What Causes Watering Eyes?

Eye Health
Oct 14, 2011
Eye Health What causes watering eyes? Why do they water? How do you treat watering eyes? Usually, we can pinpoint the cause, but sometimes we're not sure. Occasionally, eye watering can become chronic and seem to occur for no particular reason. An understanding of the causes of watering eyes can help you find the right natural treatment for them or seek an eye specialist's help if needed.

The Tear Ducts: Nature's Own Cleansing System

The tear ducts are a marvel of nature. When operating normally they automatically excrete water from a gland at the top of the eye called the lacrimal gland in response to a pollutant or foreign body entering the eye. The water in our tears is a remarkable solution that includes antibodies and a chemical called lysozyme, which is an anti-bacterial enzyme.

Not only do we have a natural eye cleansing system, we even have a natural drainage system in the form of the lacrimal sac, which collects the water on the inside corners of the eyes and drains it through the nose. That's why watering eyes are so often accompanied by a runny nose.

As marvelous as our natural cleansing system is, sometimes it cannot cope and needs our assistance. Several things may contribute to eyes that water excessively:
  • Chemical air pollutants such as exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke and other airborne chemical pollutants.
  • Natural air pollutants such as dust and smoke.

  • An ingrown or inward turning eyelash.

  • A foreign body such as a grain of sand.

  • Spending too much time watching TV or at your computer.
In all of these cases, the first line of treatment is to remove the cause of the watering eyes. The safest way to do this is to flush the eyes with water or an eye solution. The things that cause watery eyes also cause the eyes to become red and sore, which in turn makes them water even more. To reduce itchiness and soreness in the eyes, there are a number of natural treatments you can try:
  • A mixture of diluted honey and rose water is said to be a soothing remedy for sore eyes. Use it in an eye dropper or soak cotton pads in the solution and place them on the eyes. Used in an eye dropper, this mixture may also be a great way to flush foreign bodies out of the eyes.

  • Aloe vera has soothing properties that can help relieve sore eyes.

  • Cold helps soothe sore eyes. One way to do this is to put two spoons in the freezer until they are cold and then cup them over the eyes. This is said to be most effective when your eyes are almost unbearably sore.

There are also medical conditions that cause excessively watering eyes. Some of these include lax or drooping lower eyelids, blocked tear ducts and, occasionally, an infection in the lacrimal sac. If your eyes water chronically and you can't pinpoint the cause, see an eye specialist. They will be able to diagnose the problem and offer the correct treatment. In most cases, though, watery eyes are just nature doing its best to keep our eyes healthy and a little help from us is all it takes to fix the problem.

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