Tearing is a natural and necessary function of the eye. To keep properly moisturized, your eyes produce basal tears, made up of fatty oils, water, mucus, and proteins that spread across your corneas when you blink. This process helps prevent damage to your cornea, protects against bacteria, and focuses light into your eyes so you can see clearly.
Your eyes need tears to work, but when there’s too much tearing it can result in pain, inflammation, and impairment of vision. This condition, known as watery, eyes or epiphora, is most common in babies under the age of 12 months and adults over the age of 60, but can develop in any person at any age. While it isn’t life threatening, it greatly impedes the quality of life of those it afflicts, and can be caused by more serious issues, which is why it’s important to get it checked out.
In the eye itself, water eyes are caused by two things: blocked tear ducts or overproduction of tears. However, these two things are caused by a variety of outside influences, some of the most common detailed below.
If you live in a drier place, the air can steal the moisture from your skin and your eyes. This is true of both arid climates and indoor spaces with air conditioning or lots of fans. In compensation for the dryness, your eyes excessively tear. To combat this, you should get a humidifier, invest in high quality eye drops, and try to avoid air conditioning and fans until your eyes can adjust.
Staring at your computer from long periods of time often results in less blinking, meaning the basal tears that hydrate your eyes aren’t being spread over your cornea as much as they should be. Taking a break every twenty minutes or so, and making sure to keep your computer at eye level or below should help in keeping your eyes properly hydrated throughout the day.
Things like makeup, eyelashes, hair, and dust can all block your tear ducts, resulting in over-watering eyes, and sometimes even stys. Contact lenses also can cause drying of the eyes, acting as foreign plastic objects that disrupt your tear film. You should always be careful about what you put in or near your eyes. Make sure you’re not wearing your contacts for too long, and never wear them while you sleep. Use eye drops to moisturize your eyes in case of dryness, and if you think your contacts aren’t the right fit for you, contact your doctor or go to Simple Contacts to purchase high quality contact lenses.
Your eyes come into contact with thousands of particles every day, many of them allergens. In reaction to allergens, your body releases histamines, causing a variety of symptoms, including anything from hives to watery eyes. A lot of the time, you don’t realize you’ve come into contact with something you’re allergic to until much later. If you’re suffering from an allergic reaction, try to isolate and remove the cause as soon as possible, taking allergy medicine if necessary to control the effects.
A dry environment, too much screen time, foreign objects, contacts, and allergies are all common causes of watery eyes, and for the most part can be treated relatively easily on your own. If you experience watery eyes for an extended period of time, you should contact your doctor to learn more, as it could be a result of more serious health issues like keratitis (infection of the cornea), corneal ulcers, sleep apnea, thyroid problems, bell’s palsy, and more. Taking care of your eyes is an important part of your overall health and wellbeing, and should be treated accordingly.
by Insider Envy Staff