Why We Cry and What Tears Are Made Of
You may be wondering what are tears made of? Why do tears taste salty? Do women cry more than men? Or what happens when you make too many tears? Here are some amazing facts about the fluid that fills our eyes.
Wondering what are tears good for? Well, lots of things. According to wellness expert Michael Roizen, MD, tears are extremely useful. They help you see clearly. They wash debris from your eyes. They communicate all kinds of feelings.
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On the subject, you may also be wondering other things like what are tears made of? Why do tears taste salty? Do women cry more than men? Or what happens when you make too many tears?
Dr. Roizen walks us through all of the amazing facts about the fluid that fills our eyes each and every day.
We cry for a variety of reasons. “Crying for emotional reasons makes you feel better, releases tension and gives you a psychic reboot,” Dr. Roizen says. “Crying also happens for physical reasons to deliver nutrients and wash out stress-related toxins. And we cry for social reasons to communicate distress, sincerity, attraction, aversion – depending on the context.”
The fluid that makes up tears contains water, for moisture and oils for lubrication and to prevent evaporation of tear liquid. Tears also contain mucus for even spreading of tears on the surface of the eyes as well as antibodies and special proteins for resistance to infection. Oxygen and nutrients are also transported to the surface cells of the eyes by tears, since there are no blood vessels on the eyes.
There are three kinds of tears, and each has very different jobs. Some tears keep your eyes moist, some wash away debris and protect your eyes from infections, Dr. Roizen says. Some tears are paired with our emotions.
Here’s why without all three kinds, life would look much blurrier.
According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology emotional tears are triggered by empathy, compassionate and societal pain, physical pain, attachment-related pain, and sentimental or moral feelings. Some studies also suggest people are more likely to feel better after crying if they received social support while doing it.
All fluids in the body have a little salt in them, Dr. Roizen notes. The salt content in tears is about the same as the salt content of blood plasma. Salt is necessary to the proper functioning of the body overall.
Yes. About 60% more in fact. Nobody knows why. But a chemical in psychic tears is associated with the production of breast milk. So that’s something research does consider. Men also have smaller tear ducts which may factor in.
This is not pretty, but it’s nature’s way. The nose and eyes are connected by tiny passages. Tears are, in fact, meant to drain down your nose and throat.
The tiny openings in the inner corner of your eyelids are drains. When you get a cold, they can swell and get blocked. Then tears overflow onto your face. Sometimes the tear glands produce too little oil for the basal tear mix. This can also cause an ongoing tear spill. If you have this problem, talk to your doctor because there are treatments that can help.
Your eyes can temporarily dry out because of atmospheric conditions. But they can also dry out from disease. Some medications and cancer treatments can also cause dry eyes. “Drug stores carry different types of artificial tears to treat dry eyes,” Dr. Roizen recommends. “But if this sort of thing goes on, see your doctor to obtain treatments that can help with any eye conditions you may have and treat the underlying causes.”
There’s a neurological condition called pathological laughing and crying. It’s caused by Alzheimer’s disease, stroke and other brain diseases. If this happens, be sure to consult your doctor and details your symptoms so you can receive the proper treatment, Dr. Roizen says.
If the first tear comes from the right eye, it means happiness and if it comes from the left eye, it’s sadness. Short answer: No. Long answer: Not true.
“Remember, all tears are there for the greater good,” Dr. Roizen says, “so there’s absolutely no need for you to ever hold them back.”