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The Importance of Tears for Proper Eye Health

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According to eye specialists, crying doesn’t help people lighten their hearts when something sad or tragic happens, but the tears that form in your eyes are important for their overall health. In the countable sense of the term, medical science defines crying in a different way than what we believe.

Medically, crying is not only considered a natural way to get rid of emotional stress, it does numerous important tasks for your body- specifically for your eye. It removes irritants, lubricates the eye, reduces stress hormones,  and combats pathogenic microbes. Thus, tears are undeniably essential to keep your eyesight healthy.

Moreover, tears form a protective film like coating over the upper layer of your eyes whenever you blink. On the other hand, if you stop blinking your eyes, the condition can cause dry spots to develop on the corners of the pupils – which will adversely affect your eyesight in the long run.

Structure of Tears

The health of your eye mainly depends on its tear structure and it is important to maintain it in order to keep your eyes functioning. There are two distinct layers of the tears called the Lipid Layer and Aqueous layer.

Lipid Layer

Meibomian glands secrete the lipid layer from the edges of the eyelids. The layer is substantially important as it prevents tear evaporation and covers the outer surface of the eye. If the function of this gland deteriorates, it can obstruct the opening of the gland by changing the oily substance into wax.

Aqueous Layer

95% of the tears in your eyes are composed by the aqueous layer.  It contains substances like proteins, sodium, and lipocalin. It supplies nutrients to eye cornea to heal damages and prevent infections.

Mainly there are 5 significant functions that our tear film performs:

1.      Prevent Dryness

Tears lubricate and protect the eye to prevent dryness. It creates a wet coating on the surface of our eyes called lachrymator to protect it from infectious external irritants.

2.      Prevent Infection

Tears wash away dirt and foreign particles that enter the eye. Not only this, there is a substance in the tears called lysozyme that functions as an antibacterial agent.  It prevents infections and invasions that are caused by microbes.

3.      Create a Smooth Surface

This is one of the most important functions performed by the tears as it keeps eye surface clear and smooth. Plus, it helps prevent a chronic problem like dry eye, which is a condition when drainage and tear production in the eye does not function properly or is not balanced.

According to the National Eye Institute in the United States, if the tear evaporation increases and basal tear production decreases, the condition contributes to the symptoms associated with dry eyes.

4.      Supply Nutrients and Oxygen to the Eyes

Since there are no blood vessels around the surface of the eyes, all the essential nutrients and oxygen are transported with the help of tear cells. The lachrymal glands that release the protective fluid of tears also perform the function of supplying oxygen to lachrymal sac.

5.      Heal Damage on the Eye Surface

Secretion of tears is important as they contain several essential components to help your eye heal damage that occurs on the surface of the eye.

Written by Total Focus

At Total Focus Optometry, we’ve spent the last 70 years building meaningful relationships with our patients and their families. From routine eye exams to contact lens fittings we offer our patients a variety of services to meet their eye care needs.

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