Solution to watery eyes during winter cycling

Solution to watery eyesA London Cyclist reader recently got in touch to tell me about her watery eyes during the cold winter cycling. I wanted to share the solution here in-case anyone else was facing the same issue.

The reader tried two things. The first was a moisturiser from the chemist for beneath the eyes. This made little difference.

The second was to buy a pair of cycling goggles. She found a good pair: The Ladgecom all weather sunglasses/goggles at currently £9.99 on Amazon. There’s also a load of cycling glasses on Wiggle but they are more expensive.

This solved the watery eyes problem for her.

And she lived happily ever after.

That concludes London Cyclist’s shortest ever post!

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28 Responses to Solution to watery eyes during winter cycling

  1. Brian 10/11/2010 at 6:30 pm #

    I buy my cycling glasses at Aldi and Lidl. They have interchangeable lenses for varying weather conditions and at about €5, I’m not too much out of pocket when I eventually scuff them up.

    • Andreas 10/11/2010 at 10:39 pm #

      Gotta love those prices 😉

      • Big Softy 03/11/2012 at 1:05 am #

        Aldi and Lidl also occasionally sell bike clothing.
        A tenner for cruisers or a top, and they’re decent quality too.
        You just can’t those prices unless you’re gonna steal ’em!

  2. Rob W 10/11/2010 at 7:22 pm #

    I think this could have been expanded a little with covering us poor glasses wearers. I’m currently looking at my options for sports glasses. I’ve heard that going for a full prescription lens can lead to distortion around the edges, so many people seem to go for ones that have little lens inserts underneath the main lens where you can place your prescription.

    However, all the examples seem to be on the internet, and it seems like a faff to try and order some and get lenses (which wouldn’t be covered under distance selling regs) made up, especially if they weren’t worth it.

    Anyone got any experiences with getting prescription ones?

    • Craig 11/11/2010 at 8:17 am #

      I have one suggestion for glasses wearers that might work, but I stress I haven’t tried it. How about safety glasses? The spectacle ones with a rubber strap at the back might be problematic, but will at least look cool. Then there are the cup to face with the elastic fastener which I know are designed to work with glasses, but don’t look cool and may have peripheral vision problems. They are worth a try and aren’t too expensive to have a punt on.

    • Danners 11/11/2010 at 9:42 am #

      @Rob W go to the Adidas store opposite Selfridges – they do sports glasses with interchangeable lenses that an insert can sit behind. Specsavers did the insert for me. Not cheap but comfortable and lasted years.

    • Paulapops 12/11/2010 at 9:02 pm #

      Try optilabs – croydon I think. Reasonably priced prescription sports glasses, my pair has a reactolite finish an i wear them all year round – summer hols and cold winter rides. They’re very good.

    • alien8 29/11/2010 at 6:28 pm #

      I use a pair Rudy Project Ketyum from an Optician in Chiswick who sorted me out with the inner glazing. I think it’s important to get professional help here as the ‘sport glasses’ are curved and this may impact on your prescription – you might even get headaches as your eyes can’t adapt.

      FYI: The place I used was they’re a Rudy premier partner but also do other solutions.
      – talk to Nick – highly recommended.

    • London2wheeler 04/02/2012 at 4:31 pm #


      I bought this cheap imitation sunglasses with prescription inserts In ebay (ship from china). they are under £15 posted. they feel cheap (because THEY ARE CHEAP!) but they do the job fairly well, a good plus is it has 5 interchangeable lens, you can also use the elastic head strap (like goggles) . you can bring the insert lens to your local optician and you can have them fit a prescription lens for you. I use my spare glass and transfer the lens from the insert, I dont know how much but it should not be expensive.

      here is the ebay link:

    • Dennis 03/11/2012 at 8:34 am #

      Rob, there are fake oakley style interchangable lens with inserts on ebay for less than £10. i bought one and brought the inserts to my local optician to have the prescription lens fitted. they arent too bad at all. it also comes with 5 lens, wrap around strap and a nice case. you cant go wrong with it

  3. Knit Nurse 10/11/2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Good point Rob W, and one I was also going to mention! However I don’t have a solution – I am resigned to watery eyes for good. Not wanting to wear contact lenses and having poor eyesight that leads to expensive lenses I’m pretty much stuffed! However the good news is that after 30-odd years’ cycling I don’t really notice it any more. Runny noses is a different matter….!

  4. Rob W 10/11/2010 at 10:30 pm #

    Yep, I can’t be dealing with contact lenses either. Tried it, can’t do it.

  5. Craig 11/11/2010 at 8:21 am #

    The only problem I can see with those glasses from Amazon, is that they are sunglasses and not interchangeable. Winter sees a greater need for better contrast control. If you can get a pair that have yellow inserts you will find twilight riding far easier. Brian is right – LIDL/Aldi is the way to go for cheap, don’t car if they fall on the floor versions. Check the websites for both stores to see when the offers are going to be in.

    • Rob 12/11/2010 at 11:27 am #

      Hi, I use clear plastic glasses from Decathlon. Decent fit, about £7. Highly recommended.

  6. Ian 11/11/2010 at 9:19 am #

    The eyewear – sunglasses, clear protective glasses and goggles – at Screwfix are super cheap with some good brands too – Bolle glasses at £4.99 ?!? I’ve been wearing them for 8 years!

    • David 14/11/2010 at 9:35 am #

      Can vouch for Screwfix – they have various options, products are very well priced.

  7. chris 11/11/2010 at 9:43 am #

    I try to avoid ever cycling without glasses, for winter and nights I’ve a clear pair, and for ‘normal’ use I’ve a handful of darker options to choose from.

    I’ve always advocated glasses as being an almost critical peice of safety equipment when cycling. I’d recommend wearing glasses as a higher priority than a helmet or gloves – if you can’t see, you’re not safe under any conditions.

    And, as with all things, you get what you pay for. Many of the cheaper brands and models don’t give as accurate an image, nor handle contrast, as well as more expensive options – although there are some awful optics in some of the designer choices, so you really do have to shop around and try them out.

  8. Filippo Negroni 11/11/2010 at 10:31 am #

    I find the problem with glasses, for me, is that when it rains, rain droplets reduce visibility, even on clear or yellow lens glasses.
    I recently purchased a pair of polarised lenses sun glasses, and I must say the polarisation of the lens has reduce the effect of the rain droplets on visibility.
    I wish they made polarised lenses in clear or yellow.

    • Owen 11/11/2010 at 10:44 am #

      I find almost the opposite – I generally always cycle with glasses (normal sunglasses for day, clear Madisons in the dark) and find them a real benefit in the rain. Can’t bear the sensation of rain directly onto my eyes, it makes me screw my face up and then I can’t see anything.

    • London2wheeler 04/02/2012 at 4:35 pm #

      not really!! unless its a thick fog, i can still see no matter how heavy is the rain is. however, the heat coming out from my face radiates to the lens making it foggy, but it does go away immediately once you start running.

  9. Lindsey 11/11/2010 at 10:40 am #

    I’m a glasses-wearer, and, like Filippo, find that on rainy days it’s very difficult to see, unless I stop every twenty yards to wipe my specs. I found that wearing a baseball cap under my cycle helmet, with the brim pulled down, really helps protect my face/specs from the rain, and makes a big difference to visibility.

  10. Chris Holland 11/11/2010 at 11:55 am #

    I bought a pair of prescription photochromatic sports glasses from Optilabs. Not cheap but I can wear them year round, day and night.

  11. Nigel 12/11/2010 at 10:24 am #

    I have streaming eyes all the time. My optician says its because my lower eyelids are too big for my eyes and aren’t in full contact with the eye and therefore the tear ducts are flowing to avoid the surface drying. I could have it seen to – similar to a cosmetic surgery type of procedure where the lid is reduced by either cutting a tuck or fusing with a pinch. I may have it done as it is becoming an annoyance as I’m wiping the streams from my face everytime I stop on the bike.

    I wear Madison clear glasses as in the summer when cycling through clouds of midges they always go straight in your eyes as well as your mouth. Not so much a problem this time of year though.

  12. Nicki 12/11/2010 at 10:56 am #

    This has really made me think! As a contact lens wearer – and gas permeable, not soft so very prone to grit in the eyes, goggles are my absolute essential. I used to wear safety goggles until I lost them, then invested in VERY EXPENSIVE interchangeable lens goggles (from BLOC) – I think I paid about £40 for them 15 or so years ago. They have been great, until the clear ones split (after dropping several times) so now it’s either the night vision or sunglasses lenses. I was thinking of buying a substitute set, but now might go for a cheaper option!

  13. Paul 12/11/2010 at 11:04 am #

    I had the same problem of streaming eyes in cold weather, even when wearing my prescription glasses (get a sidewind no matter what) and had to work pretty hard to get a solution. Eventually, I was able to get Oakley to put a set of varifocal photochromic lenses in one of their wrap-around frames, so I can wear them cycling night or day, and useful for other outdoor pursuits like country walks maybe even skiing. Two downsides: 1) when the lenses are clear, they look a bit Ali G, but vanity is my lowest priority, and 2) cost me £330, but that’s pretty normal for varifocal prescription glasses. Upside: No more streaming eyes!

    PS: for varifocals, some frames aren’t suitable because of lack of height – they need at least 18 mm below the pupil line to fit the near vision section, which is mainly what I need. Single-vision lenses can fit to a wider range of frames and Oakley and/or other fitters will do them over the internet. What caused me grief was needing the varifocals.

  14. zoe 12/11/2010 at 7:25 pm #

    also try ebay for cheaper options….

  15. JohnBoyUK 15/11/2010 at 10:58 pm #

    I already use a pair of Oakley Radar’s in the summer months with dark lenses, so I decided to buy the vented clear lenses. Came to about £35 I think. Wouldnt ride without them now, day or night. The clear glasses that were sold in the Aldi sale not to long ago are great value too.

  16. Peter 03/11/2012 at 7:38 am #

    Hi guys

    I tried the amazon link, but the price was £34.99 not £9.99!

    I live in Derby, and cycle around the campus and just use my ordinary specs, which are ok for short journeys, normal clear cycle specs for longer journeys are fine but I cannot see any gadgets on the handle bars, but only a problem when going passed speed cameras :)!

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