Watery Eyes (Epiphora) In Babies

Watery Eyes (Epiphora) In Babies

Sticky or watery eyes are a common condition in babies. It is observed in 20 percent of all babies. Fortunately, this condition is harmless and will pass by itself. It is up to you to ensure that your baby’s eyes stay clean and healthy in the meantime. However, in a few instances, symptoms associated with watery eyes might indicate serious complications, making a visit to the paediatrician essential. This article will help you understand the causes, treatments and risks related to watery eyes in babies.

Video: Watery Eyes (Epiphora) In Infants – Causes & Treatment

What Do Watery Eyes in Infants Mean?

Watery eyes or Epiphora, mean that your baby’s eyes are secreting tears constantly or in excess amounts. Occasionally, you might see tears running down their faces as well. This can be due to various reasons.

What Causes Watery Eyes in Babies?

Here are a few of the most common reasons of watery eyes in babies:

  • Overproduction Of Tears

Eye irritation is often responsible for excessive tears being secreted by the eyes to wash the irritant out. Eye irritants include smoke, dust, pollen, dirt, sand, and so on. Also, conditions like conjunctivitis, trichiasis and ectropion can also irritate the eyes. Ensure your baby does not rub their eyes too much as this could worsen the inflammation and burning sensations.

  • Infections

Infections such as pink eye can also lead to epiphora in infants. It can be caused by viruses, fungi, bacteria or even allergies. Pink eye caused by viruses is extremely contagious and can spread to others in your family if precautions are not taken. Another infection is blepharitis, which results due to blockage of the sebum glands under the eyes. These infections can lead to severe symptoms such as swelling, burning, soreness and loss of eyelashes in extreme cases.

Baby rubbing his eyes

  • Problems With Tear Ducts

The tear ducts are responsible for draining the fluid from the eyes, so they do not accumulate. However, if tear ducts are blocked, the drainage system malfunctions, causing the tears to collect in your baby’s eyes and slowly stream down their face. You might also observe white discharges, redness or swelling on the upper corners of your child’s nose.


Here are some treatment options available to get rid of watery eyes during this time:

  • Waiting and watching are the only things recommended for mild cases of watery eyes, as the condition resolves on its own.
  • Cleaning your baby’s eyes with cotton and filtered water to prevent accumulation of any discharge which could lead to infections.
  • Massaging the tear duct a few times a day using mild pressure can help release any clogging, allowing the duct to develop fully. This method is known as milking.
  • Using antibiotic eye medications to relieve symptoms that might be caused due to infections.
  • Using eye drops containing antihistamines to combat the symptoms of allergic reactions.
  • Having a simple procedure done on your baby with the help of a probe to free up cases of severely blocked tear ducts.
  • Washing your baby’s eyes out under the guidance of a paediatric ophthalmologist to remove any irritants.
  • If a virus causes watery eyes, you might have to wait for around a week to see if it goes away. If it does not, please consult your child’s paediatrician immediately.

Baby at doctors

When & Which Home Remedies to Choose for Baby’s Watery Eyes?

Treatment of watery eyes in infants can be done at home as well to ease the discomfort experienced by your child. In addition to keeping the eyes clean, do employ alternating cold and warm compresses to ease the tear duct blockage, as well as remove the toxic crust accumulating around the eyes. You can also use a warm tea bag to soothe eye inflammation and soreness. Chamomile and peppermint show the best results when treating epiphora.

When to Visit A Doctor?

If your child has watery eyes, but their eyeballs look clear and white, and if they do not exhibit any signs of discomfort, you can care for them at home, but if you observe any of the following symptoms, please visit your paediatrician immediately.

  • Inflammation or redness in or around the eyes.
  • The yellowish-green secretion that forms hard crusts around the eyes
  • Your infant continually rubs their eyes or shows discomfort.
  • Your baby is sensitive to light and prefers to keep their eyes closed.
  • The shape of your baby’s eyelids is not how it is supposed to be.

One of the most common Google searches is “my baby has watery eyes”. This is because this condition is very prevalent and quite harmless, so there is no need to be overly concerned. However, if there is more water than normal in conjunction with other symptoms, please consult with your baby’s doctor, who will perform a detailed examination and suggest possible treatment options. Make sure you follow the paediatrician instruction to the letter, such as finishing the entire course of medication prescribed.

Also Read: Eye Problems in Babies