FOCUS ON EYES: The Watery Eye

Dr. Vikas Chadha


Consultant Eye Surgeon

Watering from the eyes can result from various causes. The most common is reflex watering due to irritation in the eye. This may be caused by the tear film breaking up quickly resulting in dry spots which, when recognized by the eye, produce even more tears to try and overcome the dryness. Patients are sometimes prescribed artificial tear drops to reduce to counter this.

Other causes of reflex watering include an infection or inflammation of the eyelids or the surface of the eye, an allergic reaction, a foreign body in the eye, scratches on the front window of the eye (cornea), the eyelid turning in (entropion) or out(ectropion) and eyelashes rubbing on the surface of the eye.

The watering of the eye can also be caused by an obstruction in the tear drainage system. This can occur due to inflammation or, more commonly, without any specific reason. This often occurs in one eye and causes it to water more or less constantly, both outdoors and indoors.

If the watering in your eye is troublesome, you should see an optometrist who may be able to pinpoint the likely cause of the symptoms. He/she may refer you to an eye Consultant who will do some tests to check the cause of watering and advise treatment.

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