By Dr. Mercola
Your body produces three different types of tears. There’s the basal variety, which are made as a form of lubrication and protection for your eyes. These are constantly secreted in tiny quantities (about one gram over a 24-hour period) and coat your eyes when you blink.1
You also produce reflex tears. These are another form of protection and are released in response to irritants, such as wind, dust, smoke, or cut onions. The third form of tears – emotional or “psychic” tears as they’re sometimes called – are arguably the most talked about and the most mysterious.
Your tears, no matter what the form, are a combination of salt water, oils, antibodies, and enzymes.2 Yet each looks vastly different when examined under a microscope.
Intriguing Photos Reveal ‘The Topography of Tears’
In a project called “Topography of Tears,” photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher used a microscope to examine what dried human tears look like close up. Over the course of several years, she examined more than 100 tears, from herself, volunteers, and even a newborn baby, under a microscope.
What resulted was a beautiful collection of strikingly different images, many resembling large-scale landscapes. Fisher described them as “aerial views of emotion terrain.”3 She continued in Smithsonian magazine:4
“It’s amazing to me how the patterns of nature seem so similar, regardless of scale… You can look at patterns of erosion that are etched into earth over thousands of years, and somehow they look very similar to the branched crystalline patterns of a dried tear that took less than a moment to form.
… Tears are the medium of our most primal language in moments as unrelenting as death, as basic as hunger, and as complex as a rite of passage… It’s as though each one of our
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