Watery, itchy, red and irritated eyes are caused by multiple factors. Treating watery eyes can take a long time. The treatments and precautions you need to take to treat and prevent watery eyes are explained below. The details are grouped into categories for easy an understanding.
Causes of watery eyes
* Naturally occurring allergens and irritants – airborne allergens like pollen grains, dander, dust, molds, wind (hot or cold) and fog.
* Unnatural allergens – chemicals, smog, fibers, etc.
* Infection – Conjunctivitis, Blepharitis, etc.
* Others – airborne foreign bodies, clogging of the tear ducts (from dust or dandruff), dry eye syndrome, abrasions, age and malformations like eyelids getting twisted out or in.
The treatment of watery eyes can be carried out in several ways. They are explained in detail and mentioned according to their categories.
This is the first step you must take if your eyes are watery. But first you must take precautions. Use cool de-chlorinated water and wash your hands well with soap. You must remove all traces of soap before proceeding.
1) Splashing / pouring water in your eyes – Splash water on your eyes and rinse thoroughly. Or you can bend down slightly and pour water through a tumbler or a cup into your eye. Keep moving your eyelids as you pour water to let it slide in and wash your eye clean of the foreign body.
2) Use an eye wash cup – It would be better to use an eye wash cup which is very handy. It contains a small amount of water. You look down and place the water filled cup against your eye and move your eyelids. The movement draws in water and washes the eye. An allergen stuck in your eye will drain out with the water. Afterwards wipe with a soft clean towel. First mop with the towel then wipe away from the eye in a single motion. Do not use a to and fro motion or rub the towel on your eyes.
3) Use an eye wash tub – You can use eye was tubs which spray water upwards. You just have to place your eyes in the water and it gets washed automatically.
4) Use a sterile saline solution – You can use sterile saline rinse solutions as well as lubricants for the eye which will wash the eye and remove trapped allergens.
If you are out in the wild and have a spare water bottle with you, then drill a hole in the cap and squeeze the water into your eye. The force will drain the allergens out of your eye. But always wipe away from the eye to prevent the allergen getting back into your eye.
Various types of eye drops, lubricants and oral medicines are available to treat watery eyes. There are several over the counter eye drops with varying level of effectiveness. But its best to go to an eye doctor and get a prescription then buy these medicines. They are stronger than over the counter medication but also have some kind of side effects. Some of the types of medication used to treat watery eyes are
1) Eye drops – You need to use a certain number of drops of these solutions at regular intervals over the period of a day. The solutions may be a mix of antihistamines, mast cell stabilizers and decongestants. Their use will reduce inflammation, redness in the eye and the wateriness. The decongestants contain vasoconstrictors that will reduce the swelling of the blood vessels in the eye. They can also relieve stuffy nose and sneezing apart from clearing the eye. However they can become addictive and later you will need to keep using them to prevent red eye. They can cause a side effect called “rebound hyperemia” in which the blood vessels become larger and redder if the medication is stopped. They also sting a bit when dropped into the eye. Antihistamines will immediately relive swelling and redness which are caused by allergens, but will not remove the allergen itself. However their effect is almost immediate. The mast cell stabilizers act slowly but have a longer lasting effect. You can use eye drops that have Ketotifen which is much safer option as it can provide relief for a period of 12 hours and doesn’t have strong side effect like rebounding redness of the eye. For a better effect with eye drops, you must keep them in the refrigerator. The cold liquid will bring added relief to your eyes when used.
2) Pills – There are some pills with the same type of antihistamines, mast cell inhibitors and decongestants that are found in the eye drops. But their action is slow and is not as effective. Some of the oral medicines used are Claritin (Loratadine) and Zyrtec (Cetirizine). They are not strongly sedative even though they may take some time to take effect.
3) Corticosteroid eye drops – They act fast and bring immediate relief. But they have strong side effects. They can cause – glaucoma, clouding of the natural lens of the eye, cataract and an increase in intraocular pressure in the eye which can damage the optic nerve. Hence, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory eye drops (NSAID) may be used to be safe. If allergy is the cause of watery eyes then you need to take immunotherapy or anti allergy injections to boost your resistance and tolerance of allergens.
4) Use tea bags – After using a green tea bag for making tea, keep it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to make it cold. Don’t freeze it. Lie down on your back and keep the cold tea bags over your eyes for a while. This will reduce inflammation and redness to some extent.
While you are undertaking treatment, it’s wise to protect your eyes from allergens and other particles that can cause a rebound of the watery condition. Therefore you need to take precautions to prevent a relapse. These are listed below.
1) Don’t rub your eyes – Rubbing your eyes when a foreign body gets trapped there is a common reaction. This we do even when eyes are watery or itchy. But rubbing can either lodge the foreign body deeper into the eye or worse spread the infection from one eye to another or to other parts of your face. Hence wash and then mop with a clean towel using an action mentioned above.
2) Wash your eyes regularly – Make it a habit to wash your eyes regularly. When ever you enter your home or your office, rinse and clean your eyes of the dust, pollen, dander and any other kind of foreign body. It will remove the source of irritation and allergy. You will be able to work freely the rest of the time.
3) Wear goggles and spectacles – Wearing protective goggles are the best way to protect your eyes from foreign bodies and allergens. This is especially useful against seasonal allergies when there is an increase in the quantity of airborne pollens and other allergens. Normal spectacles too provide protection to a certain level. You also need to wear sun glasses to keep your eyes safe from harmful ultraviolet rays which can affect your eyesight and cause redness.
4) Keep your surroundings clean – This is the best method to protect yourself from watery eyes inside your house. Wash your face when you step inside your house to remove allergens. Mop the floors with a wet cloth to prevent dust particles and other allergens from getting airborne instead of using a broom. Keep floors bare and avoid using large rugs and carpets which can trap and release dust, insects, dander and can be a host for molds. Keep areas like your sofa, bed and your table clean so that you don’t have bed bugs, dust mites and dander roaming around your eye. You also need to wash your curtains regularly or use window blinds instead. You can have bare floors if you use tile or polished hardwood. You also need to wash your bathroom and kitchen with bleaching solutions and your bed sheet in hot water for sanitation. To protect yourself while sleeping, use allergen impermeable pillow covers to keep allergens and dust mites away from your face. Clean your de-humidifiers regularly to prevent the growth of allergens there.
4) Stay indoors – Avoid going outdoors during windy conditions and you will be safe from watery eyes. The wind pressure can cause wateriness or it can deposit pollens and other forms of allergens into your eyes. You will then need to wash your face afterwards.
5) Vitamin C – Vitamin C boosts your resistance and provides tolerance against allergens. It can also bring down inflammation and help in healing watery eyes. This is why green tea is effective as it contains vitamin C.
It’s possible to treat watery eyes with medication and some simple precautions. But its best to prevent this condition altogether. This article gives you details of treating this condition as well as steps to prevent it.