A Viral TikTok Video Has People Wondering Why Tears Can Sometimes Be Yellow

Yellow tears can be caused by a number of different things, but most of them don't mean you're going to die.


Mar. 7 2024, Published 10:57 a.m. ET

If you're having a breakdown or just feel like you need to cry, the last thing you're likely worried about is what color your tears will be when they come streaming down your face. Usually, for most people, those tears are clear or translucent and they look basically just like regular water.

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However, in a viral TikTok video, someone was filming themselves crying and they noticed that the tears they were crying were yellow. Viewers are now wondering why yellow tears can be yellow. Here's everything we know about the phenomenon, and what could be behind it.

A woman crying into a tissue in a bathroom.
Source: Getty Images
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Why do people cry yellow?

Depending on what exactly your tears look like, the cause of yellow tears could be a wide variety of different things. The exact color of tears is usually determined by the composition of the tears, which usually include water, oil, and mucus. If your tears are looking way more yellow than usual, it could be the result of excess oil in your tear ducts.

Your eyes produce a certain amount of oil to lubricate themselves and prevent them from drying out with help from the meibomian glands. If the glands are working overtime, they can produce too much oil and those oils can turn the tears yellow and even make them feel greasy.

Yellow tears can also be explained by other things, like an infection or allergies. Under these circumstances, the tears could be yellow because of pus or because of outside irritants.

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If you've noticed any other symptoms in addition to your yellow tears, you may want to seek medical attention. If your tears are yellow, monitor them closely and make sure you seek medical attention if the condition persists for several days. Whatever's going on likely isn't going to be fatal, but as most people know, your tears really shouldn't be yellow.

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Tears can also be a variety of other colors.

The yellow tears may be the ones going viral on social media, but tears can actually be several different colors. Tears can be red or pink when there is bleeding in or around the eye, and they can be black when they contain melanin. In most cases, though, the production of tears is considered a healthy part of your overall bodily functions, even if they come out a slightly strange color.

Yellow tears on TikTok had people freaking out.

Thanks to a viral video on TikTok, many people are now concerned about what yellow tears might mean for them. In the comments under the video, people are being totally normal about the possibility of crying yellow tears.

"Nahh new fear unlocked," one commenter wrote.

"No because I would immediately think I was a part of a prophecy," another person added.

Thankfully, it seems like there are pretty normal reasons for tears to be that color, even if the bright yellow is admittedly pretty alarming. If you find yourself crying the color of a highlighter, know that there's no need for immediate alarm.

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