Varsha Vats, B. Optom

Fellow Optometrist, Dr. Shroff’s Charity Eye Hospital, New Delhi, India


As a phenomenon that is unique to humans, crying is a natural response to a range of emotions, from deep sadness and grief to extreme happiness and joy. (1)

Today’s psychological thought largely concerns, emphasizing the role of crying as a mechanism that allows us to release stress and emotional pain.(1) The liquid product of crying is divided into three categories:

  1. Reflex tears, 2. Continuous tears, 3. Emotional tears.

Reflex tears clear debris like smoke and dust from your eyes. Continuous tears lubricate your eyes and help protect them from infections. Emotional tears may have many health benefits. Whereas continuous tears contain 98%water. (1)

Tears help rehydrate eyes which improves vision overall, tears have the power to kill bacteria. Tears are cleansing and help remove the potentially damaging irritants that your eyes are exposed to daily. Tears also contain salt, fatty acids, and 1,50,000 different proteins, as well as antibacterial chemicals known as lysozyme that help fight off infection. In a nutshell, tears are essential to eye health. Some studies suggest that inhibition of expression or not crying can promote mental problems and illness. (2)

Researchers have found that crying can benefit both your body and your mind, these benefits begin at birth with a baby’s first cry. Crying activates the parasympathetic nervous system. Crying for a long period of time releases oxytocin and endogenous opioids, otherwise known as endorphins. These feel-good chemicals can help ease both physical and emotional pain, once endorphins are released, your body may go into a somewhat numb stage. (3)

There is some risk of lack of tearing such as corneal abrasion, eye infection, corneal ulcer, and visual disturbance. There are also some reasons for crying like washing out infection and debris, hydrating the eyes, releasing pain, relieving hormones, releasing mood-boosting endorphins, promotes social bonding. (4)

Crying can help rinse the eyes of these irritants, which is important in order to prevent discomfort and the risk of eye infections. These tears are believed to contain many antibodies to protect against bacteria. (5)

You don’t always need to make yourself cry in order to get the debris out — the body produces reflex tears to push the impurities out. For e.g., if you’ve ever gotten a piece of dirt or an eyelash stuck in your eye, or inserted a contact lens inside-out, you may have noticed your eyes start to tear up on their own. (5)

A healthy portion of tears is vital to preventing and combating dryness in the eyes. This is because of the moisture barrier that tears provide to the surface of the eye. (5)

Crying has been defined as a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterised by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures, and often accompanied by alterations in the muscles of facial expression, vocalisations, and in some cases, sobbing, which is the convulsive inhaling and exhaling of air with spasms of the respiratory and truncal muscle groups (Patel, 1993). This universal and uniquely human emotional expression can be elicited by a plethora of events, from those seemingly mundane and unimportant to the most crucial events in one’s life and ranging from extremely negative to extremely positive experiences (Vingerhoets, 2013). For example, watching a movie or enjoying the beauty of nature may both make an individual tearful, just as the passing away of attachment figures or the birth of a child. Crying occurs predominantly in situations characterised by separation, loss, and helplessness, and being overwhelmed by strong emotions, be they negative or positive (Vingerhoets, 2013). (6)

Thus, you can cry, it’s a good habit.



  1. By Leo Newhouse, Licsw March 1, 2021. Is crying good for you? [, Last Accessed – 8th Jan 2023; 06:54pm AEDT]
  2. By Ashley zlapolsky 22 September,2021. All the healthy reasons to let yourself have a good cry. [; Last Accessed – 8th Jan 2023, 06:55pm AEDT]
  3. Timothy legg, PhD,psy D ,Ashley Marcin , 14 March ,2017 . 9 ways crying may benefit your heath. [; Last Accessed – 8th Jan 2023, 06:56pm AEDT]
  4. Kate green , 24 October 2019 5 reasons why crying good for you and your eyes. [; Last Accessed – 8th Jan 2023, 06:57pm AEDT]
  5. MedlinePlus. Accessed August 2022, Tears [; Last Accessed – 8th Jan 2023, 06:59pm AEDT]
  6. Gračanin A, Bylsma LM, Vingerhoets AJ. Is crying a self-soothing behaviour? Frontiers in psychology. 2014 May 28;5:502.