One of the most common causes of excess tearing is dry eyes. Drying causes the eyes to become uncomfortable, which stimulates the body to produce too many tears. One of the main tests for tearing is to check whether the eyes are too dry.
Treatment depends on the cause of the problem. Therefore it is important to determine the cause before treating yourself at home.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Tearing is rarely an emergency. You should seek help right away if:
Chemicals gets into the eye
You have severe pain, bleeding, or loss of vision
You have a severe injury to the eye
Also, contact your health care provider if you have:
A scratch on the eye
Something in the eye
Painful, red eyes
A lot of discharge coming from the eye
Long-term, unexplained tearing
Tenderness around the nose or sinuses
What to Expect at Your Office Visit
The doctor will examine your eyes and ask questions about your medical history and symptoms. Questions may include:
When did the tearing start?
How often does it happen?
Does it affect both eyes?
Do you have vision problems?
Do you wear contacts or glasses?
Does the tearing happen after an emotional or stressful event?
Do you have eye pain or other symptoms, including headache, stuffy or runny nose, or joint or muscle aches?
What medications do you take?
Do you have allergies?
Did you recently hurt your eye?
What seems to help stop the tearing?
Your doctor may order tests to help determine the cause.
Treatment depends on the cause of the problem.
Hurwitz JJ. The lacrimal drainage system. In: Yanoff M, Duker JS, eds. Ophthalmology. 4th ed. St. Louis, Mo: Mosby Elsevier; 2013:chap 12.15.
Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.