What is watery eye?

Watery eye is the result of irritation or inflammation in or around your eye that causes your eye to increase tear production. One or both of your eyes may become watery. Tears are your eyes’ way of protecting themselves and expelling debris or clearing infections. Watery eye is usually caused by irritation or infection of the eye, injury to the eye from trauma, or a common cold. Other symptoms of eye irritation, including itching, redness, a gritty feeling, and swelling of the eyelids, often accompany watery eyes.

Eye Conditions Spotlight

Physical irritants that get in your eye cause watery eye as the body increases tear production to wash away the offending substance, which may be smoke or dust in the air or personal care products such as soap or shampoo. Allergies are a very common cause of watery eyes. An allergy that affects your eyes may be local, such as an allergic reaction to eye makeup, or more generalized, such as hay fever.

Infections or inflammations of the eyelid margin, the area near your eyelashes, are also frequent causes of watery eye. These conditions include blepharitis (inflammation of the eyelid margin), chalazion (inflammation of a blocked oil gland in the eyelid margin), and stye or hordeolum (localized bacterial infection of an oil gland or eyelash follicle in the eyelid margin).

In most cases, watery eye is a result of a mild condition and usually resolves on its own. In rare cases, watery eye can be associated with more serious infections or trauma. Because your eyes and vision are vital to your quality of life, be sure to contact your health care provider if you have any eye symptoms that cause you concern.

Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you have an eye injury or if your watery eyes occur along with serious symptoms such as a sudden change in your vision, high fever (higher than 101 degrees Fahrenheit), severe pain in your eye, sudden swelling of the face, lips or tongue, or difficulty breathing.

Seek prompt medical care if your symptom of watery eye is persistent or causes you concern.

SYMPTOMS

What other symptoms might occur with watery eye?

Depending on the cause of your watery eyes, other parts of your body may also be affected. A variety of symptoms involving your eyes or other parts of your body can occur along with watery eyes.... Read more about watery eyesymptoms

CAUSES

What causes watery eye?

In general, anything that irritates or inflames the surface of your eye can cause watery eye. Increased tear production is part of the body’s natural defense system and serves to wash away irritating substances and infectious agents.... Read more about watery eyecauses

Medical Reviewer: All content has been reviewed by board-certified physicians under the direction of Rich Klasco, M.D., FACEP. Last Annual Review Date: May 2, 2011 Copyright: © Copyright 2011 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Eyes and Vision


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