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Why Do We Have Tears??

Our eyes are always producing tears, even when we don’t notice that they are there. Most of us think of tears as something that happens when we are sad or if we’ve been laughing so hard that we start to cry but in all actuality our tears are here for our eye health.

 

It is essential to have tears for you to maintain healthy eyes. As humans we produce 3 types of tears; basal, reflex, and emotional:

Basal – tear ducts constantly secrete basal tears, which are a protein rich antibacterial liquid that help to keep the eyes moist every time a person blinks.

Reflex – These are tears triggered by irritants such as dust, smoke, wind, or even foods such as onions. They are released to flush out these irritants and protect the eye.

Emotional – Humans shed tears in response to emotions. These tears contain a higher level of stress hormones than the other types of tears so when we cry for emotional reasons it actually helps clear out chemicals that build up from stress.

 

Everyday tears are protecting our eyes! Tear film is made of 3 layers and these layers are always working together to keep your eyes moist and to trap and keep harmful particles from entering your eyes.

The 3 layers of what makes up Tear Film are:

  1. Mucous layer – this layer lies directly on the cornea
  2. Aqueous layer – is mostly made of saltwater
  3. Outer Oily layer – this layer keeps the other layers from evaporating

 

Dry Eyes and Tears

When you don’t make enough tears you could have a condition called dry eye, this condition can cause discomfort, blurred vision, a burning or scratchy sensation among many other things. There is no cure for dry eye but there are over the counter drops called artificial tears or ointments that your doctor can prescribe for you. So, if you are having any of these symptoms make an appointment to see your Optometrist to get those tears flowing again!