What are Tears?

Posted By Key-Whitman Eye Center || 22-Jun-2011

TearsTears are your body’s natural way to protect your eyes by keeping your corneas moist, and flushing out harmful particles. Your eyes produce tears in order to provide constant lubrication to the eye. With every blink, the surface of the eye (the cornea) is coated and protected by tears. These tears help keep the eye clean and free from dust or other debris. They provide protection against infections, and they help stabilize vision.

Your eyes are constantly coated by a tear film that is made up of three distinct layers. The mucous layer consists of mucin. It is secreted by the conjunctival goblet cells. It coats the cornea and allows for the even distribution of the tear film. The aqueous layer is made up of primarily water and proteins. It is secreted by the lacrimal gland. It promotes the spreading of the tear film, and also promotes the control of infectious agents. The lipid layer consists of oils and is secreted by the tarsal glands. It prevents tears from spilling on to the cheeks.

Tears are produced when there is irritation in the eye, or when you experience strong emotions such as sadness or joy. Tears play a vital role in eye health, and should never be taken for granted.

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