Tearing is a healthy and normal function of the eyes as tears help to keep the eyes moist and also help clear off dust and debris. However, when you experience excessive tearing, it could be a sign of an underlying eye disorder, with tearing manifested as a symptom. 

Tearing can occur in both children and adults. Often, tearing takes place because of blocked tear ducts. These ducts help drain away tears from our eyes into our nose through tiny openings. Blockage can be due to weak eyelid muscles, reduced blinking, infection or a ‘polyp’.  In babies, tear ducts are not completely functioning for the first few months. In older people, the eye lids’ skin sags over time and moves away from the eyeball, causing excessive tearing.

Other causes of tearing include:

  • Allergies

  • Viral infections (such as conjunctivitis)

  • Eye injury

  • Disorders of the eye lid or eye lash (such as blepharitis)

  • Eye disorders

  • Dry eyes

  • Glaucoma, in which pressure builds up inside the eye

  • Irritants in the environment, such as smoke, car fumes, or wind

  • Nasal and sinus conditions

  • Certain medications, such as chemotherapy drugs

  • Common cold

  • Burns

  • Exposure to some chemicals

  • Disorders of the facial nerves 

  • Thyroid disorders​

Excessive tearing will mainly appear as watery eyes, which will be worse outdoors and will worsen due to cold or due to windy weather. Tearing can occur in one or both eyes, depending on what is causing it. 

Other signs and symptoms which accompany tearing are:

  • Blurry vision

  • Irritated eye lids with lumps

  • Redness in the corner of the eye

  • Difficulty reading or looking down due to excessive tears

If you notice your eyes are excessively watery, consult an ophthalmologist (eye specialist) working with the Eye and ENT Service Line at The Aga Khan University Hospital to get your symptoms evaluated. Once excessive tearing is diagnosed, your doctor will recommend the most suitable treatment option, depending on the cause of your disorder.​

Watery eyes usually clear up on their own, especially if caused by an irritant or allergy. However, if excessive tearing has been continuing for more than a week without signs of improvement, it's best to get it checked by your eye doctor.

If you have a feeling that there is grit or some foreign body in your eye, or if excessive tearing is accompanied with eye pain and reduced vision, you must seek immediate medical attention check if there is any other serious underlying disorder.

If excessive tearing caused by a blocked tear duct is not treated, the site could become infected, causing discomfort and irritation. That's why it's important to get expert advice from one of the ophthalmologists working for the Eye and ENT Service Line of The Aga Khan University Hospital to help provide relief from your symptoms. ​

Your time with your doctor may be limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here are some tips to help get you started.

Besides your medical history, which helps your doctor make an initial diagnosis of your disorder, a full eye examination is required to identify the cause of watery eyes. The eye exam will consist of a vision test, an examination of the structures inside your eye with the help of dyes and special instruments, as well as other tests and procedures required to make an accurate diagnosis.

The ophthalmology department of the Eye and ENT Service Line of The Aga Khan University Hospital is equipped with the latest technology and state-of-the-art equipment to help diagnose eye disorders. You will receive the best quality healthcare from our dedicated staff from diagnosis through treatment of your disease.​

Treatment for tearing will depend on the cause of the disorder. For instance, in case of allergies, antihistamine medications will help resolve excessive tearing. In case of tearing due to dry eyes, eye drops will be recommended, while tearing due to an infection will be treated with the help of antibiotic medications. In case of severe blockage of the tear ducts, surgery may be suggested, the risks of which must be discussed in detail with your eye doctor.

There are various possible causes of tearing and, therefore, treatment options will be many depending on the exact cause. For some disorders, such as allergies, the treatment may be simpler than for others, such as blepharitis. You must consult an ophthalmologist to help diagnose the exact cause of tearing so that you can start with a suitable treatment plan. ​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

 The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.

 The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments' costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage.​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the 'Important Numbers' section on the website homepage


​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.