Tears are an important and essential part of maintaining healthy eyes. Your tears have many important components which help keep your eyes moist, clean and free from infection. In many cases, releasing tears even helps reduce stress hormones in your body.1 So, you can see why maintaining healthy tears can be beneficial not only for your eye health, but your overall bodily health as well. Here are some of the main components of your tears:
Outer Oil Layer
The oil layer helps maintain a smooth tear surface and also
Watery Middle Layer
This layer is responsible for washing away dirt and other irritants off the surface of your eyes.
Inner Mucus Layer
The mucus layer helps distribute tears evenly across the eyes surface, and a lack of mucus can cause dry spots on the cornea, the ”window” light passes through to get to the back of your eye. When it gets dry it changes from being smooth as glass to more of an orange peel texture. This blurs the vision.
A common problem is a lack of tear production, which can be caused by a number of different factors – including age, other medical conditions and some medications. But there are some general steps you can take to make sure you are producing sufficient, healthy tears.
Stay well hydrated
Drinking a healthy amount of water will ensure that you can produce enough tears throughout the day and improve the comfort of your eyes.
Take breaks during long tasks
If you’re doing an activity that requires extended use of your eyes, such as reading or using a computer, take periodic breaks. Shut your eyes for a few minutes and even blink repeatedly to distribute tears evenly over the eyes.
Smoking and exposure to smoke will affect the overall health of your body and can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. If you don’t smoke, avoid being around people who smoke. 2
These are only 3 of the many ways you can maintain healthy eyes. But overall, a healthy lifestyle and diet will ensure your eyes stay in great shape. And of course, if you experience any strange symptoms like chronic dry eye, strange discharge or inflammation, give your O.D. or PCP a call.
- Orloff, J, M.D. The Health Benefits of Tears. Psychology Today, 27 July, 2010
- The Mayo Clinic