Tears: Not Just for Sad Movies

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Tears: Not Just for Sad Movies

By aitkineyeca32139567, Feb 11 2020 05:00PM

Tears: Not Just For Sad Movies

We are all familiar with the runny, salty fluid that comes out of our eyes when we cry. But tears are much more complex than you may think. Tears play a critical role for our vision and eye health. Here is a brief overview of tears:

Tears have 3 main components.

1. A watery component made up of water, salts, and proteins. The water forms a smooth surface on the cornea (the front surface of the eye) to allow light to be focused clearly inside the eye. Without water in the tears we would not see clearly. The salts and proteins have mild antibacterial properties to help prevent infections.

2. Mucus is a sticky substance produced in many part of the body. On the eye it serves as a way for the tears to “stick” to the cornea, helping the tears coat the eye without running off the eye. Too little mucus results in “watery eyes”.

3. An oil component that provides lubrication when we blink and prevents evaporation of the water component of the tears. Omega 3 fatty acids are the building blocks of the oil found in tears. If you are lacking the proper amount of oil in your tears, your eyes may burn and feel scratchy, and your vision may fluctuate.

The proper mixture of water, oil, and mucus is important for healthy tears. Healthy tears are in turn important for clear vision and comfortable, healthy eyes. Any disruption in the mixture of water, oil, and mucus can result in what is often called “dry eyes.” The symptoms of “dry eyes” can vary widely, from scratchy eyes all the way to watery eyes. Sometimes “dry eyes” feel fine but just don’t see clearly.

Fortunately problems with your tears can be detected during a routine eye exam. The doctors at the EyeCare Centers of Aitkin and McGregor can diagnose “dry eyes” and provide multiple treatment options to get your vision and eye comfort back to normal.

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