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Suite 5A, Level 1, 1-17 Elsie Street

Burwood NSW 2134


(02) 8090 8010

Watery eye in adults

The following sections assume you don't have conditions such as an infection or inflammation or a foreign body in your eye i.e. your eye is watery but otherwise normal.  
Eyes water if there are more tears that are produced than needed or if they are not drained away from the eye appropriately.
Causes: Too much tears
This is often associated with people who have Dry Eyes.  In these individuals, the eye reaches a point of dryness where the brain instructs the tear system to lubricate the eye.  This is often noticed when your eyes water after reading or watching television.  The number of times you blink generally reduces when you are concentrating on a task.  
Other conditions that affect other parts of the body can also make the eyes dry such as rheumatological conditions; Thyroid Eye Disease and Sjogren's Syndrome.  Your eye specialist will screen you for these 'systemic' conditions while assessing your eye.  By assessing your eye it is possible to distinguish this condition from blockage of tear outflow.  It also important to determine if there is a deficiency in quality or quantity of tear film.
The treatment often involves simple measures such as conscious blinking during prolonged near work.  It also involves supplementing your watery eye with more tears before they start watering.  This is quite different from treating someone with tear outflow blockage.  Please see the dry eye section for details.
Causes: Tear outflow blockage
Tears normally flow from the eye to the nose through an opening or puncta in the upper and lower lids.  The puncta connect to two tubes (canaliculi) which eventually drain into the nose after passing through a tear sac.  This pathway is responsible for a runny nose when you cry. Blockage of this pathway results in excess of tears which then dribble out of the eye and can interfere with vision.  In assessing this condition your eye specialist will try to determine the site of the blockage. This blockage can come from the puncta, along the tubing in the eye lids or further down inside the nose.  
At your visit to the centre, the assessment may include a probe and syringe, which may improve the condition.  Occasionally a CT-scan of the eye sockets and the sinuses to look for other causes of blockage can be ordered where neccessary.  The treatment of this condition can ranges from making the puncta larger, probe and syringe or surgery which involves creating a new passage from the tear sac to the nose.