There’s nothing like a good cry to make you feel calmer and refreshed. As we know, crying has numerous emotional benefits, from improving your mood and relieving stress to dulling pain and helping you self-soothe. However, shedding a few tears can actually benefit your eye health. So, go ahead and let it all out because, as it turns out, crying is good for your eyes.
Three Types of Tears
Tears are not only made up of saline, but several electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, and magnesium) proteins, lipids, and mucins, too. Surprisingly, according to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, our eyes can produce 15 to 30 gallons of tears each year. But, did you know that our bodies produce more than one type of tear? Before we uncover the critical role of tears in eye health, let’s examine the types of tears we all shed, including:
- Basal Tears: Act as a barrier between your eyes and the outside environment. They lubricate and protect your cornea by shielding and protecting eyes from infection.
- Reflex Tears: Help flush away harmful irritants, debris, and foreign materials. These happen automatically and contain antibodies to help fight off bacteria.
- Emotional Tears: We shed these when we’re feeling sad, scared, and even happy. Researchers suggest that emotional tears have additional hormones, like oxytocin, and proteins that can’t be found in basal or reflex tears.
The Benefits of Crying Tears
Tears are just one of the normal bodily functions that we often take for granted. But, they’re an integral and essential part of the human body, and life would be far different without them. Consequently, crying is good for your eyes and here’s why:
1. Tears give us the gift of sight.
One of the most basic functions of tears is the role they play in helping us see. Tears prevent dehydration of our mucous membranes and also lubricate the eyeballs and eyelids. Without tear production, dry eye would set in, making daily life extremely uncomfortable. And, eventually, we would not have our eyesight at all.
2. Tears destroy bacteria.
Tears act as our bodies’ own antibacterial defense. In fact, tears help us fight off germs that we come into contact with every day. Interestingly, our tears contain a fluid called lysozyme that aids in the destruction of certain bacteria. Without it, eye infections would soon cause most victims to go blind. And, you don’t even have to cry for this protection to work, as there’s already a liquid layer that coats the eyes to keep them safe.
3. Crying eliminates toxins.
As mentioned previously, emotional tears are believed to contain more hormones and even toxic elements than basal or reflex tears. However, these types of tears are actually not toxic to our health at all. Instead, researchers have found that crying actually removes toxic substances and chemicals (such as the stress hormone, Cortisol) that builds up in the body during emotional stress.
Let the Tears Flow
After all, it’s safe to say that crying is good for your eyes. It’s both a physical and emotional release that eliminates bacteria and toxins from the eyes, and also makes us feel better. So, don’t hold back and let the tears fall. And, to learn more about tear-production, dry eye, and other eye conditions, request an appointment with Looking Glass Optical. Your eyesight is extremely precious, so remember to take good care of it.