If I Have Dry Eye, Why Do My Eyes Water?

A young woman holds her glasses and rubs her eye as she looks at her laptop.

It might not make sense, but dry eye syndrome often leads to watery eyes. Dry eye is all about your tear ducts and the amount and quality of tears they make. Having a lot of tears with the wrong chemical composition can give you the feeling of teary, watery eyes, but those tears won’t do anything to soothe or protect the surface of your eyeballs. They can even encourage you to wipe and rub your eyes more frequently, making your eyes even redder and itchier than before.

What Causes Dry Eye?

With blurred vision, itching eyes and irritation, dry eye syndrome is a common condition that affects most adults at least once in their life. While many sufferers experience dry eye because of their digital device viewing habits, the most common cause is a condition called keratoconjunctivitis sicca. This is a chronic problem where the tear ducts make a normal amount of tears, but these tears don’t contain the right amount of water compared to the other chemicals in the mix. In other words, the tears are more concentrated than in normal, healthy eyes, which can irritate the corneas and other parts of the eye surface. This can cause the eyes to water even more, creating a symptom circle that’s difficult to stop.

Symptoms of Dry Eye Syndrome

If you experience a number of these symptoms for no apparent reason, it’s important to check with your eye care physician for an eye examination and professional advice on treating your symptoms. Dry eye is a chronic condition that is often permanent, but the symptoms can be relieved with very little effort. Some of the more common symptoms to watch for are:

  • Scratchy eyes
  • Blurred vision, especially after long periods of staring at a screen
  • Watery eyes
  • Itching or burning eyes
  • Stringy mucus coming from the tear ducts
  • Feeling like there’s something in the eye
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Redness in the whites of the eyes

Ways to Treat Dry Eye

It might sound counter-intuitive, but for many patients the best solution for watery dry eyes is over-the-counter artificial tears eye drops. These drops contain the right mix of water and chemicals and will wash away the concentrated real tears, soothing the surface of the eye and protecting it.

Dry eye syndrome won’t go away on its own; you have to treat the symptoms to get relief. At Florida Eye Specialists we have a full service Dry Eye Center in our San Marco location, headed by Dr. Kimberly Riordan. If you’re suffering from any of the symptoms of dry eye syndrome, make an appointment at one of our six Jacksonville area locations today.