Why Are My Eyes Watering? --
Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies

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Last updated January 21, 2017 (originally published April 12, 2012)

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist

Shedding a tear over a weepy movie or crying over some happy
or sad news is natural. Producing too many tears is another
thing altogether, particularly when there is no emotional or
psychological trigger for the tears to roll down your cheeks.
Looking like you’re crying when you’re perfectly calm and happy
can be distressing and confusing for others.

Overly watery eyes can interfere with your vision, making
driving dangerous. Why do your eyes water so much? Is there
any way to stop the tears and see the world more clearly?

What Are Watering Eyes?

We blink thousands of times a day. Each time we blink a small
gland, the lacrimal gland, pushes a tiny amount of tears across
the front of our eye to keep it moist.

The tears flow into a channel called the "canaluculi" into the tear
sac. From here, the tears flow down the tear duct into your nose.

Watering eyes, or "epiphora", happens when the tears are
produced without obvious cause and they don’t properly drain
away. They’re right there on your face, and you look like you’re

Watering eyes can happen to both eyes, in which case the
condition is called "bilateral epiphora" or can occur only in one
eye, in which case it is called "unilateral epiphora". Women
suffer from unilateral epiphora  more than men, according to a
2016 study from Meir Medical Center in Kfar Sava , Israel.

Watering eyes can affect anyone, at any age, although they are
more common in older people above the age of 60, and young
babies. Your watering eyes could be caused by a number of
different conditions. Why do we sometimes make too many
tears? We’ve looked at the reasons for watering eyes and the
latest scientific evidence about remedies for this annoying

Causes and Top 10 Natural Remedies for Watering Eyes

1. Blocked Tear Ducts Cause Watering Eyes

The most common cause of too many tears is a blockage in your
tear duct that prevents tears from draining away without making
an appearance. The upper end of your tear duct gradually
narrows, causing watering eyes and often an eye infection.
Babies are likely to suffer watery eyes when a tear duct is slow
to fully open.

Watering eyes in babies which are due to a blocked tear duct
usually clear on their own before baby is one year old. You can
gently massage the corner of your baby’s eye towards the nose
several times a day, to dislodge collected tears and help the duct
develop. Adults may require surgery to unblock a tear duct, or
antibiotics to treat infection.


Scientists have found that treating tear ducts with honey helps
to relieve the bacteria causing the infection.  
Read more. Tear
ducts which remain blocked after antibiotics may require surgical
intervention to cure the problem, according to the
Academy of Opthalmology.]

Treat Conjunctivitis to Cure Watering Eyes

An irritation to your eye can cause you to produce a lot of tears.
One of the prime causes of eye irritation is conjunctivitis, an
allergic reaction causing inflammation over the front of your eye.
When you have conjunctivitis, your eyes work hard to try to
clear the irritation with more tears than you can cope with.

Around 65 percent of conjunctivitis cases clear up on their own,
according to a review published in the British Journal of General
Practice, 2005, by Sheikh and Hurwitz. But if it doesn’t clear up,
try gently cleaning the area around the eye with warm water or
a baby shampoo solution on a cotton swab. Avoid wearing eye
makeup or contact lenses until the inflammation clears.

Certain herbal preparations in the form of sterile cold
compresses are reported to be beneficial for watery eyes caused
by conjunctivitis, but there is no concrete evidence. Try
eyebright, calendula and chamomile, barberry, Oregon grape or

Entropion May Cause Your Eyes to Water

Entropion means your eyelashes are growing inwards, causing
irritation to the front of your eye which results in watering eyes.
Occasionally, Bell’s palsy can produce watery eyes due to
entropion. It seems Botox may be helpful for treating entropion
– a 2010 study by Università degli Studi di Palermo, Italy found
Botox was effective as a treatment for entropion and a 2007
study from Melbourne's Brain Research Institute, Australia
discovered Botox alongside facial exercises helped treat facial
problems caused by Bell’s palsy.

Are Watering Eyes Caused by Dry Eyes?

It may seem strange, but dry eyes can actually contribute to a
problem with watering eyes. Tears are normally made up of
water, fat and proteins. If your tears have a low fat content they
don’t spread so easily over your eyes resulting in dry patches.
Dry eyes can cause irritation, which in turn makes your eyes

Castor oil eye drops may help improve the quality of your tears
and assist in the even spread of tears across the eye, according
to a 2002 study from the Department of Ophthalmology, Tokyo
Dental College, Chiba, Japan. Vitamin A may also be useful, both
in the form of eye drops and as a food supplement. A 2009
study from The Catholic University of Korea, Seoul demonstrated
vitamin A eye drops were as effective as traditional eye drops
for treating dry eye syndrome.

Ectropion Is a Cause of Watering Eyes

Ectropion is when your lower eyelid turns out away from your
eye. This can cause tears to roll down your face rather than
drain away into the tear ducts.

Try massaging and gently manipulating your face under the
guidance of a physical therapy expert, which a 2011 study by
Universidade Estadual de Londrina-UEM, Londrina, Brazil
showed to be beneficial in treating facial and eye problems
caused by Bell’s palsy.

Treat Uveitis, a Cause of Watering Eyes

Uveitis is a condition where the middle of your eye is inflamed
due to injury, infection or another health condition. Uveitis can
cause your eyes to water. Treat uveitis with vitamin C and E. A
1999 study by the Eye Hospital, Rotterdam, Netherlands looked
at 145 people who took a placebo or a vitamin C and E
combination alongside regular treatment. The vitamins increased
eye health and produced better vision, and less tears, than the

Blepharitis is a Cause of Your Watery Eyes

Blepharitis is an inflammation of your eyelids that causes
stinging, itchy eyes and an uneven spread of tears across the
surface of your eyes. This causes your eyes to water.

Blepharitis is common – according to 2009 research from the
George Washington University School of Medicine between 37
percent and 47 percent of ophthalmologist and optometrist
patients suffer from blepharitis. The Affiliated Eye Surgeons of
Northern New Jersey suggest applying a warm compress to the
eyelid then gently massaging the closed eyelid to loosen
secretions and ease the irritation of blepharitis.

Butterbur Can Prevent Watering Eyes Due to Allergies

If your watering eyes are caused by hay fever, or allergic
rhinitis, you are not alone – according to the Asthma and Allergy
Foundation of America, 40 million Americans suffer from hay
fever. Your eyes may also water because you are allergic to
mold, animal hair or dust.

Butterbur is noted as a remedy for watering eyes due to allergic
rhinitis. A 2004 study by the Allergy Clinic, Landquart,
Switzerland showed taking thee butterbur tablets a day reduced
allergy symptoms in 186 patients. Self hypnosis is also known to
reduce grass pollen allergy symptoms like watering eyes,
according to a 2005 study from the University Hospital Basel,
Switzerland. Researchers suggest self hypnosis may reduce
swelling and inflammation in allergy sufferers.

Watery Eyes May Be Caused by Trapped Particles

Your eyes may be watering because you have dust or grit
trapped in your eye, or you have scratched your eye. How can
you remedy the situation? The American Optometric Association
suggests following good eyelid hygiene and applying warm
compresses to the eyelids to loosen any trapped particles,
crusting or blockages. Wash around the eyes with warm water
and make sure your hands are clean before and after.

Emotion Can Cause Watering Eyes

Last but not least, your watering eyes could simply be caused by
a highly emotional situation. Emotion can make you cry – that’s
a natural thing. How can you remedy the situation? Perhaps you
don’t want to. Crying is often the healthiest response to a
situation. Crying can make you feel better according to 2008
research from the University of South Florida – a majority of the
3,000 participants in the survey reported an uplift in their mood
after shedding tears. And according to 2009 research from Tel
Aviv University tears work in a way that brings people closer
together, based on an evolutionary mechanism.


Ectropion Can Make Your Eyes Water

Ectropion means your eyelids are turning outward. The lower
eyelid is often the one that droops or turns outward.

Ectropion is a condition of aging eyes and can cause your eyes
to water more. Certain things you do, such as wearing poorly
fitting glasses can make ectropion and watering eyes worse.
Correcting ectropion completely usually requires eyelid surgery,
although exercising the eyelids to tighten them is reported to
produce slight improvement in some cases.

A 2013 study from the Hospital USP Costa Adeje, Adeje in Santa
Cruz de Tenerife, Spain described the case of a 73 year-old
woman with watering eyes. After examination, the doctors
noted that she had ectropion which was made worse by the
poor mechanical fit of her glasses. Once her glasses were
corrected, the watering eyes stopped.

If you wear glasses, it is important to have the fit of your
glasses checked periodically. Just a slight imbalance in the fit can
harm the muscle tone of your eyelids.]

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Castor oil eye drops can help stop
watering eyes in some cases.