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Eye Pain and Watering: Possible Causes and Treatment Approaches

Gina Walters


eye pain and watering

When you have burning or watery eyes, it’s hard to focus on anything else. 

An injury, an infection, or other medical disorders can cause eye pain and watering.

Certain eye conditions are rather harmless and have the potential to resolve with suitable at-home care. 

Some are far more serious and need immediate medical attention.

The causes of eye pain and watering are discussed in this article, along with possible treatments. 

Causes of eye pain and watering

It’s common for smoke-filled spaces and windy or chilly environments to make your eyes watery or irritated.

Your eyes may become watery and painful if you have an eye injury or if there is something in them, such as grit or an eyelash.

However, certain eye conditions can also cause watery and painful eyes.

These include dry eyes, Conjunctivitis, allergens, Glaucoma, Uveitis, and corneal ulcer.

Dry eyes

Tears from healthy eyes contribute to the lubrication of the eye. 

They also aid in clearing the allergens and dust from the eyes. 

With dry eye syndrome, your eyes don’t produce enough tears to be properly moisturized all day. 

As a result, eyes may become dry and itchy and prone to infection, leading to watery discharge and pain.

Due to the tiny size of their tear ducts, babies frequently experience watering eyes. Usually, by the time they turn 1 year old, it gets better.


Conjunctivitis, or Pink Eye, is a set of medical diseases that cause swelling, redness, and inflammation of the conjunctiva. 

The conjunctiva is a thin layer of transparent tissue that covers the white of the eye.

Conjunctivitis is often caused by viruses, bacteria, or allergens that can cause a watery discharge from the eyes.


Certain allergens, such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, or ingredients in beauty products or cosmetics, may lead to allergic reactions.

It may feel as if it is scratching the surface of your affected eye.

These allergic reactions can cause pain in your eyes or watering.


dry eyeSource: Pixeloit
Eye pain (symptom of Glaucoma)

Glaucoma occurs due to elevated eye pressure that harms the optic nerve of the eye.

The damaged optic nerve can lead to vision loss or permanent blindness if left untreated.

Eye pain and liquid discharge from the eyes are common symptoms of Glaucoma.

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  • Uveitis

    It is the inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of tissues of the eye wall.

    Infections, eye injury, or an autoimmune disease can cause Uveitis.

    Uveitis can cause pain and redness in the eyes.

    It could also lead to permanent blindness if left untreated.

    Corneal ulcer

    A wound that develops on the cornea, the transparent layer of tissue covering the eye, is known as a corneal ulcer. 

    Usually, the corneal ulcer is caused by minor scratches or damage to the eye.

    Most people who wear contact lenses are often the most susceptible to corneal ulcers, particularly if they sleep wearing their lenses.

    Corneal ulcers can cause pain, redness, and watery discharge from the eyes.

    Sometimes, contact lenses may cause scratches inside your eye, making them prone to infections. The likelihood of such an event is higher if you wear your contacts longer than suggested.

    Treating eye pain and watering

    Use artificial tears eyedropSource: Denisfilm_From_Getty_Images
    Use artificial tears eyedrop

    The treatment of eye pain and watering mostly depends upon the cause of the symptom.

    Treating the underlying cause can help overcome painful and watery eyes.

    Artificial tears may normally be used to control the symptoms of dry eyes.

    In severe cases, your doctor may suggest eye drops to relieve the symptoms.

    Removing the allergen causing the pain and watering in the eyes from the environment helps ease the situation.

    Whether you have bacterial, viral, or allergic conjunctivitis will determine the course of action.

    The majority of Viral Pink Eye cases are minor and go away on their own in 7–14 days without any medical attention. 

    However, antiviral medications may be prescribed by a doctor for severe viral infections. 

    If your Conjunctivitis is caused by allergens, then a cold compress and antihistamine drops could be sufficient to treat the condition at home.

    Without therapy, mild Bacterial Pink Eye frequently gets better in about a week

    For more serious bacterial infections, a doctor could recommend antibiotics.

    Eye drops, such as Prostaglandin Analogs like Bimatoprost and Beta-Blockers, are often the first line of Glaucoma treatment.

    Uveitis treatment depends upon which part of the eye is affected.

    Steroid eye drops, injections, and pills are usually prescribed to treat Uveitis and associated symptoms.

    Your doctor may recommend immunosuppressants and surgery if you do not respond to conventional treatment methods.

    An antiviral or antibiotic medication will be prescribed by an eye doctor to address the underlying infection, causing pain and watery discharge from the eyes caused by corneal ulcers. 

    Eye pain may sometimes seem related to nausea. Read our article: Exploring the Relation Between Eye Pain and Nausea to discover the relation between the two.

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    Eye pain and watering can be upsetting and distressing.

    Pain in the eyes and watery discharge can happen due to several causes. 

    Dry eyes, allergies, Conjunctivitis, Glaucoma, Uveitis, and corneal ulcers are a few possible reasons.

    If someone is experiencing long-term eye pain or watery discharge, consult a doctor immediately.

    A doctor will try to identify the source of the discomfort and advise you on the best treatment plan.

    Also, adopting preventive measures can help in reducing the chances of getting an infection, causing eye pain and discomfort.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Why is my eye hurting and keeps watering?

    Several eye conditions, such as dry eyes, Conjunctivitis, allergens, Glaucoma, Uveitis, and corneal ulcer could be the possible reason for watery and painful eyes.

    How is discomfort from teary eyes treated?

    Using prescription eye drops and antibiotics can help in overcoming the pain and discomfort caused by eye problems. 
    Warm and cold compresses can also help in relieving the pain and discomfort.

    How to treat watery eyes naturally at home?

    Using a warm compress is an effective natural way to treat watery eyes at home.

    Can allergens lead to eye pain and watering?

    Yes, allergens, such as dust, pollen, pet dander, or other environmental causes, can result in eye pain and watering along with redness, irritation, soreness, and stinging sensation in the eyes. 

    What are some preventative steps to lessen eye pain and watering?

    The likelihood of eye pain and watering can be decreased by taking breaks from extended screen time, utilizing appropriate lighting, and practicing excellent hygiene to prevent eye infections.
    Also, wearing protective eyewear during potentially harmful activities and staying hydrated to prevent dry eyes can help reduce eye pain.

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