Watery eyes, or epiphora, can range from being an intermittent irritant in cold / windy conditions, to a significantly debilitating continuous problem both indoors and outdoors. Severe watering can also be associated with stickiness, causing recurrent infections.

Causes of watering

In general, there is a tendency for eyes to water as we get older. However, certain conditions can cause watery eyes at any age. Any condition which irritates the eye can cause watering. Examples are Blepharitis, or Allergy. Conditions affecting the eyelid position such as Ectropion and Entropion can also cause the eye to water. Sometimes, the opening of the tear duct (lacrimal punctum) can become narrowed over time, thereby not allowing adequate tear drainage away from the eye. Finally, Tear Duct Obstruction is responsible for the symptoms in a proportion of patients.

Investigation of watering

During your outpatient consultation, Mr Ismail will undertake a detailed eyelid and ocular examination to determine the cause of your watering. It will most likely be necessary to have a procedure called lacrimal syringing, where the function of the tears ducts will be tested. Sometimes it is necessary to undergo further tests, and if this is the case for you, Mr Ismail will advise you.


Treatment of your watery eyes will depend upon the cause. In some cases, simple advice and eye drops will help. In other cases, a relatively small procedure such as enlarging your tear duct openings (punctoplasty) will be required. If there is evidence of an eyelid position problem, Ectropion or Entropion correction may be required. If the cause of your watering is found to be due to Tear Duct Obstruction, then DCR surgery may be required.

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