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Why Are Your Eyes Watery And How to Stop It?

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

Do you ever laugh or sneeze so much that your eyes begin to water? Watery eyes are a normal part of our vision health. Typically, it is nothing to be concerned about unless you’re wearing a lot of eye makeup.

However, excessively watery eyes can be a problem. Most of the time it is a sign of an underlying condition that may require medical attention. Here are some conditions that may cause watery eyes and what you can do to stop it.

Allergies and Colds

Watery eyes is probably the most common symptom of seasonal allergies.  Spring can be the worst for seasonal allergies. Flowers begin to bloom and pollen pollutes our senses.

At their worst, allergies are irritating. But, treating your allergies is very simple. If your watery eyes are triggered by seasonal allergies, spend more time indoors. Be sure to check the pollen levels for that day. Try to avoid going outside during days when the pollen count is high.

If your watery eyes persist, you may find some relief in over the counter allergy medication.

In a similar vein as allergies, colds may also result in watery eyes. In this case, you need to treat the cold to treat the watery eyes. Drink lots of fluids and get some rest. Drink juices that will replenish your vitamins, especially vitamin C.

Dry Eyes

Yes, dry eye syndrome can actually cause watery eyes. When you have dry eyes, your tear ducts will produce more tears to compensate for the dryness.

Dry eyes can have many causes. The condition can be caused by a gland dysfunction, prescription medication, or other vision conditions and diseases.

To effectively treat dry eye syndrome, you’d need to find the underlying cause first. However, consuming foods rich in omega-3 can help to prevent dry eye syndrome in the long run. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in foods such as eggs, flaxseeds and many types of fish.

Gland Dysfunction

The Meibomian gland is the gland that produces oil and tears for our eyes. It is located in the eyelid. Our eyes need mucus, oil and tears to stay comfortably moist. However, when there is a malfunction with the tear ducts, then the eyes don’t get enough moisture.

A gland dysfunction normally occurs when the glands becomes blocked. Various things can block the glands. The same dirt and bacteria that clogs pores and causes acne and blackheads can block your tear glands.

The best way to avoid this is to keep your face clean and clear of excess oil and dirt. Wash your face with a gentle cleanser twice daily. But don’t get the cleanser in your eyes! Soap in the eyes can cause infections and a lot of discomfort.

To unblock glands, place a hot towel over your eyes. Then wash your face. This will open up and clean out the glands to allow the tears to flow!


Conjunctivitis, more commonly known as pink eye, can also cause your eyes to water. Pink eye is an infection that causes the eye and the eyelid to become puffy, red and itchy.

There are many causes of pink eye. It’s contagious infection. It can be passed on from person to person; it can be caused by exposure to chemicals (like smoke); or it can be caused by a buildup of bacteria.

In terms of treatments for pink eye, there aren’t really any. The infection typically heals on its own without any medication or treatment in a couple of days. If the infection persists, talk to your doctor.

If you’re experiencing overly watery eyes, your best course of action is to wipe away the tears with a tissue. It’s very important that you don’t use the infected tissue on both eyes if only one eye has been affected with pink eye. You wouldn’t want both eyes to become infected!


Another common cause of watery eyes are styes, which are like little pimples that form on the eyelid or lash line. They are caused by a bacteria buildup and can sometimes be very painful. At their worst, they are a nuisance. But, they usually aren’t anything to worry about.

Styes, like pink eye, will go away on their own within a week or two. They don’t require any treatment. Keep the eye and the face clean. Whatever you do, don’t pop the stye yourself. This can cause the infection to spread.

If a stye lasts longer than two weeks, your doctor may need to drain it. Talk to your doctor to discuss the proper method of treatment for you.

For relief while the stye heals, a warm compress will do the trick. Topical ointments and treatments are available over the counter to relieve itching and redness.

Old Makeup

Makeup is expensive, there’s no doubt about it. It’s only normal to want to get the most use out of your makeup pallet. But makeup that’s older than three months (especially eye makeup) can cause serious bacteria buildup around and on the eye.

Eye makeup that’s past its prime will be more likely to get into your eye as the day goes on. It won’t stay in place on your eyelid or eyelashes the same way it did when it was new. When it gets into the eyes, it will causes them to water in an effort to flush out the foreign bodies (the makeup) from the surface of the eye.

Rule of thumb: if your eye makeup is more than three months old then it’s time to toss it.

Watery eyes are not always something to worry about. A strong gust of wind might set off a fit of watery eyes. But if you experience long term and frequent watering of the eyes, then you may have another vision condition that needs attention.

Remember to visit your eye doctor. They will help you resolve your watery eyes and whatever the underlying cause is.

This post originally appeared on Rebuild Your Vision.


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