Cry your eyes out: Know why tears are healthy for you
People cry for a great variety of reasons. They cry for happiness, relief or fulﬁlment, as well as for sadness, loss or grief. They cry for anger, humiliation, guilt or anxiety, in front of some failure, conﬂict, disappointment or discouragement. But, have you ever heard about the benefits that tears bring to your eyes? If not, read on.
Why do we cry? The scientific reason behind sobbing
Scientifically speaking, crying or shedding tears is a symbol of emotions and serves communicative functions. People are most likely to cry in response to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Crying is also seen as a social trigger for empathy – a communication system that signals to others ‘I need your help and support’. Even though typically crying is related to negative aspects like loss or physical pain, people also cry in response to more positive factors such as weddings, reunions and music.
What causes tears?
As per ophthalmology, lacrimal glands produce tears when eyes experience any form of irritation. Lacrimal glands are located above each eye, between the outer edge of the eyelids and the eyebrows. The tears produced in this instance are reflex and are a body’s natural reaction to wash away irritating particles or substances.
A few common triggers for tears include:
- Onions (specifically syn-propanethial-S-oxide, the gas it releases when you cut it)
- Dust particle
- Chemical fumes
- Screen time
- Bright light
- Strong smell
- Reading small text or focusing your eyes on something for a long period of time
What are the benefits of crying?
Crying is believed to have multiple benefits psychologically and physiologically. Tears also help promote social bonding and many studies prove that people who cry and in turn comforted by friends or family feel better after crying vis a vis people who didn’t cry. Apart from this, a few other benefits of shedding tears can include:
Tears have the capacity to provide lubrication to the eyes, that helps wash away foreign objects in the eyes.
Basal tears, which are released every time a person blinks, help to keep the eyes moist and prevent mucous membranes from drying out, and the lubricating effect of basal tears allows people to see more clearly.
Tears contain a fluid called lysozyme that kills eye bacteria and helps keep the eyes clean. It also has potent antimicrobial properties that reduce risks that are presented by bioterror agents such as anthrax.
Risks posed by lack of tears
Lack of adequate tears can cause an eye disorder which is medically referred to as keratoconjunctivitis sicca or a dry eye condition that causes damage to the surface of eyes. It is also capable of causing severe eye infections. Inadequate amounts of tears also cause redness and discomfort in many people. Apart from this, conjunctivitis or pink eyes is also associated with dry eyes.
Not sure if you have keratoconjunctivitis sicca? Already suffering from it but unable to get relief? Reach out to Centre for Sight today. We offer world-class treatment for all eye-related disorders and diseases.
Article: Know why tears are healthy for you
Author: CFS Editorial Team | July 26 2020 | UPDATED 12:22 IST
*The views expressed here are solely those of the author in his private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Centre for Sight.