Ever awaken with watery eyes? There are three basic causes to this annoying problem.

The first cause of both eyes being watery in the morning will surprise you.

It’s dry eye.

“Dry eye overnight leads to irritation from the lid adhering to the gelatinous film covering the eyeball,” says Jenepher Piper, a family practice nurse practitioner for Maryland Family Care for 25+ years and a former nurse with Home Care Nurse for Johns Hopkins Home Care.

“As a result of inflammation, tearing results. Nighttime lubrication with a gelatinous (as opposed to aqueous) lubricant (i.e., Refresh) and daily supplementation with high dose omega-3 fish oil 3,000-4,000 mg) have been shown to be very effective for this.”

These lubricants are sold over the counter and come in different brands, but be sure that it is of the “gel” variety.

A second possible cause for morning watery eyes is abrupt changes in ambient light.

This can “lead to a pupillary response and tear production,” says Piper. “Introduce light change more gradually with window shades and sheers.”


The third cause of excessively watery eyes when you wake up in the morning is perennial allergic rhinitis, an “allergy to something in the bedroom environment (dust, dust mites, mold, cat dander, dog dander),” says Piper.

Dust mites love to populate in unclean bed linens, pillow cases and pillows — where their food source of dead skin cells abound. The also like to live on peoples’ eyelids, eating dead skin cells.

They are too tiny to be seen with the naked eye, but under a microscope, they look like devilish insects.

“First, identify triggers and eliminate them from the sleeping environment,” says Piper.

“Second, a prescription topical antihistamine drop (e.g., Pataday) or OTC oral antihistamine tablet (Zyrtec) can be used at bedtime to block the histamine release in response to ongoing exposure to the allergen.”

The medical terms for excessively watery eyes is epiphora or hyperlacrimation.

Nurse Piper
Patients suffering from conditions such as coronary artery disease, obesity and diabetes turn to Nurse Practitioner Piper to help them best manage their overall health.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer. 


Top image: Shutterstock/Emily frost