Date: 3/22/2017 11:21 AM EDT
It is estimated that the average person produces approximately 5-10 ounces of tears each day. You may also be surprised to learn that there are different types of tears, made up of different layers, and that occur for different reasons! Basal tears, for example, are constantly in production. They are composed of three separate layers which are the mucus layer, the aqueous layer, and the lipid layer. They offer protection for the eyes against dirt and debris. Reflex tears are another type of tears that we produce. These tears have the ability to wash away substances that may be harmful to our bodies. They are also able to stop microorganisms because they are composed of antibodies. If you have ever gotten teary eyed while chopping onions, you were experiencing reflex tears. Chopping an onion breaks apart the cells and creates a chemical reaction which releases a chemical irritant that alerts our body to produce reflex tears. The last type of tears that I will talk about are emotional tears. These are caused when we experience an intense emotion such as sadness or even happiness. They work as somewhat of a mood stabilizer. Emotional tears differ from basal and reflex tears because they carry higher levels of stress hormones such as ACTH. They also contain high levels of endorphin, a feel good hormone that makes us happy and relieves pain.
Regardless of how you may feel about crying, there is no denying the benefits. Tears work as a line of defense against things like bacteria, illness, and stress. Next time you find yourself in tears remember that not only is it normal to cry, it is healthy to cry. Tears flush out toxins, kill bacteria, lubricate, provide nourishment, improve mood, and lower stress levels. So go ahead, have a good cry! 😂