Why Are My Eyes Watering?

26“The seasons are changing and my eyes are watering!”

I love the holidays! Every year, I am always the first in the neighborhood to put up Christmas decorations. Last weekend, I was finishing putting up the lights on the front of my house and when I went to look at the results, my eyes wouldn’t stop burning and watering.

I see patients every day that come in due to watering eyes. I began running through the different causes of my irritated eyes as tears rolled down my cheeks.

The first thing that came to mind is seasonal change. As seasonal changes bring about new vegetation and pollen, the average American is affected by at least one form of seasonal allergy. That day, the ragweed pollen was high, something that I am allergic to, so I thought of that as a possible cause, especially since I had been outside for most of the day. I used some over-the-counter allergy eye drops and was disappointed when I had no relief.

Another cause of watery eyes that is commonly seen in Florida is blepharitis. Blepharitis is inflammation of the eyelid margins that decreases the production and outflow of the oil that coats the eye and keeps the eye from drying. The most common symptom to indicate that the cause of tearing is blepharitis is crusting of the lashes in the morning when you wake up from sleep. Taking that into consideration, I didn’t think it was blepharitis. 

That evening my parents came over for dinner and to see the lights on my house. My eyes were still burning and watering when they arrived.  I am very fair-skinned and use sunscreen daily, especially when outside as much as I was that day.  My dad very astutely asked me if I had used the same sunscreen as I did on our recent rafting trip in Colorado when I had gotten sunscreen in my eyes and was in agony for the rest of the day.  It wasn’t the same sunscreen but it was similar and once I realized this I rinsed my eyes out and felt much better. 

There can be many causes of watery eyes, and even an eyelid expert can experience it every once in a while.

After my ordeal, I am even more excited to help others with their own teary eyes so that they too can enjoy the holiday season and time outside.

Posted in: V-Eye-P

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