Four Interesting Facts About Tears

Four Interesting Facts About Tears

Did you know that your eyes produce different types of tears? Learn all about this and other tear-related facts.

You may think tears are only the result of strong emotions, but they’re good for much more than expressing our feelings. Here are four interesting facts about tears and why they are a necessity for your vision.

#1 – Your Tears Play an Important Role in Your Eye Health
Even when you’re not crying, tears are always in your eyes in the form of a thin coating called tear film. Tear film consists of three separate layers that protect, lubricate, and clean the surface of your eyes (see Fact #3). This means that without tears, your eyes would be susceptible to dryness, irritation, and even infection.

#2 – Your Eyes Produce Three Types of Tears
Although it may be hard to believe, your eyes create different types of tears based on the situation. The three types of tears are:

  1. Basal tears – Basal tears keep your eyes lubricated and protected from harmful substances like dirt and debris. The tear film on each of your eyes consists of basal tears.
  2. Reflex tears – Reflex tears help remove irritants from your eyes, such as foreign bodies, smoke, and onion vapors. These tears form in response to discomfort (hence the term “reflex”) and contain extra antibodies to fight potential bacteria.
  3. Emotional tears – Emotional tears form in response to powerful emotions, such as sadness, grief, and happiness. These tears tend to have a higher concentration of protein and hormones.

#3 – Your Tears Have Multiple Layers
All types of tears listed above are made up of three layers, each with distinctive properties.

  1. Inner layer (mucus) – The inner layer keeps your tears bound to your eyes, preventing dry spots from forming on your corneas.
  2. Middle layer (water) – The middle layer contains nutrients that help your eyes stay hydrated and healthy.
  3. Outer layer (oil) – The outer layer prevents your tears from evaporating too quickly. Dry eye syndrome typically occurs when a person doesn’t produce enough oil.

#4 – You Produce Fewer Tears as You Age
As you get older, your eyes will begin to produce less basal tears. This makes it more difficult for your eyes to maintain a healthy tear film, potentially leading to dry eye syndrome. Women tend to be at a greater risk of this due to the hormonal swings linked to pregnancy and menopause.

Tears have a poor reputation thanks to their connection to negative emotions. Without them, however, your eyes would be at a greater risk of infection. If you ever develop dry eyes or other negative conditions, see an eye doctor right away. Our experienced optometrists and ophthalmologists at Sterling Vision are capable of fulfilling all of your eye care needs. To schedule an appointment with us, call 541-262-0597 or schedule online.