What causes excessive tearing and how to treat it?

Symptom Database

Excessive tearing, also known as epiphora, is a condition where an individual produces an abnormally high amount of tears. While tears are essential for maintaining eye health and lubrication, increased tear production can be bothersome and may indicate an underlying issue. In this article, we will explore the causes of excessive tearing and discuss various treatment options.

Causes of Increased Tear Production

There are several factors that can contribute to increased tear production. Understanding these causes can help identify the underlying issue and determine the appropriate treatment:

Allergies and Irritants

Allergies to substances such as pollen, dust, or pet dander can trigger excessive tearing. Similarly, irritants like smoke, fumes, or strong odors can also lead to increased tear production as a protective mechanism.

Eye Infections

Infections of the eye, such as conjunctivitis or blepharitis, can cause excessive tearing. These infections often result in inflammation and irritation, leading to an overproduction of tears.

Blocked Tear Ducts

Tears normally drain through small channels called tear ducts. If these ducts become blocked or narrowed due to injury, infection, or age-related changes, tears may accumulate and overflow, causing excessive tearing.

Dry Eyes

Paradoxically, dry eyes can also lead to increased tear production. When the eyes are not adequately lubricated, the body compensates by producing more tears. This can occur due to factors such as aging, hormonal changes, certain medications, or environmental conditions.

Treatment Options for Excessive Tearing

Now that we have explored the causes of excessive tearing, let’s discuss various treatment options that can help alleviate this condition:

Natural Ways to Increase Tear Production

If excessive tearing is caused by dry eyes, there are several natural remedies that can help boost tear production:

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day.
  • Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air, especially in dry environments.
  • Apply warm compresses to the eyes to stimulate tear production.
  • Avoid excessive screen time and take regular breaks to rest the eyes.

Tear Production Supplements

In some cases, tear production supplements may be recommended to improve eye lubrication. These supplements often contain ingredients like omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation and promote tear production.

Tear Production Remedies

Over-the-counter eye drops or artificial tears can provide temporary relief from excessive tearing. These drops help lubricate the eyes and reduce irritation. However, it is important to consult with an eye care professional to determine the most suitable product for your specific condition.

Tear Production Techniques

Various techniques can be employed to stimulate tear production and alleviate excessive tearing:

  • Blink frequently to spread tears evenly across the eyes.
  • Massage the tear ducts gently to promote drainage.
  • Practice good eyelid hygiene to prevent infections and blockages.

Tear Production Exercises

Exercises that target the muscles around the eyes can help improve tear production. These exercises involve simple movements like rolling the eyes, focusing on near and far objects, and blinking rapidly. Regular practice of these exercises can enhance tear production and reduce excessive tearing.


Excessive tearing can be a bothersome condition, but with the right understanding and treatment, it can be managed effectively. Identifying the underlying cause of increased tear production is crucial in determining the appropriate treatment approach. Whether it is allergies, infections, blocked tear ducts, or dry eyes, there are various remedies, techniques, and exercises that can help alleviate excessive tearing and improve eye health. If you are experiencing persistent or severe symptoms, it is always advisable to consult with an eye care professional for a comprehensive evaluation and personalized treatment plan.

Haroon Rashid, MD
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Urgent Care Center of Arlington, VA
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