The increased flow of tears is often associated with pain and impaired vision for those affected .

It is characteristic of the course of the tear flow that it continues as long as the irritation or injury to which the eye reacts with an overproduction of tears has not been successfully treated. If treatment is left untreated, a steady increase in tear flow and the pain and visual impairments it causes can be observed. With timely treatment, complete healing is usually achieved.


Various complications can occur in connection with watery eyes. If left untreated, they become more susceptible to allergies and irritation over time. The moist surface of the eye becomes more sensitive and emerging allergies lead to tears again. A vicious circle is created. In addition, bacteria accumulate on the surface of the eye due to the constant moisture in the eye.

This can lead to eye infections and conjunctivitis. The associated irritation, in turn, is often responsible for severe itching. If the affected person rubs the itchy eye, further complications can occur. On the one hand, the risk of infection is increased many times over and, on the other hand, the view of the respective eye can be restricted.

Depending on the severity, allergic reactions can lead to problems with hay fever and asthma. In addition, the tear fluid attacks the skin around the eye. Over time, the skin becomes brittle, red and painful. A result can be eczema or bloody skin areas. Treatment is needed to prevent such complications. It is important to treat the underlying disease.

Improper treatment with eye drops , on the other hand, can itself lead to inflammation or worsening of the symptoms. For this reason, if symptoms persist, the implementation of the therapy should be in the hands of an ophthalmologist.

When should you go to the doctor?

Watery eyes can occur for many different reasons, so a visit to the doctor is recommended. An infection or a foreign body in the eye are the most common causes of increased tear flow in the eye. As a rule, an infection should always be supplied and treated with appropriate medication.

In most cases, such an infection is caused by bacteria. Infection causes severe pain and increased tearing from the eye. Affected persons suffering from such a clinical picture should seek medical treatment immediately. This is the only way to avoid serious and painful complications. Of course, a foreign body in the eye can also be responsible for excessive tearing.

If it really is a foreign body, then the removal of the foreign body should only be performed by a doctor. This is the only way to avoid serious injuries, since the human eye is a very sensitive organ. The following therefore applies: If you suffer from a severely watery eye, you should consult a doctor early enough. If you don’t see a doctor, you can expect serious complications.

Treatment & Therapy

The treatment of watery eyes at the ophthalmologist is often easy. If the watery eyes are not caused by any other underlying disease, they can be treated with simple methods. If an illness (e.g. conjunctivitis and allergies ) is responsible for the watery eyes, they must first be treated.

Otherwise, all causes of watery eyes should be eliminated. Areas or rooms with a lot of dust, smoke and wind should be avoided. Likewise, activities that strain the eyes should be reduced. This includes, for example, watching TV for a long time or working and playing on the computer. Likewise, long and concentrated reading and fine work can be reduced to protect the eyes.

A diet rich in vitamins is recommended to support the eyes. Vitamins A, B and E in particular are beneficial for healthy eyes. You should also make sure you get enough sleep. If necessary, there are also eye drops and other medications that can bring about normalization of the fluid in the eye.

Outlook & Forecast

In most cases, the watery eyes are only a temporary symptom and therefore do not necessarily have to be treated by a doctor. They usually disappear after just a few minutes or hours and do not lead to further symptoms or complications. Watery eyes are often caused by foreign objects in the eye. The eye then tries to remove this foreign body from the eye itself and therefore uses tears to flush it out.

Under no circumstances should the person concerned touch or rub the eye when their eyes are watering. This can cause inflammation in the eyes and the tearing of the eyes is only increased.

Without treatment, the symptom goes away on its own in most cases. However, if the watery eyes last for a long time and lead to pain or loss of vision, a doctor should be consulted immediately to avoid consequential damage. In most cases, treatment is carried out with the help of eye drops. Surgical interventions or medication are not required and the treatment leads to a positive course of the disease.

You can do that yourself

If your eyes water, you should always see a doctor to rule out serious illness and avoid further complications. However, the symptoms can often be alleviated with simple measures and some home remedies.

Depending on the cause, just enough sleep and rest can stop tears from flowing. A pleasant room climate protects the tear ducts and can be achieved, for example, by regular airing and humidification. A walk in the fresh air stimulates blood circulation in the eyes and helps to flush out foreign bodies and regulate tear production.

What should be avoided are drafts and smoke as well as warm and dusty air. The car fan should always be set as gently as possible if your eyes are tearing. Women in particular should clean their eyes regularly and carefully remove make-up from the edges of the lids in particular. Contact lens wearers can avoid watery eyes by regularly taking breaks from wearing them and cleaning the lenses .

If these home remedies have no effect, eye drops from the pharmacy or homeopathic remedies such as Schuessler salts or Apis will help. Even simple face masks have an anti-inflammatory effect and can usually stop watery eyes quickly and effectively.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.