Why do I cry when peeling an onion? And what can I do about it?

Crying when you peel an onion is known as ‘reflex tearing’ – it’s an automatic response generated by your body when exposed to the ‘fumes’ released by a cut onion. Your eyes naturally start over producing aqueous tears in an attempt to flush out the toxins from your eyes! These tears are much more watery than your regular tears (see our article on the composition of your tears) – they’re designed to come out in high volume (literally; to wash out the toxins) and not to stay on your eye surface (unlike the normal composition of tears which are designed to stay on the front surface of your eye for around 7-12 seconds).   

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