Dry Eyes vs Watery Eyes: Why and What to Do?

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Blog by Envision Eye Care

Eye problems can be quite bothersome, especially if they’re persistent and don’t have a clear cause. Dry and watery eyes can hold you back from truly enjoying your day to day life. No one wants to walk around with a tissue wiping their eyes all day!

Did you know? Dry or watery eyes may be indicative of a larger health issue? Rule that out by visiting the optometrists at Envision Eye Care Oakville.

While both dry and watery eyes are often easily remedied, it can be intimidating to try to decide the best way to treat them. Your eyes are so essential to everyday life, they aren’t something you want to mess around with! If you are dealing with dry or watery eyes you’re likely wondering what could be causing it, and what you can do to help. Read on as we break it down for you.

What are the signs of dry & watery eyes?

Dry eyes

  • Scratchy feeling, like something might be in your eye
  • Stinging or burning
  • Pain & redness
  • Periods of excessive tearing
  • Heavy eyelids
  • Possible blurred vision

Watery eyes

  • Feeling like your eyes are always tearing
  • Inability to stop them from watering
  • Eyes looking almost glassy

Causes of watery eyes

When it comes to watery eyes often the problem will resolve itself but if lubricating eye drops or allergy treatments aren’t helping, make an appointment to help troubleshoot the problem. Some common causes of watery eyes are:


Allergies are the most common cause of watery eyes. This is usually accompanied by redness and itching, as well as a runny nose. Thankfully this is usually not contagious and can be resolved with the removal of the allergen, or sometimes taking allergy medication.

Too many tears

If eyes are irritated or inflamed, a common response from your eyes is to produce extra tears to try and clean them.

Blocked tear ducts

When your eyes’ drainage system can’t process an adequate volume of tears, your eyes will feel excessively watery. This can be caused by blocked tear ducts or other problems with your eyes’ drainage.

Dry eye syndrome

This problem often creates a cyclical issue. When your eyes are too dry, your body responds by producing more tears than normal. The problem is that these tears aren’t actually lubricating for your eye, so even though your eyes seem to be watery, they still aren’t getting the lubrication they need to function properly. So in response, your body produces even more.

Causes of dry eyes

Dry eyes also usually relieve themselves on their own, especially with the use of eye drops. But don’t hesitate to make an appointment with your optometrist if the issue persists.


Some medications like birth control, antidepressants and antihistamines can cause dry eyes. This is often remedied with lubricating eye drops.

Bad weather

Weather conditions are a very common cause of dry eyes. Smoky or windy conditions can cause your eyes to feel dry and itchy.

Wearing contacts too long

Both wearing your contacts too long in a single stretch, and wearing them for too much of your life can easily lead to dry eyes. Give your eyes a chance to catch up their tear production by wearing glasses more often.

How to treat dry and watery eyes

Most dry and watery eye problems can be resolved by removing the irritant and using eye drops. But if those solutions don’t clear up your eyes, you’ll want to contact your optometrist to see what they recommend.

You should call your doctor if:

  • you experience any vision loss or difficulty
  • your eyes are consistently dry or watery and it doesn’t clear up
  • you have any bruising or tenderness around your eyes
  • Your dry or watery eyes are accompanied by a headache

See your eye doctor regularly

While most cases of dry or watery eyes resolve on their own, the best defense is to stay on top of your eye health with regular eye exams. OHIP recommends visiting your optometrist for a check up every 1-2 years, depending on your age and existing health concerns.