Why Does One Eye Water When I Have A Cold?

One eye may water when you have a cold for a few reasons, but the most likely cause is a blocked tear duct. Allergies, eye infections, or sinus infections, are also possible causes of watery eyes with a cold. To get a better idea of what is causing one of your eyes to water, let’s take a deeper look into the possibilities.

A Blocked Tear Duct Can Cause One Eye To Water

When you have a cold, your body produces more mucus, which can block your tear ducts and prevent them from draining properly. This can cause tears to build up in your eye and overflow. In some cases, both of your tear ducts can be affected, but it’s more common for only one to be blocked.

Unblocking a Tear Duct

According to Seattle Children’s your tear duct will likely unblock on its own unless complications like an infection arise. Although Seattle Children’s Hospital states that a lacrimal sac (lower lid area) massage isn’t required, if you chose to massage the area, complete the massage as follows:

graphic of half a face explaining the anatomy around the eye. Above the upper eyelid is the lacrimal gland and the excretory lacrimal ducts. On the insde of the eye closest to the nose is the superior lacrimal canal, lacrimal sac, lacrimal punctum, inferior lacrimal canal, nasolacrimal duct, and nostril.
Image Source: University of Utah Health
  • The lacrimal sac is in the inner corner of the lower eyelid. This sac can be massaged to empty it of old fluids.
  • A cotton swab works much better than a finger. Reason: The swab is smaller.
  • Start at the inner corner of the eye and press upward. Be very gentle. Do this twice a day.
  • Fluid and mucus should come out of the lacrimal sac.

Allergies

Another possibility for one eye to water is that you might be experiencing an allergic reaction to something in your environment, such as pollen or dust (while having a cold). If your eyes are itchy and watery, allergies could be the cause.

If you suspect your watering eye is due to an allergy, your doctor may recommend that you try using over-the-counter antihistamines or artificial tears to see if this relieves your symptoms.

Eye Infection

If you have one watery eye along with a fever, or if the discharge from your eye is thick and greenish-yellow, you may have an infection. Other signs of an infection include redness, swelling, and pain. If you suspect an eye infection, get proper medical treatment.

Sinus Infection

A sinus infection, also called sinusitis, can cause your eye to water during a cold, due to the inflammation it causes in the nasal passages. When you have a sinus infection, the mucus that is produced can accumulate and block the drainage channels of the sinuses.

This can lead to a build-up of pressure in the head and face and can cause the tears to overflow from your eyes. In addition, the infection itself can cause inflammation and irritation in the eyes, which will also cause them to water.

If you’re unsure whether you have an infection or not, it’s always best to see a doctor. They can examine your eyes and order tests if needed. With their help, you can get relief from whatever is causing your watery eye.

What are some of the treatments available for a watery eye caused by a cold?

woman putting in eye drops while in bed and on her laptop

Having one watery eye is a common symptom of a cold, and there are a variety of treatments available. One option is to use over-the-counter artificial tears or lubricating eye drops to relieve symptoms. Another possibility is to use a warm compress, which can help to soothe the irritated area and reduce inflammation.

Additionally, it may be helpful to avoid wearing contact lenses while your eyes are watery, as this can exacerbate the problem. If symptoms persist or worsen, it is important to see a doctor, as other conditions such as allergies or pink eye can cause similar symptoms. With proper treatment, watery eyes caused by colds should improve within a week or two.

Are there any ways to prevent one eye from watering when you have a cold?

While there is no surefire way to prevent one eye from watering, there are a few things you can do to reduce the likelihood of it occurring.

Keep Your Hands Clean

Make sure to keep your hands clean, as viruses are often spread through contact. It is important to avoid touching your eyes if you have been in contact with someone who is sick.

Avoid Rubbing Your Eyes

Avoid rubbing your eyes. Rubbing your eyes can irritate the tear ducts, cause swelling, and make them more likely to become blocked.

Use A Humidifier

Consider using a humidifier. This will help to keep the air moist, which can reduce the chance of your tear ducts becoming dry and irritated. By taking these steps, you may be able to prevent one eye from watering when you have a cold.

What should you do if your one eye does not stop watering with a cold?

You should see a doctor if your symptoms are severe or don’t respond to home treatment within a few days. They will be able to determine the underlying cause of the problem and recommend the best course of treatment. So, if your watery eye doesn’t go away after a few days, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.

Next up:

Not sure that your watery eye is related to the cold? Check out the 20 Reasons For One Watery Eye.

Maybe you have figured out that your eye only waters at night. Check out Why Does One Eye Water At Night? to solve this issue once and for all.

By Chris

Chris is the creator of Allergy Preventions. As an allergy sufferer himself, his vision is to help others find relief from allergies. By combining his 14 years of Public Health experience, personal experience, and his thirst for knowledge, he is dedicated to providing quality recommendations to assist families with allergy symptom relief.