Why do my eyes water in the mornings?
Dr Rajeev Raut Eye Clinic Raut Eye Care

this blog explains the causes of eyes watering in the mornings

Reviewed by
Dr. Chaitanya Bhargav M.B.B.S D.OM.S
Updated on Jul 03  •  2 mins read
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Causes of eyes watering in the morning

Watery eyes in the mornings can have various causes :
- Abrupt changes in ambient light can lead to tear production.
- Environmental irritants such as cold wind, bright lights, smoke, dust, chemicals, insect or mosquito repellants in the form of aerosol sprays, vaporisers etc.
- Yet another cause is allergic rhinitis with associated sneezing, runny nose along with watery eyes due to something in the bedroom environment [dust, dust mites, cold and animal dander]

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Sometimes such watering can be due to eye disease :

- One problem which can sometimes cause the eyes to water in the morning can be dryness. Sounds counterintuitive?
The tear film is the layer of tears which covers the eye and keeps it wet between blinks. This tear film is made of an inner mucus layer, middle aqueous layer and outer oily layer. In dry eye disease, this aqueous layer is either too thin due to inadequate aqueous tear formation or it evaporates too quickly due to a poor oily layer.
When the eye dries out, it reflexly produces more aqueous tears. However, if the oily layer isn’t robust enough to handle the tear production, the eye becomes watery as a result. These new aqueous tears aren’t able to fix the dry eye because the dryness is caused by the poor oil layer. So the eye is watery despite it being dry.
- Incomplete closure of the eyelids during sleep exposes a small portion of the eyes which, overnight can dry out. The body starts its tear production response to fight against the dry eye. Upon waking, the eye is still dry but producing excess aqueous tears and therefore watery.
- Sometimes localised breakdown of the superficial epithelial layer of cells on the cornea can occur on waking from sleep. This is called corneal erosion and can happen subsequent to a superficial injury such as from fingernail or paper edge. The initial defect heals up and one is symptom free but the epithelial cell layer is not firmly adherent to the underlying layers . It can easily get peeled off when the eyelids are suddenly opened on waking from sleep. This can cause watering from the eye on waking in the morning and is usually accompanied by pricking pain and photophobia.

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What can I do for my eyes watering in the morning?

Introduce ambient light change in mornings more gradually with window shades or curtains.
Avoid sleeping directly under the breeze from fan or air conditioner.
Use mist-former or humidifier in the room; keep a bowl of water in the room to increase humidity if needed.
If prone to allergies use washed and clean bed linen; use of air purifier may help; AC filters entrap and collect dust over time and need to be cleaned periodically.
Avoid use of insect repellants in the bedroom environment.
Use protective glasses or spectacles to reduce exposure to cold breeze or wind during morning walk; instilling few drops of normal saline or artificial tear drops before setting out in the morning may help.
Some conditions such as lid margin infections which may affect the oily layer of tears, corneal erosions or exposure keratopathy may need to be addressed systematically by the eye doctor.
For help regarding watering from the eyes feel free to contact us.

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Article Reviewed by Dr. Chaitanya Bhargav M.B.B.S D.OM.S General ophthalmologist, chalazion and endoscopic naso lacrimal duct specialist

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