Watery eyes can be due to many factors and conditions.

In infants, persistent watery eyes, often with some matter, are commonly the result of blocked tear ducts. The tear ducts don't produce tears, but rather carry away tears, similar to how a storm drain carries away rainwater. Tears normally drain into your nose through tiny openings (puncta) in the inner part of the lids near the nose. In babies, the tear duct may not be fully open and functioning for the first several months of life.

In older adults, persistent watery eyes may occur as the aging skin of the eyelids sags away from the eyeball, allowing tears to accumulate and flow out.

Sometimes, excess tear production may cause watery eyes as well.

Allergies or viral infections (conjunctivitis), as well as any kind of inflammation, may cause watery eyes for a few days or so.

Medication causes

  1. Chemotherapy drugs
  2. Epinephrine
  3. Eyedrops, especially echothiophate iodide and pilocarpine

Common causes

  1. Allergies
  2. Blepharitis (eyelid inflammation)
  3. Blocked tear duct
  4. Common cold
  5. Corneal abrasion (scratch): First aid
  6. Corneal ulcer
  7. Dry eyes (decreased production of tears)
  8. Ectropion (outwardly turned eyelid)
  9. Entropion (inwardly turned eyelid)
  10. Foreign object in the eye: First aid
  11. Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  12. Ingrown eyelash (trichiasis)
  13. Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea)
  14. Pink eye (conjunctivitis)
  15. Sty (a red, painful lump near the edge of your eyelid)
  16. Tear duct infection
  17. Trachoma

Other causes

  1. Bell's palsy
  2. Blow to the eye or other eye injury
  3. Burns
  4. Chemical splash in the eye: First aid
  5. Chronic sinusitis
  6. Granulomatosis with polyangiitis (Wegener's granulomatosis)
  7. Inflammatory diseases
  8. Radiation therapy
  9. Rheumatoid arthritis (inflammatory joint disease)
  10. Sarcoidosis (collections of inflammatory cells in the body)
  11. Sjogren's syndrome
  12. Stevens-Johnson syndrome
  13. Surgery of the eye or nose
  14. Tumors affecting the tear drainage system

Causes shown here are commonly associated with this symptom. Work with your doctor or other health care professional for an accurate diagnosis.

Sept. 17, 2020

See also

  1. After COVID-19 vaccination: Is it OK to visit with loved ones?
  2. Allergies
  3. Allergy medications: Know your options
  4. Allergy-proof your home
  5. Avoid rebound nasal congestion
  6. Blepharitis
  7. Blocked tear duct
  8. Can chicken soup cure a cold?
  9. Can COVID-19 (coronavirus) spread through food, water, surfaces and pets?
  10. COVID-19 and vitamin D
  11. Chicken soup: Can it treat a cold?
  12. Cold or allergy: Which is it?
  13. Cold remedies
  14. Cold symptoms: Does drinking milk increase phlegm?
  15. Common cold
  16. Coronavirus safety tips for going out
  17. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19)
  18. COVID-19: How can I protect myself?
  19. Coronavirus grief
  20. Coronavirus vs. flu: Similarities and differences
  21. Herd immunity and coronavirus
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  25. COVID-19, cold, allergies and the flu
  26. COVID-19 and holidays
  27. COVID-19 (coronavirus) drugs: Are there any that work?
  28. COVID-19 (coronavirus) in babies and children
  29. Long-term effects of COVID-19
  30. COVID-19 (coronavirus) travel advice
  31. How well do face masks protect against coronavirus?
  32. COVID-19 (coronavirus): Quarantine, self-isolation and social distancing
  33. COVID-19 vaccines for kids: What you need to know
  34. COVID-19 vaccines
  35. COVID-19 variant
  36. COVID-19: Who's at higher risk of serious symptoms?
  37. Debunking coronavirus myths
  38. Different COVID-19 vaccines
  39. Does honey offer sweet relief for allergies?
  40. Does zinc work for colds?
  41. Dust mite allergy
  42. Echinacea: Is it effective for the common cold?
  43. Ectropion
  44. Entropion
  45. Eyestrain
  46. Have a cold? Common sense rules
  47. Have a cold? Fight back with humidity
  48. Have a cold? Fight it with fluids
  49. How do COVID-19 antibody tests differ from diagnostic tests?
  50. How does COVID-19 affect people with diabetes?
  51. How to safely go to your doctor during the COVID-19 pandemic
  52. How to talk to your kids about COVID-19
  53. How well do you wash your hands?
  54. Humidifier care 101
  55. Humidifiers
  56. Is antibacterial soap a do or a don't?
  57. Mayo Clinic Minute: You're washing your hands all wrong
  58. Mayo Clinic Minute: How dirty are common surfaces?
  59. Milk allergy
  60. Nasal Cleaning
  61. Nasal spray addiction: Is it real?
  62. Neti pot: Can it clear your nose?
  63. Neti pot solution: Can I make my own?
  64. Pet allergy
  65. Pet allergy: Are there hypoallergenic dog breeds?
  66. Plugged ears: What is the remedy?
  67. Pregnancy and COVID-19
  68. Coronavirus infection by race
  69. Safe outdoor activities during the COVID-19 pandemic
  70. Safety tips for returning to school during COVID-19
  71. Screen time making your eyes buggy?
  72. Sex and COVID-19
  73. Stuffy nose? Try saline spray
  74. Telemedicine online doctor visits
  75. Teleworking during the coronavirus
  76. Video: Travel safely for medical care during the COVID-19 pandemic
  77. Treating COVID-19 at home
  78. Unusual symptoms of coronavirus
  79. Vicks VapoRub: An effective nasal decongestant?
  80. Vitamin C: Can it prevent colds?
  81. Warm-mist versus cool-mist humidifier: Which is better for a cold?
  82. Fight coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission at home
  83. Contact tracing and COVID-19: What is it and how does it work?
  84. Wheat allergy
  85. Do zinc supplements shorten colds?