Do you know the gunk that you have crusted from the corners of your eyes when you wake up in the morning? It’s normal, and everyone has it. Some people may refer to it as “eye boogers” or “sleep in your eyes,” but it’s technical term is “rheum”which is often yellow and thick. Sometimes it can be either sticky or crusty depending on whether the liquid within it has evaporated and dried up. Eye discharge is a combination of eye mucus, skin cells, oil, and other debris. During the day, even without realizing it you blink it away, but while you sleep it accumulates in the corners of your eyes.
Why do we have eye mucus?
It is one of our body’s natural defense systems which protects and helps in removing both waste and potential harmful debris from your eyes. It also keeps our eyes lubricated so they don’t get too dry and it flushed out automatically, along with the debris, when we blink.The majority of eye mucus is made up of a watery, thin mucus called mucin which is produced by the conjunctiva, an oily substance secreted by meibomian glands.
If the discharge is diligent, unusual inconsistency or excessive during waking hours, this may be the symptoms of harmful diseases.Different conditions that can cause unusual changes in eye discharge are as following:
- Pink eye or Conjunctivitis: It can produce white, yellow, or green mucus that is stringy and very thick to make your eyes feel like they’re glued shut. It can also cause severe crusting. You may have pink eye in one eye but not in the another.
- Styes: They are often infected eyelid follicles that can cause thick yellow pus.
- Dry eyes: It is caused by a lack of tear production which can result in watery eye discharge.
- Corneal ulcers: They are ulcerated and sometimes infected sores on the cornea, results in constant and thick discharge.
Children like adults, will have normal eye discharge and at times unusual eye discharge that signals a problem. Pink eye is extremely common in children, especially because it’s so contagious. If your child or baby has red eyes that seem to be itchy or painful, along with discharge, call their doctor. Generally, some of the infants are born with at least one tear duct which is completely or partially blocked, that can lead to an increased likelihood of conjunctivitis. Blocked tear ducts symptoms may include thick white or yellow discharge.
Do eye boogers need treatment?
If you’re experiencing mild discharge when you wake up, there is no treatment necessary. If discharge is caused by some another condition, treatment may be needed which can include:
- To treat conditions like conjunctivitis, dry eyes, or corneal ulcers use eye drops
- Wear glasses instead of contact lenses for several days or weeks while your eyes heal
- Avoid any contact with your eyes except to apply medications after washing your hands thoroughly
If, sometimes you notice a change in the amount or consistency of eye discharge along with some other symptoms like itchiness or painful eyes, light sensitivity, or blurry vision, book your appointment with your doctor to make sure it isn’t an infection or an injury.