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Tears Can Tell Their Own Story

tear falling from eye

When is the last time you shed a tear? I know the last time I did, I was so overjoyed at the sight of my baby girl being born, I couldn’t hold back the tears! As humans, we use different types of tears to express emotion. Tears are complex, they flow when we are happy, sad, excited, mad, confused, and for so many other feelings. Tears are used as a means of communication, but they are not all alike and each has their own story.

Rose-Lynn Fisher, a photographer, took a microscopic view of tears and published her findings in a book called Topography of Tears. Her photographs revealed the complexity a simple drop of crystallized salt water can hold.

“It looked like an aerial view, almost as if I was looking down at a landscape from a plane…”

Each tear has its own unique make-up. A tear of joy versus a tear from cutting an onion differs vastly under a microscope. Fisher explains tears visually resemble earth’s topography, and that what we see with the naked eye is just a minuscule part of the picture. Check out some of her amazing photographs here. 


Where do Tears Even Come From?

Tears are formed in the upper portion of your eye lids. They flow through tear ducts into the rest of the eye. Because your tears contain salt, among other things like oils and proteins, your eyes are constantly being disinfected and protected! Without constant tear formation, your eyes would literally dry up!


Different Type of Tears

Tears are grouped generally into three categories, each with its own purpose, and make-up:

Basal Tears: We are actually always crying if you count basal tears! These tears are constantly produced in the eye, and help to lubricate and protect the eye.

Reflexive Tears: These tears serve to protect the eyes from irritating substances like dirt. This is why when you do get debris in your eyes, more tears flow. This is the eye’s way of protecting themselves.

Emotional Tears: Serve as a release and flow when we are happy, sad, or really just overwhelmed by any emotion. These tears are said to be a natural painkiller and contain a higher level of stress than basal and reflexive tears.

Our eyes are truly amazing, tears give the human eye the ability to function, protect, and communicate! And you probably thought all tears were the same. Even more of a reason to ensure you are protecting these precious gems by getting regular eye exams from your family eye doctor.


We hope you enjoyed this week’s blog post, stay tuned for more!

Need information or a comprehensive eye assessment? Book and appointment with Dr. Sharma