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Epiphora (Watery Eyes)


Epiphora, more often referred to as watery eyes, is a medical condition in which the body produces unusually high amounts of tears for no apparent cause. This may occur for a variety of reasons.

When you have epiphora, your eyes may wet lightly or excessively, resulting in a constant stream of tears. Additionally, you may have other eye problems. This condition manifests itself via acute discomfort, swelling of the eyelids, reduced eyesight, and sensitivity to light. Some epiphora symptoms include visible blood vessels, redness, and swelling, as well as excruciating discomfort and enlargement of the eyelids.

Baby watery eyes are also a common occurrence in some children. It may be a symptom of blocked tear ducts in children under the age of two. They will often resolve on their own. Apart from illnesses such as conjunctivitis or even the common cold, other reasons for watery eyes in babies and toddlers include hay fever and irritants in the eye.

Your infant’s tear ducts may get blocked, resulting in moist eyes. One-third of infants are affected by this illness, which is extremely common. Tears are considered to be blocked when they are unable to flow freely from the corners of your eyelids into the ducts lining your nose. Consequently, tears start to form in the eye. Many infants have this problem because the membrane at the end of the tear duct does not open correctly or because the opening at birth is too tiny. By the time they reach their first birthday, 90% of infants will be disease-free. Other possible causes of blocked tear ducts are less common including nasal polyps, cysts, or tumors that may also cause ocular damage.

The many causes of watery eyes in babies and toddlers need a multifaceted treatment plan. Certain treatments are easy and need minimal parental involvement, while others include the use of prescription medications or even surgery. If you are concerned about your child’s wet eyes, always seek medical attention.

Watery, itchy eyes are often accompanied by coughing, runny nose, and other allergy symptoms. Allergy medicines, eye drops, and avoiding allergens like pollen, mold, and pet dander may all help with allergy management.


Some of the common causes of watery eyes are listed below:

Injury or foreign material: Due to the discomfort produced by anything being trapped in your eye, you blink and flush water in an attempt to wash it out. Dirt or other material may also cause abrasion leading to watery eyes. Additionally, epiphora may occur because of cleaning the eye or injuring it with a broken contact lens. Itching and irritation may be caused along with grittiness, pain, and eye inflammation.

Allergic conditions: Allergic rhinitis or Hay fever is a frequent epiphora cause. Inflammation occurs when your body responds to seemingly innocuous things such as dust, pollen or pet dander. The immune system produces antibodies in response to particular allergens, triggering an inflammatory response that results in red, puffy, and watery eyes.

Conjunctivitis: Pink eye is a common ailment that affects a significant proportion of the population. Typically, one or both eyes get infected as a result of a bacterial or viral infection. As the name implies, it is characterized by swollen blood vessels in the eye, which give the eye a pink or red appearance.People infected with coronavirus may get pink eye in some instances (conjunctivitis). A viral infection may cause burning and red eyes. However, covid infection does not cause watery eyes.

Keratitis: It is another cause of watery eyes in which cornea become inflamed. Pain, redness, blurred vision, sensitivity to light, frequent weeping, and a white discharge are the accompanied symptoms of this condition.

Inflammation and Infections: Swelling and excessive tearing may be caused by an infection or inflammation of the lacrimal or tear glands.

Another cause of epiphora is stye, which is a pimple that develops along the lash line on the eyelid. The most frequent cause is a bacterial infection of the glands in the lower eyelid. It may persist for many weeks. Sometimes a little lump that develops along the upper or lower eyelid’s border may also cause epiphora.

Blepharitis is an inflammatory condition characterized by redness and swelling of the eyelids. This disease occurs when the oil glands at the base of the eyelashes get blocked, leading to watery or teary eyes.


Excessive crying or wet eyes are indications of epiphora. Constant or intermittent tearing, a sensation of moisture around the eyes, blurred vision, and pain due to wetness of the eyes and surrounding skin are common epiphora symptoms. Epiphora can be caused by several factors, including eye discomfort, allergies, clogged tear ducts, or underlying eye diseases, and can substantially impact one’s quality of life.


Epiphora diagnosis is after a thorough eye examination by an eye doctor (ophthalmologist). The eye doctor will examine tear production, the eye structure, and the tear drainage system. Tear production can be measured using special procedures such as the Schirmer test, and tear flow can be evaluated using dye. To uncover obstructions or structural abnormalities in the tear drainage system, imaging studies such as dacryocystography or nasolacrimal duct probing may be required.


The underlying cause determines the epiphora treatment. Over-the-counter artificial tears or antihistamine eye drops may be advised for minor eye irritation or allergy episodes. If your tear ducts are clogged, simple massage and warm compresses may help, or more invasive treatments such as dacryocystorhinostomy (DCR) may be required to construct a new tear drainage pathway. For effective treatment, any underlying eye problems or infections must be addressed. The treatment plan is personalized to the individual’s diagnosis and attempts to reduce excessive weeping, increase eye comfort, and preserve proper eye health.

When To See A Doctor

Consult a doctor as soon as possible if you have watery eyes and any of the following symptoms:

  • Vision loss or reduction
  • Headache And pain in the region of your eyes
  • Sensation of a foreign object

Watery eyes may or may not resolve on their own. If pain causes your problem, using warm compresses to your eyes for a few minutes may help. If your watery eyes continue to bother you, see your primary care physician.


This information is intended for educational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical advice. If you have concerns about epiphora or any other medical condition, please see a doctor for an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment suggestions.