Why do my eyes water when I run?

Having your eyes water when you run can be annoying. There are a few reasons why your eyes might be watering, and a few solutions to the problem.

Essentially, it boils down to excessive tear production or poor tear draining.  But if it only starts being a problem when you run, then excessive tear production is probably the cause.  But what’s causing your eyes to go a little overboard with the extra tears?

Causes

Our body produces tears to keep our eyes lubricated, and to flush out any dirt and dust that might get in. But when the body produces too many tears, the result is excessively watery eyes.  The eyes kick up tear production under a number of conditions.  Tear over-secretion is usually caused by irritation or inflammation of the surface of the eye.  Cold weather, wind, dry conditions, and dust can all increase tear production.  Sometimes tear production increases so much that the tear ducts can’t drain it away fast enough.

What to do about it

First, remember to blink. It sounds a little basic, but the mechanical action of blinking helps with tear distribution and drainage.  Often when you’re focusing on something, you don’t blink as much.  Maybe it’s a beautiful sunrise.  Or maybe it’s the distant city lights.  Whatever it is you might be focusing on, try to remember to blink while admiring it.

Since cold, dry, dirty, and dry air are all environmental conditions that you can protect your eyes from, simply trying some eye protection should help. Sunglasses, particularly the wraparound variety, will shield your eyes from the harsh conditions and keep the crying at bay.  You can even find glasses to won’t darken your outlook too much.

If excessive tear production doesn’t reduce, the condition may be treated with eye drops or medication.  Keep in mind that persistently watering eyes can be a symptom of other medical problems.  Obviously, see a doctor about that.

Further reading

I hope this was helpful.  Please let me know in the comments if you have any questions or comments.  Do you suffer from watery eyes when you run?  Is it usually associated with environmental conditions?

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