Lacrimation, or lachrymation, (from Latin lacrima, meaning "tear") is the secretion of tears, which serve to clean and lubricate the eyes. Strong emotions such as sorrow, elation, awe and pleasure, as well as irritation of the eyes, laughing, and yawning may lead to an excess production of tears, or weeping.
Types of tears
There are three very basic types of tears:
In healthy mammalian eyes, the cornea is continually kept wet and nourished by basal tears. They lubricate the eye, and help to keep it clear of dust. Tear fluid contains water, mucin, lipids, lysozyme, lactoferrin, lipocalin, lacritin, immunoglobulins, glucose, urea, sodium, and potassium. Some of the substances in lacrimal fluid (such as lysozyme) fight against bacterial infection as a part of the immune system. Lysozyme does this by dissolving a layer in the outer coating, called peptidoglycan, of certain bacteria. It is a typical body fluid with a salt content similar to blood plasma. Usually, in a 24-hour period, 0.75 to 1.1 grams (0.03–0.04 ounce avoirdupois) of tears is secreted; this rate slows with age.
The second type of tears results from irritation of the eye by foreign particles, or from the presence of irritant substances such as onion vapors, tear gas, or pepper spray in the eye's environment, including the cornea, conjunctiva, or nasal mucosa, which trigger TRP channels in the ophthalmic nerve. It can also occur with bright light and hot or peppery stimuli to the tongue and mouth. It is also linked with vomiting, coughing and yawning. These reflex tears attempt to wash out irritants that may have come into contact with the eye.
Crying or weeping (psychic tears)
The third category, in general, referred to as crying or weeping, is increased lacrimation due to strong emotional stress, pleasure, anger, suffering, mourning, or physical pain. This practice is not restricted to negative emotions; many people cry when extremely happy such as during times of intense humour and laughter. In humans, emotional tears can be accompanied by reddening of the face and sobbing — cough-like, convulsive breathing, sometimes involving spasms of the whole upper body. Tears brought about by emotions have a different chemical make-up than those for lubrication; emotional tears contain more of the protein-based hormones prolactin, adrenocorticotropic hormone, and leucine enkephalin (a natural painkiller) than basal or reflex tears. The limbic system is involved in production of basic emotional drives, such as anger, fear, etc. The limbic system, to be specific, the hypothalamus, also has a degree of control over the autonomic system. The parasympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system controls the lacrimal glands via the neurotransmitter acetylcholine through both the nicotinic and muscarinic receptors. When these receptors are activated, the lacrimal gland is stimulated to produce tears.
In nearly all cultures, crying is seen as a specific act associated with tears trickling down the cheeks and accompanied by characteristic sobbing sounds. Emotional triggers are most often sadness and grief, but crying can also be triggered by anger, happiness, fear, laughter or humor, frustration, remorse, or other strong, intense emotions. In many cultures, crying is associated with babies and children. Some cultures consider crying to be undignified and infantile, casting aspersions on those who cry publicly, except if it is due to the death of a close friend or relative. In most cultures, it is more socially acceptable for women and children to cry than men. In some Latin regions, crying among men is acceptable.
Some modern therapy movements such as Re-evaluation Counseling teach that crying is beneficial to health and mental well-being, encouraging it positively. An insincere display of grief or dishonest remorse is sometimes called crocodile tears in reference to an Ancient Greek anecdote that crocodiles would pretend to weep while luring or devouring their prey.
In addition, in medical terms, someone is said to have Crocodile tears syndrome as an uncommon consequence of recovery from Bell's palsy, in which faulty regeneration of the facial nerve causes sufferers to shed tears while eating.source: WikiPedia