It’s late, you’re tired, and as you start yawning your eyes start to water. Why is that? Why does being tired make your eyes tear?
Your tears are a clear liquid made mostly of water, which are produced by the lacrimal glands (tear glands) to keep your eyes hydrated. They also help protect your eyes from infections and foreign invaders.
The answer is actually fairly simple. When you’re tired, you’re trying hard to keep your eyes open. But, the more you keep them open, the drier they get. Fortunately, your body produces basal tears to counter this. Basal tears are made of protein, water, oil, and mucus. These tears form a thin layer over your eyes to help keep them moist and help you see clearly.
So why do you produce more tears when you yawn? Well, on top of the need to fight the dryness, when you yawn you close your eyes tight and sometimes put pressure on the lacrimal glands, where tears are produced. While tears normally drain into the puncta – tiny openings in your eyelids – your closed eyes prevent this proper drainage, leading to tears.
If you’re tired and your eyes feel watery, don’t worry. It’s not because you’re sad or have something caught in your eye. It just means it’s time for a good night’s sleep.
Sometimes your eyes may not be watery at all, which can be a symptom of dry eye. If you're experiencing dry eye, eye infections, or just need an update to your prescription, CEENTA’s eye doctors are available in more than a dozen locations in North and South Carolina to make sure your eyes are healthy and seeing as best they can, whether you’re wide awake or about ready to go to sleep.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your doctor. Would you like an appointment with our eye doctors? Call 704-295-3000. You can also schedule an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart. In-office and virtual visit appointments are available.
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