Eye Pain and Watering: What Could it Be?

Amisha Jain
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Kaushal

Review medical content on WOW Rx Pharmacy, so that accurate drug use information is easily accessible to everybody.
Dr. Akansha is a licensed Clinical Pharmacologist. She possesses remarkable knowledge in Pharmacovigilance, prescription analysis, drug information, and drug safety services. Additionally, she is a keen learner and an educator.

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Eye Pain and Watering

Eye pain and watering might seem like a small problem individually.

But together with other accompanying symptoms, these might point to an underlying condition.

You can deal with some of these conditions at home, while others might require immediate attention.

According to WHO, over 2.2 billion people report eye and vision problems globally.

It is, therefore, important to understand the signs and know when to consult a doctor.

Going further in this article, we shall discuss in detail what your symptoms could be indicating.

Dry eyes

Dry eyes are common.

It occurs when your eyes are not able to produce enough tears to lubricate your eyes.

It can cause your eyes to sting and burn, which could be painful.

Ironically, one of the symptoms of dry eyes is watering.

Other symptoms may include

  • Sensitivity to light
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Blurred vision or eye fatigue
  • Eye redness
  • Stringy mucus in or around the eyes
Types of age related macular degenerationSource: Fizkes_From_Getty_Images
man suffering from dry eye

A warm compress is one of the most effective ways to relieve the eye.

Your doctor might also prescribe artificial tears for instant relief.

Allergies

Allergies, seasonal and otherwise, might be very uncomfortable for a person.

It might exhibit symptoms like eye pain and watering eyes along with itching and redness.

These symptoms can occur independently but are typically accompanied by nasal allergy symptoms like

  • Sneezing
  • Stuffy nose
  • Sniffling

Avoiding your triggers as much as possible is the most beneficial.

Otherwise, you can rinse your eyes and use cold compresses to get relief.

Corneal Abrasion

Corneal Abrasion is a scratch on your eye.

It could happen instantly for several reasons, like rubbing your eye too aggressively or getting dirt.

If you have ever gotten a scratch on your eye, you might notice the following:

  • Eye pain, especially on opening and closing the eye
  • Watering eyes
  • Blurred vision
  • Redness
  • Sensitivity to light
  • The feeling of sand or grit in the eye

A minor scratch usually heals itself in 1-3 days, while a severe case might take a longer time to heal.

In the meantime,

  • Do not rub your eyes
  • Ask your doctor about wearing contact lenses
  • Wear sunglasses to protect your eyes from sensitivity

Contact a doctor if it doesn’t heal or if you feel the need.

Blocked tear duct

A blocked tear duct does not allow the tears to drain properly.

Fact:
The lacrimal glands, located above the outer side of the eyes, produce tears.

Puncta is a small opening near the nose inside the edges of the eyelid.

The Nasolacrimal duct connects to the puncta and drains excess tears into the nose.

The tear than either evaporates or gets reabsorbed.

An infection or injury might be causing this blockage.

Experts estimate that about 20% of newborn babies have a blocked tear duct.

Apart from eye pain caused by swelling and excessive watering, the following symptoms might also show up:

  • Redness of the sclera (white part of the eye)
  • Crusting of the lids
  • Mucus or pus discharge
  • Blurred vision

Both surgical and non-surgical methods are available as treatment options for blocked tear ducts.

It is best to consult your doctor to determine which treatment is the most appropriate for you.

Styes

Stye is a bacterial infection in the oil-producing glands of your eyelids which lubricate the eyes.

It appears as a red bump along the eyelid that causes eye pain and watering.

It might also cause

  • Swelling of the lid
  • Itching and soreness
  • Gritty feeling in the eye
  • Crusting along the lid

They are not contagious but can be extremely uncomfortable.

It has a slightly higher chance of occurrence in patients aged 30 to 50.

Keep cleaning your eyelids, and use warm compresses for relief.

But, in no case 

  • Squeeze or pop a stye
  • Touch or rub the lid
  • Wear contact lenses till the stye has healed
  • Apply makeup on or near the eyes

Consult a doctor for the best advice.

Entropion

Eye pain and watering is also a sign of Entropion.

It is an eye condition wherein the eyelids turn inwards so that your lashes and skin rub against the eye’s surface.

This eyelid malposition can lead to damage to the cornea and conjunctiva.

The older you are, the more chances you have of developing Entropion.

If you have entropion, you may experience the following:

  • A feeling of having something in your eye
  • Redness
  • Irritation and pain
  • Watery eyes
  • Mucous discharge
  • Eyelid crusting
  • Sensitivity to light and wind

The treatment options, surgical and non-surgical, are based on the cause of the condition.

Ectropion

It is a condition in which your eyelid sags outwards.

This exposes the cornea and conjunctiva, making them susceptible to irritation and infections.

It might cause:

  • Excessive watering
  • Itching and burning sensation
  • Blurry vision
  • Eye pain
  • Sensitivity to light

Older people are generally at higher risk of developing Ectropion.

It usually affects only the lower lid, but in some instances, it might affect the upper lid also.

Your doctor might prescribe using artificial tears and ointments to lubricate the eyes.

They might further suggest surgery if needed.

Keratitis

Eye Pain and WateringSource: pixelshot
Keratitis

Keratitis is the inflammation of the cornea.

It could be due to some infection or otherwise.

The first signs of Keratitis include redness, blurred vision, eye pain, and watering.

Other symptoms include:

  • Irritation on opening and closing the eyes
  • Decreased vision
  • Sensitivity to light
  • A feeling of having something in your eye

Usually, a mild case of non-infectious Keratitis heals by itself.

In other cases, your doctor might prescribe oral or topical treatment options unless surgery is needed.

Warning
Keratitis may become serious very quickly. So consult your doctor as soon as possible to prevent vision loss.

Others

Apart from those mentioned above, other conditions that might be indicated by eye pain and watering include:

  • Stress
  • Eyelash Infections
  • Infections from wearing contact lenses
  • Makeup

Takeaway

If you are experiencing eye pain and watering together, it might indicate an eye condition.

It could range from dry eyes, allergies, and styes to Entropion, Keratitis, and more.

Some of these might even lead to vision loss if left untreated.

Therefore, it is vital to understand your symptoms and take appropriate steps to prevent them from worsening.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Can stress cause eye pain and watering?

Yes, stress might cause eye pain along with watering, headaches, blurry vision, headaches, eye floaters, sensitivity to light, dry eyes, etc.

Is watery eyes a serious problem?

Watery eyes don’t usually pose a serious problem. It may clear up by itself. Artificial tears and warm compress might help with dry eyes or inflammation. Consult your doctor immediately if your condition persists or worsens.

Can an eyelash cause eye pain?

Eyelashes usually don’t cause eye pain. You might experience eye pain and irritation if your lashes grow towards the eye. This condition is called Entropion.

Citations:
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