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Why do we cry?

Question:

Why do we cry?

Crying:

We've all experienced a time in which we've had tears flowing down our faces. Whether it was due to an emotional moment or something was stuck in our eye, we've all cried before. There are a number of different reasons why people cry, and each one produces a specific type of tear.

Answer and Explanation:

People cry for many reasons, such as an irritant in their eye, being out in the cold, feeling sad, watching an emotion-inducing movie, or even a simple yawn. In each instance of crying, specific types of tears are produced. The type of tears produced gives more insight into the reason behind the tears. Those types of tears are basal tears, reflex tears, and psychic tears.

Basal tears are the tears that the body produces in order to keep the eyes lubricated properly. These tears contain special oils that moisten the eye when we blink. Therefore, if someone's eyes are a bit dry, the body will produce basal tears to remedy the situation. These types of tears don't usually result in crying, but every so often a stray basal tear may spill over to run down the cheek.

Reflex tears are tears that happen when the eye gets irritated in some way. This can happen if someone is cutting onions, gets a piece of dust in their eye, or is out in the cold wind and the wind irritates their eye. These types of tears are useful for cleansing and protecting the eye by keeping out foreign invaders and flushing the eyes of toxins.

Psychic tears are the tears that we most often associate with crying. These tears are the type of tears that occur when someone is brought to tears by a strong emotion, such as happiness or sadness. This is actually a response of the nervous system to an emotional stimuli. These tears can act as an emotional release and contain certain chemicals that can act as an agent to reduce emotional pain.

We see that there are many reasons why we cry, and each reason produces a specific type of tear that will help in that situation.


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Actions of the Eye

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Chapter 20 / Lesson 6
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This lesson goes over some of the normal actions of the eyes with respect to vision: visual acuity, convergence, accommodation, emmetropia, and refraction.


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