How many types of tears are there?

Discovery Health
Administration

There are three types of tears.

Basal tears are the constant tears in our eyes that keep them drying out. The body produces 5 to 10 ounces of basal tears each day. These tears drain through the nasal cavity, which explains why so many people develop runny noses after they have a good cry.

Reflex tears are another type of tears. They protect the human eye from harsh irritants such as onions, smoke and dust. When an irritant threatens your eyes, the sensory nerves in your cornea let the brain stem know about the threat and it sends hormones to the glands in the eyelids. The hormones then cause the eyes to produce tears, which rids them of the irritating substances.

Emotional tears are another kind of tears. These tears begin in the cerebrum, which registers sadness. The endocrine system then releases hormones to the ocular area, which causes tears to form. Emotional tears are common among people who watch sad movies or who suffer a personal loss.

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