Have you ever wondered what happens when you cry? Or, what your tears are made up of? Tears are salty fluids made up of mucus, oil and water. They flow down the surface of the eye and across the face. Tear production is not necessarily a result of crying or of emotional distress. Tears also help to keep your eyes and eyelids lubricated, prevent irritation, and keep objects from getting caught in your eyes.
What are Tears Made Of?
Tears are basically made of three main components: water, oil and mucus. Each one of them plays an important role in the eye.
- Mucus covers the eyes’ surface and joins the tear layer to the eye. It prevents dry spots from forming on the cornea.
- The water in the eye is more of a salt solution (saline solution) that is rich with minerals and vitamins, all of which are crucial for the normal functioning of your eyes.
- The oil makes sure that the watery layer does not evaporate––if it did, you may end up with dry eyes.
What Causes Tears?
There are three types of tears and here we will discuss these types and what causes them.
Basal Tears: These are your basic tears. The eye exists in this fluid, and is able to smoothly move and roll around because of it. The oil keeps the tears in place and prevents them from evaporating.
Irritant Tears: These are the tears that you notice when you peel an onion, when you vomit, or when you get dust in your eye. These tears flush out irritants from the eyes’ surface.
Psychic Tears: These act as a response to strong emotions. These types of tears contain more hormones and natural painkillers than any of the other types of tears.
What is The Purpose of Tears?
Tears are important to the body in more ways than one. They help to regulate emotions and reduce distress. Emotionally-triggered tear production also releases endorphins and oxytocin, which are natural pain relievers. Additionally, they contain a bacterium-killing enzyme called Iysozyme. Therefore, tears are an important part of the emotional response, of your eyes’ overall health, and of your body’s defense system.
If you notice your eyes becoming unusually dry, irritated, or excessively watery, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment at George A. Roebuck O.D. – Family Eyecare today!