eli5 why we have tears when we cry?

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What is the purpose of actually having tears when we are sad? We lose salt and water but how does that help us?

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Great question! I’m waiting for an answer now. I read that women/people scream when they are startled or scared because it is a throwback to our ancestry as a way to warn of danger. Which makes sense. But I can’t come up with any reason why we cry tears based on emotion, not grit in our eyes.

Things like crying, laughing, wincing, making angry faces, blushing/embarrassed faces are all forms for non-verbal communication.

The theory is that these forms of communication were crucial to our ancestors who lived in social groups but hadn’t developed language yet, you need ways to communicate some kind of information to keep that social group functioning/together.

Tears themselves are meant to protect and keep our eyes healthy.

So it’s likely a “happy accident” that when we cry we can force more tears out, that help signal to those around us that we are in some kind of distress.

There are three different forms of tears, basal, reflex and psychic tears. These tears are all produced by the lacrimal (lachrymal) gland, but psychic tears also coincide with other bodily responses, due to their production being driven from the hypothalamus in the limbic part of the brain. https://youtu.be/HdtC8-LApEY

I believe it’s for communication purposes as well as a vehicle to quickly remove stress hormones from the body