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Why Do My Eyes Water When I Yawn?

Posted Feb 19, 2019 | Eye Health

Shedding a tear while yawning is a common experience and has nothing to do with how badly you need a nap. Instead, tears occur when tightly contracting facial muscles put pressure on your lacrimal glands, which help produce tears. These glands are located just above the eyelids so they can be sensitive to facial expressions. When you let out a big yawn, the muscles essentially wring-out the glands like a beach towel, and—voila!—you look like you’re having a moment.

Eyes can tear up for a variety of other reasons: dryness, dirt, and infection can each cause your eyes to water. If your eyes are watering more than usual you should make an appointment with an eye doctor to check for other underlying health issues.

Why Do We Cry?

Tears moisturize our eyes and can flush out small irritants. At some point this practical biological process got tangled up with our emotions, causing us to cry when we’re sad, happy, or overwhelmed. If you want to get technical about it, crying is when tears are produced in connection with emotions. Lacrimation is the appearance of tears for other reasons, like dry eyes. 

Why Do Tears Taste Salty?

If you’ve ever had a really good cry you may have noticed that tears taste salty. There’s no mystery here: our tears contain sodium chloride (common table salt). What is the salt doing there? Sodium chloride is found throughout the body, including blood. Simply put, humans are a salty bunch.

Tears are an important self-defense mechanism for our eyes. Without them the surface of the eye would be overwhelmed with irritants and germs. Frankly, that sounds terrible. Let’s take a moment to appreciate the humble teardrop, whether it shows up when you’re yawning or having a particularly bad day.

If you have any concerns about your vision or your tears, be sure to see your eye doctor

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