Watery Eyes


Epiphora is the medical term for watery eyes. It is normal for the eye to have a thin film of fluid lubricating it, but when things go wrong there can be excessive fluid and watery eyes as a result.

Watery eyes can be socially embarrassing, annoying and can reduce quality of life by interfering with activities such as reading, watching television and driving.


The tears are mainly produced at the outer edge of the eye and are drained into the nose at the inner aspect of the eye. Blinking is really important in moving the tear film across the eye and into the tear duct, while the duct itself needs to be open functional to efficiently move the tears away.

When the above mechanism fails, the result is watery eyes. Some of the causes include:

  • Increased tear production.
  • Faulty eyelid position (Ectropion and Entropion).
  • Pterygium.
  • Blocked tear ducts.
  • Tear duct infections (Dacrocystitis).


The patient is usually well aware of the watery eye or eyes and will report:

  • Regular wiping of the affected eye.
  • Interference with reading, writing and watching television.
  • Social embarrassment.
  • Redness and eye discomfort in some cases.


In order to correctly treat the problem, your Doctor needs to work out why the watery eye is occurring. This will require a detailed discussion of your symptoms and an examination of the eye and nose in particular.

In some instances, special scans will be required to assess the function of the tear ducts and eyelids.


In this instance the treatment choice depends significantly upon the cause of the problem. Some issues will require eyedrops or “probing” of the tear duct alone. Where the tear duct is blocked or faulty, people can benefit from surgery to the tear duct system, known as a dacrocystorhinostomy (DCR). Dr Morrissey in conjunction with your Ophthalmologist can help you determine the cause of the problem and the necessary course of action to correct the issue.

Related Information

Dacrocystorhinostomy (DCR)