Why Do Eyes Water When You Run? Explained

Written By: Jeremy N

So you’re out on a run, enjoying your smooth stride and happy to be outside, but then you feel your eyes begin to water and suddenly you find yourself wiping your eyes down because you’ve begun involuntarily crying.

Why do your eyes start watering when you run?

Your eyes can begin watering when you run due to excessive tear production. This is the body’s response to drying eyes and getting particles like dust and dirt out of your eyes naturally.

You most likely have dry eyes or are not blinking enough while you’re running, so look to shield your eyes from the elements with sunglasses and allow your body to blink naturally.

Now that we have a good general idea behind your eyes water while running, let’s try to understand it on a deeper level.

Why Do Your Eyes Water When You Run?

Why Do Eyes Water When You Run?

Your eyes usually begin watering as a result of one of two reasons, your eyes are overproducing tears, or your eyes are not effectively draining your tears.

If you’re overproducing tears then it’s safe to assume that your eyes are already dry or have some particles like dust or dirt in them and your body is trying to get it out.

This is totally natural and happens to plenty of people from time to time, especially during changing of the seasons, like from summer to windy autumn conditions.

teary eyes

Tears are how your body keeps your eyes lubricated so they can function properly. Overactive tear production can happen in circumstances outside of running as well, where many will just begin noticing excessive tear production from out of nowhere.

So first it’s good to understand that nothing is wrong with you and your body will most likely solve this problem on its own.

The next possible cause of eyes watering while you run is due to your eyes not draining your tears properly to compensate for the production, or overproduction of tears.

Blinking is your body’s natural response to draining tears efficiently and works with tear production to keep your eyes clean of external particles.

You can see this when it’s dusty out and you get a gust of dirt into your eyes, and your body’s immediate response is to produce tears to soak the dust out of your eyes.

Then you will probably be blinking a lot like a response to the excessive water in your eyes and after a couple of minutes, you’re back to normal again.

It is easy for runners to enter a sort of “zone” while running and their reflex to blink diminishes from time to time.

This can definitely lead to inefficient tear draining and the only place for the water to go is out of your eyes. Thus begins your involuntary watering while you run.

There is nothing to fear, as much of the time this excessive watering of your eyes will sort itself out in a matter of minutes once you begin to blink and drain it all out.

However, if your eyes continue to water excessively for hours then it will be best to check with a trusted health professional to see if there is a larger problem at hand.

You may be interested in: Most Common Injuries to Runners (Including MySelf)

Possible Solutions to Excessive Watering Eyes

So if you’ve noticed a pattern that your eyes seem to water a lot when you are out for runs, then it may be worth trying a couple of simple strategies that can help manage and maybe even prevent this from happening much more in the future.

Eye drops

The primary reason that eyes water while you run is that they are either too dry or have unfavorable particles in them, so using eye drops before and after you run might help your eyes manage moisture more effectively and also help get the extra particles out of your eyes more easily.

Eye drops are incredibly easy to get at any supermarket or pharmacy, so it’s worth giving them a try to see how they help your eyes get “over the hump” of either excessive tear production or ineffective draining.

Taking eye drops before your run can help prepare your eyes to stay properly moist throughout the duration of your session.

On the other hand, using eye drops afterward can then provide a boost to help work out any particles that may have gotten in during your run and also set your eyes up to stay properly functioning for the rest of your day.

Refresh Optive Lubricant Eye Drops, Preservative-Free, 0.01 Fl Oz Single-Use Containers, 60 Count
  • Dual-action formula lubricates and hydrates
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  • Value size: 60 on-the go, single-use vials


Using some sort of protective eyewear is a helpful response to eye water as well. It keeps the wind from hitting your eyes directly and also keeps particles from flying into your eyes if it is windy outside.

These can be any sort of sunglasses really, just something that covers your eyes from incoming wind and particles, but something that wraps around the sides of your eyes may produce even better results than the kind that merely sits over your eyes.

This is probably the easiest and most fashionable solution to watering your eyes, but if it does not seem to keep your eyes from watering during your run, you can try using this in combination with the other solutions here, or go check with a medical professional to make sure there is not a larger issue ahead.

TOREGE Sports Sunglasses for Men,Polarized Sunglasses for Women,Sports Sunglasses for Cycling Hiking Fishing Golf Running TR71(Black Blue&Lght Blue&Ice Blue Lens C1)
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TOREGE Sports Sunglasses for Men,Polarized Sunglasses for Women,Sports Sunglasses for Cycling Hiking Fishing Golf Running TR71(Black Blue&Lght Blue&Ice Blue Lens C1)
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  • Cylindrical Lenses]Cylindrical lenses are built on a base curve only in the X axis,TOREGE’s 6.0-base cylindrical shield lens for increased peripheral view and protection,100%UV protect, blocks blue light, restore true color, eliminate glare to make the scenery more clear and real.


This one is going to sound like a no-brainer, but it’s actually quite common for people to forget to blink while running, which as we covered earlier is the primary means of managing and draining tear production.

This is the most immediate, simple, and accessible solution for most runners. Give it a try before you try anything else, as it could be that you are just forgetting to blink very much while running.

Even though blinking is a relatively involuntary action it’s quite common for your body to stay more focused on the running portion and allow your eyes to water up.

Why Do Eyes Water When You Run Conclusion

So now you probably have a good understanding of why your eyes water, how your body manages tear production, and how you can handle excessive tear production throughout your run.

Give these three strategies a try on your next run to see if it helps manage your watering eyes. Once again, if your eyes still continue to water then you may want to check in with a health professional to make sure there is no bigger problem at hand.


Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Me.

Last update on 2023-09-25 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Hi, Jeremy Here, 

I am the the guy behind Train for a 5K. On this site, I share everything that learned along my running journey. The content I create is the running training I wish I had before we started this journeyAbout Jeremy. 

I have run over 250 races including the California International Marathon, Clarksburg Country Run, and various other 5K & 10K races throughout the United States. I am a former Athletics department employee at University of the Pacific and Shoe Consultant with Dicks Sporting Goods

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