“Bodily phenomena you know can happen but have no explanation for” today: Why does yawning make your eyes water? Let’s just get this out there right away.
Doctors aren’t completely certain. Mina Massaro-Giordano, M.D., co-director of the Penn Dry Eye & Ocular Surface Center and professor of clinical ophthalmology at the University of Pennsylvania, tells SELF that “nobody really knows the true mechanism behind this” and that researchers haven’t fully figured out why people yawn in the first place.
Nevertheless, medical professionals have some compelling hypotheses about what causes this yawning/tearing sensation, including what it might indicate if it doesn’t actually occur to you. We must first explore the fundamental nature of your tears in order to comprehend those speculative claims.
Your Tears are Made Up of Three Distinct Layers That Work Together to Lubricate Your Eyes
According to the National Eye Institute, fatty oils, water, and mucus combine to form a tear film that tries to keep the surface of your eyes smooth and shield you from irritants and pathogens that can cause infections (NEI).
Your tears are kept from evaporating too quickly by that oily layer. Under your eyelids, in your Meibomian glands, is where the oil for this part of your tear film is produced. Another layer is made up of water and proteins that are soluble in water, both of which are produced by the lacrimal glands located beneath your eyebrows. This layer aids in nourishing the conjunctiva and cornea, the dome-shaped outer surface of your eyes (the mucous membrane over part of your eyes and the insides of your eyelids). In order to keep your eyes moist, a mucous-based layer adheres to the water in your eyes.
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When you blink, this unique mixture covers your eyes; when you cry or yawn, it produces tear droplets that fall from your eyes. In particular, Zeba A. Syed, M.D., a cornea surgeon and assistant professor of ophthalmology at Wills Eye Hospital, tells SELF that “when your eyes tear up, the watery layer is overproduced.”
The Way Your Face Morphs When Your Mouth is Open When You Yawn Probably Has Something to do With Why You Start Crying.
You probably already know that when you yawn, you scrunch up your face and close or practically shut your eyes. According to Vivian Shibayama, O.D., an optometrist and contact lens specialist with UCLA Health, this puts pressure on the lacrimal glands beneath your eyebrows, which may lead to them producing more of that watery layer of your tears. Bam, your eyes are now watering.
Another factor is that, according to the NEI, your tears typically come out of tiny ducts at the inner corners of your eyes. However, yawning can temporarily block these ducts, causing your tears to linger in your eyes a little longer than usual. Dr. Massaro-Giordano says, “All that extra fluid has no place to go,” and you start to cry. The extra tears then make their way to the drains with the following few blinks when you open your eyes.
However, Not Everyone Who Yawns Sheds Tears. Even if it is Typical for you, it Might not Always Occur.
Your anatomy is one factor that could affect how frequently this occurs to you. According to Dr. Massaro-Giordano, if your tear ducts are fairly large, your eyes might be able to wipe away any extra tears as you yawn.
If your eyes are dry, you might not even notice this phenomenon. A specific circumstance, such as being on a windy beach that dries out your eyes, may cause this to occur. It may also occur more frequently if you blink less frequently to replenish your tear film as a result of something that causes your tears to evaporate too quickly on a regular basis, such as using a computer all day.
Another possibility is that you have dry eyes because something is preventing your eyes from producing a sufficient tear film in the first place, such as using decongestants or another drug that can reduce tear production.
This can all result in symptoms like dryness that prevents your eyes from watering when you yawn, as well as stinging, burning, pain, and other unpleasant sensations. It’s possible that your yawns are tear-free because some people even have a specific condition called aqueous-deficient dry eye, which is characterised by insufficient amounts of that watery layer in the tear film.
The curious thing about dry eye is that it can also make you tear more than usual because your eyes are trying to compensate for the dryness. If that occurs, you might start crying almost constantly, even when you yawn.
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So When You Yawn, Your Eyes Might Start to Water. Possibly not.
As long as you are not exhibiting any odd eye symptoms like extremely uncomfortable dryness, irritation, or pain, it doesn’t necessarily mean that anything is wrong with your eyes. It’s usually one of those things.
- 1 Your Tears are Made Up of Three Distinct Layers That Work Together to Lubricate Your Eyes
- 2 The Way Your Face Morphs When Your Mouth is Open When You Yawn Probably Has Something to do With Why You Start Crying.
- 3 However, Not Everyone Who Yawns Sheds Tears. Even if it is Typical for you, it Might not Always Occur.
- 4 So When You Yawn, Your Eyes Might Start to Water. Possibly not.