How Crying Causes Swollen Eyelids

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An image of the lacrimal ducts, where tears are emitted.
An image of the lacrimal ducts, where tears are emitted.

The Brain's Role in Crying

The human brain is connected via a neural network to the tear ducts in the eyes. When we experience an emotion, such as sadness, messages from the brain are transferred to the tear ducts. Once these messages reach the tear ducts, the ducts emit a salty substance consisting of lipids and oleamide (which also causes people to feel sleepy). The tears come from the lacrimal apparatus, which are located on the side of the eyes and the top inner corner of the eyes.

An image of the lacrimal ducts, where tears are emitted.
An image of the lacrimal ducts, where tears are emitted.

Where the Puffiness Begins

The lipids in the tear ducts contain sodium, which causes the eyes to swell. The skin under your eye is some of the thinnest skin on your body. It is actually this skin, as well as the eyelid, that swells due to the irritation from the sodium.

How to Remedy Puffy Eyes

Crying sets off an imbalance in the eyes and causes them to retain fluid, which is why the puffiness continues. Try the following tips to reduce crying-related puffiness: • Drink water, which helps restore fluids. • Sleep, which restores fluid imbalance. • Place chilled cucumbers over your eyes, which helps relieve pain from the puffiness.

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