There's one thing which can spoil my day outdoors. Those are the little flies which happen to fly directly into my eyes.

I work on a computer and my eyes are dry and over-sensitive. If such an insect falls into my eye, it results in intensive stinging, something making me unable to open my eyes. It is intensive even long after the insect is gone. I don't know if it is an allergic reaction or some fragments of insect body are left and the eye has not enough tears to quickly remove them.

Why do those flies fall into my eyes in the first place? They should have self-preservation instinct preventing them from that. Are they attracted to eye for some particular reason or it is just an accident? What is more important - how to distract those little insects? Can I do anything to do that? Maybe should I do something so that my eyelashes are thicker and longer?

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    I haven't tried this personally, but how about goggles you would use in winter during snowstorms or for skiing? The vent holes on those are usually covered with a thin breathable foam so that snow powder doesn't get in. That should keep these flies out just as well. Jun 11, 2013 at 15:01
  • You mean transparent googles? I have one that are very strong dark-glasses and it's too dark in them when I'm going in deep shadow Jun 11, 2013 at 17:18
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    Yes, I mean clear transparent goggles. I have some I use for winter hiking in some conditions and they are clear. I think they were marketed as ski goggles. Jun 12, 2013 at 13:17
  • Apparently these are "eye gnats" and they dive into your eyes on purpose because they eat your tears. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chloropidae
    – endolith
    Aug 16, 2015 at 19:11
  • "Repellents containing diethyl toluamide (DEET) provide temporary protection from eye gnats (Hall and Gerhardt 2009)"
    – endolith
    Aug 17, 2015 at 0:23

5 Answers 5


You are likely talking about eye flies. They feed on lachrymal secretion which your eyes produce.

When they get too intense, if hiking, I either walk faster and away from wet area or use a good head net. Peter Vacco have good information on flies and also happen to make really good head nets.

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    +1 Head nets, definitely. Hiking in the west of Scotland these are essential for keeping midges off your face, and they work just as well for Chloropidae.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jun 7, 2013 at 8:50
  • ppl, that link to the Peter Vacco information is either dead or my browser doesn't like it! Would you be willing to check it out? Thanks! Jun 11, 2018 at 20:39

I deal with this problem by wearing a large set of sunglasses. Mine were originally designed for snowstorms - large circles, which leave nearly no gap to the face, plus side inserts, to limit light and wind from the sides.

Work wonders, plus this solution frees the hands for energetic activities, like biking or wood gathering.


Possible steps to take: You could attempt to lure and trap them into a container filled with vinegar and a squirt of dish washing soap. Possible traps include: covering container with plastic foil and poking relatively small holes or making a funnel out of lightweight cardboard.

An alternative would be to take tobacco from a cigarette or a cigar, chew on it for a minute, then smear it all over your face (or at least area around your eyes). We used this often in military training, when you were outside for days and days, gleaming with sweat. Good thing insects hate the stinging smell of tobacco.

Or else try one of the industries brand new accomplishments: insect repellent sprays. You can find them almost anywhere, especially in stores for outdoors/camping. They look kinda like this.


They are labeled eye gnats that fly on and around your face I have been dealing with this problem inside especially during sleep. The vinegar trap does not work. I have finally come across another trap/attractant to try - egg and water mix in trap. Look at this article on Eye Gnats


Black flies (habitat: near fast flowing water) sand flies (obvious) and noseeums also fly into eyes. They aren't seeking your eyes, they just bumble into them. I've also had them get out of reach in my ears, fly up my nose, have inhaled them by mistake, and found them crawling into the crease between clothing and skin.

Noseeums are basically punctuation with wings. The other two are 1/8 to 3/16" long (2-4 mm)

West and Rugge in the "Complete Wilderness Paddler" have a chapter on bugs in the bush. A lighter hearted look at blackflies is here: The Blackfly Song -- Wade Hemsworth

Mosquito hats work, but make you look like an alien from another planet. In most areas blackfly season is fairly short -- bad only for 2-3 weeks. Northerners usually have a few such hats that come out as needed during the rather intense bug seasons. Sandflies seem to have a longer season. If you are traveling in bug country a full suite of armour: * Mosquito hat. The ones with wire hoops help keep the netting away from your face, or the hoopless ones can be worn over a hat. * Modified light weight long sleeve shirt in a medium earth tone. (Mosquitoes are somewhat attracted to blue and white) Modify the cuffs with velcro closures and gussets so that you can make a bugproof seal around your wrist. Replace/augment the button up front with velcro too. Move the collar button as needed to get a proper fit at the neck. When using bug gunk, apply to collar and cuffs. * Nylon wind pants with elastic cuffs, and calf length zippers so you can take them on and off without removing shoes. Windpants will stop the flies, but mosquitoes will bite thorugh the fabric where it is tight against skin. Medium beige is best combination of cool and unattractive to mossies. * two pairs of socks, one inside and one overlapping the cuffs of the wind pants.

Not all mosquito netting is noseeum proof.

Noseeums in particular are repelled by DEET, and in general DEET seems to work well on smaller flies, but as the size get larger, the effect gets smaller, and hardly works at all on horse flies.

While DEET is effective, keep it out of your eyes. Don't apply to forehead either as it runs with sweat into your eyes and stings. Applying to hair (if you still have it...) works, as does applying it to the edges of your hat.

Deer flies and horseflies however do not like a greasy surface. I knew of a crew setting hydro pylons on the east side of Lake Winnipeg (Lines from Limestone Point/Kettle Falls dams) who wanted to work without shirts due to heat and humidity. They found that slathering themselves with motor oil was effective. On hearing this tale, I experimented with lard. It works. They still do touch and go landings, but do not bite.

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