The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea. – Isak Dinesen



This photo series by Rose-Lynn Fisher captures tears of grief, joy, laughter and irritation under the microscope.

Tears aren’t just water.

They’re primarily made up of water, salts, antibodies and lysozymes,

but the composition depends on the type of tear.

There are three main types –

basal tears, reflex tears, and weeping tears.

As you can see,

they can look incredibly different when evaporated and placed under a microscope.

Men must live and create. Live to the point of tears.
Albert Camus

More info:
Images by Rose-Lynn Fisher, via the Smithsonian Magazine and ScienceAlert.


119 responses »

  1. This is just so lovely! I never knew that tears had different ‘patterns’ when cried and each pattern could be read and attributed to a certain feeling or reason that they were shed. Thank you so much for sharing this post, it’s taught me something new and amazing. (Also glad that it led me to find your blog!)


    • it really is, i agree. and i am more than happy to share this wonderful science, so mixed with the human nature of emotions. and i’m happy to have you reading and commenting ) best, beth


  2. What wonderful photographs thank you for sharing them. I had no idea tears could be so beautiful! Next time I have a good cry, my eyeballs are bright red and tears are dripping off the end of my nose I will feel as though actually, you know what, I am creating a piece of art here!
    Bright Blessings


  3. This is the most fascinating thing on a blog post – ever. Aren’t people complex? I’d always assumed all tears were the same. I’ll always see them differently now.


  4. I love this post! Tears can be measured and somehow deduced to whether or not you were happy or sad? Amazing scientific studies and research done, so glad you have Rose’s name down to look further into this! I also wanted to say, I enjoyed the quote, Beth, by the author of “Out of Africa!” I love her book and writing, so much!


    • i’m so happy you enjoyed this robin. i found it fascinating on many levels. and i though the quote was so true and went with it in quite a natural way, i love her writing too )


  5. In the Cosmos series Neil deGrasse Tyson also explains that the body has many specialized bacteria. One just for our eyelashes that only comes out at night to clean the eyelash hair. I wonder if some of that life also ends up in our dried tear eye sand?

    Thanks for your visits

    I am a big sci-fi fan so I am hoping long before we need to ‘escape’ our blue ball, we will have figured out many if not just one other home in space.


  6. I read a book about about that! (Thinking it was the Secret Life of Water mentioned above.) Also, water in vials reacted differently depending on how it was spoken to. Weird, yes, but why not? Our words and emotions have power. Cool post.


  7. How fascinating! I have extremely dry eyes, but they get teary a lot. Makes no sense hey… It’s embarrassing sometimes because sometimes I’ll merely chuckle but my eyes will get all teary.


  8. I saw a video to this effect–where the water was actually spoken to–in different tones, and with different sentiments and its molecular stamp was greatly affected, also. Makes you know how important your environment is, inner and outer, both. And it’s so cool to know besides…


  9. Wow, this is great. I was reading a book the other day (Yesteday, I Cried by Iyanla Vanzant) and she described how different kinds of tears fall from various parts of the eye. I can’t remember the specifics, but it was something like sad tears seep from the corners, angry tears rush to your lips causing you to lick the saltiness, etc. I never knew tears held so much meaning! Now, to see the absoulte beauty of them in these photos….well let’s just say that I will no longer apologize for being such a sensitive cry baby.


  10. I found this really interesting. Never realized that there were different types of tears. Tried to “like” your post, but it only came up as a box with a dot in it. So thought I’d comment so you’d know.


    • thanks, judith, i was happily surprised by it as well. as for the tech issue, thanks for going the extra mile, apparently wp was having some issues this weekend, so anything is possible )


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