Why Do My Eyes Water When I Lay On My Side?

Excess watering of the eyes can be a common phenomenon that can happen to anyone, but some people may notice that their eyes tend to water more when they lay on their side. This condition can be bothersome and lead to discomfort or embarrassment, particularly in public settings. In this article, we will explore some of the possible reasons why your eyes water when you lay on your side.

Anatomy of Tear Production

The eyes produce tears as a way to keep the surface of the eyes moist and lubricated. The tear film is composed of three layers: the mucous layer, the aqueous layer, and the lipid (oil) layer. Each layer has a specific function, and when all three layers work together, they form a protective barrier that helps prevent dryness, irritation, and infection.

Normal Tear Drainage

The eyes also have a drainage system that helps to remove excess tears from the eyes. The drainage system includes small openings called puncta, which are located in the inner corner of the upper and lower eyelids, and tear ducts that connect the puncta to the nose. The tears flow through the puncta and into the tear ducts, which then empty into the nasal cavity.

Gravity and Tear Drainage

When you lay on your side, gravity can affect the normal flow of tears through the drainage system. If you lay on your side, the puncta on the lower eyelid may be lower than the puncta on the upper eyelid, causing the tears to accumulate in the lower eyelid. This can lead to a temporary blockage of the tear ducts, which can cause excess tears to spill over the lower eyelid and down the face.

Dry Eyes

Dry eyes can also be a possible reason why your eyes water when you lay on your side. When the eyes are not producing enough tears or the tears are not spreading evenly across the eye surface, the eyes can become dry and irritated. This can cause a reflex response from the lacrimal gland, which produces an excess amount of tears, leading to watery eyes.


Allergies can also cause watery eyes, particularly if you are allergic to dust, pollen, or pet dander. When you lay on your side, allergens can enter the eyes more easily and irritate the tear film. This can cause an excess production of tears, leading to watery eyes.

Eye Infections

Eye infections, such as conjunctivitis, can cause watery eyes. When you lay on your side, the infection can spread more easily, leading to an increased production of tears. Eye infections can also cause other symptoms such as redness, discharge, and itching.


Treatment for watery eyes when laying on your side depends on the underlying cause. If the cause is due to dry eyes, over-the-counter artificial tears can help provide temporary relief. If the cause is due to allergies, antihistamines or allergy eye drops may be recommended. For eye infections, antibiotics or antiviral medications may be prescribed.


In conclusion, watery eyes when laying on your side can be a common occurrence and can be caused by a variety of factors. The position of your head, dry eyes, allergies, and eye infections can all contribute to this condition. If you experience persistent watery eyes or other eye symptoms, it is important to see an eye doctor for an evaluation and treatment recommendations.

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