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Question:
I am a nursing student and I was told in class that babies do not produce tears. I am skeptical because it does not seem logical that the lacrimal gland does not produce tears at all. If this is true how does the newborn's eye stay lubricated and moisturized?      

Answer:
While your instructor is correct that reflex tearing (response to crying or having something in the eye) does not typically begin until the baby is 3 to 6 months old, there still is a baseline production of tears in infancy that keeps the eyes moist and lubricated. In fact, there are three layers to the tear film: while the watery layer is made by the lacrimal gland, a mucous layer is generated by the conjunctiva, and an oily layer is made by the meibomian glands in the eyelids.

Answered by: Paul Sternberg Jr., MD Dr. Paul Sternberg

Categories: Children's Eye Health

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Answered: Dec 13, 2012

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