The Function of Tears: Protection for the Eyes

  • By:Dr. Katie Dugan

How often do your eyes overflow with tears? There are several reasons why tears form, and this function plays an important part in protecting your eyes.

Ongoing Tears to Protect the Eyes

The eyes always have a gentle development of tears, helping to keep your eyes lubricated and comfortable throughout the day. These tears maintain a clean surface on the eyeball and offer a disinfecting process to reduce the risk of illness or disease.

Regular production of tears isn’t noticeable as you are moving through your daily activities. These tears evaporate on the surface of the eyes. Or, they drain through the lacrimal ducts, which are found within the inner corners of the eyes.

Two Types of Tear Production

Sometimes, the basic lubrication and cleansing aren’t enough, so tear production increases. Larger quantities of tear production will cause the liquid to overflow, resulting in tears that fall from your eyes. This crying could happen for two reasons:

  • Reflexive: Is something irritating your eye? Whether you have an eyelash or a small speck of dirt in the eye, tear production will go up to wash away the offending item. The eyes will continue flushing until the threat has been removed. One example is the harsh fumes that affect your eyes when cutting a strong onion. The tear production increases to keep the eyes comfortable while being exposed to the onions.
  • Emotions: If you are facing an emotional situation, then tear production could increase. Emotional tears have an impact on balancing chemicals in the body that build up in stressful situations. You can release the pent-up emotion, which has an internal effect on hormones and chemical levels that create balance within.

Whether you feel like your eyes are too dry, or you are suffering from an overproduction of tears, it is essential that you talk to an experienced optometrist about your concerns. There might be a specific cause for your tear production. For more information, we invite you to schedule an exam at one of our offices. Call our Temecula location at (951) 302-1331 or our Murrieta location at (951) 600-9226.

Posted in: Eye Health