The Truth Behind Your Tears
Certain events can move you to tears, whether it’s a sad movie, news of a recent death, or chopping onions. There are many different purposes to your tears, which is why your eyes can produce anywhere from sixty to a hundred liters per year. Tears are extremely useful. They help you see clearly. They wash debris from your eyes. And they communicate all kinds of feelings. But did you know that not every tear is made up of the same components?
At Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin, we want to help you gain a better understanding of the importance of tears and their role in keeping your eyes healthy.
Are all tears the same?
There are different types of tears, each made of different substances. They are called basal tears, emotional tears, and reflex tears. We cry to protect our eyes, to wash out irritants, and for emotional reasons. The three types of tears have some things in common. They all share the same key ingredients and are all made up of three layers, known as the tear film. The inner mucus layer keeps the tears stuck to the eye. The watery middle layer keeps the eye wet and fights off bacteria. The outer oily layer prevents tear evaporation.
How are tears made?
The water in your tears is produced by the lacrimal glands above your eyes and under the eyebrow bone. This fluid is made up of salt and water, which helps keep the surface of your eyes lubricated and healthy. The mucus and oil come from your meibomian glands, oil glands along the edge of your eyelids, next to your eyelashes. In order for your tears to work properly, you need both components. As you blink, these substances come together and spread across the surface of your cornea. They then drain into your tear ducts, the small holes in the inner corners of your eyelids, down through your nose, and into the back of your throat, where you swallow them.
Why do we get dry eyes?
As you get older, your lacrimal gland’s production of tears starts to slow down. This can make you more susceptible to developing a condition known as dry eye, which may make your eyes feel painful and impact vision. You’re also more susceptible to blepharitis, a condition that causes eyelid irritation and swelling. Your meibomian glands can become inflamed over time, making it difficult for the oily part of the tears to exit the glands. You can improve the function of the meibomian glands by using warm compresses on your eyes for ten to fifteen minutes a day. The best warm compress is an eye mask filled with heated beads or an electronic heating device such as the Umay Rest. Adding artificial tears and an omega-3 fatty acid supplement can also help to treat dry eye.
If you have any concerns about your eyesight and need advice on eye care, reach out to leading optometrists in Wetaskiwin, Alberta. At Doctors Eyecare Wetaskiwin, we strive to deliver high-quality care, products, and service to people of all ages. Our friendly and knowledgeable doctors and staff look forward to the opportunity to provide you with exceptional eye and vision care and the latest in eyewear technology and styling.
Our services include comprehensive eye exams, contact lens exams, treatment of sore, red eyes, LASIK and refractive surgery co-management, eye disease management, emergency eye care services, a dry eye clinic, and an on-site optical lab. We serve patients across Wetaskiwin, Millet, Maskwacis, Pigeon Lake, and the surrounding areas.
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