Why do my dry eyes water?

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Harsh weather conditions like cold temperatures and wind, mixed with hot air blasting from your heater, can be a recipe for dry eyes in the winter months. Symptoms of dry eyes can include burning and itchy eyes, blurred vision, and as odd as it may sound, watery eyes.

If I have dry eyes, but they constantly water. How could they be dry?

Dr. Mei Fleming, a VSP network eye doctor, explains that it’s a sequence of events that becomes a vicious cycle.

“When your eyes are dry, it sends out a signal to your lacrimal gland, which produces tears,” said Dr. Fleming. “All of a sudden, you get an overproduction of tears.”

That extra production of tears is called reflex tearing. According to Dr. Fleming, reflex tearing is your body counteracting dryness by flooding your eyes with teas that run down your cheeks.

Dry eyes can be caused by a number of things including:

  • Allergies
  • Medication
  • Underlying disease

“It’s important to keep in mind, having watery eyes doesn’t necessarily mean you have dry eyes,” warns Dr. Fleming.

It’s always best to consult your VSP network eye doctor first to find out what the cause of your watery eyes might be.


  • Janet Benson says:

    Never had dry eyes until I had cataracts removed. My surgeon says eyes look fine. I am under allergist care in my 4th year of allergy shots. Watery eyes was one of my biggest problems causing my nose to run excessively. Despite using dry eye OTC meds my eyes are dry, itch and blurry vision. Three months since surgery and still Robles’s.

  • Patricia Carson says:

    What eye drops should I use?

    • Angelina F. says:

      Hi Patricia,
      We cannot offer medical advice. It would be best to reach out to your eye doctor to determine what will best fit your needs. You can find a VSP network eye doctor near you using the Find a Doctor search on vsp.com.
      Angelina F., VSP

    • Terry says:

      Zatidor is an over the counter eye drop thst my eye doctor recommended…it works great!

      • Dave says:

        I agree. I found Zatidor to give instant relief, whereas Systane Ultra had no effect for me – – which I recommended earlier based on two different eye doctors recommendations.

  • Daren says:

    Any suggestions diet-wise? Note: I’m plant-based.

  • Jaytee says:

    My dry eyes itch like crazy during the night. My doctor recommended gel drops. I started using them last night. Hopefully, I receive better results

  • DLQ says:

    Systane Ultra lubricant eye drops in highly recommended by eye doc’s. Over the counter item.

  • liz Morgan says:

    Thanks for answering a question I’ve had for awhile! Having an explanation has been very helpful! Liz

  • Diana says:

    My eye doc did an Evaporation test. Seems the lipid profile of my tears is lacking, so tears evaporate in 3-5 seconds vs 10-15 seconds. Systane Balance drops were recommended sinse expensive Rx drops did nothing.

  • Diana Separzadeh says:

    I have dry eyes and blepharitis. I do anything I was told to make it bearable. I do warm wet towel compress once a day. I use Restasis twice a day as well as Refresh Plus eye drops as many times as possible (both single used packaging). I also use baby shampoo and OcuSoft to keep my eyelids clean. Recently, I’m also under treatment at my VSP doctor’s office with MiBo Thermoflo which quite costly because VSP doesn’t cover it. All this, and I’m still suffering from all the symptoms. Now I have extreme watery eyes and nose added to my symptoms. It’s so much that it’s embarrassing. People think I’m crying all the time! What other hello can I get please?

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