Watery eyes are not unfamiliar to most of us. At one time or another, nearly everyone has experienced them to some degree for some length of time. While often aggravating, the condition is typically short lived, and normal eye function resumes within a matter of days. Of course, with a condition that it so common, there is no shortage of potential causes. Everything from rheumatoid arthritis to blocked tear ducts can result in tearing of the eyes. Understanding the accurate cause of your own watery eyes is essential to treating them properly and preventing the problem from occurring in the future.
While conditions like those previously mentioned may lead to watery eyes, the most likely culprits are a bit more common. Listed below are three of the most common conditions which may manifest with watery eyes as a primary symptom:
Hay Fever – A response to allergens, hay fever manifests in cold-like symptoms. Sufferers will typically experience itchy, watery eyes along with a runny nose, sneezing, and pressure within the sinus cavities. In many cases, over-the-counter allergy medications may be enough to ease symptoms. However, in more severe cases, when hay fever begins to interfere with productivity and overall wellbeing, a physician can prescribe prescription options or even allergy shots to help bring relief.
Common Cold – Cold symptoms can be nearly identical to those brought on by allergies, and it may be difficult for patients to distinguish between the two. However, there often a few tell-tale signs that can allow you to tell the difference between the two. For instance, the eyes may become watery with both colds and hay fever. However, itchy eyes are typically a hallmark of allergies. Likewise, a cold may be accompanied by general aches and pains, a symptom that never accompanies hay fever. While there is no cure for the common cold, many over-the-counter medications can offer relief from particularly troublesome symptoms. Cough medicines, pain relievers, and nasal sprays can all prove helpful.
Pink Eye – Pink eye, also known as conjunctivitis, is an inflammation of the membrane that covers the eye, called the conjunctiva. In the case of pink eye, a viral or bacterial infection is usually the culprit, causing inflamed blood vessels within the conjunctiva. Once the infection takes hold, patients typically experience discharge, redness, itching, and watering in the affected eye or eyes. Additionally, the eyes may feel gritty, as though something is in them. However, it is important to note that other conditions can also lead to similar symptoms. The only way to know for sure that what you are experiencing pink eye is to see your eye doctor for an examination. He or she can determine if the infection is bacterial or viral and prescribe treatment accordingly.