Importance of Tears for Eye Health

Tears can be triggered by many different reasons – a sad ending to a movie, a new baby in the family, or the strong smell of fresh chopped onion. Whether you are crying or not, your eyes produce tears all the time, and they serve many purposes. But, just how important are tears to your overall eye health?

Types of Tears

First, let’s review the three different types of tears:

  • Basal tears are always in your eyes to lubricate, nourish, and protect your cornea. Every time you blink, basal tears help shield your eyes from dirt, dust, debris and keep your eyes moist.
  • Reflex tears are triggered by irritants such as smoke, dust, or wind. They are released in more significant amounts than basal tears to flush away the irritants and protect your eyes. They typically contain more antibodies to help fight the bacteria.
  • Emotional tears are shed as a reaction to happiness, fear, sadness, and any other emotional state. Emotional tears can help improve your psychological health through the pain-killing endorphins that are released.

Importance of Tears

Tears play an essential role in allowing us to see clearly and protecting our eye health. They lubricate, protect, and sustain your eye’s cornea. When enough high-quality tears are produced, your eyes can adequately shield you from debris and other harmful irritants. Although they may appear to be nothing more than water, our tears are quite complex.

Tears are made up of the following:

  • Mucus coats the surface of the eye and helps to keep the tear layer bound to the eye. Without mucus, dry spots may form on the cornea.
  • Water is a saline solution that contains vitamins and minerals essential to normal cell function. This solution is essential for keeping the surface of the eye healthy and functioning correctly.
  • Oil helps prevent the evaporation of tears. Some people are not able to produce enough oil, resulting in dry eyes.
  • Lysozymes are natural enzymes that help protect the eye’s surface by fighting off bacteria and viruses.

Tears prevent infections, wash out unnecessary debris, and keep your eyes functioning normally. If you are not producing enough tears of your own, you may have dry eye syndrome. This condition typically causes irritation, burning, and constant scratching of the eyes. In some cases, one may experience blurry vision. While these side-effects may not seem too serious, chronic dry eye can cause significant vision problems. This condition left untreated may damage the cornea (the front of the eye) and impair the vision.

If your eyes are dry, irritated, or you are experiencing blurry vision, contact Vision Associates at 419-578-2020 to schedule a comprehensive eye exam.

 

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