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Tears Are Very Much A Necessary Part Of Our Eye Health | Amoils.com

   width=Unlike others in the animal kingdom, humans are alone in crying tears of emotion as well as using tears to communicate feelings of distress and to eliminate unwanted hormones and other proteins that have been produced during a time of stress. A “good cry” serves more than one purpose.

What are tears?

Tears are secretions that clean and lubricate the eyes. Lacrimation or lachrymation (from the Latinlacrima, meaning "tear") is the production or shedding of tears. When we cry tears of emotion, this could mean a host of different emotions such as sorrow or elation, awe, pleasure or compassion. In addition, irritation of the eyes, laughing and yawning may lead to an increased production of tears. Your salty tears clean your eyes every time you blink as well as keeping your eyes moist which is vital for your vision.

Tear glands produce tears, and tear ducts carry the tears from the glands to the surface of your eye. Problems with the tear system can include too many tears, too few tears, or problems with the tear ducts. Treatment of the problem depends on the cause while having a thin tear film may prevent one's ability to wear contact lenses, as the amount of oxygen needed is higher than normal, and contact lenses stop oxygen from entering the eye. Unfortunately, eyes with thin tear film will dry out while wearing contact lenses but special eye drops are available for contact lens wearers and certain types of contact lenses are designed to allow more oxygen through to the eye.

More information following research

According to studies by the researcher Oren Hasson, an evolutionary biologist at Tel Aviv University in Israel, tears can act as handicaps to show you have lowered your defences. He says: "Crying is a highly evolved behavior. My analysis suggests that by blurring vision, tears lower defences and reliably function as signals of submission, a cry for help, and even in a mutual display of attachment and as a group display of cohesion."

In addition, Oren Hasson suggested the use of tears could be to build and strengthen personal relationships. For instance: "You can show that you are submissive to an attacker, and therefore potentially elicit mercy from an enemy, or you could attract sympathy from others, and perhaps gain their strategic assistance."

There are three very basic types of tears

Basal tears where in healthy eyes, the cornea is continually kept moist and nourished, lubricating the eye and keeping it clear of dust. Lysozyme in the tear fluid also fights against bacterial infection as part of the immune system.

Reflex tears that result from irritation of the eye by foreign particles or irritable substances such as onion vapors, tear gas and more, washing out any irritants that may have come into contact with the eye.

Psychic tears are those from crying or weeping but will not occur during any “fight or flight” response because the sympathetic nervous system inhibits lacrimation. These tears contain more of the protein-based hormones such as prolactin and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller) than the other two types of tears.

The act of crying

While all 3 types of tears serve a particular purpose, the act of crying is associated with actual tears trickling down the cheeks and often accompanied by sobbing sounds. In most cultures, it is more socially acceptable for women and children to cry than men although this is gradually changing. Men are being encouraged to show their feminine side.

There is one medical condition that can lead to tears and that is Bell's palsy where a faulty regeneration of the facial nerve causes those with this condition to shed tears while eating.