Chronic Watery Eyes: Causes and Treatment

Do your eyes get all teary, like when you’re super emotional watching a movie? It could be both eyes tearing up, or maybe just one. It isn’t very pleasant and can make a person feel self-conscious. And guess what? People might ask if you’re crying or wondering why your face is wet.

Why Do You Have Watery Eyes?

Now, here’s the surprising part. You go to an eye doctor, and they tell you your eyes are dry. Wait, what? Your eyes are the polar opposite of ‘dry’. It’s like a desert in there? Super confusing, right?

So, why is your doctor saying this? Sometimes your eyes tear up when they’re trying to fight dryness. But it should be noted that this is not always the reason. Another common cause of watery eyes is a clogged tear duct. Yep, that little drainage system might be acting up. And there are more possible causes for wet and watery eyes, too. Read on to learn more. You may want to start with the quiz below.

Take the Watery Eye Quiz!

Welcome to the Watery Eyes Quiz! This quiz will help you determine some possible reasons for your watery eyes. Please answer the following questions honestly to the best of your ability. Choose the option that best describes your situation. Write down “A”, “B” or “C” to compare your score to the results at the end of the quiz.

1. How often do you experience watery eyes?
a) Occasionally b) Frequently c) Constantly

2. Which of the following best describes the timing of your watery eyes?
a) It happens randomly b) It’s more common outdoors or in windy conditions c) It’s more common indoors or in specific environments

3. Do you experience any other symptoms along with watery eyes?
a) No, only watery eyes b) Redness and irritation c) Itching and sneezing

4. Are you currently dealing with any allergies?
a) No allergies b) Seasonal allergies (pollen, grass, etc.) c) Year-round allergies (dust mites, pet dander, etc.)

5. Do you wear contact lenses?
a) No b) Yes, occasionally c) Yes, regularly

6. Have you noticed any discharge from your eyes along with the watering?
a) No b) Clear and watery discharge c) Thick and coloured discharge

7. How long have you been experiencing watery eyes?
a) A few days b) A few weeks c) Several months

8. Have you had any recent eye injuries or surgeries?
a) No b) Yes, within the past month c) Yes, more than a month ago

9. Do you work long hours on a computer or do activities that require intense focus?
a) No b) Occasionally c) Yes, regularly

10. Does blinking or lubricating eye drops temporarily relieve watery eyes?
a) Yes, it helps b) No, it doesn’t make a significant difference


  • Mostly a answers: Your watery eyes might be due to temporary factors such as environmental conditions or fatigue.
  • Mostly b answers: You might be experiencing watery eyes due to allergies, environmental factors, or contact lens-related issues.
  • Mostly c answers: Your watery eyes could be a sign of a more chronic condition or an underlying eye issue. It’s recommended to consult an eye care professional for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, this quiz is not a substitute for medical advice. If your watery eyes persist or worsen, it’s important to consult an eye doctor for a proper evaluation and guidance.

What Causes Overproduction of Tears

Blocked Tear Duct

Have you ever noticed one eye constantly producing tears while the other remains dry? This can often be due to a blocked tear duct.

In simple terms, our eyes produce tears, and they’re supposed to drain away naturally. But when a tear duct gets blocked, tears can’t drain properly, leading to excess tearing in that eye. It’s not necessarily because of emotions; it’s more about a physical obstruction causing tears to accumulate and overflow.

Fortunately, eye care professionals can address this issue. The excess tearing can be managed by identifying and resolving the blockage in the tear duct. Treatments include reducing inflammation with eyedrops, flushing, and sometimes doing a ‘tear duct massage.’

Blockage of the Nasal Drainage System,

The issue of watery eyes often stems from problems with tear drainage. Our eyes naturally produce tears, which are essential for lubrication and protection. However, these tears need to drain away properly to maintain a healthy balance.

When the drainage system encounters difficulties, it can lead to excessive tearing. This happens because the tears that are produced have no way to exit the eye efficiently. Consequently, tears accumulate on the eye’s surface and may even spill over, resulting in the appearance of watery eyes.

This phenomenon is primarily a matter of the human eye’s mechanics. Various factors can contribute to drainage problems, including blockages or narrow passages in the tear ducts. These issues disrupt the normal flow of tears, causing them to linger and overflow.

To address this, eye care professionals can diagnose the underlying cause of the drainage issue and recommend appropriate treatments. A relatively simple treatment to clear your eye’s tear drainage is flushing the nasal lacrimal system with a saline solution. By resolving the drainage problem, excessive tearing can often be alleviated, allowing the eyes to maintain their proper moisture balance.

Other Tear Drainage Issues

Tears are created by a gland located near the top-outside corner of your eyes. Other tear drainage issues can occur when tears are not siphoned along your eyelid to the nasal drainage entrance.

A common cause of this can be as simple as an ectropion. This condition refers to the lower eyelid falling away from the eye’s surface. It is most prevalent in older individuals and is not a serious condition.

Another cause of drainage issues is conjunctivochalasis. (AKA Mechanical Dry Eye) This is when the clear membrane that covers the eye becomes inflamed and folds over above the lower eyelid. This can interrupt the natural path of the flow of tears, causing them to flow down your face instead of into your nasal passage. Treatment for this is generally a surgical procedure, but sometimes less invasive methods to reduce the inflammation and get the membrane to tighten up on its own.

Allergies Causing Watery Eyes

Another common cause of watery eyes is allergies to pollens or other substances. An allergic reaction can cause redness and swelling of the eyes, eyelids and other parts connected to your eyes’ mechanical system. Treatments for this are orally taken allergy medications, cold compresses and some lubricating and medicated eye drops.

Dry Eye Syndrome Causing Watery Eyes

This seems counterintuitive, but dry eye syndrome is a common cause of teary eyes. What happens is your body senses that your eyes don’t have enough lubricant and overcompensates by making more tears. You can find tips on how to manage dry eye symptoms at our blog article here.


There are a lot of possible causes and treatment options for your teary eyes. You can get a professional assessment by booking with one of our eye doctors in Lloydminster on our clinic Contact page.