How the Eye Functions When We Cry

People are wondering why there is water coming out from our eyes when we are sad, tired, or frustrated. Most people do not know the function of the eye when we cry. Crying is a unique physiological function to humans. Not many people are aware that there are three different kinds of tears – basal, reflex, and emotional tears.

Basal tears refer to the ones where it serves as a protection. It also nourishes and lubricates the eye. The chemical component of basal tears is different from other kinds of tears.

These are the characteristics of basal tears:

  • It is constantly being produced
  • It keeps the dirt and debris away
  • It is made up of three layers which are mucus, aqueous, and outer lipid. The mucus layer keeps the tears fastened to the eye, the aqueous layer keeps it hydrated and away from invasive bacteria, and the outer lipid layer maintains the smoothness of the surface.

Reflex tears refer to the large number of tears that protect the eye from irritants including wind, smoke, or the chemical that can be found in onions which is “syn-propanethial-S-oxide”.

These are the characteristics of reflex tears:

  • It washes away the harmful substances
  • It is being released in large amounts
  • The aqueous layer has antibodies that can stop microorganisms

how the eye functions when we cry

Reason Behind Emotional Tears

Emotional tears refer to the mysterious kind of tear because there is no exact reason why people emotionally cry. There are various theories on the reason behind this. According to the study in Vassar College, tears are a silent signal system to show others that people are vulnerable.

Some people believe that tears are a way to elicit compassion. Arguments have been made that a good cry can alleviate stress. According to 85% of women and 73% of men, they feel better after crying.

The characteristic of emotional tears includes it stabilizes mood, it contains high levels of the stress hormone, and it contains encephalin which is an endorphin and natural painkiller.

how the eye functions when we cry

Functions of Tears

  • It prevents dryness by lubricating the eye.
  • It protects the eye from external irritants.
  • It gives oxygen and nutrients to the eye with the surface cells because there are no blood vessels on the surface of the eye.
  • It helps prevent infection by washing out the foreign bodies that enter the eye.
  • The component of tears provides healing to the surface of the eye.
  • It smoothens the surface of the eye.

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