Why are tears produced in our eyes when we eat something which is spicy or spicy over our limits?
Sriram G., Bangaluru
When we eat food the sensory nerve endings on our tongue are stimulated. Anterior two thirds of the tongue gets its sensory supply from the trigemminal nerve.
This nerve also serves as the sensory nerve to the surface of the eye and face.
When we eat very spicy food the sensory nerve endings on the tongue are irritated and an overload of noxious stimulus is carried by the trigemminal nerve.
The nervous system perceives this overload of noxious stimulus as being received from all the areas i.e tongue, eye and face and sets in motion a reflex reaction which is not just limited to the tongue or mouth but also to the eye and face.
This reflex reaction results in increase in tear secretion and overflow of tears as well as sweating over the face.
DR. ARULMOZHI VARMAN
Uma Eye Clinic, Chennai