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The Phenomenon of Eye Discharge and associated Eye Problems

Dry Eye

Dr Arindam Chakravarti
Dr Arindam Chakravarti
5 min read

When you wake up from deep sleep and you feel there is a sticky substance in your eye, are you aware where does it emerge from? It’s an eye discharge also addressed as eye gunk, rheum, goop, or ‘sleep’. These tiny residues are much more than just a substance you remove from the corner of your eye every morning.

This discharge is a combination of mucus, oil, skin cells, and other residues that get accumulated during your sleep. Why does the discharge get accumulated during your sleep? An average person tends to blink 15-20 times per minute, the blinking keeps the eye protected, provides moisture as well as washes away the mucus. So when you sleep, the mucus is not washed away and gets accumulated in the corner of the eye.

The mucus can be removed with a clean cloth but in case there are other problems along with mucus then you must consult an ophthalmologist. Always check if you have developed any issues like:

  • Changed color of discharge into pungent yellow or green
  • Blurred vision
  • Itchy, sore or dry eyes
  • Watery eyes
  • Bloodshot red eyes
  • Light sensitivity or photophobia

The primary reason behind the goop or mucus is a bacterial or viral infection, allergy, or dirt. If the problems persist for a longer period then there could be other reasons like:

  • Pink eye or Conjunctivitis:

Accompanied by pain, redness, itching, and mucus-forming a crust in your eye, it’s an infection caused in the eyelid’s thin membrane called the conjunctiva. Pink eye may spread if a proper diagnosis is not received on time.

  • Blepharitis:

A condition where an unusual amount of mucus, oil, and green-yellow puss are generated in the eye. The reason is an inflammation in the eyelashes. You must visit an ophthalmologist soon in this case.

  • Contact lens:

Wearing your contact lenses for a very long time may cause discomfort and it may lead to inflammation. It may also lead to more than average eye discharge.
Note: never sleep wearing contact lens, until your doctor recommends to do so.

  • Stye:

An inflammation found on the eyelid with a small accumulation of pus is called as stye. This is caused by Staphylococcus bacteria. One may seek treatment for quick recovery.

  • Corneal Ulcer:

Being a serious condition, if left untreated, it may even lead to corneal transplant. The cornea is the outer layer of the eye, it gets infected and results in excessive tearing in the eye, pain, and sometimes it may get difficult to even open your eyes.

  • Blocked tear duct:

Also known as Darcyocystitis, it is a painful condition. The tear duct produces a fluid layer on the gunk every time we blink, but with the block, the fluid gets accumulated and results in excessive discharge along with pain and redness. It may get better on its own, but seeking treatment is always recommended.

It is very important to take care of one’s eyes and never take any abnormality lightly. Always seek an ophthalmologist without any delay. However, there are a few tips you can follow to keep away eye irritation and infections:

  • Wash your hands frequently
  • If you have an infection, avoid using cosmetics like mascara, eyeliner, etc
  • In case of dry eyes, get an eye drop
  • To remove the discharge, take a washcloth, dip it in warm water and wipe the corners with your eyes closed
  • Never sleep with your contact lens on until prescribed

Following a simple eye care routine can keep you away from excessive eye discharge and its associated discomfort. But if it persists, the only solution is to visit an ophthalmologist without any delay.

Center For Sight is a leading Eye Care Centre in India and it is known for unmatched eye care services in India. The specialized eye doctors treat issues such as laser treatment for eyes, SMILE eye surgery, glaucoma and others. Consult CFS for quick diagnosis and reliable treatment.