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Watering eyes

Watering eyes are common and often get better on their own, but treatment may be needed if the watering affects your daily activities.

It's normal for your eyes to water in smoky environments or if you're outside in the cold or wind.

An eye injury or something in your eye, such as an eyelash or a piece of grit, can also make your eyes water.

Sometimes watering eyes can be caused by:

Babies often have watering eyes because their tear ducts are small. It usually gets better by the time they're 1 year old.

You can ask a pharmacist about:

  • what you can do to treat watering eyes yourself – such as cleaning and protecting your eyes
  • what you can buy to help – such as cleaning solutions, eyedrops or allergy medicines
  • if you need to see an optician or GP

Treatment may not be needed if your watering eyes are not causing problems.

If treatment is needed, it will depend on what the cause is.

For example:

  • eyedrops can help if your eyes are dry
  • antibiotic eyedrops can help if you have an eye infection
  • medicines can help if you have an allergy
  • anything in your eye, like a piece of grit, can be removed
  • a small operation may be needed if you have a problem with your eyelids or you have blocked tear ducts

If the GP cannot find what's causing your eyes to water, they may refer you to an eye specialist (ophthalmologist) for tests.