2 doctors weighed in:

How bad is it to eat spicy food and get teary eyes?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Theodore Wu
Ophthalmology

In brief: Spicy

Spicy foods add variety to life and the palate.
Tearing results from stimulation of acetylcholine release by chemicals in the food. Tearing is not harmful to the eyes.

In brief: Spicy

Spicy foods add variety to life and the palate.
Tearing results from stimulation of acetylcholine release by chemicals in the food. Tearing is not harmful to the eyes.
Dr. Theodore Wu
Dr. Theodore Wu
Thank
Dr. Daniel Goldberg
Ophthalmology

In brief: Harmless

The reasons your eyes may tear when eating spicy foods is that the seventh cranial nerve which is important in the regulation of reflex tear function, also sends nerve endings to the tongue for taste sensation.
Capsaicin is a potent irritant contained in spicy foods such as jalapeno peppers. When capsaicin binds to the seventh cranial nerve endings within the tongue, impulses sent along the seventh nerve for the purposes of taste sensation will also stimulate those seventh nerve endings responsible for reflex tearing as well as sweating. In any case, this is not dangerous, but simply a collateral reaction based on the sharing of the nerve pathway.

In brief: Harmless

The reasons your eyes may tear when eating spicy foods is that the seventh cranial nerve which is important in the regulation of reflex tear function, also sends nerve endings to the tongue for taste sensation.
Capsaicin is a potent irritant contained in spicy foods such as jalapeno peppers. When capsaicin binds to the seventh cranial nerve endings within the tongue, impulses sent along the seventh nerve for the purposes of taste sensation will also stimulate those seventh nerve endings responsible for reflex tearing as well as sweating. In any case, this is not dangerous, but simply a collateral reaction based on the sharing of the nerve pathway.
Dr. Daniel Goldberg
Dr. Daniel Goldberg
Thank
Get help from a real doctor now
Dr. Vicken Poochikian
Board Certified,
38 years in practice
2M people helped
Continue
108,000 doctors available
Read more answers from doctors